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, and the answer is a resounding “YES!”
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, 1998 and again this year — the last of the decade.
InterBusiness Issues and 1470 WMBD News Radio have again uncovered 40 outstanding young leaders who make our community a better place in which to live and work.
The 1999 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 community.
Our future leaders will build on the skills and attitudes demonstrated by the talented individuals profiled on the following pages. There 40 leaders were honored at a prestigious awards reception at the Hotel Pere Marquette’s Cotillion Ballroom November 3 (aired live on WMBD.)
This issue of InterBusiness Issues is dedicated to the 40 winners.
Gary Allen is president of Allen and Associates Real Estate, overseeing all appraiser and realtor transactions. He has served as president of the Pekin Area Association of Realtors, as well as chairman of the Multiple Listing Service committee, and Realtor Community Service, as well as serving on numerous association committees. He is a current board member of the association.
He has served on various committees and the board of the Illinois Association of Realtors, and is the recipient of the Pekin Area Association of Realtors award for GRI completion, the Illinois Realtors Association President’s Club bronze award, and the Pekin Area Association of Realtors Realtor of the Year award.
Allen is a member of the Real Estate Affiliates and Professionals organization, and an avid supporter of St. Jude-through donations of gifts to patients and their families-and Relay for Life, and speaks for Operation Snowball at various area high schools. A licensed Illinois real estate broker and realtor, and real estate appraiser, he is also developer of the Allen subdivision in Marquette Heights.
Sam Amick is a planned giving representative with the Salvation Army Peoria Corps Community Center. As a Corps sergeant major (deacon), he spends his weekends and evenings providing guidance to The Salvation Army church members and new officers. He teaches adult Sunday School classes, weekly Bible studies, a children’s program to homeless residents of the Salvation Army’s shelter, and is a member of the Corps band.
The Peoria Jaycees awarded Amick with the Outstanding Young Religious Leader in 1997, and he received the Man of the Year Award for the Heartland Division of the Salvation Army in 1995. He also received the Family Award at the Salvation Army’s Peoria Tri-County annual dinner.
Under his leadership, The Salvation Army provided relief to victims of the Great Flood of ’93. He helped with the Kids Day Away program, which provided 800 children the opportunity to escape their devastated homes for one day-taking a trip to a theme park.
He has also led youth groups, organized basketball programs, developed summer camp programs for at-risk youth, and provided guidance and hope for survivors at flood scenes.
Kirk Anderson leads a corporate division of P.J. Hoerr Inc., which has won numerous sales and design awards. He was elected and currently serves as, vice president of the Greater Peoria Contractors and Suppliers Association for 1999, where he oversees administration, project management, estimating, and sales for the construction projects. He was elected to serve as president of GPCSA for 2000.
He is a member of the Board of Elders at Our Saviour Lutheran Church in Washington, and co-founder and board member of the James B. Garber Memorial Foundation, which raises money for families of cancer victims.
Anderson is also a board member of the East Peoria Community Baseball Association. He is an active participant and fund raiser for March of Dimes Walk America. He is a Christmas in April volunteer; and a youth baseball, soccer, and basketball coach. His is a member of Ducks Unlimited, and involved with various local conservation projects.
Coworkers say he has a passionate commitment to ethical professionalism, leadership, and community service in all of his career and personal endeavors.
John Avendano is dean of student services at Illinois Central College, responsible for the development and administration of all policies affecting students on campus-including admissions and records, financial assistance, veterans affairs, counseling, advisement, career services, job placement, disability services, and athletics.
He is a member of the Illinois Council of Community College Administrators, the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators, the Association for Student Judicial Affairs, and steering committee member of Leadership Development in Illinois Community Colleges Student Affairs.
A 1996 Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce Community Leadership School graduate, he is a member of the Community Leadership School steering committee, and served as a project judge in 1998. A Deacon at Westminister Presbyterian Church in Peoria, he is a volunteer for Interfaith Hospitality Network in the tri-County area, a Heart of Illinois United Way campaign ambassador, and a volunteer for Habitat for Humanity, and the Leukemia Foundation and American Heart Association fundraisers.
Todd Baker is general manager of Belcrest Services Ltd., responsible for operation of Proctor First Care for Proctor Health Care Inc. He developed Proctor Hospital’s Inschool Health Center at three local grade schools.
