A Publication of WTVP

Every community must ask itself if it nurtures and develops a leadership culture — in its companies, its government, its social service, its events. Peoria is such a place.

InterBusiness Issues and 1470 WMBA News Radio uncovered 40 outstanding young leaders who make oru community a better place in which to live and work. In 1994, when the challenge went out to find potential leaders to guide Peoria into the next millennium, InterBusiness Issues, 1470 WMBD News Radio, corporate sponsor Caterpillar Inc., and other area companies led the tri-County area in identifying and honoring 40 Leaders under Forty from throughout the Peoria area. Members of the business and professional community were so amazed at the number of successful young leaders — we repeated the challenge in 1995, 1996, 1997,and again this year.

The 1998 class of 40 Leaders Under Forty comprise a group of individuals who consistently demonstrate their ability to adapt to a changing workplace, take responsibility for their own professional development, take risks as entrepreneurs, and still volunteer for the betterment of the community.

Our future leaders will build on the skills and attitudes demonstrated by the talented individuals profiled on the following pages.

These 40 leaders were honored at a prestigious awards reception at the Hotel Pere Marquette's Cotillion Ballroom November 2 (aired live on WMBD.)

This issue of InterBusiness Issues is dedicated to the 40 winners.

Tony Benavidez is senior territory manager for Multi Ad Services, responsible for selling advertising and marketing concepts to Fortune 500 corporations and their ad agencies in Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, and Indiana. He has been recognized by the $1 Million Dollar Sales Club and Presidents Club at the company. He is a board member as well as an award winner in the Peoria Advertising & Selling Club.

As a community leader, Benavidez has personally committed himself to the welfare of young children, coaching Biddy Basketball, soccer and baseball for area organizations; volunteering his time with cub scouts and girl scouts; and as picture person at District 150’s Charter Oak School.

He believes he can best effect tomorrow’s leaders by impacting their lives as children today, and applies his strong Christian beliefs on a daily basis in his professional and personal life.

Benavidez is chairman of the board of trustees at Northwest United Methodist Church and chair of its building expansion committee.

He has a contemporary Christian singing ministry with area church youth and adult groups.

Michelle Robbins-Bernier is vice president, institutional portfolio manager for the State of Illinois at National City Investment Management Company.

Michelle’s position evolved after her abilities were recognized during the merger of First of America and National City. As an undergraduate of Illinois State University, Bernier received her MBA from Bradley University and graduated from PACC Community Leadership School.

She served as president of the Central Illinois Chapter American Institute of Banking from 1989 to 1990. During 1993 and 1994, she served as the financial analyst for the business segment on WEEK-TV’s Live at Five broadcast each Monday night.

Her community involvement includes her present position as board president for The Center for Prevention of Abuse; and the Investment Task Force for the Kickapoo Council of Girl Scouts. A Eucharistic Minister at Blessed Sacrament, she also volunteers at Blessed Sacrament School where her three boys attend.

Bernier co-chaired the annual fundraiser Duck Race for the Center for Prevention of Abuse from 1996 to 1998 and received the organization’s 1998 Volunteer Award.

David Bielfeldt is president of the Anchor Group, responsible for investments and real estate development.

He volunteers his time and expertise with various community organizations, serving on the Economic Development Council, Bank One (Peoria), the Salvation Army Board of Directors, the Glen Oak Zoo and Peoria Zoological Society, The Bielfeldt Foundation, and the Peoria Area Community Foundation Board.

As vice-president of the Peoria Zoological Society, he is working to help build a new and expanded zoo at Glen Oak Park.

He served on the strategic planning committee for the Peoria Area Community Foundation. Bielfeldt is active in the University of Illinois Loyalty Circle and the First English Lutheran Church, co-chairing the remodeling of church Nave and acquisition of the pipe organ.

His focus on quality of life and his commitment to social welfare issues is reflected in his work, on new business development, the Riverfront and Peoria Heights development projects. Bielfeldt is someone who actively cares and believes in the success of Peoria, and promotes and fosters “personal bests” for both the people in our community, and its organizations.

Alma Brown is currently assistant city manager and public information officer for the City of Peoria.

Recently she began her own business, Basic Business Service and Event Planning, which coordinates many events in Peoria including visits from Peoria’s European sister cities. She is currently coordinating the 100th Anniversary of City Hall

As a community volunteer, Brown served as a board member of the Peoria Area Community Events for the past 10 years, and currently co-chairs the Rib Bib Cook Off.

She is a board member of the Women’s Fund of the Peoria Area Community Foundation, the YWCA, and the Center for Prevention of Abuse. She currently serves on the Peoria School District Task Force, and is a member of Public Employees for Community Concerns, which coordinates the annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. community celebration luncheon.

