ECIDC Current Newsletter
Published April 19, 2011
BESI & Recognition Award Recipients Announced
ECIDC is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2011 Recognition Awards which honor some of the area’s most ethical and socially responsible businesses, most influential community and economic development leaders, and most committed volunteers. As in the past, ECIDC has partnered with Lake Land College and Eastern Illinois University to award the Business Ethics and Social Involvement (BESI) Award. This year the award goes to James “Jim” Yoder of Arthur and Ryan, Bennett, & Radloff Law Firm of Mattoon. ECIDC is also pleased to award Paris Economic Development Corporation (PEDCO) with the Outstanding Leadership in Community and Economic Development Award and Thomas Niebrugge of Dieterich with the Lifetime Achievement Award.
BESI award recipient James “Jim” Yoder is the owner and CEO of Coach House Garages. Jim is very involved in community activities, not only in the Arthur area, but in areas where he has dealerships. Jim started work for Coach House Garages over 20 years ago as a sales manager. He became president in 1993 and in 1998 he became the owner of the company.
Under Jim's very caring and compassionate leadership Coach House Garages has grown into a highly successful organization in a four-state region. Today, Coach House has built over 22,000 buildings throughout Illinois and Indiana, portions of Missouri, and parts of Iowa. He has a dealer network of 25 offices throughout Illinois and Indiana.
Although Jim has experienced tremendous business success throughout a four-state region, he has not forgotten his “home” region in the Arthur area. In 2004 Jim significantly expanded, and relocated within Arthur, the Coach House Garages manufacturing facility where all components (including roof trusses, wall panels, etc) are designed and fabricated. This meant critically important jobs and sales tax revenue for the Village of Arthur. Coach House became the largest sales tax generator in Arthur.
Jim has been involved physically, financially and spiritually in numerous aspects of the development of Arthur Area businesses and individuals. Jim, by example, has encouraged his employees to take active roles in the communities in which they live and work. Jim has been a member of the Arthur Park Board, is active in the church, and has coached and assisted in youth football, basketball, and baseball. Jim has served on the Arthur Zoning Board and he has also helped with local parks, including parks in other communities where he has dealerships. He has helped by donating or discounting building projects, from pavilions and concession stands, to shower and bath facilities. Jim has also helped with the public and Amish schools in the Arthur area.
Jim lives in rural Arthur with his wife Carol. For several years they have been providing a Christmas day dinner for anyone in the Arthur community that is alone or hungry on Christmas day. Jim and Carol enjoy spending time with their grandchild Jaden and visiting five grown children. Jim’s father, John L. Yoder, and his son Jonathan L Yoder, both work alongside him at Coach House Garages.
Ryan, Bennett & Radloff Law Firm represents small businesses, individuals and corporations throughout Coles, Effingham, Shelby, Clark, Douglas, Macon and Jasper counties in east central Illinois. In addition to running a successful law firm, Ryan, Bennett, and Radloff has been selected to receive the BESI award because of the impact of this organization’s involvement to address social needs in the area.
Partners in the firm, James “Jim” Bennett, Stephen Ryan, Michael Ryan, and Michael Radloff, have reached out to others, such as children when they need it the most, and college students when they needed a little extra help as well as many other local activities. Jim Bennett is a past president of the Coles-Cumberland Bar Association and the Board of Directors of the Mattoon YMCA. He has served for 30 years as the legal advisor on the Lake Land College Foundation Board, providing pro bono services to the Foundation. He and his wife Marguerite and the law firm have made annual gifts to the Foundation during those 30 years. He received the 1997 Lake Land College Distinguished Service Award and the Foundation’s 1996 Crystal Swan Award. Throughout all the years of service, Jim’s main concern has always been seeking ways to help college students.
Jim also actively volunteers at the Immaculate Conception Church where he donates his time and talents in such ways as working on the grounds, fixing something or meeting with people on any number of committees. He played a key role in a fund raising campaign for the church. Jim also volunteers for the Knights of Columbus Family Picnic and for the Tootsie Roll Drive collecting money that will go to Camp New Hope and other programs to help those in need.
Steve Ryan recently retired from CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) where he served as President for most of the 16 years of its existence. CASA was established in 1994 when a concerned citizen called Steve to see what could be done to help children when they were suddenly involved in very difficult legal and troubling issues. Steve responded to that request for help and what resulted was a program started with volunteers, advocates that were appointed to abuse and neglect cases so there would be someone representing the child’s interest.
Outstanding Leadership in Community and Economic Development Award winner PEDCO reached its 30th anniversary on a mission to improve the economic health of Paris and Edgar County through the creation of industrial development. Through dedication of its board of directors, and continued support and cooperation by local government, PEDCO has enjoyed exceptional success to substantially lower unemployment, and leverage state and federal funds to encourage private investment.
