What goes into creating a successful business or community? Many things, perhaps, but it's leadership that gets people excited-and gets things done. Whether you're building your company's client roster or building a new community center, leaders are on the front lines.
In this 11th year of honoring the area's young leaders, it's more evident than ever how fortunate central Illinois is to have the wealth of talented and committed individuals to guide our communities' development. In the pages that follow, you'll read about our best and brightest 40 Leaders Under Forty.
This distinguished recognition program started in 1994, when InterBusiness Issues and corporate sponsor Caterpillar Inc. set out to highlight the young talent among us. The results were astounding, and a tradition was born.
The members of the 2004 Class of 40 Leaders Under Forty were chosen because of their commitment to professional development, taking entrepreneurial risks, adapting to an expanding world marketplace, and investing in their communities and the people who live there. They, in turn, will inspire future leaders, who will build on the skills and attitudes demonstrated by these individuals.
With help from sponsors Caterpillar Inc., RLI, OSF Saint Francis Medical Center, Illinois Central College, Associated Bank, and Lippmann's Furniture & Interiors, these 40 leaders were honored at a prestigious awards ceremony November 3 at the Hotel Pere Marquette's Cotillion Ballroom.
This issue of InterBusiness Issues is dedicated to the 40 winners.
Kris Arvind is a principal at CGN & Associates, Inc., where he's lead project manager for large-scale business process improvement, organizational effectiveness, program management office, and technology initiatives; directly involved in sales support of large accounts; and manages the development of a company-wide Web, training, marketing, and publication initiatives. Some of his recognitions include Awards of Merit, Excellence, and Most Improved from the Society for Technical Communication; a Reader's Digest Foundation Writing Award; and First Prize in a Women's History Month Bulletin Board Contest, President's Commission on Women. Among his community activities, Arvind is an EMT and member of IMERT's Central Team, volunteers as an American Red Cross CPR/first aid instructor and Disaster Action Team member, donates to The Box Project to help alleviate rural poverty, volunteers at the Hindu Temple of Central Illinois, and volunteers at Kellar Primary School.
Mark Barrett is president and founder of Albero Di Vita LLC, where he oversees the daily operations of the company, tends to accounts payable, builds cabinets and other millwork products, and markets the company to prospective clients. Among his accomplishments, he's a 2004 graduate of the Peoria Area Community Leadership School and a 2003 graduate of the Canton Area Leadership School. Some of his military awards include the Navy Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Meritorious Unit Commendation, Kuwaiti Liberation Medal from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, Southwest Asia Service Medal with two stars, and Good Conduct Medal. Some of Barrett's community activities include lending his services to the Color Guard for parades, sponsoring and captaining a youth baseball team in Elmwood, sponsoring Christian activities in Elmwood, emceeing a local talent show, serving as a group panelist for NOVUS, and participating in "Swapping Rooms" in Peoria.
Amy Benecke McLaren is a design engineer for the Peoria County Highway Department. In that position, she designs roads, highways, bridges, and drainage structures; prepares all necessary plans, contracts, permits, and specifications for design projects; conducts Peoria County bridge inspections; acts as resident engineer for federally funded construction projects; directs construction and maintenance work on the county roadway system; and serves as project liaison for multi-governmental feasibility studies. Benecke McLaren received the Illinois Association of Park Districts/Illinois Park Districts and Recreation Association Community Service Award in 2000. Her community involvement includes the Peoria/Pekin Urbanized Area Transportation Study Technical Committee, Illinois River Valley Council of Governments Stormwater Committee, Peoria Urban Forestry Advisory Board, Peoria Jaycees, Luthy Botanical Garden volunteer, 4-H judge for Knox County, Habitat for Humanity Women Build.
Kristen Berchtold is development coordinator for the Peoria Zoological Society/Glen Oak Zoo, where she manages the zoo's membership program through marketing, development, and retention; plans and implements special events; administers the donor database for all fund development efforts; and writes, lays out, and designs communication materials. Her accomplishments include serving as the founding president of Women in Leadership of Central Illinois in 2004, winning the Women of Achievement Award in the Not-For-Profit category from the Peoria Chapter of Women in Management, and receiving the national Charlotte Danstrom Award from Women in Management. Active in the community, Berchtold volunteers for the Pleasant Valley School District, the Central Illinois Chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners, Women in Management, YWCA, and the Mental Health Association.
