I had a meeting in downtown Chicago this week. Now, I think there are about a dozen different ways to get from Peoria to Chicago. My preferred route is to take IL-116 through Germantown Hills, Metamora, Roanoke and parts east until I get to I-55. It might be a slightly longer trip than other ways, but it takes me through some of our beautiful farmland. I’m a city kid – born and raised in Los Angeles – so I’m used to a scenery that never changes. What I love about driving through our rural areas is that the landscape differs with the seasons. Every trip is different; you can see the progress of the corn as the weeks roll by. (One of the first phrases my wife taught me was that corn should be “knee high by the 4th of July.”)
On my trip home this week, I really paid attention to the harvest. Even as the sun dipped beyond the horizon, farmers and their equipment were hard at work getting the crops out. The scene got me thinking about the importance of agriculture to our region.

When you live in the city, even a city like Peoria that is surrounded by thousands of acres of farmland, you can pretty quickly forget one of the jewels of this area. In fact, I imagine that most of the readership of this newsletter takes agriculture for granted. But agriculture has long been the foundation of our community. . .
CareerSpark  is set to begin in just over a month (October 23-24), and there are still plenty of  opportunities to volunteer  for both days. We are looking for a wide variety of volunteers. There is something for everyone! 
“In Greater Peoria, shopping local is not an annual event. It is not a novelty, nor is it charity. It is a daily practice that makes our communities stronger.”

That message from a growing team of regional business organizations, cities, and counties aims to rally Greater Peoria’s residents to shift shopping patterns back to local brick-and-mortar stores. 
Our own Randon Gettys, Director of Startup Greater Peoria, spoke with Silicon Prairie News on the exciting things that are happening in the startup community in the region.
Caterpillar has been a supporter of GP Works from the very beginning. Throughout 2018, they once again hosted high school students in a variety of divisions. One of these students was Ryan Shook, who spent his summer interning with CAT’s Global Information Systems (GIS) division.
Mark your calendars for the 2nd Annual Developing Tomorrow’s Leaders Conference, featuring Peoria’s strongest startups. This is an excellent opportunity to meet and network with some of Greater Peoria’s most successful leaders and innovators.

When: Thursday, November 15, 5PM
Where: Caterpillar Visitors Center
The Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity and the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) will be hosting a workshop designed to help startups and individuals interested in pursuing entrepreneurship.

When: Thursday, October 4, 1:30PM
Where: Minority Business Development Center

This is a free event but registration is required.
Better data management means improved initiatives, stronger regional collaborations, and more powerful community and economic development storytelling. 

With these goals in mind, the Greater Peoria EDC has taken a new approach to regional data collection and sharing with the buildout of  a new regional data hub. We are carefully building this potential centerpiece to serve the collective needs throughout the region.
The Greater Peoria Manufacturing Network is proud to announce the addition of Inland Tool Company to the Network. Based in Mt. Pulaski, Inland Tool offers a variety of valuable services, including metal stamping and tool making, to help strengthen the Network's capabilities even further.
More Good News in Greater Peoria