Brown is also active in the Junior League of Peoria, the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, the Riverfront Programming Committee, and the City, County Communications and Marketing Association.

She is a 1995 graduate of the Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce Community Leadership School.

Tim Butler is the communications director for United States Congressman Ray LaHood.

He is responsible for overall communications strategy for the 14 counties served by Congressman LaHood, and often acts as Congressman LaHood’s spokesman.

Butler quickly rose through the ranks from committee staffer to his current position, demonstrating communications savvy and political alertness far in advance of his age. He is responsible for all news releases, coordinates all media activity, and briefs the Congressman daily on community issues.

As a community volunteer, Butler is a member of Peoria’s Promise Community Team and the Central Illinois Red Cross Safe Communities Committee.

He is a frequent speaker at area high schools and colleges on communications and politics, and volunteers with various political campaigns.

Butler is a member of the judges panel for the Everett McKinley Dirksen Award for Distinguished Reporting of Congress.

He is a 1998 graduate of the Peoria Chamber of Commerce Leadership School.

Joan Carroll is assistant vice president and compliance/community reinvestment act officer for Commerce Bank.

She began her career in banking as staff auditor in 1988, and was one of the youngest females to be promoted to assistance vice president in 1995.

Carroll started Commerce Bank’s Community Service Committee, which researches volunteer opportunities for employees and facilitates their participation.

She has been active with the Christmas in April Peoria program since 1994, initially serving as house captain for three years.

In 1997, she became president of Christmas in April, assuming responsibility for organizing 1,500 volunteers to rehab 20 homes in Peoria. In 1998, she consented to a second term as president, and 23 homes were rehabbed with the assistance of 1,800 volunteers. She received the “Hearts and Hammer” award in 1998.

Carroll is currently president of Financial Institutions Community Reinvestment Act Council, having been a member since 1995; treasurer of the United Cerebral Palsy organization; and serves as a Community Advisory Board member for the Junior League of Peoria.

Maria V. Cimadevilla is currently interim director and coordinator for the Professional Development Institute of Illinois Central College.

She oversees the PDI as an independent business unit of the college, developing and implementing training programs, public workshops and seminars. She is responsible for forming partnerships with leading edge national training organizations to meet the needs of the corporate community. Cimadevilla is trilingual, speaking English, Spanish, and French.

She became a consultant with Educational Testing Service in 1995 and was promoted to be a scoring leader in the Graduate Management Admissions Test. She consulted in international business advertising and marketing strategies since 1995 with clients in Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Iowa.

Cimadevilla is vice president of the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Peoria; treasurer of the Peoria Ballet; and serves on the board of American Association of Women in Community Colleges. Her awards include the Women of Achievement Award in Academia from Women in Management; Who’s Who Among American Teachers; and Outstanding Young Women of America Award.

Les Cohen is executive vice president of Cohen Development Company. Since 1991, he has been involved in the development, redevelopment, and leasing of approximately 2 million square feet of retail real estate in three states, including the creation of Factory Stores at Tuscola and the re-merchandising and renovation of Westlake Shopping Center, which won the Mayor’s Beautification Award in 1994.

A member of Rotary, he served on the Chamber of Commerce, the Mayor’s Development Committee, and PRIDE. He underwrites the Charlie Rose Show for WTVP-47, and has been active in several environmental advocacy organizations for many years.

He is a local martial arts instructor at The United Black Belt Academy & its Karate for Kids programs.

He was educated in political and environmental science at Bowdoin College; in law at Oxford; and from 1986 to 1988 was a National Endowment for the Arts Fellow at the American Film Institute in Los Angeles.

His professional education continues at the MIT Center for Real Estate Development and the International Council of Shopping Centers certification programs.

Kathryn S. Connor is chief pharmacist in the family business, W.R. Smith Drug Store.

She is a third generation pharmacist, working at the business her grandfather began in 1938.

She manages pharmacy operations, counsels patients, and coordinates communication between physician and patient’s pharmaceutical needs.

Her mother, also a pharmacist, and four sisters work in the business.

Connor is a member of Central Illinois Pharmaceutical Association, the Peoria Downtown Rotary Club, where she is current chair of the scholarship committee; and Central Illinois Friends of People With Aids, chairing the volunteer committee in 1998.

She is also a member of the Illinois Valley Striders, serving as a group leader of Building Steam in 1998; and the Children’s Home, cochairing the fund-raiser Tour de Chicken in 1998.

Connor makes a positive impact on those lives she comes in contact with and continues to support the community as her family has for 60 years.