Rhonda Bessert is vice president of human resources for Maui Jim, Inc. She and her team are responsible for international and domestic staffing, benefit administration, payroll, and training and education of all Maui Jim employees. Among her accomplishments, Bessert was designated as a Senior Professional in Human Resources, and over the last nine years, she was promoted from director to manager to vice president of human resources. As the company has grown, Bessert is now responsible for human resources of 380 staff in nine countries. Her community activities include co-chairing the Maui Jim Christmas in April project, assisting with Maui Jim Children's Home Golf outing, assisting with the Maui Jim Friendship House Maka Maka 5k race, organizing the Maui Jim Red Cross Blood Drive; and organizing various activities for Children's Home including trick-or-treating, clothing drives, and a Christmas coloring event.
Lindsey Birkel is a communications specialist in the Track Type Tractors Division at Caterpillar Inc. She manages employees and community relations, as well as print and publishing services for her division. Her duties include meeting planning, coordinating special projects, writing and editing newsletters, developing and executing strategic communication plans for each department, and promoting TTTD-related events and information throughout the company. She organized National Youth Service Day 2003 for Children's Home, received a 2003 Master Communicator Award, a 2001 Communication Leadership Award, and the Bradley University Volunteer of the Year Award. Some of Birkel's volunteer efforts include membership on the Children's Home Foundation Board of Directors, the CWTC Board of Directors, the Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce Community Leadership School Steering Committee, and the Central Illinois Bradley Alumni Chapter Board of Directors.
Andrew Brooks is junior/senior high school principal of Delevan Schools, where he supervises, evaluates, and provides staff development for 30 non-certified staff members; manages the junior/senior high school budget; manages the athletic budget and activity accounts for co-curricular clubs; creates master schedules and registers all students in grades nine to 12; developed curricula for a new computer course sequence; and applies for grants and additional educational funding. Some of his accomplishments include securing a grant and facilitating additional fundraising to build and furnish the Delevan Fitness Center, improved the graduation rate from 84 percent in 2001 to 100 percent in 2004, and worked with community stakeholders in establishing the Delevan Education Foundation. Among his community commitments, Brooks is a member of the Rotary Club, teaches a kindergarten class at New Life Christian Church in Morton, and he researched and compiled information to initiate a community smoking ordinance in collaboration with the City of Delevan.
David Byerly is director of economic development for the City of Canton. He's responsible for providing leadership to a collective economic development effort; acts as lead contact, negotiator, and deal closer for public economic and community development issues; develops programs and finds project funding; and aids in the advancement of economic, community, and workforce development. Some of his accomplishments include receiving an Outstanding Leadership and Management designation from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, having a Nationally Showcased Project at the U.S. EPA National Brownfield Conference, and being credited with Outstanding Leadership and Support of Small Business by the U.S. Small Business Administration. His community involvement includes the Heart of Illinois Regional Port District, Peoria Area Convention and Visitors Bureau Advisory Board, IDOT Advisory Group: 336 Project, 336 Coalition, and Canton Community Resources, and the Canton Area Chamber of Commerce.
Clay Canterbury is president/CEO of Cast Technologies, Inc., where he's in charge of long-term financial forecasting/monitoring; union relations and contract negotiations; hiring and training of key management positions; improvements/upgrades to buildings, machinery, and computer systems; and monitoring the quality and productivity. Some of his accomplishments include being nominated for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year in 2004, implementing QS-9000 Certification, and graduating from the Chamber of Commerce Leadership School in 1998. He's also authored articles published in the national publications Valve Magazine and US Business Review. Active in the community, Canterbury is a volunteer speaker at Bradley University, volunteered for the WTVP's capital fund drive, and has committed to the Laramie Mental Health Association, American Cancer Society, and the Alzheimer's Association.
