A Publication of WTVP

Business News – In Brief | October 2023

by Peoria Magazine |
Business News in Brief

The board of directors of the Center for Youth and Family Solutions (CYFS) announced that Patrick Phelan has been appointed to serve as the agency’s CEO. He succeeds co-founder and CEO Trish Fox, who retired at the end of September. CYFS is a comprehensive, nationally accredited human service organization serving youth and families in central Illinois and eastern Iowa.

H Wayne Wilson, the long-time host of At Issue on WTVP PBS, announced his retirement from the program at the end of August. Wilson created and has hosted the public affairs interview program for 35 years while also writing, narrating and producing documentaries and other content for public media. At Issue will return with a new host, Mark Welp, on Oct. 5. The show will have a new look, new set and feature special reports and content from Phil Luciano. At Issue airs Thursday nights at 8 p.m. on WTVP HD 47.1.


Sherry Thomas has joined CityLink as its new director of finance. She comes to the public transit organization with more than 22 years of experience in public sector finance. Her responsibilities will include leading the finance/accounting team, evaluating existing fiscal practices, producing financial reports and statements, overseeing and coordinating audits, managing tax information and calculations, and overseeing cash management, investments and forecasting.

Dr. John Mihelcic has joined Heartland Health Services’ East Bluff office, 2321 N. Wisconsin Ave., Peoria. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois College of Medicine-Rockford who specializes in family medicine, obstetrics, addiction medicine and obesity medicine. He is accepting new patients. To schedule an appointment, call 309-680-7600.

Ron Budzinski of Peoria has been elected to join the Illinois Central College Board of Trustees. He fills the seat of retired board member Bettsey Barhorst and will serve in the role until the next election in April 2025. Budzinski has a career background in both architecture and criminal justice.

Amy Paul, project manager at Central States Marketing, has joined the Pediatric Resource Center’s (PRC) Community Board. In addition, Dr. Shilpa Hari is now a physician with PRC. The community service program provides direct services to suspected child victims of physical abuse, sexual abuse and neglect, and is a service of the University of Illinois College of Medicine Peoria.

Two members of the East Peoria Fire Department have been promoted. Lt. Christopher Rieker has risen to the rank of assistant chief, and firefighter Matthew Foster is now a lieutenant. Rieker has been a member of the department since 2000 and has served as a lieutenant since 2016. Foster has been a member of the fire department since 2008.

Methodist College has appointed Kayla Banks, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, as interim chancellor following the resignation of Laurie Shanderson, PhD, FACHE. Banks will perform the duties of chancellor while a search moves forward to permanently fill the position. No other positions are affected by the transition and students will not experience any changes in their programming or course work.

The OSF HealthCare Saint Francis Medical Center Hypertension Center has been awarded the American Heart Association’s Hypertension Practice Center Certification, in recognition of the organization’s commitment to following research-based-treatment guidelines to care for people with complex or difficult-to-treat high blood pressure.

During its 17th annual Passage to India event in August, Easterseals Central Illinois presented its Banyan Tree Award to Sanjay Poonen, president and CEO of Cohesity, a company dedicated to unlocking the value in organizational data. The annual award recognizes a lifetime of accomplishments, significant achievements and exemplary contributions toward global economic prosperity, cross-cultural collaboration and international goodwill.

The Peoria City/County Health Department’s Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program has received a Gold Breastfeeding Award of Excellence from the Midwest Regional Office of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service (FNS). FNS recognized outstanding WIC agencies in the Midwest for the work they have done to strengthen breastfeeding programs in their communities.

G. Douglas Stephens of Stephens Fiddes McGill and Associates, PC, of Peoria has been certified as a life member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum. These trial-lawyer groups recognize attorneys who have won million- and multi-million-dollar verdicts, awards and settlements. Founded in 1993, the organization has recognized fewer than 1% of U.S. lawyers.


Lauren Monk, a freshman agriculture business student at Heartland Community College, is one of 55 recipients in the U.S and Canada of a $2,000 Growmark Foundation scholarship for promising students in agriculture and business. She was chosen from more than 500 applicants.

