Prior to visiting Greater Peoria for the first time, Brian Ray was determined to forego any extensive research. “I wanted to come in with a blank slate — no expectations,” he recalls. “I just wanted to see how the city presented itself to me.” As he met people and learned more about the region and its history, it began to feel like a place he and his family could call home. “Even from the beginning, it felt very comfortable,” he affirms.
With a promising career opportunity on the horizon, Brian and his family made the move to Greater Peoria in 2017 — and were immediately greeted with open arms. “One of the great things about Peoria is that there are pockets of communities everywhere,” he notes. “Whether that’s a neighborhood, a faith community or a sports community, there are so many different options.”
While their kids built connections at school and through sports, Brian and his wife found community on Moss Avenue, a historic, tree-lined thoroughfare in the heart of Peoria. “It is a neighborhood in the truest sense of a neighborhood,” Brian says, describing the close-knit group of friends they bonded with. “They really embraced us, and that’s been a lot of fun.”
As Regional President of PNC Bank, Brian engages directly with the broader community across central Illinois, serving as the face of their philanthropic efforts. Through various outreach programs and a strong focus on early childhood development, he and his team make a direct impact on the region every day. “I feel really proud to work for a company that’s so invested in the local community,” he adds.
Outside of work, family and faith, Brian’s greatest passion is cycling — and with all our trails and roadways, he couldn’t have found a better place to pursue that interest. He also enjoys hitting the greens at a local golf club and even picked up a new hobby in recent years: aviation. Greater Peoria, with its vast resources and rich amenities, has actively nurtured these passions.
“Short commutes, no traffic, incredible natural resources, parks, outdoor adventure… really everything you could want,” Brian declares. “The quality of life that we get to live here, with the low cost of living, just makes Peoria an incredible place to call home.”