A member of Peoria School District 150’s Inschool Health Committee, he is an active participant in the Heart of Illinois United Way’s Day of Caring; Christmas in April; the Healthcare Management Association; and the Medical Group Manager’s Association.
Selected three times as a YMCA Century Award winner, he is past chairman of the City of West Peoria board of appeals; a trustee/treasurer for the West Peoria Fire Protection District; a lifetime member of the Bradley National Alumni Association and Bradley Chief’s Club member; and coaches Little League for the Peoria Park District.
Baker is also on the support staff committee for the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure.
Co-workers cite this team player’s positive attitude, relentless work ethic, and resourcefulness as ingredients in his recipe for success.
Mary Bell is a service support department manager at Caterpillar Inc., providing Caterpillar’s worldwide marketing companies and dealers with the technical information and training, process support, and translation services required to support Cat products.
Bell has held various management and supervisory positions at Cat, fostering a strong sense of teamwork and camaraderie while achieving excellent business results. As manager of the Market Development Division for Remanufactured Products, she was part of a management team that greatly expanded the product line, achieving record sales growth.
As a machine business support manager for the Caterpillar Americas Company, she was a key team leader in the Pro2000 sales force development initiative, landing the Chairman’s AQI award in 1998. She also led the Cat Americas Culture Council, which served as an employee advocacy group. She has served on the Parc board of trustees since 1995, and on the Redeemer Lutheran Church board of education since 1993. At Cat, she served as a United Way coordinator for the various departments in which she worked.
Stephanie Bussey is an industry information coordinator in the Marketing Communications Services division at Caterpillar Inc., where she facilitates the articulation of industry content strategies for each of the Caterpillar industries in the E-commerce initiative; developing appropriate industry content to support those strategies.
A 1987 Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce Community Leadership School graduate, she is past president of the Peoria Advertising and Selling Club, and sustainer advisor to the fund development committee for the Junior League of Peoria.
Bussey has served on various committees and boards, or as a member of several local organizations, including Special Olympics, Women’s Fund of the Peoria Area Community Foundation, Family House, Public Relations Association of Central Illinois, Peoria-North Rotary Club, Peoria Symphony Orchestra, Peoria SERTOMA Club, Peoria Art Guild, Bradley University Chiefs Club, Peoria City Beautiful, WTVP’s annual auction, Bradley University’s Central Illinois Bradley Alumni Chapter, Illinois Valley Striders, and Peoria Arts and the Sciences Council.
William Christ is an agent with Country Companies Insurance Group, servicing the Metamora area.
He is the recipient of All America and All Star awards for service and sales to his clients.
A 15th generation farmer, he also farms 1,000 acres in Woodford and Marshall Counties, and was a finalist for the Illinois Jaycees’ 1992 Illinois Young Farmer Award.
He is chairman of the Woodford County Board Labor Committee; vice chairman of the Woodford County Board; director of the Farmers Grain Co-op; vice chairman of the Illinois FFA Foundation; and a member of the Tri-County Work Development Board.
Christ is past chairman of the Emergency 116 Ambulance Board in Metamora, and of the Metamora Businessmen’s Club; and past president of the Woodford County Youth Extension Council. He is also a Republican Precinct committeeman.
He is past honorary chairman of the Illinois Lung Association; and co-sponsor of the Woodford County Relay for Life Cancer Walk.
Two of the farms he works have been in he and his wife’s family for more than 100 years.
Donna Cruz is an assistant state’s attorney for the Peoria County State’s Attorney’s Juvenile Division, prosecuting child abuse and neglect cases.
She joined the State’s Attorney’s office in 1990 as the chief of the Juvenile Division, then served as felony assistant. She chaired the committee which created the Peoria County Protocol for the Investigation and Prosecution of Child Sexual Abuse Cases. She presented a lecture on the investigation of child sexual abuse cases at the 1997 Prevent Child Abuse-Illinois annual conference.
Cruz was on the steering committee that created the UIC Pediatric Resource Center; and served on the Resource Center’s executive board.
She is current president of the St. Thomas Parish Council; past committee member of Women Strength, and a volunteer at Holy Family school.
Coworkers say, “She possesses all the qualities of a true leader. She is quietly making a difference in the lives of many Peoria children, and vigorously pursues each and every project she takes on.”
