Greater Peoria has an extensive history in heavy metal manufacturing. 24,000 people in our regional workforce are employed in the manufacturing industry — which is 54% higher than the national average.


Greater Peoria’s large Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) have stimulated the development of a robust supply chain of manufacturers with expertise in metal fabrication, electrical equipment, and machining to support the earthmoving industry. The largest NAICS code concentrations for manufacturing in the region and over 70% of our manufacturing jobs are within this industry. The concentration of earthmoving OEM’s and suppliers have positioned Greater Peoria as the Earthmoving Capital of the World.

This concentration has benefited the region in many ways including the availability of higher income jobs, extensive logistics systems, and well-developed international infrastructure. In 2014, Greater Peoria invested over $2 billion in research and development and in 2012 we exported more merchandise per capita than any other place in the country.

Manufacturing Establishments
saved by manufacturers through Six Sigma programs at Illinois Central College
of regional workforce employed in manufacturing
employed in manufacturing
metal fabrication and machinery manufacturing firms
of our manufacturers are ISO 9001 certified

Earthmoving OEMs

A large number of manufacturers form the Greater Peoria Earthmoving Network. Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) within the region include:

Case New Holland

Case New Holland is a global leader in the capital goods sector that, through its various businesses, designs, produces, and sells agricultural and construction equipment, trucks commercial vehicles, buses, and specialty vehicles in addition to a broad portfolio of powertrain applications. They employ around 650 people in Greater Peoria.

Caterpillar Inc.

Caterpillar Inc., the world’s leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, and industrial gas turbines. Caterpillar has over 20 locations and 16,000 employees in Greater Peoria, and is a major U.S. exporter.

Superior Industries, Inc.

Superior Industries, Inc. purchased the Pekin FLSmidth plant and the Cone Crusher rights (now called Patriot Cone Crusher).  The Patriot will be manufactured at the Pekin plant.

Superior Industries, Inc., a major U.S. manufacturer and global supplier of bulk material processing and handling systems, debuts their brand new Patriot™ Cone Crusher, marking a major milestone for the company’s new crushing and screening division. The high-performance cone is the manufacturer’s first entry into crushing technologies for bulk processing applications.

Philippi-Hagenbuch Inc.

Philippi-Hagenbuch Inc. is the premier supplier of custom off-highway haulage solutions, operating in Peoria, IL with equipment in more than 40 countries around the world. They design, manufacture and sell a broad range of construction & mining equipment for articulated and rigid frame off-highway haul trucks to companies in a multitude of industries (such as construction, mining, power plant, petroleum, steel mill, and refuse). They have a staff of 35 in Greater Peoria.

Komatsu America

Komatsu America, the second-largest, fully-integrated manufacturer and supplier of construction equipment in North America. Komatsu has built a network of manufacturing plants and parts depots with over 500 employees who manufacture and assemble off highway mining trucks in Peoria to serve the needs of mines located throughout the world.

Kress Corporation

Kress Corporation, the world’s leading manufacturer of specialty transport carriers—with machines operating worldwide in the metals/ material handling industry. Each Kress carrier offers exceptional maneuverability, heavy-duty construction, and high load capacity—providing customers with a durable, cost-efficient machine solution that is built to meet application requirements. They employ around 150 people in Greater Peoria.


Earthmoving Suppliers

A collection of small and mid-size manufacturers support these OEM’s including:

  • Alcast
  • Boley Tool & Machine Works
  • BTD
  • Cast Technologies
  • Chillicothe Metals
  • Enercon Engineering
  • Excel Foundry
  • GSS Machining Systems
  • Hagerty
  • Hanna Steel
  • Heritage Packaging
  • Illinois Machine and Tool Works
  • Illinois Valley Plastics
  • Illusion Machine & Toolworks
  • Inland Tool
  • JT Fennell
  • Keystone Steel
  • McBride and Schoff
  • Metamora Industries
  • Morton Industries
  • Nelson Global Industries
  • O’Brien
  • Parker Fabrication
  • Parker-Hannifin
  • Parsons
  • Precision Products/
  • Premier Fabrication
  • Quality Metal Products
  • SMF
  • Tazewell Machine Works
  • Vansco Electronics

Click here to view our regional Manufacturing Directory.


Manufacturing Workforce

In Greater Peoria, 24,000 individuals are engaged in exciting careers in manufacturing. That represents 12% of our regional workforce. To support the workforce needs of our regional economy, Greater Peoria residents hold over 64,000 college degrees with 33% of the population over the age of 25 holding a degree.

