Business roundup: State Black Chamber of Commerce meets in Champaign
CHAMPAIGN — Willie Wilson, founder and CEO of Omar Medical Supplies, will be the luncheon speaker for the Illinois State Black Chamber of Commerce summit in Champaign today (Wednesday, Feb. 27).
The summit runs from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the I Hotel and Conference Center, 1900 S. First St., C. Registration for the "Build Your Brand" summit is $15 at the door.
Wilson's Matteson-based company distributes disposable supplies for food service, retail, health care and industrial use. According to Omar's website, Wilson also founded Willie Wilson Productions, which produces a nationally syndicated gospel entertainment TV show, "Singsation."
Wilson is scheduled to speak over the noon hour. Also on the summit's agenda are:
— A session on the effect of legislation on business.
— A session on ensuring your books are in order.
— A discussion of how to navigate the websites of state agencies, such as the Capital Development Board, Central Management Services and the state Department of Transportation.
The summit is hosted locally by the Champaign County Black Chamber of Commerce.
At least 8 eateries to offer fixed-price menus
URBANA — At least eight Urbana restaurants are planning to offer special fixed-price menus next week as part of the first-ever Urbana Restaurant Week.
The restaurants will offer a combination of $10, $20 and $30 options as part of the promotion coordinated by the Urbana Business Association.
The event starts Monday and extends through March 10. Participating restaurants include Crane Alley, Louie's Dixie Kitchen, Milo's, Po' Boys, Silvercreek, Tang Dynasty, The Courier Cafe and Toro Loco.
All the restaurants are locally owned and operated, according to the association. Any other restaurants that decide to join in will be added at the association's website, http://www.urbana business.com.
Cynthia Johnson, the association's executive director, called the event "a great sampling of what Urbana has to offer."
Champaign firm named as 1 of 8 inital finalists in clean energy competition
CHAMPAIGN — A Champaign-based company, Luon Energy, has been named one of eight early-stage finalists in the 2013 Clean Energy Challenge. The challenge is a $250,000 business plan competition that takes place April 4 in Chicago.
The companies' presentations will be evaluated that day by a panel of business experts, venture capitalists and scientists.
The winner in the early-stage category stands to win $100,000, as does the winner in the student category, in which nine finalists are competing. All 17 competitors are eligible for the $50,000 McCaffery Interests commercialization award.
The challenge is sponsored by the Clean Energy Trust, which is supported by grants from state and federal agencies, foundations and private donations.
Luon Energy, based at EnterpriseWorks in the University of Illinois Research Park, has been developing natural gas solutions to improve fuel efficiency in automobiles.
H&R Block exec added to board of directors
MATTOON — Consolidated Communications has added the chief legal officer for H&R Block to its board of directors.
Thomas A. Gerke lives in the Kansas City, Kan., area, which recently became part of Consolidated's market area as a result of the company's merger with SureWest Communications.
Gerke is the former president and CEO of Embarq. That company merged with CenturyLink in 2009, and Gerke served as executive vice chairman of CenturyLink through 2010.
Besides Gerke and Lumpkin, Consolidated has four other board members: Maribeth Rahe, Roger Moore, Timothy Taron and President and CEO Robert Currey.
Effingham company acquires Milwaukee trust
EFFINGHAM — Effingham-based Midland States Bank — which is building a new office on West Springfield Avenue in Champaign — recently made a big acquisition in the Milwaukee area.
Midland States acquired Securant Bank's Settlement Trust Group, which provides trust administration to clients receiving litigation settlements.
"Midland Wealth Management will approach $1 billion in assets under administration with the inclusion of the Settlement Trust acquisition," a Midland States release stated.