Moving Forward by Jennifer Daly

It’s hard to believe the new year is here! As we transition to 2015, I would like to share some of the big transitions we are making here at the EDC for Central Illinois.

First and foremost, our team is growing! I began here in November, joining our Business Development Director Sally Hanley and Grant Writer Jim Cummings. Melissa Oliveri, Office Manager, joined us at the end of November to complete our current team of four. Ryan Williams, our new intern, will be starting with us in January and we are hoping to add Directors for Business Attraction, Workforce Development, and Communications sometime in the first quarter of 2015. We have a big plan to implement and the right team will be crucial to our success!

And speaking of plans, many have heard about Focus Forward Central Illinois, our new regional economic development strategy. Hundreds of people throughout the region helped to craft this comprehensive plan over the past few years. The EDC will now be overseeing the implementation of the plan by coordinating with organizations throughout the region who are helping to implement components of the strategy. We will also be implementing pieces of it ourselves including business expansion and attraction, workforce development, and regional marketing.

In order to build our team and implement our strategies, the EDC will need strong and reliable investment. Our Board of Directors recently approved a new budget and investment plan that mirrors our strategy and provides that needed funding for 2015-2019. Anyone interested in becoming an investor can review those details on our website.

And speaking of websites and promotion, our branding is changing in a big way. Beginning in 2015, our organization will be known as the Greater Peoria Economic Development Council. With a key focus on regional marketing, it became evident to our committees and our Board of Directors that the term Central Illinois was too broad. To successfully market our region for business and talent attraction, we need to leverage the name of the best known brand that we have…Peoria. We appreciate everyone’s patience as we transition to our new branding this month which will include new staff emails and a website link change.

It has been a busy and exciting few months here at the Greater Peoria EDC. We will stay in touch and keep everyone posted on our progress through monthly newsletters, press releases, and posts on our social media sites. I want to thank all of the individuals who have been so kind and supportive of our team as we work to implement strategies that will benefit our entire region.