July 14, 2023

GPEDC Weekend Update- July 14, 2023

Some GPEDC updates to end your week:

Peoria County Broadband Feasibility: In collaboration with Peoria County and Design Nine, we held two public sessions yesterday to present preliminary findings from the countywide broadband feasibility survey initiated in May. The sessions took place at Illinois Central College’s North Peoria Campus, providing a platform for stakeholders to discuss the survey’s impact on broadband expansion. Jack Maytum, Senior Business Analyst at Design Nine, presented results indicating potential areas for enhancing broadband infrastructure, notably in rural regions. This project, led by GPEDC and Peoria County and financed by the Just Transition Fund pilot program and the Peoria County American Rescue Plan Act funds, aims to improve connectivity and stimulate economic growth. Feedback from the sessions, characterized by substantive discussions, will be incorporated into the final report prepared by Design Nine. Further updates on the report will be provided in the coming months.

Digitally Connected Campus: Congratulations to Bradley University for being selected as the first university in the nation to establish a student-centric, digitally connected campus. Bradley is partnering with T-Mobile and its 5G Advanced Network Solutions (ANS) and will provide every student, full-time faculty, and student-facing staff with a 10th-generation iPad and an unlimited 5G data plan. More details here. This is an incredible development not just for Bradley, but for Greater Peoria. A more competitive and differentiated college experience makes Bradley stronger, but this also helps our region establish itself as a smart and connected community. Connectivity is the root of innovation, and we are excited to see what a partnership like this can bring in the very near future.

Chicago TechWeek: I had the opportunity to visit Chicago this week to participate in Chicago TechWeek activities. Over the course of three days, I got to learn more about Chicago’s startup and investor ecosystem and connect with founders and entrepreneur support programs. We can’t keep thinking of Chicago as our rival, but rather find out how we can connect with their impressive resources in ways that help our own founders—a few days in Chicago also allowed me to connect with Emily Rhodes of the US Economic Development Administration to talk about a few potential investment opportunities on the horizon for Greater Peoria.

Quarterly Board Meeting: It was great to see so many faces in person (and online) for our quarterly Board of Directors meeting. In addition to sharing great content about all the impressive work of staff over the past three months, we heard a presentation by Caleb Schleder of Precision Planting. Caleb shared about the impressive growth of Precision Planting over the past few years. Always an important player in our region, Precision Planting has become a more visible asset with its new operations center being built in Morton. Nearly 500 people work at Precision Planting in our region, and the company continues to grow. Just as importantly, Precision Planting is a center of innovation for agricultural technology. They bring together some of the best assets of Greater Peoria – agriculture and manufacturing. Thank you to Caleb for sharing his passion, and to Precision Planting for continuing to invest in Greater Peoria. You can see Caleb’s slides, plus the rest of the meeting information here.

Strategy Reports: And if it’s quarterly board meeting week, that also means we compiled our quarterly strategy reports. This is really the best way to see all of the work of GPEDC staff – funded with your investment dollars. You can access the reports here. See something that prompts a question? Give me a call.

Have a great weekend.