Chamber Elects New Leaders

The Pekin Area Chamber of Commerce held their annual meeting on April 21 at the Pekin Country Club.  Nearly 200 attendees representing 56 businesses and organizations enjoyed the reception and short business meeting, followed a brief discussion of leadership by Bill Mayo.

You can see pictures of the event at   

Four members of the Board of Directors completed their terms and were recognized for their service.  The retiring members were:  John Dennison, Ray Dennison Chevrolet; Greg Henderson, Henderson Funeral Home; Scott Kriegsman, Elliff, Dancy & Bosich; and Courtney Moessner, Tazewell County.  Also recognized was Drew Leman, Leman Property Management, who completed his service on the board as Past President.  

Newly elected board members were introduced:  Lynzie Gruden, Velde Ford; Cathy Kemp, Pekin Country Club; and, Dave Vaupel, Preston-Hanley Funeral Homes & Crematory.  The chamber membership elected these new directors in March.  

The newly seated board then elected officers for the coming year.  They are:  President, Aindrea Balagna, Wolf Tesar and Company; Vice President, Gregg Ratliff, Herget Bank; Treasurer, John Franks III, Pekin-Peoria Yellow Checker Cab; and, Past President, Tom Hornstein, Excalibur Seasoning Company. 

The chamber’s executive director, Bill Fleming, highlighted some of the organization’s achievements during the past year.  In particular he noted the chamber’s business and legislative advocacy on behalf of the business community.

Fleming also highlighted the organization’s collaborative efforts on regional economic development, and the chamber’s successful transition to a new membership dues structure.  He then stressed the importance of first impressions.

“In many ways the chamber is one of the first opportunities our community has to make a first impression on a visitor, a potential new resident, or a potential new business,” said Fleming.  With that in mind he announced the investment in an office makeover, including renovations, remodeling, and new office furnishings.

Hornstein reviewed his year as president but also noted how chamber membership has benefited him.  “It allowed me to quickly integrate into the community,” said Hornstein.  “My membership also provided me a source of mentors who helped me grow professionally.” 

Balagna is looking forward to her year as president, saying she is inspired by those who have served before her.  She hopes to follow their examples and be visible and invested in the community.

Balagna also noted the need for the chamber’s continued efforts in modernization, “if we hope to move forward and evolve.”  That includes renovations of the chamber office, and future investments in technology. 

She also noted the need for the chamber to attract the millennials and get them involved.  “We need their skills,” she said.

Bill Mayo is a retired Caterpillar executive, educator and leadership development consultant.   The Pekin native who currently teaches at Eureka College told spoke about leadership. 

“The three steps to leadership are: set the vision; set the example; and create a sense of community,” said Mayo.  He also shared his belief that the top duty of a good leader is to produce the next generation of leaders.  

The Pekin Area Chamber of Commerce has represented the business interests and promoted the growth of the Pekin area since 1893.


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