Mary Corrigan owns and manages the Law Office of Mary Corrigan.

Her practice focuses on general business law, estate planning, probate and real estate.

She volunteers her time and services through the Peoria Chamber of Commerce, South Side Mission and St. Thomas Church.

From 1996 to 1998, Corrigan chaired the Small Business Division for the Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce, and currently chairs the Community Development Division.

She has been an active member of the board of directors for three years.

Corrigan spoke at seminars sponsored by the National Business Institute and Continuing Legal Education Services for the Peoria County Bar Association and People’s Law School. Corrigan is a member of the Illinois State Bar Association, Peoria County Bar Association, American Inns of Court, and the Advisory Board for Minnie Stewart Foundation in Monmoth, Illinois. She is also a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma Alumni Group.

Jeni Couri is owner of JenCo & Associates, Inc., an accounting business she started in 1992.

She is past president of the Central Illinois Bradley Alumni Chapter; past president of the Peoria County Lawyers Auxiliary; and is treasurer for St. Sharbels Church.

She has been a member of the Board of Directors of the Race for the Cure since 1993.

A Junior League of Peoria member since 1990, Couri served as Fund Development Chair and Julep newsletter editor.

She is currently fund-raising research sustainer advisor for the Junior League of Peoria.

A mother of two, Couri volunteers her time at their school, Holy Family; and is past treasurer at St. Sharbel Church in Peoria.

Believing in maintaining a balance between career, family and community service, Couri actually opened her own business to help her achieve those goals.

Her strengths of leadership, organization, and prioritizing are skills that make her contributions to any project or board invaluable.

Ellen Davies is administrative assistant for the director of print services at RLI Corp., responsible for daily operational and administrative tasks.

She currently serves on the executive board-for a second term-as vice president of marketing and communications for the Junior League of Peoria; and served as chair of the Junior League’s 1995 Julep’s Closet, that organization’s largest fund-raiser.

She also serves as 1996 fundraising council vice president, and 1997 special events chair for the Junior League.

Davies volunteers at Washington Gifted School, and at the Peoria Heights United Congregational Church where she serves as a Sunday School teacher.

She is also active in the Kellar School’s craft sale and Parent Teacher Organization.

She uses her organizational and consensus building skills to effectively be a leader in the areas in which she chooses to participate.

Davies and her family live in Peoria, and she is dedicated to making it a great place to live and work.

Doug Draear is division manager for the Peoria and Macomb locations of Kirby Risk Electrical Supply. He is a graduate of Illinois Central College and Taylor University in Indiana.

He began his career as the manager of a software company in Houston, Texas, then joined Kirby Risk as an account manager in Danville, later transferring to the Peoria area as division manager. Kirby Risk presently has 40 locations in Illinois, Indiana and Ohio. Doug’s career with Kirby Risk has been one of continued accomplishment and advancement.

Draear received various levels of recognition from Kirby Risk Corporate for his more than 10 years of dedicated service, including business expansion and sales growth. He currently is leading his organization to a successful conclusion of its ISO 9002 Certification.

Draear serves on the Economic Development Council board of directors, the Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce golf committee, and is a member of Peoria Riverfront Investors for Development and Expansion (P.R.I.D.E.).

He resides in Tremont, where he actively participates in coaching youth baseball and basketball teams.

Pete Fandel is extension unit educator, crop systems for the University of Illinois Extension in Woodford County.

His responsibilities include development, implementation and evaluation of all agricultural programs in Woodford County as well as the tri-county area, specializing in crop education.

He is involved in all multi-county educational efforts including Agronomy Day, Crop Scouting Field Day, Tractor-Safety Certification and Soybean Cyst-Nematode testing.

He chaired three Farm Safety Camps for Kids with WMBD and Illinois Central College.

Fandel is a Hunter Safety Course instructor for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, and serves on the Ag Advisory Board for the Future Farmers of America Chapter in Metamora.

He is also involved in the Mackinaw River Watershed Project and is an active member of the 4-H Memorial Camp Board of Directors.

Fandel was recognized as an outstanding professional with the University of Illinois Extension, and awarded the USDA Merit Award by the Soil Conservation Service, and the Early Career Service Award by Epsilon Sigma Phi.

Robert G. Ferlmann is director of Bulk Energy and Logistics for Central Illinois Light Company, responsible for all energy trading activity.

Ferlmann manages a 12-person department that trades $150 million in wholesale gas and electric power contracts. He demonstrates leadership qualities of wisdom, intuition, initiative, and judgement while reacting to the continual changes caused by deregulation to the electric and natural gas industry while supporting CILCO’s mission of initiating change and offering electric choice for all customers.

