March 28, 2024

GPEDC Weekend Update- March 28, 2024

Our office is closed on Good Friday, so your Weekend Update is arriving one day early. 

New Face: We’ve been introducing you to all our new teammates over the past few months, and today it’s Kirsten’s turn. Kirsten Montgomery joined us as our Research and Insights Manager about two weeks ago. This is a new position at GPEDC, and Kirsten will help us keep on top of all our data, help teammates and stakeholders better understand conditions and outcomes, and assist me with business attraction efforts. Kirsten is an Illinois native but new to Greater Peoria, moving here from Springfield in late 2023. She has a bachelor’s degree in Organizational Leadership and a master’s degree in Public History. She’s already busy exploring the region, learning more about our community and its needs, and partaking in our vibrant culture. Welcome to both the team and region, Kirsten!

Technical Working Group: For years – and long before I got here – Greater Peoria EDC has organized a monthly meeting of our local community and economic development partners. The meeting has the most boring name of all – Technical Working Group (TWG) – but is a really great meeting where professionals can network and learn about new programs and initiatives. This month our TWG meeting featured two great presentations. Cheryl Welge and Alex Scharf from our friends at Ameren Illinois gave an overview of their work as economic developers and how they partner with local communities and GPEDC to attract new businesses to the region and help existing businesses grow. They were followed by Lynn Armstrong and Tim Glass of the US Department of Agriculture – Office of Rural Development (USDA RD). When people think of USDA, they don’t automatically think of economic development. But USDA RD seeks to ensure our rural communities have access to funding and programming that is sometimes limited to bigger, urban areas. They have programs that support the development of community facilities, revolving loans funds, water and wastewater projects, and a variety of other programs. We had a nice crowd of about a dozen folks in the room on Tuesday and another dozen online. If you want to be added to the meeting list, just drop me a note.

Vote Komatsu! We are down to the Elite Eight in IMA’s Makers Madness, the competition to crown the Coolest Thing Made in Illinois. Komatsu’s made-in-Peoria 980E-4 mining truck advanced to this next round and is in a head-to-head battle with the BoulePro 200AX, made by USACH in Elgin. I’m sure that is a cool product, but not nearly as cool as a machine that stands roughly 26-feet tall and features tires that weigh more than 1,000 pounds. This round of voting runs through this Sunday (March 31). You can vote here once per day, per device (and more often if you use “incognito” browsing, but don’t tell anyone I told you that.)

Economic Development Forum: Tickets are on sale now 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.

Port District Survey: Please take 10 minutes to tell us a bit more about transportation corridors and supply chain by completing this brief survey.

Have a great weekend.