June 09, 2023

GPEDC Weekend Update- June 9, 2023

Here are some GPEDC updates to end your week:

We Are Hiring: If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a hundred times: Workforce development is economic development. And the work that GPEDC does is critical to our region building an equitable, sustainable and responsive talent pipeline that serves the needs of both employers and residents. We’ve started the search for our Director of Workforce Solutions and are seeking a dynamic and passionate professional to help carry our work in this area forward. The full announcement can be found here. We also have posts up on LinkedIn and Facebook. We’d love for you to share this opportunity within your own network of friends and colleagues. 

Japanese Investment: Last week we had the chance to connect with two of our great Japanese companies: Komatsu and PMP Fermentation (owned by Japanese parent company Fuso Chemical). An old friend and ally of Greater Peoria, Ralph Inforzato of the Japan External Trade Organization in Chicago took a special trip to Peoria along with Dragi Trifunovich of Daihyo Consulting, an expert in Japanese-American business relationships. Ralph and Dragi met with representatives from both companies and Peoria Mayor Rita Ali, Peoria City Manager Patrick Urich, Peoria Assistant City Manager Kimberly Richardson, Lenora and I to discuss potential expansion of and investment in both companies as well as how to attract other Japanese companies to land in Greater Peoria. Our thanks to Ralph and Dragi for making the trip and giving us such great advice.

DigiFarmz: If you checked out the June issue of the fabulous Peoria Magazine, you might have seen the story on DigiFarmz and its founder Alexandre Chequim (this is the lead article on their website). The article tells the story about Alexandre’s software platform that helps farmers make decisions about spraying and other interventions. But it is also the story of how Alexandre found himself in Peoria, how he fell in love with our community, and how he is moving his company here later this year. GPEDC gets the Best Supporting Actor award for bringing Alexandre here, but it really was an ensemble effort by the whole team. The original connection to Brazilian startups came via Andrew. I was the one who made the presentation to Alexandre and his peers and Lenora was the one to show him around when he first visited. Sally and Kathie have been working to help connect him with business partners and players in the agricultural space. It’s been great to see. We look forward to formally welcoming DigiFarmz and the Chequim family in December.

Trillium Place: I learned something new this week: “trillium” is the name of a beautiful flower that is commonly found in the woodlands of Greater Peoria. But even better, Trillium Place will be a critical center for behavioral health for children and adolescents. It was a pleasure to attend the ground breaking ceremony for Trillium Place on Wednesday. This multimillion dollar investment by Carle Health and a range of community supporters will transform the former Headington Oaks Nursing Home into a premier facility that will help our families get the critical behavioral health services they need. It is also a huge economic development project that will create jobs and improve quality of life. Congratulations to Carle, the City of West Peoria and Peoria County on a great celebration. The facility will be open in 2024.

Startup Showcase: Don’t forget to RSVP for the Distillery Labs Startup Showcase. Ten founders will give their pitches, plus a keynote speech by Bobby Hambrick, the founder of AutonomouStuff and current Executive Director of the Hambrick Foundation. Wednesday, June 28 from 5 – 8:30 pm at the Peoria Riverfront Museum. Food, drinks, entertainment, networking, inspiration and it’s all free. All you need to do is register here.

May Strategy Reports: Check out the monthly staff reports here.

Have a great weekend.