April 05, 2024

GPEDC Weekend Update- April 5, 2024

Here are some updates to end your week. 

Nashville: I spent a great and productive few days in Nashville this week at the Site Selectors Guild Annual conference (my second -Ville in a month after attending the Area Development Consultants Forum in Louisville a few weeks ago). The Site Selectors Guild is the premier professional association for the site selector profession. As a “Partner,” GPEDC gets special access to Guild members, including an exclusive pre-function mixer that featured entertainment by two of Nashville’s most prolific songwriters. 

Attending these conferences provides two outcomes: learning more about business attraction trends and building relationships with the people who help businesses make those decisions. I feel like both missions were accomplished. The education sessions were excellent – lots of conversation about the surge in domestic manufacturing and the elements of site readiness. I also had the chance to connect with a number of consultants, including Jay Garner who is speaking in Peoria on April 24. Intersect Illinois also hosted a special dinner with members of “Team Illinois” and seven site selectors. Dan, Paulina, and John from Intersect and Aly from Illinois DCEO made a presentation on the assets and momentum of Illinois, and each of the local organizations had a chance to interact with site selectors from across the nation. The whole experience was a good investment of time and money, and I look forward to continuing to build these relationships.  

EV Charging: A big topic of the Guild Conference was the “electrification of everything.” Regions that want to be competitive need to have the infrastructure in place to meet today’s AND tomorrow’s demands. That isn’t just true of industrial real estate – it’s also about infrastructure to support the way we live. There might be no better example of this than having a comprehensive and available system for electric vehicle charging. The US Department of Transportation Charging and Fueling Infrastructure Discretionary Grant Program (CFI Program) was created to deploy publicly accessible electric vehicle charging and alternative fueling infrastructure. Our partners at Tri-County Regional Planning Commission (TCRPC) are working hard to take advantage of the upcoming round of funding through this program. To prepare for the next grant application, the Tri-County Regional Planning Commission will be hosting a forum for all interested parties to learn more about this opportunity and affirm their interest in submitting a multi-jurisdiction regional application. This meeting will take place on April 11 from 1 – 3 PM. If you are interested in going, register here.

New Board Members: At our Board of Directors meeting earlier this week, we welcomed two new members. Mike DeRoss is a Logan County board member. He’s an Air Force veteran, a retired teacher from Chicago Public Schools, and worked for a number of years for the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Mark Kuhn is the Vice President of Ambulatory Services at Carle Health. Mark has a long history in the medical profession and moved to Peoria about a year ago after serving as the CEO of Hammond-Henry Hospital in Geneseo. We are glad to have them both on board.

Strategy Reports: Speaking of our board meeting, it was great to see so many faces in the room and on the Zoom screen this week. We had a great update from Doug Cruitt about Distillery Labs, introduced our four new staff members, and had a chance to hear about progress in each of our program areas. You can read our quarterly strategy reports here.

Economic Development Forum: Tickets are still available for our first ever Economic Development Forum, featuring Jay Garner, author of Economic Development is STILL Not for Amateurs. Thanks to a generous sponsorship by Ameren Illinois, every attendee will walk away with a copy of Jay’s book. The event is April 24 from 8 am – 10:30 am at the Gateway Building. Tickets are just $25 for non-investors. Click here for more information, or drop me a note.

Have a great weekend.