Dr. Leo Chen is a senior engineering project team leader at Caterpillar Inc., where he leads a team to provide timely, quality solutions to Caterpillar engine business units and acts as program manager for the division research program to reduce the engine development cycle time, while improving quality. Among his accomplishments, Chen received the Innovate Illinois Award from Gov. George Ryan; Caterpillar Environmental Excellence Gold Award for Virtual Fabrication Technology; and Caterpillar's Ten to One and Welding in Competitive Advantage Annual Quality Improvement awards, Technology & Solutions Division. He also holds two patents. Active in the community, Chen volunteers with the Peoria Chinese Association, the American Society for Materials, the ASM-Heat Treating Society Quenching & Cooling Committee, and served as webmaster for the ASM-HTS online International Process Modeling Committee.
Debra Conklin is the logistics engineering manager for Manufacturing Logistics & Transportation (ML&T), a department of Caterpillar Logistics Services, Inc. Her responsibilities include developing manufacturing and assembly logistics and transportation-related products and processes to improve supply chain quality and robustness and reduce overall costs. Among her accomplishments, Conklin graduated from the Morton PCU Leadership Institute; is a certified 6 Sigma Master Black Belt; and co-authored a paper titled "Joint Load Building and Vehicle Routing Problem," which was presented in June 2004 at the International Material Handling Research Colloquium in Graz, Austria. Some of her community activities include membership in the Society of Women Engineers, four years as ambassador for the Morton Chamber of Commerce, six years as co-chair of the 10K/2Mile race for the annual Morton Pumpkin Festival, and three years as an officer on the board of the Peoria Water Wizards Swim team.
Stephanie Deiters is a funeral director/embalmer and co-owner of Deiters Funeral Home, where she's responsible for the day-to-day operations of the business including directing funerals, employee relations, public relations, and pre-arrangement of funerals. She received the National Funeral Directors Association's Eagle Award in 2004, was nominated for a Small Business Person of the Year Award in 2002, and was selected as a finalist in the 2004 Stevie Awards for Women Entrepreneurs. Among her community service, Deiters is active in the Illinois Funeral Directors Association District #8, is a board member of the Mortuary Science Program at Carl Sandburg College, serves on the board for the Washington Historical Society, serves on the Washington Leadership Challenge Advisory Board, is a member of the Rotary Club of East Peoria, and is a community speaker regarding funeral service issues.
Michael Dexter is community president of First Bank in Peoria, where he supervises the operations and lending functions of First Bank's four branches, with an emphasis on marketing and commercial lending. His accomplishments include graduating from the Peoria Chamber of Commerce Community Leadership School in 2001, being named one of the Top 10 Leaders Under 45 in Kewanee, and becoming a commissioned bank examiner for the FDIC for nearly nine years. Active in the community, Dexter serves as the Youth Farm board chair, is president-elect of the Peoria Downtown Kiwanis Club, is a board member of the Central Illinois Bradley Alumni Chapter, coached youth basketball for the past two years at Grace Church in Morton, and serves on the Communications Team at Northwoods Community Church. Previously, he served as president of the YMCA board in Kewanee and as a member of the Kiwanis, the Ambassadors Club, and the Kewanee Economic Development Council.
Sara Dill is director of administration and business development for the Children's Hospital of Illinois. She's responsible for strategic planning, marketing and sales, and facilities planning; financial analysis; government relations; physician recruitment; advocacy; and board development. Her accomplishments include receiving the Peoria Police Department Distinguished Citizen Award, State of Illinois Emergency Medical Services for Children Excellence in Pediatric Care Recognition, and The Salvation Army Pinnacle Award for Coats for Kids; establishing one of four national statewide hotlines to report improperly restrained children; chartering the first hospital advocacy center dedicated to injury prevention; and developing and launching the first hospital Web site. Among her community involvement, Dill is a Hult Health Education Center board member, Peoria Park District soccer coach, Children's Home Advocacy Committee, Academy of Healthcare Executives Diplomate, and a member of the Moss Bradley Neighborhood Association.
