A Publication of WTVP

I'm very excited and honored to be the incoming chairman of the Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce. The chamber has been blessed with strong leaders like Larry Clore, Sandy Birdsall, John Sahn, and Bruce Alkire, and I'm flattered to follow them. They've made it possible for me to continue to move the chamber's agenda forward. We're also very fortunate to have an outstanding administrative team to carry out the work of the chamber every day.

We're experiencing some very exciting and opportune moments right now in our community and our nation, such as the impact of technology and globalization, the growing small business and service sectors, and, of course, the power of the Internet. Locally, we're seeing business initiatives such as Peoria NEXT and the Technology Commercialization Incubator. Together, all of this creates a very favorable environment for business.

I hope to accomplish three things during 2004-2005 that I believe will provide value to our more than 1,200 members:

Building Strong Member Relations

Our board and staff have a keen interest in better knowing and understanding the individual needs of our member businesses. With technology, we have more ways to accomplish that. Additionally, we must be able to give members important information quickly. With a grassroots membership that's informed and involved, we can accomplish anything. We'll have personal contact with our members every year-all 1,200 of them-to hear what's important and how we may be of assistance.

Increasing Business Advocacy

There's a need for the chamber to better voice our positions on local, state, and federal issues. With the work done by both the Business Advocacy Committee and the Progressive Peoria PAC in the past, we're now organized and ready to make our voice and our opinions heard by policy makers. With the support of our membership, we can be a significant part of shaping policy. We know we must work with our local elected officials and other leaders to build a business-friendly environment. Our goal is to create an environment where companies will want to invest, relocate, or start up.

Improving the Bottom Lines of our Members

The chamber offers many excellent programs that provide learning and networking opportunities, such as Business After-Hours, Business Breakfast Series, CEO Roundtable, and the Area Business Connection. These events help contribute to the bottom lines of our members. We're always looking for new programs and services that can help our members, such as providing information on the latest business trends, economic data, industry news, information on business financing, and much more. We'll also look for ways we can leverage the buying power of our 1,200 members.

We have tremendous volunteer activity in this city and especially in the chamber; we're destined for success. I look forward to being part of something great that's happening in Peoria today, and I know our members do too. IBI