The Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce has 1,300 members for whom it provides a plethora of opportunities and services. Opportunities to network exist through events like our Business After Hours, which takes place every month; the golf outing; Thanksgiving Luncheon; and annual meeting.
We provide opportunities to advertise in our Chamber Report; on our Web site; and at our trade show, the largest in downstate Illinois.
Opportunities to learn more about the community are provided through Community Leadership School, where businesses can send their rising young stars to attend a 12-week class to learn about; our monthly business breakfast series; and the Chamber’s monthly television show.
What we do is good; we’re one of the top 10 percent of chambers in the U.S. We are striving to do even better, and we hope you’ll join us in the effort.
The Chamber Board of Directors developed a new strategic plan to be implemented this year. We determined we can provide value to our members in two ways: by fostering a positive business climate in our region and by providing products and services that improve our members’ effectiveness.
To achieve these goals, we divided our efforts into seven areas:
- We will take a proactive role in advocating for business, assisting local government in adding business expertise, reviewing local ordinances and practices that create barriers for business development, and lobbying for business interests. These efforts will be led by Tim Elder, director of Corporate Public Affairs for Caterpillar, Inc.
- We will take a proactive role in providing an educated, competent workforce—a key to economic success in the area. This workforce/education will be chaired by Dr. Don Rager, dean of the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria.
- We will seek to elect competent, business-friendly public officials.
- We will promote Peoria. We’re fortunate to have the expertise of Mark DeSantis, president and general manager of WEEK-TV to chair our marketing campaign.
- We will continue to develop new programs of interest to members and evaluate and revamp existing programs. Bill Pape, president and CEO of Lincoln Office, will lead this program evaluation.
- Rebecca Auer, who ran her own successful flower/plant business for many years, will help us develop products that can benefit members and group purchasing opportunities to enhance members’ bottom lines as the leader of BRS, our for-profit subsidiary.
- We will enhance our communication to our members so they don’t miss any opportunity to be involved and take advantage. Deborah Simon, chief operating officer of Methodist Medical Center, will lead these efforts.
I am humbled to be part of such a star-studded business leadership. You’ll hear more from these people in months to come, and you can look forward to an exciting and productive Chamber year. IBI