Dr. Eric Elwood is chief of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria (UICOMP), chief of Pediatric Plastic Surgery at Children's Hospital of Illinois, and chief of Plastic Surgery at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center. As an assistant professor of plastic surgery, he performs surgery and teaches resident and medical students. As course director, he instructs a plastic surgery elective for senior medical students.
Elwood is a Diplomate of the American Board of Plastic Surgery and American Board of Surgery, a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, received the American Society of Transplant Physicians Young Investigator Award, and received an award from the Plastic Surgery Research Council in 1996. His community involvement includes membership on the UICOMP Executive Committee, the Executive Committee of the UICOMP Department of Surgery, and the OSF Order of Saint Francis Foundation Counsel.
Megan Fulara is an election administrative assistant for Peoria County, where she carries out tasks associated with elections and dictated by the Illinois State statues. She updates the voter registration system, coordinates and manages interns, and maintains campaign finance disclosure filings. Her accomplishments include a 2004 scholarship to the Illinois City/County Management Summer Conference, a 2000 Bradley University delegate to the Democratic National Convention, a 2000 nominee for Glamour Magazine's Top 120 College Women, and a 1997 recipient of the Mayor's Medal of Honor for Community Service in Park Ridge. Currently, she's president of the American Society for Public Administration Heart of Illinois Chapter, board member of the League of Women Voters of the Greater Peoria Area, co-coordinator for Voter's Final Call, Scholarship Committee member for Planned Parenthood Heart of Illinois, and a volunteer for the Center for Prevention of Abuse.
Kyle Ham is director of public policy at The Heartland Partnership, where he directs, evaluates, and coordinates all projects and activities for the organization. Among his responsibilities, Ham manages the Heartland Angel Network, is a member of the Peoria NEXT Implementation Team, vice president of the Heartland Commerce & Economic Development Foundation, director of Economic Development of Woodford County, vice president of the Agricultural Research and Development Corporation Board of Directors, and assistant secretary of the Port District. Ham is a graduate from the Chamber of Commerce Community Leadership School, a member of the Young Professionals Organization of Greater Peoria, and was a regional campaign manager for Jim Ryan for Governor. Some of his community efforts have included playing a key role in the grant submission process for federal funding for the Peoria NEXT Innovation Center and becoming deeply involved in the creation of the newly established Tri-County Venture Capital Fund.
Charles Hanley is a funeral director and embalmer at Preston-Hanley Funeral Homes in Pekin and Creve Coeur, where he's also responsible for personnel scheduling and, as a licensed insurance producer, provides pre-arrangement counseling for the business. Some of his accomplishments include acting as a Deputy Local Registrar of Vital Records for Tazewell County, serving as the Republican Precinct Committeeman for Tazewell County, and graduating from the Pekin Area Chamber of Commerce Leadership Academy in 2004. Active in the community, Hanley is a member and immediate past president of the Rotary Club of Pekin, a member of the Tazewell County House of Hope Board of Directors, a member and past president of the Illinois Funeral Directors Association District #8, a member of the National Funeral Directors Association, a member of the Southside Business Association of Pekin, and a former member and lieutenant of the Pekin Police Department Explorer Post #400.
Mark Honeg is vice president and co-owner of Cox Transfer Inc. Among his responsibilities, he heads operations; is involved in the dispatch, customer service, and sales areas of the business; works on all asset purchases, insurance, compliance, hiring, and retention issues; reviews and advises on the balance sheet, I&E statements, cash flow statements, and tax forecasts prepared by the controller, as well as outlines the financial plan the company will follow. His accomplishments include meeting or exceeding sales forecasts in seven of the last eight years, reducing non-operating expenses by 20 percent, receiving an award from Caterpillar's Technical Services Division for Outstanding Customer Service, establishing a flatbed division in 2002, and establishing a brokerage division in 2003. Among his community involvement, Honeg is captain of the Eureka Fire Department, volunteer for the Eureka Christian Church, Habitat for Humanity, Youth Farm Inc., and Woodford County Relay for Life.
