Regional Strategy meeting Thursday

Staff Writer
Woodford Times

The first Regional Strategy Policy Steering Committee meeting is set for 8 a.m. Thursday at the Workforce Network, 211 Fulton St., Suite 300, Peoria. The meeting is open to the public. All meetings of this committee will operate under parameters of the Illinois Open Meetings Act.  

During the meeting, expected to last about 90 minutes, participants will begin by understanding their role in governing and driving the economic development initiatives in the four-county region that includes Peoria, Tazewell, Woodford and Mason counties. They will learn about asset-based Community Economic Development (CED) plans. The group will determine the priorities, assign action teams, work plan/timeline and accountabilities for results. Media interviews / availability will be granted after the meeting.

“This is a blue ribbon panel that will lead us on this economic development journey,” said Regional Strategy Policy Steering Committee Chairman Jim Baumgartner. “These leaders represent public and private sector interests in four counties within the Economic Development District and are committed to drafting a plan that includes meaningful involvement, disciplined processes, clear strategies and consistent measurement.”

The first Strategy phase, set to last 12-14 months, will evaluate and prioritize how the region approaches economic development. The “Foundation Milestone” – one of four major milestones throughout the process – will be completed by Oct. 1. It will identify the region’s assets and develop measurable county-level and regional-level strategies and an action plan.

The planning effort officially launched on July 26 with a meeting attended by more than 200 leaders from business, community, government and not-for-profits.

The regional economic development plan is a grass-roots initiative. Tri-County Regional Planning Commission (TCRPC) is funding ViTAL Economy, a Maryland-based consulting firm, to organize the regional economic development plan. The Regional Strategy Steering Committee, which will lead the process, consists of 28 area individuals and is being led by Jim Baumgartner, Caterpillar Inc.’s Director of Corporate Public Affairs. Working Groups also are being created to oversee implementation.

The members of the Regional Strategy Policy Steering Committee are as follows: Chairman: Jim Baumgartner – Caterpillar, Inc.

Debbie Simon- President and CEO Methodist Medical Center of IL

Rita Kress – CEO Kress Corporation

Don Welch – CEO Peoria Area Convention and Visitors Bureau

Chuck Weaver – Entrepreneur/ Peoria City Council

Eric Turner – Peoria City Council

Jim Montelongo – CEO Engineering People/ Former Peoria City Council

Diana Hall – President/ Owner Bard Optical

Mike Phelan – Tri-County Regional Planning Commission, Peoria County Board, Township

Patrick Urich – Peoria City Administrator

Steve Morris – Peoria County Board/ small business

Dan Daly –President Busey Bank

Mike Everett – West Central Illinois Building and Construction Trades

Russ Crawford – Tri-County Regional Planning Commission/ Tazewell County Board

Dean Grimm – Tri-County Regional Planning Commission/ Tazewell County Board

Norm Durflinger – Morton Mayor/ retired public educator

Doug Parsons –  CEO Excel Foundry

Gordon Honegger – CEO Morton Community Bank

John Erwin – President Illinois Central College

Larry Whitaker – Chairman, TCRPC/ Woodford County Board

Mike Hinrichsen – Tri-County Regional Planning Commission/ Woodford County Board

Bob Parsons – CEO Parsons Engineering

James Griffin – Mason County Board Chairman

Jehan Gordon, State Representative 92nd District

Mike Unes, State Representative 91st District

Colleen Callahan – U.S. Department of Agriculture

Bola Delano – Illinois Department of Transportation

Don Forrest – Workforce Development Board President