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A Publication of WTVP

An interesting thing started happening at the EDC over the past 18 months. As we prepared for board meetings, we found ourselves creating a lengthy “guest list” of individuals asked to attend, whether to update the board on regional initiatives or facilitate the sharing of information. It became apparent that our bylaws and current board structure no longer reflected the needs of the organization and its regional initiatives.

The executive committee’s response was to establish a diverse taskforce—mayors from communities large and small, representatives of county boards, large private sector leaders, and small start-up entrepreneurs. The taskforce was presented with several key questions. What leadership and governance structure would the EDC need to best address your issues? To accurately reflect the initiatives underway in the region? To enable broad communication to and from our partner organizations? The process has been tremendously insightful, and the result is a refined organizational structure for the EDC and our network of partners and advisors.

One thing our taskforce told us was business leaders and public officials want information about regional initiatives. Furthermore, they’re interested in being involved—whether providing insight on industry trends and regional projects, accessing networking opportunities and inside information on regional developments, or being actively involved in the organization’s formal board of directors.

EDC’s new three-tiered leadership structure was designed to present opportunities in each of these levels. The new board will include permanent positions for each of the three counties; the three largest municipalities in the region; a representative of a smaller community; representatives from key regional initiatives in the region such as Peoria NEXT, TransPORT, the PACVB, and Workforce Network; and five private sector representatives.

The next tier will be composed of an advisory network. This influential group will serve as advisors to the board. In many major cities, this group is a very prestigious body charged with the opportunity to guide and create policies on regional issues for the board’s consideration. One key feature of this group will be a new system of strategy groups—special taskforces that will focus on growth sectors such as energy, agri-science, technology commercialization, and several others. The importance of this advisory group can’t be overemphasized, as the individuals in this body will represent a critical component in the chain of communication and impact.

The final tier is the EDC’s Investor Network. This Investor Network will be composed of EDC’s investors, both public and private. EDC currently is designing new platforms of communication with our constituents in this network based on the feedback we’ve received from our reorganization taskforce. The overarching theme is interactive communication—the ability for investors and municipal partners to voice input, as well as receive updates on critical initiatives and growth opportunities.

We also encourage your input on this new model. As you read this, we’re in the process of establishing and developing an identity for the advisory group. We’re also taking preliminary steps to develop awareness and stimulate the population of the strategy groups. I invite you to visit www.edc.centralillinois.org for more information and what role you might be interested in playing. IBI

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