A Certified Public Accountant, Ferlmann is a Bradley University MBA graduate. His community service involvement includes the Peoria Area Community Events (PACE) since 1989, chairing the Taste of Peoria in 1992 and 1993, fund development in 1996 and the outdoor concert series in 1996, 1997, and 1998. He was appointed to the CILCO compensation committee responsible for restructuring the wage/incentive program in 1998.

He serves on the Allocations Committee for the Heart of Illinois United Way agency and volunteers with the American Cancer Society, YMCA Challenge Cup, Young Republicans and is a Eucharistic Minister for St. Thomas church.

Gregory Gerontes is an agent for Hecht-Stout Insurance Agency, Inc., and a member of Peoria Insurance Professional Insurance Agents.

With an Illinois State degree in Psychology, Gerontes began his career with the Peoria Public School District 150, then transferred his skills to the insurance industry. He is a graduate of Cincinnati Insurance Company New Agents School and received the Professional Independent Insurance Agents of Illinois Tuition Scholarship for advanced designation as a Certified Insurance Counselor.

He serves on the Lakeview Museum’s New DeVinci Council as treasurer, and is a past president and secretary of All Saints Greek Orthodox Church. He participates in fundraising events for St. Jude, Easter Seals, the Arthritis Foundation and the Mental Health Association, as well as the Greek Fest ‘98 sponsored by all Saints Greek Orthodox Church. He is secretary to the Jubilee Woods Home Owners Association board and researched a viable plan to create a more pleasant waterscape for the subdivision.

Gerontes was also chair of the 10 year Richwoods High School Class of 1983 reunion.

Robert Goodman
, director of Customer Development for Pepsi-Cola General Bottlers, Inc., is responsible for sales and marketing of Pepsi-Cola and related products for the Peoria, Bloomington and Danville areas.

He began his career with Pepsi-Cola in 1982, transferring to the Peoria office as director of marketing in 1994.

Goodman is involved in various marketing organizations including the Peoria Area Sports Commission, Ambucs and was also instrumental in Pepsi signing on as title sponsor of Gus Macker in Peoria.

He encouraged Pepsi to help support the Park District Riverfront festivals, and developed a Pepsi School Caps program that resulted in several local schools earning thousands of dollars.

He is a board member of the ISU Redbird Educational Scholarship Foundation and volunteers with the Louis Louis Parade for leukemia, the Steamboat Classic, Taste of Peoria, Moonlight Basketball and Bradley University Women’s basketball. Because of his efforts, Pepsi was a major contributor to March Madness in 1996, 1997 and 1998.

Michael R. Gudat is vice president of sales and marketing for Multi-Ad Services, Inc., responsible for sales to Fortune 500 companies, medical centers, and sports organizations.

He is a certified graphic arts executive, one of only 141 executives to earn this designation, the highest available.

Gudat is a current member of the Multi-Ad executive management team, assuming the position in just eight years.

He was promoted to vice president in 1997 after demonstrating the ability to lead change and growth within.

He was awarded the Multi-Ad President’s Cup for outstanding divisional sales performance in five of seven years.

A lifelong member of the Peoria community, Gudat attended Bradley and Illinois State University.

His entrepreneurial ventures include the purchase and operation of 39 apartment units. In addition, from 1992 to 1996 he was instrumental in bringing two Blimpie franchises to Peoria.

He has been a member of the Peoria Area Ambucs since 1991.

He serves as a Peoria Chamber of Commerce ambassador, and is an active member at Redeemer Lutheran Church.

Ron Helms is a supervisor for Mercedes Restaurants, Inc., overseeing the management of 10 restaurants throughout central Illinois and Missouri.

Helms annually organizes the Taste of Peoria for five of the participating Mercedes Restaurants. As a volunteer, Helms is a past board member of United Cerebral Palsy as well as having served on various committees with Easter Seals, and Thomas Jefferson School’s PTO .

He has been involved as Mercedes company representative for the past 10 years with the Adopt-A-School program and Kellar school.

He is also the Mercedes representative for various fundraising events such as Wines on the Waterfront, Affair of the Heart, United Cerebral Palsy telethons, Easter Seals, Children’s Hospital and Muscular Dystrophy. He was the winner of the Mayor’s Rib Bib Cook Off in 1997.

In his 17 years with Mercedes Restaurants, Helms has not only supervised, but mentored young managers and employees.

Don Johnson is the executive director of Hult Health Education Center, responsible for the annual budget, fundraising, staff assignments, development and interaction with the board of directors.

