Business & Economy
Media Link Announces Growth PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Natalie Linville-Mass   
Monday, 30 June 2014 09:39
Rock Island, IL/ June 27th, 2014 - Media Link, Inc. is proud to announce its newest Marketing Consultant Ronna Walker-Johnson. In her new position she will be working with current clients, as well as building additional strategic client accounts.

Ms. Johnson has over twenty five years of marketing experience; with an intense background in broadcast radio, broadcast television, cable, newspaper and web marketing.

"I am thrilled to bring my media experiences full circle and join such an exciting team," says Ms. Johnson. "Media Link, Inc. is truly a major player in this industry. Natalie Linville-Mass has brought this company to the forefront with amazing innovation, and the development of Media Link Software™. I look forward to assisting clients with their business growth; utilizing the comprehensive strategies and innovative technologies that Media Link Inc. can offer.”

"We are very excited to have Ms. Johnson aboard. Her vast media experience and energy to our team makes her an exciting addition to our team.  Her commitment to our company is another step in continuing the growth and expansion of our company." says Natalie Linville-Mass, President of Media Link, Inc.

Media Link, Inc. is a full-service integrated marketing firm specializing in strategic media buying and placement. Media Link works with businesses in the Quad-Cities and around the country to develop and execute customized marketing strategies to help them more effectively reach their customers. Media Link, Inc. recently developed and launched its own media buying software system, Media Link Software™. This company is also one of the only marketing firms in the region to have obtained an 8(a) SDB certification, a designation of significance to clients who contract with the federal government.

 
Governor Quinn, Senator Durbin, Union Pacific Announce $90 Million Investment in West Line, Celebrate End of $82 Million CREATE Project PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Governor's Press Office   
Monday, 30 June 2014 09:22

Improvements to Create Jobs, Make Rail Movements More Efficient

BELLWOOD – Governor Pat Quinn today was joined by U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Union Pacific Railroad President and COO Lance Fritz to announce that the Union Pacific (UP) and the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) are making a significant investment in Metra’s West Line. Each will invest $45 million for the construction of a new third main line track on the UP/Metra’s West Line, from River Forest to Melrose Park and then from West Chicago to Geneva. The announcement is part of Governor Quinn’s agenda to create jobs and build a 21st century infrastructure that will drive Illinois’ economy forward.

“Today we are investing in jobs that will help solidify Illinois’ status as the premier rail center of the nation,” Governor Quinn said. “This final piece of the West Line improvement program will enhance commuter and freight travel on one of our state’s busiest rail lines. Building world-class infrastructure is vital to a healthy economy and today’s investment will help get us there.”

The West Line improvements are designed to ensure smoother traffic flow and reduce conflicts between the commuter and freight trains that share the line. Earlier projects completed by Metra and UP modernized the signal system and added crossovers to make freight movement more efficient.  A third phase on the West Line – improving the Lombard and Wheaton Metra stations – will be finished in 2015. The West Line third track construction announced today is the final step that will allow the 59 Metra trains and 70 freight trains that use the line each day to operate at the same time, a critical step to improving the line’s reliability and efficiency.

The announcement was made during a celebration to mark the completion of a CREATE rail project that included the construction of a rail overpass, the rehabilitation of two passenger stations and the addition of pedestrian tunnels in Bellwood and Berkeley, and signal and track improvements along the UP/Metra West Line. The project created and supported 1,000 jobs and was funded primarily through a $52 million TIGER grant, a $27 million commitment from UP and other freight railroad partners, other federal funding of $3 million, and a $615,000 investment by the state of Illinois.

The CREATE program has completed a total of 21 projects and generated 10,000 jobs and has caused a 30 percent improvement in passenger and freight reliability. The program has been supported by a total of $500 million from the state, $450 million from the federal government, $325 million from the railroad industry and $30 million from the city of Chicago.

