This issue pays annual tribute to leadership and the future of our area as represented by the new honorees in this year’s class of 40 Leaders Under Forty.

I would like to heartily congratulate all the recipients of the 2006 award. It is a wonderful thing that we take the time to recognize the hard work and volunteer spirit shown by these men and women, and I am confident that those who are honored this year will continue their great work into the future.

When I read over the profiles of the 40 Leaders Under Forty, their diverse backgrounds, professions, and volunteer work never cease to amaze me. These talented and accomplished honorees, along with all of those who were nominated for the award, underscore the fact that our area has a tremendously bright future and will certainly never lack for leadership and direction.

The 40 people featured in this issue play a major part in the renewal of our area that has been underway for well over a decade. Economic development, new companies, and recreational and cultural activities have all grown mightily in our area over the past several years, and this year’s class of leaders will lead that growth into the future.

All of this year’s nominees were championed by their friends and co-workers because they have shown incredible leadership and service to the Peoria area. I urge them all to carry on their involvement in our community. I urge them to redouble their efforts and provide continuing examples of leadership for future generations of 40 Leaders Under Forty. I would also call on them to reach out to their peers and bring them into leadership positions as well.

Strong leadership is what makes a community great; the lack of such will cause a community to flounder. I am so pleased that my beloved hometown of Peoria and its surrounding area has such a wide net of capable leaders who will continue to strengthen and improve our community for years to come.

Congratulations to all 40 Leaders Under Forty recipients. The honor is well deserved. IBI