As associate director he obtained more than $500,000 in state, local, and foundation grants for the center, Illinois Department of Public Health, and American Cancer Society since 1988. During the last four years, he developed and implemented programs for the ACS concerning tobacco control, nutrition, prostate cancer, breast cancer and was instrumental in obtaining funding for Fox 43 television spots.

He established working collaborations with 15 agencies and organizations and developed an annual plan to reach 35,000 students at Hult Health Education Center.

Johnson is a board member of the American Cancer Society and chaired the Prevention and Early Detection Committee of the ACS Peoria Unit. He was logistics chairperson for the 1997 and 1998 “Relay for Life” fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. Johnson is a national board member on the national Association of Health Education Centers.

Mary Jane Johnson is a chartered financial consultant with Cal Cheney & Associates, specializing in benefits planning for Caterpillar professionals.

She recently passed the comprehensive examination for the Certified Financial Planner designation, held by less than 10 percent of financial professionals nationwide.

Johnson currently is the first vice president of the Kickapoo Council of Girl Scouts USA and member of the Kickapoo Council Board of Directors, while chairing the finance committee from 1995-1998.

She was president and treasurer of Lettie Brown School PTO in Morton and was president, vice president of membership and board member of the Peoria Area Chapter of Women in Management from 1989 to 1994.

She received a Woman of Achievement Award in 1997 from the Peoria Chapter of Women in Management, and twice received the Alumni of the Year Award from Bradley University’s chapter of Pi Beta Phi sorority.

She received the bronze sextant, gold sextant, and star producers Awards from The New England.

Mark Jordan is the pastor of discipleship ministries at First United Methodist Church, responsible for Christian education, outreach, family ministries, leading worship and preaching, and small group ministries.

His ordination process began about six years ago when he left an engineering position to enter the seminary. He received his Master of Divinity from Emory University in 1996, graduating Magna Cum Laude, and became an ordained Elder of the United Methodist Church in 1998.

He established himself as a true leader within the church and started new programs and successfully led teams within the church. Jordan initiated “Main Stage Ministries,” an outreach for singles and young married couples that takes place in a coffee house atmosphere and features Christian bands sharing Christ with the late-night crowd on Saturday nights.

He leads and nurtures through management of adult education (600+ attendees), children’s education, family ministries, and Perceptions, a local radio broadcast. Additionally, he led a team that started a third service on Sunday mornings for contemporary worship.

Greggory S. Ketay is executive vice president and chief operating officer at John P. Pearl & Associates, Ltd.

During his 10 years at Pearl, Ketay helped the company proactively manage the many changes within the insurance industry. He is responsible for the administrative functions of the three strategic business units at John P. Pearl & Associates: life, health and accident, professional liability and employee benefits. He provides strategic forecasting and planning to determine the direction of JPPA’s present and future insurance operations.

Ketay is involved with the City of Peoria designated zoning ordinance board . He served as a member of the board of directors, finance committee and chairman of the long-range planning committee for the Hebrew congregation Agudas Achim, and served as a member of the Jewish Federation of Peoria Community planning group.

Ketay graduated from Illinois State University and went to work for Dun & Bradstreet in public accounting. He twice won Dun & Bradstreet’s Presidential Citation for outstanding performance. He is a member of the Professional Insurance Marketing Association and Professional Liability Underwriting Society.

Kathy Kujawa is director of home care and hospice services at Methodist Medical Center.

She directs six divisions of healthcare involving a team of 115 skilled providers. She successfully integrated home care and hospice services at Methodist, ensuring that patients move comfortably from one service to another, when necessary, with the same caregiver.

She also successfully implemented a centralized intake area in which one call sets up all home care needs. She also coordinated a pastoral care program in the Medicare certified home care agency, the only one in the area with this type of program.

Kujawa is a certified internal auditor and a certified fraud examiner, with an MBA from Illinois State University. She served as president of the Central Illinois Chapter of the Institute of Internal Auditors, and received the Outstanding Chapter Member of the Year award.

While employed as an internal auditor at Champion Federal Savings and Loan and First of America Bank Corp., she won the “Star” award twice for excellent customer service.

Bill Kwon is associate vice president and a financial advisor for Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, responsible for investments and retirement planning.

He is a Morgan Stanley Director’s Club member and national sales director award winner who achieved the executive assignment with the Peoria office after only two years with the firm. He was ranked one of the top three account executives in the U.S. in his previous position with MCI.

Kwon is currently vice chairman of the Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors, and serves on the chamber’s small-business committee and Area Business Connection subcommittee. He played an integral roll in the concept and creation of the Ambassadors Development Committee. Kwon volunteers with hockey programs for Peoria youth and the Heart of Illinois United Way, serving as liaison to the Bradley University student fundraising program. He also works with junior high youth at Northwoods Community Church.

