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Illinois Black Chamber of Commerce Strategizes Black Business Development

ibcoc blueIllinois Governor Bruce Rauner headlined a roster of state officials, business leaders, media, and celebrity notables attending the 10th Annual Statewide Convention of the Illinois Black Chamber of Commerce August 12 & 13 in East Peoria. Rauner assured attendees that the state recognizes the value of Black businesses to the Illinois economy and to the communities they serve. He expressed a firm commitment to providing opportunities for minority business success. Rauner said further that his success as governor will be measured by the success of minority business. His comments dovetailed with ILBCC President/CEO Larry D. Ivory’s determination to help Illinois’ businesses flourish, the focus of his “Renaissance of Black Business” convention theme. Conference speakers and honorees expressed the same commitment in a series of panels that addressed the ways and means by which they intend to foster minority business success. The Illinois Black Chamber of Commerce is a non-profit business association with chambers throughout the state.

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner pictured with ILBCC Officers, 2nd left Bob Dale, and far right, President Larry Ivory, with VIP attendees. Photo by Antwan Flowers  

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner pictured with ILBCC Officers, 2nd left Bob Dale, and far right, President Larry Ivory, with VIP attendees.
Photo by Antwan Flowers

ILBCC President Larry Ivory, pictured left, presents the John W. Rogers, Jr. Lifetime Achievement Award to Arthur Gass, retiring ILBCC Chairman of the Board, as new Chairman of Marketing & PR, Bob Dale looks on. Photo by Antwan Flowers

ILBCC President Larry Ivory, pictured left, presents the John W. Rogers, Jr. Lifetime Achievement Award to Arthur Gass, retiring ILBCC Chairman of the Board, as new Chairman of Marketing & PR, Bob Dale looks on. Photo by Antwan Flowers

Pictured left to right: Senate Majority Leader James Clayborne, ILBCC President Larry Ivory, Ameren Chairman & President Richard Mark, ILBCC Chairman Marketing & PR, Bob Dale, Senator Dave Koehler, John Harmon, and Senator Napoleon Harris. Photo by Willie Little III, UNIQUE VISION PRODUCTIONS STUDIO

Pictured left to right: Senate Majority Leader James Clayborne, ILBCC President Larry Ivory, Ameren Chairman & President Richard Mark, ILBCC Chairman Marketing & PR, Bob Dale, Senator Dave Koehler, John Harmon, and Senator Napoleon Harris. Photo by Willie Little III, UNIQUE VISION PRODUCTIONS STUDIO

Outstanding Corporate Partner Award Recipient, center, John Trotta, Regional Manager Parsons Brinckerhoff.

Outstanding Corporate Partner Award Recipient, center, John Trotta, Regional Manager Parsons Brinckerhoff.

Pictured right: 15th District Illinois State Senator, Napoleon Harris receives Outstanding Service Award.

Pictured right: 15th District Illinois State Senator, Napoleon Harris receives Outstanding Service Award.

ILBCC Keynote Speaker, Actor, Activist and Entrepreneur, Lamman Rucker, addresses conference attendees

ILBCC Keynote Speaker, Actor, Activist and Entrepreneur, Lamman Rucker, addresses conference attendees

During the convention program, Bob Dale, retired President of RJ Dale Advertising & Public Relations and Chairman of the ILBCC Marketing and PR Committee, officially assumed the role of Chairman of the ILBCC, a position previously held by Pastor Arthur Gass, President/CEO of the Black Chamber of Commerce of Lake County. Dale, a seasoned ad man with key relationships in a variety of areas, notably the Illinois political arena, in addition to his new role will lead the chamber’s marketing initiative. He and a dozen executive board members will help develop the chamber’s newest strategies.

The convention’s opening night ceremony honored Richard Mark, Chairman/President of Ameren Illinois. Ameren, located in Collinsville, is a regulated electric and gas delivery company. Mark received the ILBCC’s Corporate Leadership Award which acknowledges an individual who champions diversity within his or her company. “Ameren Illinois is proud to be recognized for its programs and commitment to the needs of the Black business community” commented Mark. “We are determined to remain in the forefront of those Illinois businesses with proven track records of successful diversity initiatives.”

Additional ILBCC awards acknowledged recipients considered outstanding in the Business, Corporate Partner, Leadership, Media, and Service categories. Retiring Chairman of the Board Arthur Gass received the John W. Rogers Jr. Lifetime Achievement Award. Broadcast news journalist Charles Thomas of ABC 7 Chicago was given the Black Media Award, recognizing his “in depth reporting of stories … that have a direct impact on the lives of African Americans.”

CEO Roundtable panelist J. Alexander Martin, co-founder of FUBU, addressed the business acumen needed to identify market needs, and the skills required to maintain a profitable business.

Keynote speaker Lamman Rucker, popularly known for his role as Troy in the Tyler Perry movie Why Did I Get Married and its sequel Why Did I Get Married Too, spoke at the closing festivities about the creation of his companies Black Tiger Edutainment and Forplai, and the trials and rewards associated with entrepreneurship.

Information regarding the Illinois Black Chamber of Commerce is available on its website at www.ilbcc.org.