Kelly Funke is principal at Princeville Community High School where she is responsible for curriculum development, staff supervision and evaluations, student supervision and discipline, grant writing, course scheduling, and coordination of vocational grant funds.
She is the recipient of the Bradley University Honor Scholarship, and the Illinois Women and Minorities in Educational Administration Scholarship.
Funke is a member of the Illinois Principals Association, and the Phi Delta Kappa Educational Honor Society.
She coordinated the student volunteer program with Princeville’s volunteer and ambulance departments; designed, implemented, and monitors student’s community service graduation requirements; and attends all sporting events and activities hosted by Princeville High School.
Coworkers say, “She dispels the stereotype of a school principal through the amalgamation of sensitive, insightful leadership-along with an appropriate sense of humor-enhancing the self-esteem and worth of each and every student at the school.”
Brigitte Grant is vice president of development for the Children’s Home Association of Illinois, providing leadership and strategic direction to fund raising, public relations, and volunteer services-including working with major donors to raise more than $650,000 to support critical service for area youth. Under her direction, the agency’s fund development program has nearly tripled in size.
As a member of the Downtown Rotary Club of Peoria, she is actively involved in its literacy reading program, serving as a team captain and reading with students at Tyng School.
Earning her MBA in May from Bradley University, she is just completing a three-year term on the National Society of Fund Raising Executives (NSFRE) board of directors, having provided oversight to the group’s external affairs. During her tenure, Grant chaired the NSFRE Philanthropy Day Awards luncheon for two years, as well as the group’s community service workshop-Fund Raising Basics 101.
She is continually recognized by the Children’s Home board of directors for the strong, creative leadership she provides to its development initiative.
Grant Grebner is owner of The Advertising Edge, an agency catering to livestock producers-a business he knows well as he also manages a 100-sow family swine operation.
He is a recipient of the 1999 Black Hawk College East Campus Outstanding Ag Alumni Award; the 1996 Woodford County 4-H Alumni of the Year award, the 1986 University of Illinois Coultas Award, and the 1985 Agricultural Leaders of Tomorrow Scholarship.
Grebner was selected to judge the 1999 Summer Type Conference National Junior Swine Spectacular in Indianapolis, the 1999 Houston Livestock Junior Barrow Show, and the 1999 Oklahoma City Barrow Show, among others.
Additionally, he served as a judge or chairman in the National Barrow Show in Austin, Minn., from 1992 to 1999, and at the North American International Livestock Exposition in Louisville, Ky., from 1989 to 1995.
He volunteers for the Woodford County 4-H program, and the Mid-Continent Livestock Exposition in Springfield; and developed curriculum and provided hands-on instruction during a summer camp for 4-H kids enrolled in swine projects.
Tracey Greenwood is a speech language pathologist for Northmoor-Edison Primary School, and Richwood’s region pre-K students. She specializes in motor-speech disorders in children, researching treatment protocols for children demonstrating motor-based speech disorders, and developing a syntax and morphology program that incorporates motor-learning theories. The result-improved intelligibility across conversation with children in the program. She is working to publish the program.
She is a recipient of the Peoria Public Schools Speech and Language Movers and Shakers award, a Neighborhood Development Commission Volunteer of the Year Award nominee, and a Junior League of Peoria January MVP award winner.
A member of the Peoria Area Speech and Hearing Association, serving as social arrangements chair from 1992-1993, and vice president from 1994 to 1995, she was a camp counselor for Cystic Fibrosis Camp and Easter Seals Technology Camp; and a member of the Peoria Chamber Achievers haunted house committee, raising money for the March of Dimes.
Susan Grzanich is academy director and assistant principal at Franklin-Edison Primary School in Peoria, responsible for building management, instructional leadership, monitoring transportation issues, facilitating the educational process, and assisting the principal.
Throughout her career, she has been a member of the District 150 Task Force, Phi Delta Kappa, Illinois Science Teachers Association, District 150 Sex Education Advisory Committee, and the Middle School Science Committee for District 150.
Grzanich is the recipient of the district’s Creative Classroom Award; the State Board of Education’s Those Who Excel Award of Excellence; Society of Automotive Engineers Educational Liaison Recognition Award and the Spoon River College Distinguished Alumni Award. She was keynote speaker at Western Illinois University’s pre-service teacher awards banquet, and is also the designer and coordinator of the Calvin Coolidge Middle School volunteer program.
