Three of them earn JREDC Industry of the Year honors for their pandemic work; Recognized Hayes Group


In an age when normalcy has become a fluid construct, it makes sense that Jacksonville Regional Economic Development Corp. choose a unique approach to nominate a top industry for the year.

At its annual Harold Cox Industry of the Year event Thursday at Water’s Edge Winery, JREDC honored three entities that have shared the same mission over the past year: keeping the community safe during a pandemic.

The award has been presented annually since 1990 to a company that exhibits exceptional business development and activity that enhances regional economic viability.

This year, the honor went to the Jacksonville Memorial Hospital, the Morgan County Health Department, and the Jacksonville / Morgan County Emergency Management Office.

During a year of extraordinary challenges for medical professionals, Jacksonville Memorial employees have faced physically and emotionally exhausting work and large numbers of patients, according to JREDC. Although it was difficult to see friends and neighbors suffering from such a devastating illness, the hospital staff supported each other and worked together to meet the needs of their patients and our patients. communities, depending on the organization.

The Jacksonville / Morgan County Emergency Management Office worked alongside hospital staff to ensure the well-being of the community. The pandemic brought the office’s work to the forefront as it coordinated with private and public partners to ensure risk mitigation and lay the groundwork for a recovery.

The office’s partnerships include the Morgan County Department of Health. Over the past 18 months, raising awareness of COVID-19 has been a top priority for health service staff. From communicating daily updates to providing tests, contact tracing and vaccinations, staff members have worked to ensure the Jacksonville area has the tools to be as safe as possible.

JREDC President Jodee Nell recognized the winners during her remarks. In addition, she thanked JREDC President Kristin Jamison and Vice President Bonni Waters for their work under difficult circumstances.

“We can all agree that 2020 has been a challenging year for everyone, but Kristin and Bonni have adapted to the times and have spent countless hours educating and informing businesses of opportunities for help during the COVID-19 pandemic, “she said.

Jamison and Waters worked throughout the onset of the pandemic, focusing much of their efforts on helping small businesses and nonprofits access grants through state and local programs. Over $ 1.3 million in assistance has been provided to entities in Morgan and Scott Counties through the efforts of JREDC and community partners. The organization also serves as a “community navigator” through the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunities Small Business Grants program.

During Thursday’s investor appreciation event, JREDC honored Mike Hayes and The Hayes Group with the Champion Award. The Hayes Group has steadily grown its operations in Jacksonville since 2005. Hayes, originally from Jacksonville, began his entrepreneurial efforts with a homemade ice cream shop and communications group. Today, the Hayes group of companies has grown to include more than 400 residential units and several hundred thousand square feet of retail space, including the former AC Humko factory, the Dunlap Center and the former building. from the US Bank in downtown, as well as five buildings on the former MacMurray College Campus.

The Hayes Group’s latest project is the Country Club Hills and Waters Edge Winery & Bistro subdivision of Jacksonville on East Morton Avenue.

“I was born and raised in the north and northeast of this community, and I have always seen the east side of Jacksonville as an opportunity to develop the economic base of our city,” said Hayes. “We will continue to expand our presence in Jacksonville and work hard to ensure the city’s economic and cultural growth. “

The mission of Jacksonville Regional Economic Development Corp. is to create, develop, recruit and retain employment opportunities for Morgan and Scott Counties. The group of investors dates back to 1964, when Jacksonville Area Industrial Corp. was formed with the aim of creating jobs by acquiring new industries and helping the growth of existing industries.


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