Several post-secondary training options are available in Greater Peoria for those who choose to pursue a manufacturing certification or higher degree:

Bradley University

Individuals seeking careers in process or product design can begin their education locally at Bradley University, which enrolls approximately 5,400 students and offers more than 100 programs of study. It is consistently rated a top 10 regional university by U.S. News & World Report. Bradley is the only university in Illinois that offers a degree in manufacturing engineering.
Learn More >

Illinois Central College

Illinois Central College (ICC) is the seventh largest community college district in Illinois. They serve a 10 county area and offer over 2,300 classes. Because of their location in the earthmoving capital of the world, ICC has strong training programs in the key production occupational areas of welding, machining, CNC operation, engineering, and mechatronics.
Learn More > 

High School Career and Technical Education Programs

Several Greater Peoria High Schools have Career and Technical Education Programs that prepare students for manufacturing careers.  Pekin High School’s CTE Programs include Business Education, Business Marketing, and Industrial Technology.  Peoria’s Woodruff Career and Technical Center offers CTE Programs in engineering and electronics and metals and manufacturing.
Learn More About Pekin >
Learn More About Woodruff >



Greater Peoria’s intermodal network offers many options for the movement of goods and raw materials by rail, air, truck or water. In any given week, more than 1.3 million tons of freight pass through the region.


Mergers and acquisitions have sharply reduced the number of freight railroads, but even today there are four such carriers operating in Greater Peoria—extraordinary for a metro area of this size. The region also has its own terminal and switching railroad, as well as four regional carriers.


Along with heavy equipment manufacturing comes a substantial supply chain for raw materials and components, and a long list of motor carriers have gravitated to Greater Peoria to provide trucking capacity. A major hub for truck terminal activity has evolved in Morton, where I-74 meets I-155. Many of these carriers operate under contract to the industries they serve, furnishing a vital cog for “just-in-time” parts inventory management.


The Illinois River is a principal tributary of the Mississippi River. The river serves the link between Lake Michigan and the Mississippi River, transporting goods from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico. The largest city on the Illinois River, Peoria and the surrounding region are at the heart of the nation’s inland waterway system. The regional port authority has jurisdiction over 95 miles of the river—its port range comprises the northernmost ice-free waterway operating year-round. From grain to coal, more than 13M tons of cargo-pass through local locks each year.


With its new $65 million terminal building open for business and a new international terminal under construction, the General Wayne A. Downing Peoria International Airport offers direct flights to nine nonstop destinations across the country. PIA serves as a U.S. Customs port of entry, with millions of pounds of cargo passing through it each year, and contributes over $328 million annually to the regional economy. Pekin Municipal Airport, Logan County Airport, Havana Regional Airport and Mt. Hawley Airport are all general aviation facilities within the region.



The current entrepreneurial community within our region is led by the following organizations and resources:

Caterpillar Technical Center and Peoria Proving Ground

The Caterpillar Technical Center and Peoria Proving Ground has approximately 1,350 full time Caterpillar employees and 500 agency employees engaged in research and innovation, of which, around 200 hold PhD’s. The Tech Center has helped Caterpillar achieve 14,000 pending and granted patents worldwide. The group collaborates with the Chief Technology Officer and product managers globally to predict and develop technologies that their customers will need in the future, in order to perpetually sustain Caterpillar’s competitive advantage. This research focuses on four themes – Energy & Transportation Solutions, Machine & Machine Systems, Automation & Enterprise Solutions, and Factory Technology Solutions.

Peoria NEXT Innovation Center

The Peoria NEXT Innovation Center is the home to researchers, inventors, and entrepreneurs that are transforming new technologies and innovations into commercial enterprises. The 48,000 square foot center opened its doors in 2007 and can house up to 27 companies. Companies in the fields of medical devices, mechanical engineering, molecular studies, bio-fuels and information technology are currently tenants.
River City Labs is a local Makerspace with a membership of 40 paying local innovators and 100+ non-paying members. The lab is located in the Peoria Warehouse District and is currently seeking to expand to support their growing membership.

Startup Peoria

Startup Peoria is a grassroots movement to enable a community of thinkers, doers and innovators in Greater Peoria. They are developing talent in all essential areas necessary to sprout startups, including designers, developers, entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs, the business savvy, and investors. Their training and mentoring programs include One Million Cups, Start with a “Why”, The Nest Co-Working Space, and Rocket Science.

University of Illinois Labs, Illinois Manufacturing Lab (IML), and Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute (DMDI)

Located at Goose Island in Chicago, IML and DMDI is a collaboration designed to significantly reduce development and deployment costs, while creating billions of dollars in value for the industrial marketplace—spurring long-term U.S. economic growth and job creation. Two of the ten IML pilot projects belong to the Greater Peoria businesses Premier Fabrication and Excel Foundry.

