Friday, January 21, 2022

Pekin Fire Department Welcomes New Fire Engine and Radios


For Immediate Release: January 21, 2022

Media Contact:
Brittney Hogue
Communications Coordinator
Pekin Area Chamber of Commerce


Pekin Fire Department Welcomes New Fire Engine and Radios

The City of Pekin has authorized the purchase of a new fire engine for the City’s southside through a HUD funding program, as well as new radios through a FEMA grant.


Pekin, IL- The City of Pekin recently approved the purchase of a new fire engine and radios for the Pekin Fire Department. These purchases were made possible through Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program and Section 108 Loan Guarantee Program.

Pekin Fire Department received approval for federal funding totaling $136,363 through the 2020 FEMA Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) program for the purchase of radio equipment to be used with the county-wide radio system being implemented in Tazewell County. The new equipment comes as part of a greater county initiative to increase communication between public safety agencies.

“Communication is key to keeping our responders safe,” says Deputy Chief of Pekin Fire, Tony Rendleman. “All Tazewell County agencies will not only be able to talk to each other for the first time, but also will be able to communicate with agencies across the river. This is an important development given the current state of police, fire and EMS services.”

In 2020 the Tazewell County Emergency Telephone System (ETSB) board engaged in a bid process to replace an outdated and ineffective radio system with one which would place all agencies on the same system. Similar projects are occurring throughout the state as technologies have changed and the need for public safety agencies to work together has grown.

The City of Pekin will also have a new fire engine later this year or early 2023, dependent in part on manufacturing time. According to Community Development Block Grant Manager for the City of Pekin, Dave Bess, the purchase of the fire engine was made possible through the Section 108 Loan Guarantee Program which is administered by HUD. The Section 108 Loan Guarantee Program (Section 108) provides Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) recipients with the ability to leverage their annual grant allocation to access low-cost, flexible financing for economic development, housing, public facility, and infrastructure projects. The new fire engine is funded entirely through HUD’s Section 108 program.

CDBG Manager Bess describes replacing outdated fire equipment and apparatus as an “urgent need” within the fire department. However, new fire engines can have a starting cost of over half a million dollars.

“In considering the best ways to ensure and afford sufficient fire response capabilities moving forward, it was learned that many communities utilize CDBG in their Low-to-Moderate Income area to promote and enhance fire safety,” says Bess.  

To ensure LMI households are largely being benefited by this purchase, the City mapped the fire districts’ service areas and calculated the overall percentage of LMI households which was shared with HUD within the application for funding. Based on this calculation, the new fire engine will primarily serve District 3, which is the Southside station located on Derby Street.

“Everyone has some level of concern when it comes to fire hazards; however, for many individuals with lower incomes that concern is greater. Not only are many of their homes more prone to fire risks due to living in older structures, but many of those individuals also identify as having mobility concerns. The Community Development Block Grant provided by HUD has allowed the City to undertake numerous programs to support some of our community’s most vulnerable populations and I think this [apparatus purchase] is another way to ensure the health and safety of those individuals,” says Bess.

The apparatus and equipment bode well for the Pekin Fire Department as the emergency medical service level the department gives to the community increased from Intermediate Life Support (ILS) provider to Advanced Life Support (ALS) in December 2021. The department now carries additional life-saving medications and can perform additional procedures aimed at stabilizing trauma, respiratory and cardiac emergencies sooner.


Key Points:

·       AFG has funded $136,363 toward new radio equipment, allowing Pekin Fire to communicate with all Tazewell County public safety agencies.

·       CBDG funds in conjunction with a HUD financing program have allowed the purchase of a new fire engine, primarily to service District 3 Southside station.

·       Using the Section 108 financing program instead of the City’s annual CDBG funding allocation allows the City to promote fire safety while continuing other needed community projects.

·       City of Pekin elevated the Fire Department’s service level from Intermediate Life Support to Advanced Life Support, allowing for higher level care to be issued to patients when the fire department is first on scene.



Thursday, January 20, 2022

Pekin Area Chamber of Commerce Joins New All In Initiative





Pekin Area Chamber of Commerce Joins New All In Initiative


The Pekin Area Chamber of Commerce joins over fifty Chambers across the state in urging the Illinois Legislature to provide additional economic and regulatory relief for businesses.


Pekin, IL- The Pekin Area Chamber of Commerce joins the initiative Chambers All In for Economic Recovery. Chambers All In for Economic Recovery is a collaboration of chambers across Illinois. The coalition calls on the Illinois Legislature to prioritize economic and regulatory relief for Illinois' businesses. It is the mission of all chambers to support our respective business communities and help ensure that businesses can thrive for years to come. 


Last spring, Chambers All In for Economic Recovery launched its inaugural platform. The coalition releases its updated platform for 2022.  


