For Inspirational Reading

by Jan Wright, Publisher

Talking at length with community leaders—many of them retired (or retiring) from day-to-day operations, yet still active in philanthropy and volunteerism—is always time well spent. As the next generation assumes leadership roles and looks to the future, they would be wise to soak up this vital resource of historical and institutional knowledge.

Byron DeHaan, who helped shape modern corporate communications through four decades at Caterpillar, is kind and well-read—an intriguing man of many interests. I will never forget the way he mentored me prior to a public presentation about 20 years ago; I found his gentle encouragement indispensable. To watch him continue to grow in mind and spirit through his retirement years—a true lifelong learner—has been an inspiration.

I thoroughly enjoyed Mike Landwirth’s recollections of a 1950s childhood in Peoria, the guidance of his father as he embarked on a new career path, and his own lengthy career of real estate development. The knowledge he holds of the city’s businesses and buildings—a fascinating almanac of history and provenance rattled off effortlessly—is paralleled by few others.

Sally Snyder, following in the footsteps of her legendary mother, keeps a schedule as busy as any full-time worker’s. She was brought up to give back, and that’s exactly what she does each and every day, serving on a range of boards and working tirelessly to improve the health, education and well-being of our community.

Next month, iBi will celebrate its 27th year of service to the Greater Peoria business community, and for the duration, Rep. Dave Leitch has been our dependable leader in Springfield. His unassuming, common-sense leadership should be a model for his successor, an old-fashioned sort of public service that’s seemingly disappeared from political life. What he has accomplished for our community over the years is truly remarkable.

And finally, Gordon and Jean Ann Honegger of Morton Community Bank are like everyone’s mom and dad. They’ve maintained their small-town focus while growing to become one of the state’s most profitable and successful banks—true community leaders in every sense of the word.

I recently had dinner with Dave and Zan Ransburg, who were featured in last year’s Local Legends issue. Their quiet support of me and this business through the years has been invaluable, offering feedback and assistance whenever they see an opportunity. Like them, we are proud to call Peoria home… and proud of those who have made our region legendary. iBi