Illinois Small Business Development Center Technology Commercialization Program

Illinois Small Business Development Center Technology Commercialization Program is located within the Bradley University Turner Center for Entrepreneurship. The center assists over 60 companies per year on tech-transfer and commercialization issues including IP research, IP protection, voice-of-customer research, market analysis, and business strategies. Their assistance in the past five years has supported 39 IP applications, 13 IP awards, and over 50 new jobs.


Trade and Investment

International trade is a vital driver of economic growth. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, Greater Peoria ranked as the nation’s 25th largest market for merchandise exports in 2013 with $12.2 billion in exports. This represents 16 percent of the total Illinois exports, which is a top-six exporting state. The region also has one of the highest percentages of merchandise exports compared to gross metro product in the nation.

The five most popular products exported from Greater Peoria were machinery, chemicals, fabricated metal products, electrical equipment, and transportation equipment. The most popular destinations for exports were Canada, Brazil, Belgium, China, and Australia. The Peoria region has experienced strong export growth after the 2008-2009 recession. Overall exports increased 55% from 2009 to 2013.

Greater Peoria has several resources to support our manufacturers in exploring, developing, and expanding international trade and investment opportunities including:

Bradley University’s Illinois Small Business Development Center’s International Trade Center

Since 1989, the SBDC has helped over 1,000 companies expand their export sales by more than $750 million. Their assistance has led to 700 new jobs. Their local services include: assessing company readiness to export, identifying potential export markets, identifying potential foreign buyers, assisting with foreign market entry, international business planning, export document training, free trade agreement compliance, education and training, executive courses in international business, and export finance options. The center is federally funded through the SBA SBDC network. It was awarded the President E Award, the nation’s highest honor in export assistance.

Foreign Trade Zone #114

Greater Peoria is a part of Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ) #114 which is a multi-modal zone – rail, air, river, road – serving the West Central, Central and East Central Illinois Region, providing over 2 million square feet of warehousing and distribution space available for General Purpose Zones usage and four Sub-zone sites. Global Trade Magazine, March/April 2013 issue reported that the FTZ Board named FTZ #114 as fifth in the country for 2011 exports.

Export Assistance Center, U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Commercial Service

Peoria hosts the only downstate Illinois federal export assistance center. All the remaining centers are in the Chicago metropolitan area. This federally funded center hosts a full-time trade assistance director and offers direct access to federal export assistance programs such as the Gold Key and International Company Profile. The center also works closely with other federal agencies including Ex-Im Bank and OPIC.


Operational Improvement

Over 80% of the top 41 Tier 1 manufacturers in the Greater Peoria area are ISO 9001 and most have sophisticated inventory management systems, lean manufacturing programs, and current technology. Our strongest regional ally in the support of manufacturing operations is IMEC.

The Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center (IMEC) works with manufacturing firms throughout the state to link long-term plans with on-site implementation services by identifying performance gaps, solving these gaps, and building a culture to support sustained improvements. IMEC helps these organizations optimize operating capacity, implement advanced product and process innovations, increase sales, enter new markets, and improve profitability.


Access to Capital

Greater Peoria has a wide network of financial institutions who understand the needs of our large manufacturing network. Commercial banks provide a full range of financing and leasing services to meet any possible funding needs including tax exempt, industrial revenue bond purchases. Many of these financial institutions have worked together on a loan participation basis, to spread risk. Many of these financial institutions work with the U. S. Small Business Administration and their programs for small business.

In addition to traditional financing, our manufacturers can take advantage of several other options including the following:

Tax Exempt Financing

For tax-exempt financing, there are a number of conduit issuers available in addition to the typical municipal issuers. They include Illinois Finance Authority, Tri-County River Valley Development Authority and The Heart of Illinois Port District (TransPort). There are also well-qualified bond attorneys in the region to structure bank-qualified tax-exempt revenue bond issues.

U.S. Small Business Administration Certified Lending Corporations

Several U. S. Small Business Administration Certified Lending Corporations are present in the region for real estate and equipment transactions.

Regional Revolving Loan Funds

Greater Peoria offers several Revolving Loan Funds (RLF) that can provide gap financing for projects related to construction and capital equipment expenditures. Many of our small manufacturers have taken advantage of these programs to expand. At a multi County-level, over $12M in Revolving Loan Funds have leveraged $140M to help 186 business projects. The vast majority of these projects are small to medium-sized manufacturers expanding with new equipment and/or facility expansions.

Heartland Community Development Corporation

The Heartland Community Development Corporation also has resources for both loans to and investments in qualifying entities in the region.

Central Illinois Angels

Central Illinois Angels is a membership-based angel investment organization composed of business leaders and professionals. Since inception, the members of Central Illinois Angels have invested nearly $5.5 million in 15 portfolio companies.