In addition to his work at Dean Witter, Kwon teaches business administration at Bradley University. He’s also been financial editor for Illinois and Indiana.

Sally McKee is the Sunday features editor for the Peoria Journal Star.

She supervises a staff of 15, and the production and news content of the Sunday paper along with all features sections. She co-chaired the team that revamped the Peoria Journal Star content, and received newspaper “section” awards from the Illinois Press Association in 1997 and 1998.

She served on the Journal Star’s ESOP committee and held numerous offices in the Newspaper Guild. McKee co-taught communications courses at Bradley University, the first husband/wife teaching combination at the school. She also serves on the Vidette Board at Illinois State University, which oversees a $900,000 budget and is responsible for hiring top staff positions at the student publication. In May of this year, McKee was diagnosed with breast cancer, underwent a mastectomy and is currently undergoing six months of chemotherapy. After her surgery, she was back to work within two weeks, full-time. She worked a little harder, moved a little faster, laughed a little louder, and lived life a little more fully. Her colleagues call her the newsroom’s unofficial entertainment chairwoman.

Marcy Morgan is intranet project leader at Caterpillar Inc.

She works within the multimedia products group helping the advertising group develop standards and a production process for CD-ROM promotion kits. This led to corporate-wide standards for all CD-ROM production.

Currently, she provides leadership in the development of a strategy for Caterpillar’s corporate intranet through the use of corporate-wide standards for the development of the internal websites. She extends her professional commitment to Community Now, a group of Caterpillar employees dedicated to community involvement.

A 1998 graduate of the Chamber of Commerce’s Community Leadership School, she was part of the winning team evaluating mentoring in Peoria. Morgan joined the Junior League of Peoria in 1994, participating in various projects. She is co-chair of the logistics committee for Christmas in April, a board member of the HOI Big Brothers/Big Sisters and is a member of Peoria’s Promise. While attending Bradley University, she was the Outstanding Marketing Senior in 1994 and received the Proctor & Gamble Sales Award in 1993, for the top junior-year marketing student.

Mark Nelan is vice president of sales for Hunter’s View, Ltd., overseeing the day-to-day operations of the company.

He is responsible for the sales force internally and externally through contracted manufacturer’s representatives, and maintains relationships with major retailers across the country. The company has grown from under $50,000 in total sales last year to just under $2,000,000 this year.

Nelan received the Peoria Area Home Builder’s Service Award in 1991, and served as President of the Home Builders Association and state vice president. He recruited more than 100 new members in Peoria for the Home Builders’ Association.

He is involved with the Tree Stand Manufacturers Association, promoting hunting tree stand safety.

Nelan served on the Board of Directors for Family House and Big Brothers/Big Sisters, and is active with the Easter Seals and numerous past service projects for Rotary.

He was co-chairman of the materials committee for the Tri-Centennial Playground. He coached Biddy Basketball and Little League and participates on teams for the Cursillo and Teens Encounter Christ organizations.

Dr. W. Greg Nulty is an internal medicine/pediatric physician with the OSF Medical Group-Glen Park. He is also involved in the medical training programs through the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria, helping medical students and residents to reach their ultimate goals of becoming medical professionals.

He is on the board, and a regular physician volunteer, at Heartland Community Clinic where he volunteers one day per week and serves as medical director during the director’s absence.

Upon graduation from the U of I School of Medicine in Rockford, he received the Thomas Reeves Award, the top honor given for academic excellence and outstanding leadership. During Dr. Nulty’s residency at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center, he was chosen “Chief Resident” for four years.

Since 1994, he served as a mentor for the Internal Medicine Residents at the U of I College of Medicine. As a physician, Dr. Nulty is a strong patient advocate, often taking extra time to counsel patients.

He is an active member of the Christian Medical Society and openly shares with his peers, students and patients the interdependency of medicine and faith.

Lynn O’Brien is executive vice president of O’Brien’s Jewelers Inc., of Peoria and Champaign, and also a gemologist in charge of the appraisal department, responsible for purchasing, advertising and assisting customers.

She is one of 36 people nationwide to achieve the degree of Master Graduate Gemologist and arranges for her staff to attend continuing education opportunities.

O’Brien and her husband own and operate the business and recently relocated both of the O’Brien’s Jewelers stores.

She served on the Illinois Jewelers Board of Directors the last two years, helping bring the convention to Peoria last year, and is currently co-chairing the Illinois Jewelers Convention.

