Located in what is called 'downstate' Illinois, Peoria has a population of 112.935, according to the US Census Bureau in 2000. Caterpillar's corporate headquarters is here. Nearby Morton, Illinois is the self-proclaimed 'Pumpkin Capital of the World.' The University of Illinois reports 90% of US pumpkin production is located around Peoria. Libby Foods pumpkin canning plant is the largest facility of its kind in the world.
There is an American political colloquialism that asks 'but how will it play in Peoria?' Part of the statement stems from Peoria being in the heart of country. The other part refers to the mix of agricultural, industrial, social, and economic cross-sections that exist in the city.
Peoria is also reflective of small to mid-sized city America. Like many mid-sized cities across the USA, Peoria has seen local business squeezed out by regional and national chains that have a greater economy of scale. Likewise, customer service and sales jobs may have been shifted to more central corporate locations or outsourced entirely. As a reminder of an era gone-by, the United Auto Workers (UAW) strike every few years at Caterpillar as part of their contract negotiation.
Like many other cities its size, Peoria watched urban flight build offices and homes in the suburbs. 'The heart of Peoria' plan intends to revitalize the downtown district, making it attractive to businesses and residents alike. Some of the pictures taken, show the fruit of that labor.
For over two years, we had a large team installing a full clinical suite including labs, radiology, and scheduling. Towards the live date, I was parachuted in to provide technical infrastructure project management across the six hospitals in three different states.