PEDCO is a private, not-for-profit organization, designed by the city as its economic development agency. Local government (city or county) retains final authority over application and use of state and federal incentives. The Paris Chamber of Commerce undertook to create this type of organization in 1979 when the Zenith Corporation announced the phasing out of its local manufacturing facility, Central Electronics, that employed up to 1,200 people. It took four years before PEDCO started seeing some success from their efforts. In1986 PEDCO started development of a 120-acre industrial park located on the south edge of Paris by securing a new factory for the sheet plastics market. That launched a succession of recruitments that located two more plastics molding industries, a high-tech machining plant for the aircraft turbine field, a local warehousing support facility and most recently North American Lighting’s advanced headlamp production and corporate headquarter facilities. PEDCO also continued to fill properties in the private west industrial area, and support several smaller local industries.
The most unique feature of PEDCO is the fact that it has no paid staff, a minimal budget, and is a five-member board, elected at the annual membership meetings. The board meets at 7 a.m. every Tuesday morning whether there are major projects or no prospects. When there are no industrial issues, the board works to support other local “quality of life” issues such as education.
PEDCO has been supported by the successive administrations of local government, particularly the City of Paris. The city underwrites the expense of a professional grant administrator to work with state and federal agencies on an as-needed basis. Along with this support, PEDCO has been able to help create several thousand local jobs, reduce the unemployment rate, and over the past 20 years parlay approximately $8.5 million in grant funds into approximately $90 million in private investment.
PEDCO’s current directors are: Bob Colvin, Chris Patrick, Ned Jenison, Dr. Robert Sprague and Peter Templeton.
Tom Niebrugge’s leadership in both the public and private sector and significant contributions to the community of Dieterich and its surrounding areas for the past 35 years makes him most deserving of the Lifetime Achievement Award.
In July of 1975, Tom, a young German teacher in Centralia, Illinois, decided to move back to his home county and enter the world of banking. At the time the First National Bank of Dieterich was an $8 million community bank with its only location being in Dieterich, Illinois. When Tom Niebrugge was hired he became the bank’s fourth employee, and began his banking career working as a teller and basically learning about all aspects of banking. Through Tom’s leadership, the bank has grown from that $8 million institution with four employees in 1975 to a $340 million organization today with locations and 80 employees in Effingham and Jasper County. Tom eventually became president of the bank and today serves as Chairman of the Board and CEO of both the bank and the bank’s holding company, Prime Bancorp. What is noteworthy is that the growth has been internal and not through acquisitions. Tom attributes the growth to the quality of the people within the organization and a commitment to the principles of community banking. According to many of his colleagues he is an excellent leader and visionary though, Tom tells people he still feels like a school teacher learning to be a banker.
As significant as his contribution to the bank has been, equally significant is the contribution that Tom has made to the economic development of the community of Dieterich. In the late 1980’s, Tom along with a group of community leaders in the Dieterich area, formed an organization called the Dieterich Community Development Corporation (DCDC). This organization was formed for the purpose of stimulating the development of the Dieterich community. For the past 20 years this group has met nearly every week for lunch to brainstorm about ways to help Dieterich prosper and grow, no small undertaking for a community of 500 people not located on an interstate highway. Working without compensation, this group has been the catalyst for numerous development activities.
Dieterich’s Tax Increment Finance housing program, which was championed by DCDC, has resulted in at least 30 new homes being built in Dieterich, a very significant occurrence in a community seeking to increase enrollment in the Dieterich school system. In addition to this housing program, there has been a boom of commercial activity taking place at the west entrance to Dieterich over the last several years, which is again attributable to the efforts of DCDC. Tom was the motivator of a bank project that monetarily rewarded several not-for-profit groups in the Dieterich community for completing projects to improve the quality of life for residents. That not only contributed to the not-for-profits but served as a kick off for community pride that continues yet today. The project also earned the bank a statewide award for Excellence and Innovation.
In addition to his duties at the bank and his volunteer service with DCDC, Tom serves as a trustee for Lake Land College. He was a charter member of the local Ruritan Club and served as treasurer for several years. Tom served as a director for the Greater Effingham Chamber of Commerce and past President and Director for Heartland Human Services. Additionally, Tom served as Vice President and Director for the Community Bankers Association of Illinois.
Tom lives in Teutopolis with his wife of 41 years, Rose Marie. Together they raised four children and currently enjoy time with their 13 grandchildren.
These individuals and business will receive their awards during the 2011 ECIDC Annual Celebration and Recognition Awards Presentation from 6 to 8 p.m. on May 19th at the Thelma Keller Convention Center, Effingham. The evening will include a cocktail hour and silent auction, dinner, the awards presentation and guest speaker Butch Lockley, a final four "Survivor" contestant, who will share his “Top 10 Survivor Strategies”. His informational and humorous message will include topics on relationships, goal setting, teamwork and basic strategies for success. Please visit www.ecidc.com to learn more about this event or to make online reservations. The event is open to the public and the cost of attendance is $35.00 per person. Reservations can also be made by contacting ECIDC Executive Director Jean Anne Grunloh by email at email@example.com or by phone at (217) 540-3517. Reservations deadline is May 5, 2011.