Here are some GPEDC updates to end your week:
Economic Development Week: We celebrated a little known holiday this week – Economic Development Week. David, outgoing Marketing Intern Adrian and new Marketing Intern Rachel did a great job flooding our social media channels with staff profiles, highlights of our work, and spotlights on our partners across the region. When I started in this field nearly 20 years ago, I really knew nothing about it (some might say nothing has changed). But this field has allowed me and the rest of Team GP to work diligently on behalf of our communities and region. Thank you to those investors reading this who help make these careers happen.
Peoria Urban Enterprise Zone: This week Sally got some good news. After 13 months of hard work, lots of coordination and a fair bit of frustrations, the eighth amendment to the Peoria County Urban Enterprise Zone (PUEZ) was approved by the State of Illinois. Sally manages the PUEZ (and the companion Rural Enterprise Zone) on behalf of Peoria County, a job which involves a complicated process to amend the Zone that needs to be locally approved by seven different municipal bodies before it gets to the state. The project to expand the boundaries started relatively small as an idea, but ended up adding nearly 100 parcels (and deleting one!) Enterprise Zones are important local tools that encourage and facilitate investment. As someone who sits in the office across from Sally and saw the piles of papers stack up as the submission approached, I can tell you two things: Sally’s attention to detail, patience and persistence are perfectly matched to this task, and I’m not that guy.
Solve: Andrew attended the flagship Solve at MIT conference in Boston last week. Solve is an initiative of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology that fosters collaboration and innovation to tackle challenges related to health, education, economic prosperity, and sustainability. During the conference, Andrew connected with entrepreneurs and shared insights about the unique opportunities available in the Greater Peoria region for their startup ventures. He also had the privilege of meeting with inspiring innovators and funders dedicated to serving marginalized communities and looks forward to exploring opportunities for collaboration and partnership. Andrew was invited to attend the conference for free as a thank you for being a mentor within the program. Photos from his trip here.
Hardin Industries: Thanks to the work of Dick Peplow and Sally, Hardin Industries has joined the Greater Peoria Manufacturing Network. Located a bit upstream in Lacon, Hardin specializes in the fabrication of metal enclosures, particularly for power generation units and other electrical uses. We are excited to have them join the Network.
Collins Aerospace: On April 20, Sally and Linda represented GPEDC and the Illinois Defense Manufacturing Consortium (ILDMC) on a visit to Rockford Collins Aerospace Manufacturing Facility for a factory tour and briefing on their supply chain progress. The comments of Nathan Malewiski, Collins Aerospaces’ Director of Supply Chain for Power and Controls, were a match to what our region has faced. After a few years of being remote, OEMs like Collins are returning to face-to-face interaction with suppliers. He also remarked on the importance of workforce development progress and highlighted a new Supply Chain Management degree developed by Rockford University. We always learn a lot when we visit other communities and companies that we can bring home and put to use here.
Bar Takeover: I ordinarily wouldn’t abuse my powers here to promote a charity, but since this is being billed as the Greater Peoria EDC vs. the Peoria Chamber, I’m going to break protocol. This Saturday (May 12) from 2 – 5 pm, Joshua Gunn and I are serving as “celebrity bartenders” (light on the celebrity) for a “bar takeover” of Olympia Sports Bar & Grill. We are battling to see who gets the most tips, with all proceeds going to support Build Peoria, a great local nonprofit that funds one special project each year. (You can vote for your favorite finalist here.) I figure Josh has youth, talent and good looks on me, but I’ve got a lot of experience at bars. Please limit your cocktail requests to two ingredients unless you are a big tipper.
Have a great weekend.