May 24, 2024

GPEDC Weekend Update- May 24, 2024

GPEDC was out and about over the last week. Here are some updates to end your week. 

Peoria – Maui Jim: First, a field trip right here at home. Sally, Kathie and Jeffrey joined the Lincoln Land Chapter of the Association for Supply Chain Management (ASCM) for their May Professional Development Meeting last Friday as they toured Maui Jim in Peoria. Frannie Heine, Director Domestic Fulfillment  & Global Logistics provided a company overview and facilitated a warehouse tour. Maui Jim started in 1987 as a small company selling sunglasses on Ka’anapali beach in Lahaina, Maui. Seeing a need in the market for technology that could protect eyes from intense glare and harmful UV while bringing the brilliant colors of the island to life, they engineered the revolutionary PolarizedPlus2® lens. What began as a line of seven styles, Maui Jim now offers over 125 styles of sunglasses. In 2022, Maui Jim became part of Kering Eyewear, which belongs to the global luxury group that includes the likes of Gucci, Cartier, and Saint Laurent.

Moline – Defense: As part of the Illinois Defense Manufacturing Consortium, Sally has been on the planning committee for the 15th Annual Midwest Government Contracting Symposium. This week she was in Moline to attend the event and assist Keli Krueger-Huhra of APEX Accelerator Illinois (a part of Bradley University’s Turner Center for Entrepreneurship). Sally helped with a session that matched large manufacturers (called “OEMs”) and government agencies with small-medium sized companies. Daniel Manufacturing (Congerville) and another co-owned company, OMNI Industrial Finishing Coatings (Carlock), were able to connect with John Deere and US Army Corps of Engineers Rock Island. This year’s  event title is  “Transformation for the Future Fight” and highlighted autonomous systems, drones, digital twins, and data analytics. They also stressed an increasing demand for companies to fulfill defense contracts.

DC – Talent: Jeffrey was honored to be invited by the US Chamber of Commerce this week for a great workshop on Talent Pipeline Management (TPM). In this meeting, Jeffrey was able to network with other TPM practitioners from across the United States and share the growth of our TPM Collaboratives here in Greater Peoria as well as learn some best practices to keep our current (and future) collaboratives growing. Jeffrey was able to connect with many great minds from the Chicagoland region as well. As always, CareerSpark was shown off and was a huge hit, and many of the attendees are already seeking more information about making something as awesome as our event a reality for their community/region.

Brownfield Assessment: Congratulations and thank you to our partners at Tri-County Regional Planning Commission for being awarded a $500,000 Brownfield Assessment by the US EPA. GPEDC worked with Tri-County and our friends Terracon Engineering to evaluate our region for the potential of this grant and to identify some early projects. The grant will allow us to conduct “Phase 1” environmental studies on brownfields and suspected contaminated sites (called “brownfields”). This is often a “pre-development cost” that land owners and/or developers are unwilling to pay for but is crucial to progress. A Phase 1 study can clear a property based on historical use, or indicate the need for further testing (Phase 2 studies). The grant will also pay for a limited number of these secondary studies. It’s another great tool to have at our disposal to prepare property for development. A nice story on the grant here.

Events: There are a number of interesting and important meetings coming up that we’d love to see you at:

  • GPEDC and the Regional Workforce Alliance (RWA) are hosting a workshop to discuss the recent findings of our comprehensive workforce analysis, celebrate the successes of the RWA and discuss future initiatives. The meeting is June 5 from 9 – 11 am at ICC North Campus. You can RSVP here.
  • Our next Greater Peoria AgTech Connect networking event is June 11 from 10 am to noon at Peoria Next. This Ag. Innovation Networking event is planned as a way to connect entrepreneurs with resources in our community to support their business development.  The morning will be devoted to learning more about bioprocessing and biomanufacturing and related resources in the region to support ag. tech development. More information and RSVP here.
  • The Heart of Illinois Regional Port District is hosting a public information meeting in concert with their development of a “port master plan.” The meeting is June 20 from 6 – 8 pm in Room 420 of the Twin Towers Plaza (456 Fulton, Peoria). No registration required. Reach out to Sally at shanley@greaterpeoriaedc.org for more information.

Have a great holiday weekend.