DANVILLE — Judd Peck may be best known as a leader in business and industry.
But peers say that for years, the Danville Metal Stamping president and CEO also has been a driving force behind improving education, health care and the quality of life for people in Vermilion County and beyond.
Peck's "tireless" service to organizations including Vermilion Advantage, the Danville Area Community College Foundation, the Danville school district and the Danville Area Convention and Visitors Bureau have earned him the distinction of this year's Danville Chapter of AMBUCS First Citizen.
AMBUCS national service club is dedicated to creating opportunities for independence for people with disabilities, especially children. Each year, the Danville chapter gives its First Citizen award to an area resident who has contributed significantly to the community through a single or multiple projects, personally or professionally.
Peck was chosen from a number of "excellent" nominees, according to selection committee chairman Bill Garrison.
"It was a pretty tough choice, but a good choice," Garrison said. He said Peck stood out because of "the wide variety of his civic involvement. He's not only a member, but he's extremely active on the various boards and organizations he's involved with. It made me tired just reading about all of them."
A 1972 Danville High School graduate, Peck practiced law then worked for a firm that gives financial services to nonprofit health care providers in the Chicago area. After he and his wife, Mary, moved their family back to Danville, he went to work at Danville Metal, which was started by his father-in-law, Jake Beck, Jake Beck's brother and another partner in the mid-1940s.
In 1988, Peck took the reins of the company, which fabricates sheet metal components for gas turbine engines and the aerospace industry, and can be found on most commercial airliners, military and private planes and helicopters made in the U.S. The company employs more than 400 people.
While impressed with Peck's ability to lead a high-tech, worldwide business and the business' economic impact on the area, those who nominated him said they're equally impressed with his volunteer work and the impact it's had on the community and its residents.
In addition to volunteering for Danville schools in many ways, from setting up show choir events to serving on the school board, Peck has served numerous organizations over the past 20 years. In addition to the school board, he currently sits or has sat on boards of the Vermilion Healthcare Foundation, Vermilion Advantage, Danville Area Community College Foundation and its financial management committee, Danville Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, Danville Symphony Orchestra, Provena United Samaritans Medical Center and its quality and safety committee, Lakeview College of Nursing, Old National Bank's Northwest Regional Advisory Board, the Illinois Business Roundtable. He and Danville Metal endowed a scholarship at DACC.
"Judd is a true leader — smart yet quiet," Tom Wodetski, the Vermilion Healthcare Foundation chairman, wrote in his nomination letter. "Judd leads by example, not by force."
He noted Peck was instrumental in working with Your Family Resource Connections, now part of Crosspoint Human Services, to stay solvent so it could continue to provide services to homeless women and domestic violence victims and their children.
"He himself speaks to the employees, encouraging them to hear the story and make the decision that's best for them," Jeanne Mulvaney, United Way of Danville Area president, said about Peck's "behind-the-scenes" efforts in her organization's annual drive.
Peck said he was surprised but honored by the recognition. He said he's also been honored to help out the local causes.
"Certainly, it's satisfying to do work that makes a difference," he said, adding he particularly finds his work in education fulfilling. "I strongly believe that education is the key to economic success and people's future and our community's future."
In addition to those who nominated and selected him, Peck thanked his family — including children, Graham, Gardner and Emma, and mother, Bobbie — and staff for supporting his community work. "They allow me to take the kind of time that's necessary to do those things," he said.
Banquet reservations due
The 79th annual AMBUCS First Citizen banquet honoring Judd Peck will be held May 3 at the Turtle Run Banquet Center, 332 E. Liberty Lane, Danville.
A cash bar and reception will be held at 6 p.m., and dinner will follow at 6:30 p.m.
Tickets are $25 apiece.
Reservations are due by Wednesday. To make a reservation, call Bill Garrison at 442-0244, and leave your name and the number of people your party.