The following was taken from the spring 2006 course catalog of the Institute for Learning in Retirement at Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois.

The Commerce Unseen trips are designed to take members into unseen and sometimes overlooked businesses within their own community. Most trips are $20, which includes the tour, lunch and van transportation. Members meet for lunch at 11:30 a.m. then tour, and return at 3:30 p.m. Here’s where members of the Bradley University ILR are going this spring:

L.R. Nelson Corporation – L.R. Nelson is a manufacturer of hose end watering products, commercial irrigation products, water features, fountains and water gardening products. Members toured the 318,000 square foot manufacturing and distribution facilities where they saw products being assembled and packaged for shipment.

Pere Marquette Renovations – Members took a tour of the Hotel Pere Marquette! They learned the history of the magnificent, old world-inspired hotel that has charmed travelers, statesmen, international dignitaries, and other honored guests. A nine-month $6 million renovation of the 79 year-old Hotel Pere Marquette has begun and will continue till June or 2006. The exterior, ground level, ballroom level, guest rooms, and corridors will all have a new and elegant treatment.

Juvenile Detention Center – Members took a behind-the-scenes look at the Peoria County Juvenile Detention Center located in Peoria. The Juvenile Detention Center serves Peoria County as well as surrounding counties, and houses males and females between the ages of 10-16. Members toured the administrative office, control room, educational area, medical and living units, and came away with more insight on how Peoria country serves this population.

Parsons Company – Parsons Company is a full-service custom metal fabrication supplier in business since 1971. At the beginning of the tour, members passed through a photo gallery highlighting the destruction and rebuilding of the company from a July 2004 tornado. They toured a new 28,000 square foot facility housing the most current fabrication, machining, welding and paint line equipment in the Midwest. They also witnessed up close the process of creating steel parts from raw sheet metal to finished parts such as fenders, fuel tanks, platforms and undercarriage frames.

Institute of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation (IPMR) – ILR members toured IPMR which was founded in 1950 in response to the polio epidemics and the need to get veterans back to work. Today, IPMR remains a non-profit comprehensive medical rehabilitation center and provides inpatient and/or outpatient therapy at 18 locations throughout Central Illinois. IPMR Return to work Center has the area’s largest program of injury-prevention training, ergonomic assessments, physical testing for the workplace, and work conditioning programs.

Caterpillar Demonstration & Application Center – ILR members visited the Caterpillar experience at the Edwards Demonstration and Application Center. This facility offers a General Line Product Demonstration which represents each product family in a single demo. Some examples of the machines are skid-steer loaders, small and large excavators, backhoe loaders, track-type tractors, articulated trucks, off-highway trucks, telehandlers, large wheel loaders and motor graders. There are two main demonstration sites outdoors and two indoors, one with three-fourths of an acre under roof and the newest arena with two acres under roof.
Linden Hill Farms – Linden Hill Farms is a fourth-generation dairy farm located in the rolling river valley west of Peoria. ILR member will watch the morning milking process and learn how milk travels from the farm to home. In addition, the family owners have begun a manure recycling business by way of composting. After the tour ILR members will eat at Kim’s Kitchen.

Conner Nursery & Kickapoo Creek Winery – Conner Nursery and Gardens has been in business since 1995 selling about 500 different varieties of hosta as well as many ornamental grasses, perennials and annuals. Kickapoo Creek Winery is adjacent to the nursery in Edwards, Illinois. The name was taken from nearby Kickapoo Creek and the Native American tribe that lived in this area. ILR members will walk the vineyard rows, examining and comparing the grapes and will also learn about the various vines.

Bob Emser Studio – ILR members will join Bob Emser, sculptor, on a tour of his Eureka studio. The 2,000 + square foot studio with 20-foot ceiling allows for the creation of Emser’s large-scale public sculpture. The studio was designed by the artist and was built in 2002. In addition to the studio, the 1.5 acre compound has landscaped areas that highlight several pieces of Bob’s large outdoor sculpture.




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