Lauren Howell is manager of the Peoria Park District's Luthy Botanical Garden. She's responsible for staff selection, management, training, and evaluation; special events, fund raising, and the volunteer program; developing and managing the operational budget; community relations; directing the operations of the Garden's Trellis gift shop; developing, overseeing, and promoting community use and rental of the conservatory and garden; and maintenance of the facilities. Among her accomplishments, she developed the eight annual special event fund raisers for the Garden, her design and implementation of the Children's Garden at Luthy earned a Partners in Peace Award, and a landscape design she developed for a Peoria Park District property earned a Peoria City Beautiful Orchid Award. Active in the community, Howell is treasurer and past president of ProHort, a member and chairman of the I-74 Landscape Beautification Committee of Peoria City Beautiful, and a member of the Peoria Garden Club.
Robin Hunt is the owner/instructor of Peoria Jazzercise and president of Just Jazz'n, Inc. Her responsibilities include scheduling classes, working with staff, marketing, and public relations. She also teaches at least seven aerobic classes a week. Some of her accomplishments include growing the number of Jazzercise classes and instructors in the Peoria area over the past five years; being chosen to mentor current instructors and certify new instructors; and reaching Pacesetter Elite, the highest level of Jazzercise class owner distinction. Through Jazzercise activities, Hunt helped raise more than $100,000 for a variety of charities in the past 10 years including Relay for Life, Race for the Cure, and the March of Dimes. Among her other community commitments, she's active in Kids Get Fit and has taken the program to more than 25 local schools. She also volunteers at her children's school and has performed in shows for the Peoria Park District and at Eastlight Theatre.
Barbra Kerns is a media specialist at Bradley University, where she manages the Instructional Technology Assistance Center (ITAC) operations and staff; coordinates a lecture series; develops and delivers training seminars for faculty, staff, and students; and manages the Blackboard online course management system. She's also vice president of The Bailey Group, Inc., where she develops historic property to use as professional office space; manages business aspects, client negotiations, marketing, and finances; designs restorations and landscaping; and negotiates with contractors. Among her accomplishments, Kerns won the Bradley University Bartlett Award for 2003, including a $20,000 stipend; coordinated the Bradley University Technology Expo; and received an award from the International Visual Literacy Association for an article she co-authored. Her community involvement includes St. Mark School, St. Mark Women's Club, Peoria Municipal Band, and West Peoria Fire Department photographer/ videographer.
Jeff Koch is the marketing communications manager at OSF HealthPlans, responsible for providing a variety of internal and external communications and public relations activities. He designs, develops, writes, and produces a variety of publications, newsletters, handbooks, manuals, brochures, Web site material, and advertising. Koch has earned internal and external recognition through the What Outstanding Work program at OSF HealthPlans, formed and chaired an external communications workgroup that reviews all written correspondence sent to OSF HealthPlans' constituents, and has been a longstanding member of the OSF HealthPlans Mission Committee. Active in the community, Koch helps raise more than $10,000 per year for Children's Hospital of Illinois, coaches youth basketball, volunteers at grade schools and day cares, volunteers for Christmas in April, and is the Coats for Kids co-chair at OSF HealthPlans.
Ric Krupps is an associate broker at RE/MAX Unlimited. In addition, he's the managing partner of development companies LOK, K&O, and Hampton's Crossing; owner of real estate corporation RLK; and managing partner of All Star Dumpsters. Among his accomplishments, Krupps received ReMax International's Chairman Award and the International's Hall of Fame Award, closed more than 128 transactions totaling $24 million in sales volume in 2003, ranked number four out of 800 in the Peoria Area Association of Realtors in 2003. Active in the community, Krupps donates a portion of every commission to the Children's Hospital of Illinois, sponsors the Bartonville Food Pantry and the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, is a Limestone Youth Baseball Coach and Girls Basketball League sponsor, a Monroe School Booster Club sponsor, donated the lot and built the home for The St. Jude Home Giveaway Raffle in 2003, and is a Springdale Cemetery Cleanup volunteer.