She volunteers for the American Red Cross, Peoria Park District, John Keets March for AIDS Research, and Easter Seals.
Chris Heintzelman is director of hotel operations at Par-A-Dice Hotel and Casino, serving in that capacity since its opening, and leading the hotel to a more than 90 percent occupancy rate for 1999, with the largest market share in the Peoria area. He is responsible for hotel room operations and the hotel facilities.
He was selected as Manager of the Year in his previous position with Hyatt Hotels.
Active in the community, he is vice chairman of the Peoria Area Convention and Visitor’s Bureau board of directors, and an incoming board member with the Heart of Illinois Hospitality Association.
A 1998 graduate of the Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce Community Leadership School, he volunteers for the East Peoria Festival of Lights, Illinois River Beautification, Muscular Dystrophy Association, and the Heart of Illinois United Way.
Noting his commitment to professionalism, a co-worker said, “Chris has had a personal impact on my life to be a better worker, pursue excellence, and take pride in my work as a bellman. His family values and high moral standards are demonstrated on and off the worksite. His positive, cheerful attitude always make his employees feel appreciated.”
Virnette House-Browning is associate athletic director/senior woman administrator at Bradley University, representing the school at all Missouri Valley Conference and national meetings. She serves as department liaison to the Athletic Academic Advising program, Registrar, housing office, student affairs, Career Centre, women’s basketball and 15 non-revenue sports, and to the personnel office. Her duties also include monitoring and distributing the NCAA Special Assistance Fund; and serving as chair for coaching and administrative search committees.
A member of the Chiefs Club board, Varsity B-Club board, Bradley Athletic Department gender equity and minority opportunities committees, among others, she also finds time to serve on the YMCA board of directors, the Illinois High School Basketball Association state tournament committee, and the Bradley University alcohol action team.
She is a member of the Junior League of Peoria, and serves as on-air talent for WTVP-47 fund drives.
House-Browning is a member of the National Association of Collegiate Women Athletic Administrators, and Omicron Delta Kappa Leadership Honorary.
Kent Huntsman is executive director of development at Bradley University, overseeing all fund raising operations.
A recipient of the 1998 Ian T. Sturrock Outstanding Fundraising Executive Award, he directed Bradley’s fund raising team through the successful competition of the $100 million Centennial Campaign for Bradley University, raising more than $127 million.
A licensed certified public accountant, he is a member of the Fund Distribution Committee, associate chair of Fund Distribution Panel IX, and member of the Strategic Planning Steering Committee for the Heart of Illinois United Way.
Huntsman is a Merit Badge counselor for the W.D. Boyce Council of the Boy Scouts of America; a former bishop for the Church of Jesus Christ Latter-day Saints and current counselor to the Stake President, overseeing the youth program for central Illinois. He is also a member of the Rotary Club of Peoria North, and serves as advisor to the club’s foundation.
Active in the community, he is a frequent speaker to civic and social service organizations, including The Salvation Army and Hult Health Education Center.
Monica Jagiella is a financial consultant with Salomon Smith Barney, providing financial advice, guidance, and consulting to individuals and small businesses, and is a certified portfolio manager.
She has been recognized for outstanding client commitment, was an International Trade Award winner, and is consistently at the top rating of her professional peers, presenting numerous seminars throughout the area.
She was the Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce Ambassador of the Year for 1997-1998 and 1998-1999; and a board member of the Chamber Ambassadors and League of Women Voters. She is also the recipient of the Women in Management Woman of Achievement Award, and a member of the National Association of Women Business Owners.
She is a Neighborhood College Alumni, and volunteers for the Heart of Illinois United Way, St. Jude, the March of Dimes, Healthy Communities, Women in Management, the League of Women Voters, and the Peoria Soroptimists.
Jagiella fills what spare time she has mentoring students at local high schools and universities.
Elizabeth Jensen is assistant corporation council for the City of Peoria, representing the city in state and federal court; advising city employees and commissions; and drafting city ordinances and conducting legal research.
Awarded the BV rating in Martindale-Hubbell-given to attorneys who are highly respected, ethical members of the bar-she was appointed to the Local Government Advisory Board to the Illinois State Comptroller in June.
