Northern Illinois Mayors Association Meets in Thomson
Talking shop before the dinner meeting are (l to r) Vicky Trager, Thomson Village President, Savanna Mayor Tony McCombie, and Sharon Pepin, Community Funding & Planning Services.
By Tom Kocal | Prairie Advocate News
THOMSON – Hosted by Thomson Village President Vicky Trager and other Thomson officials, the Northern Illinois Mayors Association (NIMA) met for their January meeting at Heirloom Market and Cafe Thursday night, Jan. 16
Mount Carroll Mayor Carl Bates, President of NIMA, called the meeting to order, with nearly 40 area mayors, village presidents, and their guests from Chadwick, Elizabeth, Lanark, Mount Carroll, Savanna, Thomson, Morrison, Hillcrest, and Kirkland in attendance. Representatives from Com Ed, Community Funding & Planning Services, Sen. Dick Durbin’s office, and Congresswoman Cheri Bustos’s office also joined the group.
Each representative shared items of interest happening in their communities during the prime rib dinner portion of the meeting.
Bill Heid, entrepreneur and owner of Thomson-based Solutions From Science, Heirloom Market and Cafe, and other enterprises, was introduced by Trager. Heid observed that much of the conversation among the mayor’s group that evening was directed at “hitting that home run,” like a big business or a prison.
Lanark Mayor John Huggins reviews the Heirloom Market seed catalog included in a gift bag supplied by Bill Heid, guest speaker.
(PA photos/Tom Kocal)
“It hasn’t always been that way,” said Heid. “America is made up of small businesses. There are 28 million small businesses in America today, which out number big companies 1,163-to-one. There are many other reasons why you would want start-up companies - small businesses - in your community as well.
“They generate a lot of payroll taxes, sales taxes, and a lot of taxes in general. But in today’s world, how do you get that ‘entrepreneurial spirit’ going? We all have some responsibility in re-building America. America is dying.”
Heid, who has business contacts in China, said that the Chinese government “empowers people to go into business for themselves - this ostensibly communist country - asks people to start their own businesses. They are becoming what we used to be.”
Heid noted that not only his business, but many others, like Dell Computers, Apple, and thousands of others, started small - in college dorm rooms and garages - and have grown to international corporations. But he urged the group not to take lightly the impact of a mom and pop store that eventually grows enough to hire two or three more employees.
“You all have small businesses brew and germinating. It’s important to cultivate them. You can hit home runs, but a lot of successful baseball teams win by hitting a lot of singles and doubles, too.”
Heid hopes to see educators take a more active roll in developing entrepreneurial skills in our youth.
“All the heroes they study about are rock stars, basketball players, and others who sky-rocket to the top, but none about the hard-working Americans that want to own their business. We’re not cultivating that idea in schools.”