Robert Manning is a financial consultant and second vice president at Smith Barney, providing wealth management strategies including long-term financial planning, investment services, trust/estate tax planning, and philanthropy. During his career, Manning achieved Executive Club status for exceeding production targets, earned a Masters Champion recognition for performance and implementation of firm strategies, and consistently ranked highly in client satisfaction. Among his community involvement, Manning is a member of St. Vincent de Paul's Men's Club, Creve Coeur Club of Peoria, Christian Business Men's Committee, volunteers for South Side Mission, volunteers for Cystic Fibrosis Silver Cup Challenge, serves on the Hult Health Education Center board, serves on the Financial Council for the Catholic Diocese of Peoria, and is a long-time member of the University of Notre Dame Alumni Club of Peoria.
Matthew Martin is vice president of SC2, where he also serves as a corporate officer. His responsibilities include managing the corporate office, staff, and the purchasing group for the company. He has oversight of operations of the new acquisition in Normal, quality programs such as QS-9000, improvement programs such as 6 Sigma, technology, marketing, sales and quoting, acquisitions, and strategic planning. He's also a trained 6 Sigma Black Belt. Martin's community involvement includes coaching little league baseball and youth soccer; membership on the Washington Recreation Association Baseball Board; being a member, vice president, and chair of the Finance Committee of School District 51; membership on the Sports Ministry Committee at Northwoods Community Church; and directing the flag football program at the Washington Park District.
Gina Morss-Fischer is a news anchor and reporter at WEEK-TV/Granite Broadcasting, where she anchors the 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. newscasts; provides reports for the 10 p.m. news; writes, edits, and develops stories; serves as a mentor to new reporters and other staff; and acts as an ambassador to the community on behalf of the station. Her accomplishments include recognition by the Illinois Associated Press as one of the best reporters in the state, recognition for spot news reporting and anchoring by the Illinois Broadcasters Association, and receiving the 2004 Tiger Pride Award from the University of Missouri Alumni Association-Greater Peoria Alumni Chapter. Active in the community, Morss-Fischer is a board member of Family House and Peoria Ballet, hosts the Children's Miracle Network Broadcast and St. Jude Telethon, volunteers for the Alzheimer's Association, and emcees Parkinson's Alliance and Diabetes Association events.
Sunil Oberoi is the owner and a financial representative of Northwestern Mutual Financial Network in Peoria. His professional specialties include risk management, wealth accumulation planning, estate planning, and business succession planning. Oberoi is a member of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors and is a qualifying member of the Million Dollar Round Table, a prestigious recognition in the insurance and financial services industry. In 2003, he ranked in the top 3 percent of Northwestern Mutual's sales force. In addition, he's led the John Wright managing partner agency for three years in a row and has a client base of 420.
His community involvement includes membership in the Rotary, the Indo-American Society of Peoria, the Indian Association of Peoria, and the Hindu Heritage Center of Peoria. Oberoi chaired India Fest 2004 and coaches soccer and baseball at Neil Armstrong School in East Peoria.
William Pearson Jr. is the owner of Dollar Rent A Car and co-owner of a new car dealership, Finish Line Ford. As owner of Dollar Rent A Car, he's involved in the day-to-day running of the company, as well as pitching in to handle duties such as washing cars, answering phones, or taking reservations. Pearson's accomplishments include the 2001 Minority Business of the Year Award from Illinois Central College and ECHO, recognition as an Up and Coming Minority Business by the Peoria Journal Star, and recognition from Dollar Rent A Car Corporation for Service, Growth and Commitment and ranking in the top 10 franchises for customer service.
Among his community involvement, Pearson volunteers for Special Olympics, Children's Home, Cub Scouts, P.A.C.E., the Peoria Jaycees, Peoria Area Zoning Ordinace Board, The Salvation Army, St. Jude, and the United Way.
Laura Petersen is an attorney and partner in the law firm of Quinn, Johnston, Henderson & Pretorius. Her areas of concentration include health care law, medical and professional negligence, and appellate practice. She also co-chairs the firm's associate training program.