“Our nation’s system of bridges, rail, and roads is the strength of the nation, tying us together and giving us access to the world,” U.S. Senator Dick Durbin said. “Chicago remains the busiest rail hub in the United States, with more than 1,000 trains passing through the region every day. Protecting and investing in our nation’s infrastructure, and specifically in Illinois’ transportation network, is one of my top priorities. The CREATE project we’re celebrating the completion of today created and supported 1,000 jobs while relieving congestion and delays on the most frequently used UP rail line into Chicago. As additional CREATE projects are completed, we’ll see the full economic impact of the federal investments in infrastructure for which I’ve fought and will continue to support.”

“In addition to our investments in CREATE projects, Union Pacific has invested $1 billion in private funding in our infrastructure improvements in Illinois during the past five years,” Union Pacific President and COO Lance Fritz said. “The additional joint investment in the West Line improvement project – $45 million each from IDOT and Union Pacific – is critical to train operations, since the line accounts for 70 freight and 59 passenger trains a day. When completed, operations will be smoother for our customers and Chicagoland commuters, and I know outlying communities will appreciate not having freight trains staged until the morning or afternoon commuter rush hours are over.”

In Chicago, Union Pacific’s 2,900 employees move two million freight cars each year and serve more than 100,000 passengers each day.

“This is a new day for Metra, one in which we want to ensure that every project we execute puts commuters first,” Metra Chairman Martin Oberman said. “We are confident the West Line improvements will greatly improve the commuter experience.”

Chicago is the busiest rail hub of the nation, handling 1,300 freight and passenger trains every day. CREATE was started in 2003 to attract and invest funds in the infrastructure necessary to maintain Chicago’s leading rail status. The rail industry has invested an additional $2 billion in capital improvements that complement its investment in CREATE.

The state of Illinois’ portion of the third track project is part of Governor Quinn’s $31 billion Illinois Jobs Now! program, which is supporting more than 439,000 jobs over six years. Illinois Jobs Now! is the largest construction program in Illinois history, and is one of the largest construction programs in the nation.

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6 Takeaways for Stay-at-Home CEOs PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Monday, 30 June 2014 09:19
Veteran Entrepreneur Shares Tips for Balancing Business and Family

Being young and inexperienced can be intimidating for stay-at-home entrepreneurs, but it doesn’t mean you’re making mistakes, says veteran businesswoman Renae Christine.

Fresh out of college at 23, she thought she’d done something wrong when the wholesaler for her stationery company assigned her a personal representative.

“In reality I was doing so much business with them that they wanted to ensure my satisfaction,” says Christine, a serial entrepreneur who has created dozens of successful home-based businesses for herself and others. She shares practical how-to advice in her new book, “Home Business Startup Bible,” (http://richmombusiness.com/).

She was the busy mother of a 2-year-old and she’d just returned home – to the mess left in the wake of last-minute packing -- when the rep showed up, she says.

“I was mortified when he walked into my home/business and he was shocked, but the experience marked my first success as an official business,” she says. “It was actually the beginning of a great relationship.”

Though it turned out well, Christine says her first years in business would have been much happier if she hadn’t had to deal with her own painful feelings of self-doubt, embarrassment, guilt, etc.

“The good news is – no stay-at-home entrepreneur needs to feel that way,” she says.

She offers these tips for maintaining professionalism in business without sacrificing – or feeling guilty about -- family.

•  Don’t apologize for your kids. We need to stop apologizing for our kids’ squawks and energy while we’re on the phone or in meetings. Kids are kids and to them, Mommy is Mommy and their home is their home 24/7. If anything, we can all learn from our children and lighten up during business chats.

•  Don’t pick up the phone when you’re not ready. I used to think I had to say yes to everyone, including the telephone whenever it rang. Don’t answer the phone if you’re not ready to speak; if it’s important, the caller will leave a message. Consider an online chat system for your website; I use a free one via craftysyntax.com.

•  Add a disclosure message to your call-answering service. My disclosure indicates the quickest way to reach me, which is chat or email. Email is quickly becoming everyone’s preferred method of communication anyway, and this way, we all have a digital trail that will help us stay organized.

•  Say no and don’t apologize for it. You can say no to lots of things, like PTA meetings and extra bake sales for your kids’ school. When you say yes to those things, you are saying no to your business. You have to think of your new business as if you are your own boss. Would you ask your boss for a day off so you can sell cupcakes? Probably not.

