November 12, 2021

GPEDC Weekend Update- November 12

Here are some updates to end your week!

New Investor: GPEDC is proud to welcome Wabash Valley Power Alliance (WPVA) as an investor member in GPEDC. WPVA is the power source behind Cornbelt Energy, an electrical cooperative that covers significant portions of eastern Woodford and Tazewell counties as well as a portion of northern Logan County. Their business development agent, Mike O’Grady, is a long time friend and formerly worked for the Bloomington Normal EDC. We are appreciative of their financial support!

Ameren Visit: GPEDC was excited to host Eric Whitfield, Ameren’s Senior Manager for Economic Development, on a site visit to the region last Thursday. Lenora and Eric drove over 100 miles through Greater Peoria, looking at some of the key industrial sites that we are most frequently submitting to consultants conducting site searches. The packed day of visits was capped by a great dinner where Lenora and Eric were joined by local business leaders to further discuss the region’s economic development strategy as well as its strengths and weaknesses. It was a very productive day and a fantastic discussion that will lead to better positioning the region for growth.

Distillery Labs Grant: On Wednesday we learned that Distillery Labs was awarded $2 million by the US Economic Development Administration. These funds round out the capital needs for the renovation of the building, which is now ready to start (likely after the first of the year). GPEDC worked closely with Paul Leamon and the Distillery Labs board of directors to prepare and submit the grant. Distillery Labs is at the center of the region’s economic development strategy around startups and innovation. We are excited to see work underway soon. Congratulations!

You’re Hired: Our annual CareerSpark event is underway in its virtual format, but this year we are adding an additional opportunity for high school students. The CareerSpark: You’re Hired! event offers regional businesses an opportunity to promote their hiring needs to thousands of local high school students who will soon be entering the workforce. You’re Hired! is a digitally integrated career and hiring expo for Central Illinois High Schools that provides students access to the skills and knowledge needed to excel in the workforce. Students will discover entry-level positions, apprenticeships, and summer internships. Booths in the virtual expo are customizable to fit individual brand and hiring needs. Our goal is for 3,000 to 4,000 local students to explore virtual booths between February 2 and June 5. The deadline to reserve a booth is December 1. More details here.  If you’re interested in being featured in this unique event, please reach out to Sally Eastman at sally.eastman@ja.org or Kari Rauh at krauh@greaterpeoriaedc.org.

Peoria Fine Art Fair: The Peoria Art Guild’s annual Fine Art Fair is one of the best in the nation. And now we know its local economic impact. In addition to being our Director of Innovation and Startups, Andrew is also a board member of the Peoria Art Guild and has worked with the team to innovate and continue the storied tradition of the Peoria Fine Art Fair over the past two years. The Guild recently announced that through the nationally ranked fine art fair, the positive economic impact was more than $340,000.

Bradley Senior Consulting Projects: Bradley University is accepting applications, through January 7th for the Senior Consulting Project Program for the Spring 2022 Semester. Senior business majors in the Foster College of Business have a graduation requirement to complete a Capstone Class. These faculty-led, semester-long projects (16 weeks), gives the students a real-world experience by allowing the students to apply their skills along with providing their client strategic improvements and enhancing operational effectiveness. The Spring semester runs January 19 – May 11, 2022. Student teams can work on projects like developing a strategic growth plan, conducting a feasibility study or developing a marketing strategy. There is no cost to participate. The deadline to apply is January 27. More information here.

Have a great weekend, until next week!