If enacted, the coalition has identified a platform that would create a foundation for economic recovery. The platform includes ways to help diminish the financial hardships businesses face amid a labor shortage, spur economic development and recover from the devastating impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. 


Nearly 50 chambers from across the state representing thousands of businesses and hundreds of thousands of employees call for the legislature to champion this platform and provide relief to the business community.


Business advocacy has been one of the basic member services of the Pekin Area Chamber of Commerce since inception,” says Amy McCoy, Executive Director of the Chamber. “It’s our duty to support our business community in any way that we can to drive economic recovery. This initiative is an opportunity for us to do so at the state level, and in collaboration with our peers.


People interested in learning more about the All In platform should contact the Pekin Area Chamber of Commerce at Additionally, the community can engage with the initiative by following the Chamber on social media at Facebook (@PekinChamber Instagram @PekinChamber and Twitter @PekinChamber.



Media Contact:

Brittney Hogue
Pekin Area Chamber of Commerce
Member Communications Coordinator


Wednesday, January 19, 2022

OSF Occupational Health Welcomes Stephanie Gillott, RN As New Clinic Supervisor


OSF HealthCare logo

OSF Occupational Health  

News from your Peoria clinics

OSF Occupational Health is pleased to welcome Stephanie Gillott, RN, as a new clinic supervisor. Stephanie will oversee the clinics at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center and our Sheridan Road location.

​​​​​Lisa Flynn RN, BSN, (formerly Kreps) will now be located at our Kumpf Boulevard location. Contact information for both are below.

Stephanie Gillott, RN
(309) 624-2613

Lisa Flynn, RN, BSN (formerly Kreps)
Occupational Health Manager
(309) 624-8628

‘Great Attrition’ or ‘Great Attraction’? The choice is yours: An article on employee retention

‘Great Attrition’ or ‘Great Attraction’? The choice is yours

A record number of employees are quitting or thinking about doing so. Organizations that take the time to learn why—and act thoughtfully—will have an edge in attracting and retaining talent.


More than 19 million US workers—and counting—have quit their jobs since April 2021, a record pace disrupting businesses everywhere. Companies are struggling to address the problem, and many will continue to struggle for one simple reason: they don’t really understand why their employees are leaving in the first place. Rather than take the time to investigate the true causes of attrition, many companies are jumping to well-intentioned quick fixes that fall flat: for example, they’re bumping up pay or financial perks, like offering “thank you” bonuses without making any effort to strengthen the relational ties people have with their colleagues and their employers. The result? Rather than sensing appreciation, employees sense a transaction. This transactional relationship reminds them that their real needs aren’t being met.

If the past 18 months have taught us anything, it’s that employees crave investment in the human aspects of work. Employees are tired, and many are grieving. They want a renewed and revised sense of purpose in their work. They want social and interpersonal connections with their colleagues and managers. They want to feel a sense of shared identity. Yes, they want pay, benefits, and perks, but more than that they want to feel valued by their organizations and managers. They want meaningful—though not necessarily in-person—interactions, not just transactions.

By not understanding what their employees are running from, and what they might gravitate to, company leaders are putting their very businesses at risk. Moreover, because many employers are handling the situation similarly—failing to invest in a more fulfilling employee experience and failing to meet new demands for autonomy and flexibility at work—some employees are deliberately choosing to withdraw entirely from traditional forms of full-time employment.

About the research

In this article, we highlight new McKinsey research into the nature and characteristics of the Great Attrition—or what many are calling the Great Resignation—and what’s driving it (see sidebar, “About the research”). The bottom line: the Great Attrition is happening, it’s widespread and likely to persist—if not accelerate—and many companies don’t understand what’s really going on, despite their best efforts. These companies are making ineffective moves based on faulty assumptions.

It doesn’t have to be this way. If companies make a concerted effort to better understand why employees are leaving and take meaningful action to retain them, the Great Attrition could become the Great Attraction. By seizing this unique moment, companies could gain an edge in the race to attract, develop, and retain the talent they need to create a thriving postpandemic organization.

Illinois Department of Public Health Centralizing COVID-19 Contact Tracing

Illinois Department of Public Health Centralizing COVID-19 Contact Tracing

News – Tuesday, December 28, 2021


COVID-19 cases will receive a text message from IDPH

SPRINGFIELD –As we head into 2022, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is working to centralize COVID-19 contact tracing efforts in order to get information about isolation and identifying close contacts to infected individuals as soon as possible during times when cases are surging, and to decrease the burden on local health departments across the state.  Beginning today, December 28, 2021, all positive cases entered into the State’s data systems associated with a cell phone number will receive an automated text message from IDPH.  The initial outgoing text will read:

IDPH COVID: There is important info for you. Call 312-777-1999 or click:

“Our response to the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve as does the virus,” said IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike.  “We are seeing a higher number of new infections each day than we have seen at any time throughout the entire pandemic.  In an effort to reduce the burden on the local health departments across the state, the State will notify cases via text about interviewing with a contact tracer, as well as providing a link to guidance on quarantine, possible treatments, and close contact notification.  There have been scams associated with COVID-19 and contact tracing so I want people to know that IDPH COVID will be issuing text messages to newly identified cases.” 