Among her accomplishments, Petersen was accepted as a life member of the National Registry of Who's Who, published in the 2000 edition, and received Bronze Training Certification from the Junior League of Peoria Leadership Development Institute. Her community involvement includes the Junior League of Peoria, Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce, vice president of the Pro Bono Committee for the Peoria County Bar Association, the Peoria County Bar Association's Project Angel Tree, the Family House's Christmas Magic program, the Peoria Jaycees, pro bono legal service volunteer, and contributing author to Peoria Medical Society magazine Peoria Medical News.
Tracy Pogue is a project manager at OSF Medical Group, primarily responsible for administrative projects that improve critical business or clinical processes. She's also been responsible for several small and large OSFMG building projects. In addition, she owns PogoBand. Among her community involvement, Pogue has been a Junior League of Peoria member since 1996 and active in many of the League's projects. Most notably, she chaired Project Success. She was instrumental in initiating Peoria's Promise after Peoria sent a delegation to Washington D.C., working with United Way and all the local youth organizations in Peoria to promote volunteerism. Other community work includes fundraising for Crittenton, Christmas in April, the Coats for Kids drive, donating blood for the American Red Cross, participation in Adopt a Family through OSFMG, Children's Hospital of Illinois, and Peoria Academy parent class.
Aaron Schock is president of the Peoria School Board and was a candidate for State Representative of the 92nd District. Among his accomplishments, Schock earned a Bachelors degree in finance from Bradley University in just two years, started a small business following college, and received the Peoria Jaycees Good Government Award in 2004. When he was 19 years old, he initiated a write-in campaign to become a school board member, and he won with a 60 percent margin over the incumbent. Active in the community, he volunteers for Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Youth for a Cause, the Chamber of Commerce's Education Task Force, Heart of Illinois Kids Count, St. Jude Telethon, medical missions to Mexico, serves on Mayor Ransburg's Vision 2020 Youth Education and Learning Committee, and is president of the Peoria Public Schools Educational Foundation.
Karoline Seitz-Goddard is vice president and senior client relationship manager at Central Illinois Bank. Her responsibilities include managing the business development/client relationship department of the bank; completing requests for proposals and bank bids, as well as approving pricing; calling on prospective customers and maintaining existing relationships; coordinating trade shows; supervising a staff of three; and being the main cash management/commercial deposit sales representative. Among her accomplishments, Seitz-Goddard is a 1993 Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce Community Leadership School Graduate, and during her tenure as market manager for the Peoria, Springfield, and Lincoln areas, she and her teams achieved a 20 percent deposit growth for their region. Her community volunteer work includes the United Way, Christmas in April, Junior Achievement, Easter Seals, and the Steamboat Classic preparation activity Building Steam Training Program.
Julie Snell owns Snell Communications, currently responsible for overseeing all operations of the Central Illinois Gus Macker Basketball Tournament. As sole proprietor, her duties include managing staff, coordinating event details, accounting, and the budget process. Among her accomplishments, Snell received the TCRC Volunteer of the Year Award for 2003, received the Silver Dome Award from the Illinois Broadcasters Association for Outstanding Achievement in Broadcasting while at WMBD TV, and she coordinated between the National Gus Macker and The Washington Park District to find a new home for the event. Active in the community, her past and present commitments include Tazewell County Recourse Center, The Salvation Army, Northwoods Community Church, Washington Central Grade School, The United Way, Easter Seals-UCP, Cystic Fibrosis, Muscular Dystrophy Association, Race for the Cure, American Cancer Society, Christmas in April, and the Arthritis Foundation.
Michele Sullivan is a 6 Sigma Black Belt at Caterpillar Inc., where she provides technical leadership and coordination to 6 Sigma Black Belts for major growth and improvement projects within the North American Commercial Division. She also manages the development and maintenance of methods and systems for measuring the degree to which the project goals and objectives are being met. She's an active member of the Little People of America, is a team leader for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's annual walk, supports the Central Illinois Riding Therapy organization and the Brain Injury Group, and participated in the construction of a Habitat for Humanity house. She's also a founding member of the Bottom Line Traders. To educate the community on people of short stature, Sullivan is also a public speaker, accepting engagements for organizations such as the Girl Scouts, churches, schools, and the American Business Women's Association, among others.