Jensen was also appointed to, and selected as vice-chairperson of, the City of Peoria Neighborhood Development Commission.
As a volunteer advocate for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault at the Center for the Prevention of Abuse since 1995, she is a past member of the Women Strength advisory committee. She currently serves on the board of directors, and as co-chairperson of the annual Duck Race, the Center’s main fundraiser.
An active member of the Peoria County Bar Association, she is in her second term on the board of directors, past chairperson of the membership committee, and current chairperson of the Young Lawyers and Law Day Committee.
Ken Kavanagh is the director of athletics at Bradley University, where he oversees the operational aspects of the university’s 16-sport, Division One Intercollegiate Athletics program.
During his first three years on the Hilltop, the Braves have enjoyed remarkable success in the classroom while competing athletically at a championship level in the Missouri Valley Conference.
A graduate of both Boston College and Notre Dame, he was a member of the athletics department at Yale University, where he initially oversaw marketing and promotions before assuming game management and team travel responsibilities.
Kavanagh currently serves on the Missouri Valley Conference’s media/marketing, and gender-equity committees. He was most recently the Valley’s vice president/director of athletics, and a member of the MVC executive committee, and previously served on the MVC’s conference relations committee.
Active in local civic organizations, he is on the advisory boards for both The Salvation Army and the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Peoria.
Kimberly King is equal opportunity director for the City of Peoria, offering advice and counsel to department heads, the city manager, and city council regarding fair practice in all aspects of city administration. She is also responsible for investigation and resolution of charges of discrimination, harassment, and disparate treatment in employment, housing and public accommodations in Peoria.
She is a Lincoln Inn member of Southern Illinois University School of Law, and of the National Order of Barristers; recipient of the Outstanding Service Award from “Kids Under Construction,” and Cook County Bar Association nominee for Outstanding Young Lawyer in 1995.
A board member of Operation Change & Empowerment, she is a 1998 recipient of the Outstanding Soror in Government Service Award; and charter member of the SIU Black Law Student Association moot court team.
King participated in Peoria’s 1st Annual Anti-Discrimination Parade & Rally, and serves as advisor to the Mayor’s Advisory Commission for the Disabled, and to the Fair Housing Commission.
Timothy Krueger is vice president, chief financial officer and secretary for Maui Jim, Inc. He began his career at RLI as a chief accountant, heavily involved in convertible bond adventure in accordance with the SEC, which was also a collaboration between treasurer, corporate secretary, and the accounting departments at RLI.
As secretary for the Pediatric Resource Center’s community advisory board, he is in charge of corporate donations solicitation drive for underwriting the 1999 annual PRC fundraising dinner. He is also a two-year member of the Economic Development Council for the Peoria Area.
A member of St. Vincent de Paul Parish and Men’s Club member, he also volunteers for Habitat for Humanity, and donates items for the Buffalo Prairie Gang Camp golf outing.
A University of Iowa graduate, he is involved with the Pediatric Resource Center, heading up its Blue Ribbon campaign in 1999.
Co-workers say he has a positive work ethic, is very driven to succeed, and expects 100 percent from himself and his employees.
Hector Martinez is director of development at Parc, overseeing marketing, communications, event coordination, planned giving, fund raising, and serving as community liaison. In his position at Parc, he brings a new dimension to their fundraising and public relations activities.
He is the recipient of the 1998 Volunteer of the Year award for Central Illinois Friends of PWA; the Pi Kappa Phi Alumnus of the Year award; the Appreciation Award 1996 for Best of Peoria; and the Outstanding Contribution Award 1996 for Friends of PWA.
Martinez is a former board member of Downtown Kiwanis, and the Mental Health Association of Illinois Valley.
Active in the community, he has been associated with various organizations, including the Men’s Network, Circle K, Key Club, American Red Cross, WCBU, Peoria Park District Calls from Santa, National Society of Fundraising Executives, Race for the Cure Three Miles of Men, Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce, and the Heart of Illinois United Way, among others.
He has helped raise funds for MS, St. Jude; and the Arthritis, Alzheimer’s, and American Cancer Foundations.
Doug Parsons is the president and chief operating officer of Excel Foundry and Machine, Inc. Under his leadership, the company became ISO 9001 Certified in 1995; saw 18% continuing growth in 1998; and received the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Exporting in 1999.
