2011 started off with some wild weather hitting the area. A blizzard in early February brought Peoria its second snowiest February on record with 20.9 inches falling (while December through February brought 52.5 inches in total during that period). That was followed by our second flooding incident from April through June incident along the Peoria Riverfront. Our business was mostly unaffected by those weather events, but that would change in the coming years.
Our client base continued to grow which meant it was time to expand. We more than doubled our footprint by leasing an additional 1,400 square foot suite that year. This meant that we now had a little more elbow room – and we were able to add a kitchen and conference room.
We invited our employees and their families to join us at a Peoria Chiefs baseball game in May. The suite provided a great opportunity to mingle with the families and enjoy a beautiful day at the ballpark. Plus, Pete Vonachen was nice enough to stop by and hand out some baseballs to the children.
By June, the Peoria Riverfront Museum and Caterpillar Visitors Center was starting to really take shape. Our original camera view was mostly obstructed by the construction, so Don and I scaled the Chase bank building and added another camera that panned both construction sites. Standing high atop that building was by far one of the best views in Peoria.
Don and I decided that we would participate in IT Nation, a three-day IT convention held in Orlando, that year. Our flight to Orlando was rerouted with a 5-hour delay in Washington, DC so we made the best of the situation. We left the airport and, with our trusty taxi driver shuttling us around, hit all of the monuments and sights that we could. We eventually made it to the convention, networked with more than 2,500 IT partners from around the world, and learned about many new tools.
In October, Apple released the iPhone 4S.
And 2011 was also the year that I was honored with the 40 Leaders Under Forty recognition. I was surprised to learn that I was nominated by a group of fellow Rotarians and I am grateful that they considered me worthy of that recognition.
There were ten employees, and their significant others, at our Christmas party that year and what better way to celebrate the season than eating sushi and drinking sake.