Holly Teig is a distribution services consultant for Caterpillar Logistics Services Inc., where she contributes to the development of a new logistics software package as a subject matter expert in materials management. Her duties are to collaborate with team members around the world to develop functional specifications, user interfaces, testing plans, and implementation strategies for the new software. Her accomplishments include resolving technical issues in the Release 2 software specification phase in 2004, leading the procurement sub-team for the software Release 1 specification phase in 2003, and leading the materials management in starting a regional logistic center in Singapore in 2002. Teig is a Junior League member, actively involved with many projects including the Keepsacks for Kids Project. She's director at large for the Caterpillar Women's Golf League and has been an active member of the Society of Women Engineers for 20 years.
Dr. Suneela Vegunta is medical director at Heartland Community Health Clinic. Her responsibilities include supervising all nurses and health care providers at three different sites and maintaining quality of care at the clinic. She also teaches at the University of Illinois College of Medicine-Peoria. Under her leadership, clinicians from the OSF Mother Francis Krasse Clinic and the Primary Healthcare Clinic providers at Human Service Center are now working with Heartland to better serve the area's underprivileged. Some of her other accomplishments include being named a Research Fellow in Reproductive Endocrinology at Ohio State University and authoring women's health articles on rosacea, aging skin health, osteoporosis, sun safety, and other topics. Among her community activities, Vegunta is a board member of the Center for Prevention of Abuse, a member of the Medical Advisory Board and Women's Health Advisory Board at OSF, and a speaker on women's health issues.
Angela Weck is the executive director of the Peoria Area World Affairs Council. She's responsible for coordinating the organization's programming activities, including identifying potential speakers; making contact with domestic and international political and civic leaders, academic experts, and authors; and setting the logistics for PAWAC programs and conferences in Peoria. She also teaches part time in the Institute of International Studies at Bradley University, primarily courses pertaining to Russia and Eastern Europe. Some of her accomplishments include helping PAWAC become recognized for Outstanding Achievement by an All-Volunteer Council, participating in an exchange program to share ideas with the Soviet Union as they made plans to privatize their state, and receiving a WEEK 25 Women in Leadership award. Among her community activities, Weck is a soccer coordinator and coach at St. Mary's School of Kickapoo, a volunteer for the school, and a Peoria Lion's Club member.
Amanda Wozniak is news director at WHOI-TV, where she's responsible for the day-to-day news operations at the television station and her staff of 30. She's also responsible for special projects including "Kids Count," "One Class at a Time," "Speedcam," and "Every Vote Counts"-plus sweeps planning, election coverage, and other projects. Among her accomplishments, Wozniak was named news director at age 25. She's helped her station give teachers in the Heart of Illinois more than $10,000 in grants as part of its "One Class at a Time" campaign; received recognition for making roads safer in September with an American Red Cross Heartland Hero Award for its ongoing "Speedcam" series; gave out more than 15,000 free DNA Child ID kits; and helped launch the "Kids Helping Kids" initiative. Her community involvement includes work with Neighborhood House, American Red Cross Safe Communities Committee, Peoria Area Safe Kids Coalition Board, and the Woman's Advisory Council.
Dr. Sarah Zallek is medical director of the OSF Saint Francis Sleep Disorders Center and a clinical assistant professor at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria. Her responsibilities include evaluating patients and interpreting sleep studies, teaching sleep medicine to medical students and residents, presentations and community education on sleep medicine, overseeing 24 staff and the sleep technician training program, overseeing physician interpretation of infant home apnea monitoring, and ongoing development and implementation of policies and procedures. Among her accomplishments, Zallek developed the OSF Saint Francis Sleep Disorders Center, merged the Infant Apnea Center into the OSF Saint Francis Sleep Disorders Center, was named a Caterpillar Faculty Scholars Fellow, and was cited for the most outstanding development and performance of National Sleep Awareness Week activities among all sleep disorder centers throughout the U.S. Her volunteer activities include PARC, Rotary Club of Peoria-North, ProPeoria Association, and LINCS. IBI