Parsons exemplifies leadership by setting a positive example, pursuing a strong work ethic, and showing fairness regarding employee concerns. He inspires his employees and members of management to create a successful business team.
Parsons headed up the implementation and development of Excel’s ISO 9000 certification quality system; partnered with Bradley University’s International Trade Center and NAFTA Opportunity Center; and won the 1999 Governor’s Export Award. He is also a Novell certified network administrator.
He is chairman of the Pekin Business Development Committee, and board member of the Commerce Bank advisory board, and Pekin Chamber of Commerce. His community involvement includes serving on the boards of the United Way of Pekin, Rotary Club of Pekin, and serving as a Sunday school leader at Pekin Grace United Methodist Church.
Jeffery Randolph is director of business development and associate vice president of Randolph & Associates, Inc. His duties include overseeing corporate marketing of engineering and land surveying services; corporate marketing budget; full staff coordination of marketing efforts, corporate expansion, development, and all company advertising.
A member of Peoria North Rotary Club; he serves on the board of directors for Upgrade Housing Corporation, Tri-County Riverfront Action Forum, and the Economic Development Council for the Peoria Area. He is a committee member for Peoria’s Promise, and founded and assisted in the creation of their existing Web site.
He volunteers his time with the Buffalo Prairie Gang Camp, and coordinated the donation of more than 40,000 toys to local hospitals and charities at Christmas time, with the help of Peoria North Rotarians.
Randolph is also a past Big Brother and Heart Walk volunteer; and a member of the Society for Marketing Professional Services, Master Mason, Scottish Rite, Mohammed Shrine in Peoria, and the First United Methodist Church of Downtown Peoria.
Kristen Reed is membership manager for the Peoria Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, responsible for recruitment and retention of the membership base; and serves as staff liaison for their advocate program.
In her current position, she initiated a member awareness program, enabling the staff to become more aware of the services provided by bureau members; and she increased new membership by 29 percent.
Active with the March of Dimes, she is on the board of directors, and was a chairperson for the communication committee, the 1999 WalkAmerica chairperson, a member of the 1998-1999 Chocolate Fantasy committee, and 1999 Illinois Chairperson of the Year.
She is involved with the YWCA mentoring program, the Peoria Boat Club, and volunteered for the 1998 Power of U Heart of Illinois United Way campaign.
A Women in Management networking luncheon leader, she is also a Soroptimist chairperson of public relations committee, and chairperson of the membership committee; for the Peoria Business Club.
Lt. Col. William Robertson is commander of the Illinois Air National Guard’s 182nd Airlift Wing Operations Group, based at the Greater Peoria Regional Airport. He led the Operations Group to an “Excellent” rating during their most recent Operational Readiness Inspection; and led the unit’s Standardization and Evaluation program to an “Excellent” rating during its recent Aircrew Standardization and Evaluation visit. He participated in organizing the Peoria Airshows in the late 1980s, and helped organize the unit’s 50th Anniversary and open house celebration.
A member of the Illinois ANG since 1980, he is a command pilot with more than 3,400 hours in various aircraft, including the T-41, T-37B, T-38, A-37B, C-26, AT-38, F-16, and C-130. He was mobilized during Desert Storm and served with the 155th Armor Brigade Mississippi ANG as a liaison officer.
An active member of St. Paul’s Cathedral in Peoria, he provides ANG tours to many civic organizations throughout the community. He also provides briefings and career orientation to young adults in the area who are considering the Peoria Air Guard as a future career.
Brian Sajko is an associate professor of theatre arts and drama at Eureka College, and chair of the Fine and Performing Arts division, responsible for staffing, budgeting, recruitment, curriculum, alumni, and marketing.
A union member of the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers, and former director of the Eureka College honors program and the school’s theatre program, he is chair of the Eureka College marketing team, and curator of the Ronald W. Reagan exhibit and collection.
Sajko also is director of theatre at Father Sweeney School, teaching all aspects of theatre to grades four to eight, and advises numerous high schools and teachers about arts education.
He was named Visiting Artist in Theatre for Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites; Outstanding Graduate Student at Bowling Green State University Theatre; and awarded for Outstanding Stage Makeup Design for Peoria Player’s production of The Miracle Worker in 1997. A master of ceremonies for the Woodford County Relay for Life, he has directed, acted in, and designed for numerous university, community, and professional theatre productions.