Heartland Community College student Aurora (Rose) Carina has been named a Coca-Cola Leaders of Promise Scholar by the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. Carina is one of only 213 Phi Theta Kappa members nationwide to receive the $1,000 scholarship. More than 1,000 applications were received.

Dream Center Peoria, a faith-based nonprofit dedicated to impacting families living in poverty, has been awarded a $100,000 microgrant from Meridian Health Plan of Illinois to renovate its outdoor playground and fitness center. Funds also will be used for the organization’s shelter operations and mobile units.

Have fun and socialize with young professionals from across the area at the Villains vs. Heroes Costume Bash, sponsored by the Young Professionals Organization of Greater Peoria from 7 to 10 p.m. Friday, Oct. 13 at Peoria’s Dozer Park. Each $40 ticket includes a drink ticket (cashless bar), heavy appetizers and entertainment. Awards and prizes will be given for costumes. Sponsorship opportunities also are available. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Tri-County Peoria Urban League Young Professionals program. More details are available from Kourtney Ramsey at [email protected]. Register at

The Peoria Area World Affairs Council will host Ukraine, Russia and the Future of the World, starting at 5 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 12 at the Hayden Clark Alumni Center and the Michel Student Center at Bradley University. The event will feature Dr. Fiona Hill, former national security advisor for Russia and Eastern Europe, and William Taylor, former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine. Dinner will include traditional Ukrainian dishes. Learn more at

The Pediatric Resource Center (PRC) will hold its annual fall gala, Hope for Kids, at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 21 at the Jump Trading Simulation and Education Center on the OSF St. Francis Medical Center campus. The PRC is celebrating 30 years of providing child-friendly specialized medical and social services to child victims of abuse and neglect. For more info, call 309-624-9595 or visit

Registration is open for the 33rd Annual FOLEPI River Trail Classic on Saturday, Nov. 25 on the River Trail of Illinois. The point-to-point downhill run/walk is open to men, women and children of all ages and features a 4-mile competitive run at 9 a.m. and a 2-mile non-competitive walk at 8:30 a.m. Registration is at

The Pediatric Resource Center will host its annual fundraising gala, “Hope for Kids,” starting at 6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 21 at the Jump Simulation and Education Center, 1306 N. Berkeley Ave., Peoria. Tickets are $100 each and can be reserved at For further information, call 309-624-995 or email [email protected]. This annual event helps PRC ensure that its clinics are staffed with specially trained providers and child protection specialists so that children can receive the child-friendly medical services that are crucial to their health and safety. Additionally, funds raised help PRC to provide education to area physicians, nurses and other partners regarding prevention efforts and child abuse/neglect concerns. Please feel free to visit PRC’s web and Facebook pages at and

Peoria Mayor Rita Ali has launched the Peoria Role Model Project, an initiative designed to inspire and empower 150 local youth by connecting them with local Black professionals who will serve as mentors. The inaugural group was chosen from the Mayor’s Summer Youth and Internship Program. The project is funded through a grant from the PNC Foundation.

Medica, a nonprofit health plan system operating across the Midwest and serving members in 12 states, is expanding in the Illinois market this fall in collaboration with OSF HealthCare. Pending regulatory approval, Medicare Advantage plans from Medica will be available for selection during Medicare’s annual enrollment period, Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. Medicare-eligible residents in DeWitt, Marshall, McLean, Peoria, Stark, Tazewell and Woodford counties can enroll in the plans. Also pending regulatory approval, WellFirst Health from SSM Health Plan will revise its name to Medica Central Health Plan (Medica).

Bradley University’s Peoria NEXT Innovation Center and the Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center are partnering to reduce costs for startup businesses. IMEC has committed to cover the initial three months of a one-year lease at Peoria NEXT for up to four eligible manufacturing startups, saving organizations as much as $4,800. These startups will also have access to Peoria NEXT’s collaborative environment and community of fellow researchers, inventors and entrepreneurs. Learn more at