O’Brien is a member of the Crittenton Care and Counseling Center board, and will be co-chairing the Crittenton-Crisis Nursery’s annual auction for the second year.

A Junior League of Peoria member, she is working on fundraising research.

O’Brien also volunteers with the Praise and Leadership Academy, Glen Oak Zoo, Easter Seals, and Friends of People with AIDS.


Katherine O’Hara is marketing coordinator for the Economic Development Council of the Peoria Area, responsible for implementing the EDC marketing plan and targeted attraction strategy, coordinating public relations ad fundraising efforts and managing the database and information tracking.

She recently joined the EDC after serving as membership coordinator for the Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce to increase recruitment and retention of chamber members. She worked closely with the ambassadors to more clearly define the organizational sales process and marketing materials, implemented database sales management and contributed to the planning of a membership and retention drive. Her entrepreneur activities include establishing O’Hara & Company, which conducted customer satisfaction and market research projects for a variety of businesses.

O’Hara is a member of the Tazewell County Community Health Assessment; and president of the Friends and Neighbors Network Board of Directors, the Heart of Illinois United Way Community Link/Volunteer Center, The ECHO Trade Fair Steering committee, the Public Relations Association and Peoria Advertising and Selling Club.


Charli Oliver is a systems supervisor at Caterpillar Inc., responsible for computer-aided design, data management and imaging systems used worldwide.

Her team at Caterpillar received a United States patent for developing a method for automatically determining the productivity of an earthmoving machine in real-time, using an on-board computer.

She led a team of developers who support the system—which provides worldwide access to more than 5 million electronic engineering and manufacturing drawings—and led the division’s efforts to showcase information technology for the next century at a technology fair. She led a team that developed electronic training aids to simulate Caterpillar equipment and provide dealers with a cost-effective way to train personnel on troubleshooting electronic component problems.

Oliver is vice-president and membership chairman of Lakeview Museum’s New daVinci Council, and is a member of the Heart of Illinois United Way fund distribution committee. She volunteers with the Junior League of Peoria, currently as Julep’s Warehouse Chair. She is a Peoria County Deputy Registrar; president of a women’s investment club, and a Junior Achievement advisor.


Peter Russell is general sales manager of WEEK-TV where he is considered a steady force in his sales team’s hectic efforts.

He has been active in the Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce since 1992, when his team project won first place in the Community Leadership School. As a CLS graduate he served on the steering committee from 1993 to 1997, and also as chairman in 1997.

Russell is the current chairman for the St. Jude Telethon and serves on the St. Jude public awareness committees. He sits on the Peoria Area Retarded Citizens board of directors, governmental affairs and membership committees. He also serves on the Gridiron Board of Governors.

He volunteers for Yule Like Peoria campaign, and Bethel Lutheran Church’s vacation bible school. He is also a member of the Rotary Club of Peoria.

He served on the Peoria Chamber of Commerce board of directors, and serves on the chamber’s communications committee. He joined the Peoria Advertising and Selling Club in 1990. Russell received the Cable Advertising Bureau’s Sales Promotion of the Year Award in 1990.


Tony Schierbeck is vice president of customer development for Methodist Medical Center; devoted to building and maintaining personal relationships with area business leaders.

He designs healthcare benefit programs for companies that go beyond the traditional norm so as to promote good health and wellness for everyone concerned.

A Peoria native, Scheirbeck moved to Austin, Texas, to become the executive director of Austin Occupational Health. When he and his family moved back to Peoria in 1990, he became Methodist’s director of occupational health and wellness.

Schierbeck initiated the planning and further development of Wellness and Occupational Health based at Methodist. In 1994, he assumed the responsibilities for all managed care contracting at Methodist, significantly increasing the number of health related contracts with local and regional employers, trust funds, and unions.

He received the Rookie of the Year Award from the American Business Clubs in 1994, and in 1997 was voted “I Care” employee of the month at Methodist. He was admitted to Associate Status of the American College of Healthcare Executives in 1996.


Mark A. Scott is an account executive with ALLTEL, and a sales leader since he began his career more than 10 years ago. Scott was the only sales rep in the Peoria area for Centel Cellular when he began in 1987.

The company then became Sprint Cellular, then 360 Communications, and now ALLTEL. He received numerous sales awards including the President’s Award for outstanding sales and service in 1992 and is recognized nationwide within his company as “The Best of the Best.”

He set and continues to set all sales records within his company and remains the top sales representative. Scott is a member of the Easter Seals board of directors, coached Peoria Youth Biddy Basketball for nine years, serves on the Bradley Chiefs Club Board since 1991, co-chaired the VIP for Easter Seals Telethon, and volunteers with the Children’s Hospital of OSF Saint Francis and St. Jude of Peoria.

