Leadership. That’s what this annual issue of InterBusiness Issues pays tribute to, and not just any leadership, but the up and coming leaders who give our community a bright future.

I salute and congratulate all those in this issue who make up the 40 Leaders Under Forty for 2001. I also congratulate all the nominees.

Peoria is blessed with a strong corps of young leaders, and these people represent the best of the best.

Leadership is something that has been spoken of very much since the September 11 terrorist attacks. We have seen a wave of leadership and heroism sweep over our country in the intervening weeks.

President Bush has been firm in his resolve to lead this country through the new war on terrorism.

The President and his administration have shown great leadership in assembling the coalition to fight this war. They have been examples of grace under fire, and they have urged the American people to continue on with their lives while they fight terrorism.

New York Mayor Rudy Guiliani has been at the forefront of those who have led the American people through this crisis. The mayor’s presence and demeanor in the hours and days following the attacks were a case study in crisis management. He assembled the teams, answered the questions, and reassured the public the City of New York would get through this. He did this all with a modest confidence that reassured people around the country.

No one better exemplifies the leadership present after the tragedies than the emergency officials who responded to the World Trade Center and became victims of the attack because of their line of work.

The numerous stories of heroism and courageous actions taken by police and firefighters in the face of this disaster have not only shaken us all, but they have been a true example of what our citizens will do for each other.

The millions of Americans who responded to calls to donate time, money, or blood after these attacks is just astounding. No nation on earth responds to tragedy like the United States, and all those who have answered the call show the world why our country is built on the leadership of its citizens.

What we have seen in the aftermath of September 11 is a new American ethic taking hold. We will—and are—returning to normal, but this event has changed all citizens of the United States.

The show of patriotism, community service, and leadership we have seen is something I believe will usher in a renaissance of the American spirit.

The 40 people featured in this issue are part of that renaissance. They all were nominated because of their leadership and service to the community. I urge them all to carry on their involvement in our community.

I urge them to redouble their efforts and to provide continuing examples of leadership for future generations of 40 Leaders Under Forty. I call on them to reach out to their peers to bring them into leadership positions in our area.

I would like to especially congratulate Andrea Stephens, an employee in my Peoria office. Andrea is a graduate of the Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce Community Leadership School, involved in many volunteer and community activities, and does a great job for the people of central Illinois as a member of my office staff.

I once again congratulate all the winners and nominees. You deserve it. IBI