Individuals who call the number in the text will be considered as “opting in” for an interview.  Public health officials will prioritize case investigations for individuals who are 65 years and older and are at higher risk of severe illness, per Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations.  This population will receive an additional text message if the individual does not respond to the initial message.

While most confirmed cases will be traced through the State Contact Tracing Surge Center, local health departments will continue to respond to cases in high-risk settings, including congregate facilities.  Local health departments will also be able to see details about cases so they can identify any potential clusters or outbreaks and can request those cases be transferred from the Surge Center for further contact tracing.  Additionally, local health departments will continue to have oversight of schools, daycares, and congregate setting, including assistance with mitigation strategies and outbreak management. 


Peckham celebrates 30 years at Hanson’s Peoria office


 Facebook Icon Twitter icon LinkedIn icon  
Offices Nationwide


Contact: Darrel Berry, Corporate Communications Manager
Hanson Professional Services Inc.
(217) 747-9291

Note to media: This news release and corresponding photo(s) are available by request or may be downloaded directly from our website at:

Peckham celebrates 30 years at Hanson’s Peoria office


PEORIA, Ill. — Chris Peckham, a technician at Hanson Professional Services Inc.’s Peoria office, recently celebrated 30 years of service with the firm.

Peckham joined the company in 1992. He has provided computer-aided design and drafting and has conducted surveying for projects, including the Interstate 74 reconstruction in Peoria; OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center radiation therapy addition and renovations in Rockford; Alaska Railroad Corp.’s Northern Rail Extension between North Pole and Delta Junction in Alaska, which included the design of the Tanana River Bridge in Salcha; and several railroad bridge replacements across the country.

Peckham received an associate degree in architectural construction technology in 1992 from Illinois Central College.

Hanson is a national, employee-owned consulting firm providing engineering, planning and allied services. The Peoria office is located at 7625 N. University St., Suite 200, Peoria, IL 61614. The office may be reached by phone at (309) 691-0902.

Chris Peckham

Illinois American Water Welcomes Jennifer Morrison as Program Director of Supplier Diversity and Community Outreach


Illinois American Water Welcomes Jennifer Morrison as Program Director
of Supplier Diversity and Community Outreach

Belleville, Ill. (Jan. 18, 2022) – Illinois American Water welcomes Jennifer Morrison to its leadership team. She has been named Program Director of Supplier Diversity and Community Outreach.


In her new role, Morrison will enhance the company’s relationships with diverse organizations to broaden the utilization of minority, women and veteran suppliers. She will also be a strategic partner to business unit leaders and Human Resources to design and develop Inclusion & Diversity workforce strategies. She reports to Illinois American Water President Justin Ladner and will work from Illinois American Water’s Woodridge, Ill. office.


“Illinois American Water understands that our diversity is our strength as reflected in the inclusivity of our employees and the communities we serve.  We are pleased Jennifer has joined our team to help lead and support our ongoing Inclusion & Diversity efforts,” said Ladner. “Creating an inclusive and diverse work environment requires a commitment and openness to change, and the right leadership to support that change.  Jennifer brings not only a wealth of knowledge, but also incredible passion to this position.”


Morrison comes to Illinois American Water from WEC Energy Group where she worked since 2002. Her positions included Contracts Manager, Supplier Diversity Manager, Commodity Portfolio Manager and Operations Supervisor. She has a master’s degree in corporate and public communications and a bachelor’s degree in public policy and administration from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.


About Illinois American Water - Illinois American Water, a subsidiary of American Water (NYSE: AWK), is the largest investor-owned water utility in the state, providing high-quality and reliable water and wastewater services to approximately 1.3 million people. American Water also operates a customer service center in Alton and a quality control and research laboratory in Belleville.  With a history dating back to 1886, American Water (NYSE:AWK) is the largest and most geographically diverse U.S. publicly traded water and wastewater utility company. The company employs approximately 6,400 dedicated professionals who provide regulated and regulated-like drinking water and wastewater services to an estimated 14 million people in 25 states. American Water provides safe, clean, affordable and reliable water services to our customers to help keep their lives flowing. For more information, visit and follow American Water on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
Media Contact:  Karen Cotton, Sr. Manager, External Communications,

SBDC Announces "A Legal Primer for Hiring, Firing, and Everything in Between"




The Illinois Small Business Development Center at Bradley University is collaborating with Miller, Hall, and Triggs, LLC (MHT) to discuss the challenges for small, self-employed business owners looking to hire, maintain and fire employees.

