My youngest daughter, Nancy is Director of Business Development of a leading architectural firm in St. Louis. She co-chaired a Division of the Bellville Chamber of Commerce that has met three times with the City of Belleville to dialogue with them on ways to attract and hold Y Generation talent. The average age of the Belleville population is 37.
Most communities like Belleville must realize that they must abandon some of their older “community building” strategies and address what is really happening in their community and the direction it is heading. Peoria needs new business to “grow” our economy and to compete with other cities, counties and states. Articles, success stories and books like “The World is Flat” tell us that our community must do more business not only just in the U.S.A. but in all sectors of the world. Companies like Globe Energy are gearing up to compete through innovation and production to service Peoria and the world, helping, as many other Peoria based companies do, to close the import-export imbalance now so worrisome to our country.
I represented Peoria County in a ribbon cutting ceremony this morning welcoming Globe Energy to Peoria. The event, sponsored by the C of C and EDC, was held in the impressive and expanded Civic Center. The ceremony, attended by approximately 150 people, opened an exhibit, presentation and job fair called “The Future Begins Today”. This traveling professional exhibit shows innovative and proven ways Globe Energy controls temperatures and environments in structures. The classy and informative exhibit is open to the public and skilled job seekers from 8:30 A.M. today through Friday.
It was through community partnerships that we now have this growing Globe Energy located here in Peoria and in Pioneer Park. It is with community partnership and input that the Peoria area will grow to its expectations. To attract and hold businesses, we must do a better job of determing our priorities and keeping the community interesting to young people (Generation Y) and affordable to all ages. We must accelerate our efforts to develop a skilled and willing to work workforce. We must improve our infrastructure; improving our public schools, safety and roadways. We must not build more enhancements than our citizens can afford or are willing to pay to attend.
Peoria has lots of dialoguing and work to do. As the departing (and to be missed), journalist Molly Parker said today “people here are like family. May Peoria stay that way for years.” As the recommended to read book, “The Overachievers” shows what happens when members of the family fail to mutually agree on what individual members wish to do. Or disagree on what individuals within the family wish to achieve and how these differences are worked out or not worked out.
Molly also hinted that we might be a bit “dysfunctional”. But then down deep or not so deep, so are most families, not the least know is the Bill and Hillary scene.
No, it is probably not possible for Peoria to be like Memphis or Cincinnati. Many individuals do not wish what others wish, but we can all be more than we are, enjoy and afford life, if we improve communications between the doers and the ones affected by what they do.
I believe we can all agree that we want more companies like Globe Energy here and that we wish start-ups like Firefly the best of luck for themselves, their financial backers and the community.
And we want more two-sided dialogue between the “movers and the shakers” and the rest of us in our communities.