•  Pick a neutral location. If you need to have business meetings in person, I suggest choosing a neutral place like a coffee shop. Don’t allow them to come to your home and, if you can avoid it, don’t go to their office. If you’re negotiating, this can give them a home-field advantage.

•  Just say it. I continue to attend trade shows. When I tell companies that I work from home, they might give me an indifferent attitude and hastily move on to chat up a brick-and-mortar owner. I simply take my business elsewhere; I know the value of my business, and so will another vendor.

About Renae Christine

Renae Christine is the owner of by Renae Christine, a company that has launched several successful businesses and has helped launch dozens more for others. A journalist, she’s known for her popular YouTube videos (search Rich Mom Business channel), which use humor and pragmatism to advise others who want to launch home-based businesses. She recently published “Home Business Startup Bible,” (www.richmombusiness.com), a comprehensive how-to guide. Christine is also the founder of the Rich Mom Business University and has come into popular demand as a speaker.

 
Governor Quinn Statement on Anniversary of Fair Labor Standards Act PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Dave Blanchette   
Friday, 27 June 2014 10:08
CHICAGO – Governor Pat Quinn today issued the following statement on the anniversary of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the landmark law on June 25, 1938, which banned oppressive child labor, set a maximum hourly workweek and established the nation’s first minimum wage at 25 cents an hour. If the minimum wage had kept pace with inflation, it would be at $10.75 today.

“When President Roosevelt signed the Wages and Hours Bill into law, he gave workers benefits and protections that no other country had seen before, and put Americans on a path toward a fair standard of living.

“What was landmark legislation then is common-sense today. We know that children shouldn’t be abused and forced to work. We know there should be limits on how many hours a week someone works. And we know that no one should work 40 hours a week and live in poverty.

“If the minimum wage had kept pace with inflation it would be $10.75 today. Raising the minimum wage is good for workers and good for growth. It puts purchasing power back into the hands of hardworking Americans, helps reduce poverty and strengthens the economy.

"As we work to build a majority to raise the minimum wage in Illinois, let's remember this is about dignity and decency.

“The hardworking people of our state deserve the opportunity to earn a decent living. Building an economy that works for everyone makes our state stronger and more competitive, not the other way around.”

Governor Quinn first proposed raising the minimum wage to at least $10 an hour in his 2013 State of the State address. Studies conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago show that an increase of $1 in the minimum wage generates approximately $3,000 in household spending per year, greatly improving purchasing power and strengthening our economy. Six out of every 10 minimum wage workers are female, including many single parents. Additionally, nearly two-thirds of small business owners support raising the federal minimum wage because they believe it will help the economy and in turn enable them to hire more workers, according to a recent survey conducted by the Small Business Majority.

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Loebsack Calls on Boehner to Bring Up & Pass Senate Passed Workforce Development Overhaul PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Joe Hand   
Friday, 27 June 2014 10:06

Bipartisan, bicameral legislation includes Loebsack’s SECTORS Act

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Dave Loebsack released the following statement today urging Speaker of the House, John Boehner, to swiftly bring up and pass the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). This legislation, which would improve the nation’s workforce development system, passed the Senate today by a vote of 95-3. It also includes large portions of Loebsack’s SECTORS Act that links together businesses, labor organizations, local stakeholders, and education and training providers connected to a particular industry.

“The Senate did their part and now it is time for the House to do the same. Speaker Boehner needs to step up and allow a vote on the Senate passed Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act so that it can go to the President and be signed into law. From the overwhelming bipartisan passage in the Senate, it is clear that this legislation would have the votes to pass the House. It has been over 10 years since the Workforce Development Act has been reauthorized and now is the time to give workers the kind of skills they need and employers want.”

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act represents a compromise between the SKILLS Act (H.R. 803), which passed the House of Representatives in March of 2013 with bipartisan support, and the Workforce Investment Act of 2013 (S. 1356). It has been over a decade since the Workforce Investment Act has been reauthorized.

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