MHT has a broad range of legal services and is well known for their no-nonsense, straightforward labor and employment advice, along with other services offered to local employers. 


This 2-part series will be beneficial to sole-proprietors who are considering hiring

their first employees and for small business looking to expand.


No cost to attend this virtual training.

You may register for either one or both.



From Self-Employed to Employer

A legal primer for hiring, firing and everything in between 


Who should attend:

·    Sole-proprietors who are considering hiring their first employees

·    Small businesses looking to expand

·    All businesses, especially those with questions about:

·    Hiring and interviewing.

·    Personnel records.

·    Employee benefits.

·    Personnel policies.

·    COVID-19 concerns.

·    Employee discipline.

·    Termination and layoff.

·    Unemployment.

·    Special employment laws, like anti-discrimination, anti-harassment, and labor laws.

·    Businesses bargaining with a union or with employees seeking to organize.


Advantages to attendees:

·    Attendees will be given an overview of the legal considerations and concerns new employers must address while hiring new employees to terminating problem employees and everything in between.

·    Attendees will receive information and forms they can use to better learn and comply with applicable laws.

·    Attendees will have the opportunity to ask and have their questions answered by our employment law gurus.


Session 1: Tuesday, January 25, 2022 | 11:00am - 1:00pm

(continues on January 26th)




Initial Hiring and Interview Considerations - business organization; job descriptions and

employee manuals; advertisement; required documentation; questions you can and can’t ask; pre-screening (physical fitness, background checks, polygraph, drug tests).


Personnel Records and Notices - documentation practices, performance evaluations, records laws, medical records and privacy, required notices and postings, etc.).


Anti-discrimination, Anti-harassment, and Labor Laws - Unlawful acts; required and recommended prevention and training; best-practice investigations; hiring outside counsel; discipline; defenses, compliance with the NLRA, protected concerted activity, etc.).




Session 2: Wednesday, January 26, 2022 | 11:00am - 1:00pm

(continuation from January 25th)




Wage and Hour Laws – Minimum Wage and Equal Pay; Insurance; Salary v. Hourly; paid time v. unpaid time (travel, waiting, getting into uniform, etc.), vacation and holidays, withholding from pay, Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act, etc.


Employment Agreements and Manuals – At-will and contractual employment; policies and manuals, use of company property; work-for-hire and independent contractors; non-compete, non-solicitation and confidential/non-disclosure provisions.


Ending Employment – Risk considerations; retirement; termination; severance, etc.



Our Speakers:



Josh enjoys advising local employers regarding all aspects of employment, from interviewing employees, preparing personnel policies, navigating potential claims for liability, investigating employee misconduct, and even assisting employers having to terminate an employee when the situation calls for it. He regularly assists clients in avoiding potential lawsuits while they navigate the many state and federal laws applicable to Illinois employers.

Joshua Herman has practiced law since 2008, concentrating in employment and labor law, commercial law, municipal and school law, and related litigation. Joshua received his Bachelor’s degree in 2003 from Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois. After his deployment to Iraq as an Army Reservist, Joshua attended the Chicago-Kent and the University of Illinois Colleges of Law.

While at the University of Illinois, Joshua received the Best Trial Advocate and Best Oral Advocate awards in addition to being on the Green National Moot Court Team. In 2008 he obtained his Juris Doctor from the University of Illinois College of Law, graduating summa cum laude and receiving the Rickert Awards for Excellence in Advocacy and Excellence in Academics. He is also a member of the Order of the Coif.




Katherine Swise has practiced law since 2010, concentrating in general litigation, including representing employers in litigation of employment matters, as well as municipal and school law and general litigation.


Katherine received her Bachelor’s degree in 2001 from Knox College. She later attended the University of Illinois College of Law, graduating summa cum laude in 2010. While at Illinois, Katherine was a member of the University of Illinois Law Review and the Order of the Coif.

Katherine is admitted to practice law in Illinois, the U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, and is a member of the Peoria County, Tazewell County, and Illinois State Bar Associations and the Illinois Council of School Attorneys.



Thank you to our co-sponsors:






The Illinois Small Business Development Center offers

confidential business counseling assistance at no cost.



Additional Programs/Training


The Illinois Small Business Development Center offers personal and professional online courses

that are lead by expert instructors. They are affordable, fun, fast, convenient and geared just for you.

Partnered with Ed2Go, check out our catalog of courses.




If you are in need of assistance...