According to co-workers, Scott is a leader professionally with his volunteer community involvement. He takes charge and moves forward independently or in a team setting, and he always leads by example.


Janet Smith is manager of client services for Proctor Hospital, directly responsible for marketing and coordinating the mobile mammography program with the Susan G. Komen Memorial Chapter. She was instrumental in bringing Proctor Hospital and the Susan G. Komen Memorial Chapter together in a joint effort to promote breast awareness and education to 12 rural central Illinois counties.

Smith is also in charge of the corporate wellness program at Proctor. She is an American Diabetes Foundation board member, Peoria adult literacy program volunteer and a 1999 volunteer coordinator chairwoman for the Race for the Cure.

Smith serves as a Sunday school teacher with the Women’s Ministry at Mt. Olive Missionary Church, and children’s choir coordinator. She also received the Young Business Women of America award.

According to co-workers, Smith personifies professionalism and leadership in her workplace and the community by her positive attitude, and willingness to help others.


Sarah M. Stout is vice president of sales and marketing for Multi-Ad Services. In this executive management position, Stout is responsible for divisional activity in the Kwikee Systems Division, overseeing marketing, sales, product development, and sales coordination.

Since joining Multi-Ad in 1988, Stout served in five management positions. In 1991, she initiated business plans, hired all staff and managed Multi-Ad’s first satellite office in Minneapolis.

Stout is currently the first president on the board of The Contemporary Art Center of Peoria. She also consults for Junior Achievement and teaches courses on families to first graders at Tyng Elementary School. In 1996 and 1997 she served as vice president of marketing for Heart of Illinois Big Brothers/Big Sisters and is currently marketing director for the Illinois Valley Striders.

She was volunteer of the year for the Steamboat Classic, and was a recipient of The President’s Award for the Illinois Valley Striders. She completed three marathons and appeared in several Peoria community theater productions. In May 1998, she was honored as Distinguished Alumni at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.


Matt Taphorn is a financial consultant trainee for A.G. Edwards, after serving as controller of Primedia Special Interest Publications for seven years. When the company was restructured and operations moved to New York, he chose to stay in Peoria and utilize his financial and communication skills by joining A.G. Edwards.

He is a member of the American Institute of CPA’s and the Illinois CPA Society, where he served on the board. Taphorn was the first president of the Illinois State University I Club in 1995 and is a current board member.

He also served as volunteer chairman of the Hersey Hawkins Weekend of Winners fundraiser from 1994 to 1996. Through his leadership, the event has grown from raising $9,100 in 1991, to $25,687 in 1998.

He is currently the treasurer of the Children’s Hospital of Illinois, where he volunteers extensively. He is an Illinois State University Basketball broadcaster and participates in the YMCA Challenge Cup, American Cancer Society Hoops for Life. Taphorn has coached Biddy Basketball, Blessed Sacrament co-ed softball and in the Morton Youth Baseball Association.


Julie Vaughn is director of business outreach for Illinois Central College, working with business and industry to assess employee training and development needs, implement credit or noncredit educational initiatives, assess outcomes, and provide follow-up training when necessary.

She led a staff development committee representing all ICC employees to plan and implement a comprehensive staff de elopement program. The focal point was the Great Employee Seminar Series, and has presented the successful program to state and national organizations.

She was presented the national John Frye Individual Merit Award by the National Council Staff, Program, and Organization Development. Vaughn has been active in the Peoria Area Community Events executive board since 1989, the Muscular Dystrophy board, Easter Seals publicity committee and St. Jude telethon.

She was Peoria Professional Business Association president in 1990, on the Peoria Rotary North Board in 1995, and on the Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce Community Leadership School committee from 1987 to 1989.


Cathy Williams is coordinator of development events at Lakeview Museum, responsible for the organization of all fundraisers and special events; and serves as staff liaison to the New daVinci Council.

She coordinated the 10th biennial Lakeview Museum Auction in June of 1998, which raised more than $130,000. She currently is a grant writer for the Junior League of Peoria, a Crittenton Counseling board member, and Race for the Cure public relations chair.

As a volunteer with the Junior League since 1991, she served as assistant community research project development chair; board member, vice president project council; and leadership team member.

She is a 1998 Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce Community Leadership School graduate and volunteers with the Opera Illinois 25th anniversary ball. Williams volunteered with the 1998 BMW-sponsored Drive for the Cure for the Komen Foundation; and public relations chair for the 1998 to 1999 Race for the Cure. She also volunteers with Big Brothers/Big Sisters and Head Start. IBI