Tom Sargeant is a marketing consultant for Imagicom, a company he founded in 1999, consulting with businesses to develop and execute marketing strategies utilizing all traditional and new media, specializing in direct marketing via direct mail, and E-commerce Internet technologies.
Co-founder of RESOURCE Marketing, he is a past vice president of the Peoria Advertising and Selling Club, a past member of its board of directors, and the group’s Outstanding Ad Clubber of the Year for 1990-1991. A past chairman of the Adam Awards, he is also a past representative to the American Advertising Federation.
Sargeant has volunteered for the Arthritis Foundation and the WTVP-47 Auction, and is a past board member of the Central Illinois Bradley Alumni Chapter, and current member of the organization.
Active with the Heart of Illinois Big Brothers/Big Sisters organization, he is a past board member and vice president of marketing for the group, and was selected as Big Brother of the Year for 1995-1996. He also is a past chairman for the Bowl for Kids’ Sake annual fundraiser.
Laura Schoon is president of Junior Achievement of Central Illinois, Inc., responsible for board development, fundraising, volunteer recruitment, staff management, and administrative activities. She led Junior Achievement of Central Illinois to accreditation for 1998-2001; and captured the Enterprising Spirit Award for 1994-1995, and Bronze Summit Award from 1995-1998.
Having established Junior Achievement as a local leading organization dedicated to serving K-12th grade students, she served on the JA national ImpACT 2005 strategic leadership committee, and the One-Fee committee.
In 1997, Schoon was the recipient of the Women in Management Peoria Chapter Woman of Achievement award, and the Women in Management National Charlotte Danstrom Award.
A former board member of Women in Management, she is also involved with the Central Illinois Education to Careers Partnership, the Central Illinois Planned Giving Council, the Network of Volunteer Administrators, and the Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce education committee.
Lisa Scott is executive director of the Home Builders Association of Greater Peoria, overseeing daily operations of the 200-plus member company trade association, and responsible for the production of the Official Home Show, the Home Living Show, and the Parade of Homes. She has led the organization to double its membership since 1996.
Elected chairman of the Illinois Executive Officers’ Council for 1998 and 1999, she received six Membership Recruitment and Retention Awards from the Home Builders Association of Illinois. In conjunction with the HBAGP home shows, she initiated and coordinated member involvement in two playhouse raffles in 1997 and 1998, raising more than $7,000 for the Children’s Hospital of Illinois; and in 1999, coordinated member support and donations of materials for the House that Congress Built/Habitat for Humanity project with Congressman Ray LaHood’s office.
Scott is the treasurer for Cub Scout Pack No. 84 in Tremont, serving as assistant to the den leader in 1998. She is the 1999 food line co-chair for the Tremont United Methodist Church/Tremont Turkey Festival.
Diana Stookey is sales and marketing manager for the Peoria Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, selling the Peoria area to associations and religious groups for trade shows, and acts as an agent between organizations and local accommodating facilities and attractions.
A member of the Peoria Chapter of Women in Management for four years, she is vice president of programs, and the 1998 Bella Gentry Award Winner. She has been vice president of the Heart of Illinois Hospitality Association since 1997. As former director of Peoria’s Jumer Hotel, she was the 1996 Peoria Area Convention and Visitors Bureau Advocate of the Year.
An eight-year member of the Illinois Society of Association Executives, she is special events chair for 1999-2000, and a board member for 1999-2001-the only seat on the board filled by an Illinois hotel or convention and visitors bureau representative.
She is the chair of the 2000 Girl Scout Cookie Kick-Off, a member of the 1999 March of Dimes-Walk America public relations committee, and volunteers for the O’Brien Automotive LPGA Charity Pro-Am.
James Stowell is the senior vice president of investments for Robert W. Baird Company, responsible for client, pension, and trust account asset and risk management. A 1983 Bradley University finance/economics graduate, he earned his MBA from Bradley in 1985.
He is the recipient of the Eagles Loft award, President’s Club award, Chairman’s Club award, Outstanding Broker award, Kite and Key award, Franklin Templeton Group Chairmen’s Circle of Excellence award, and numerous others for client service, and production from various asset management firms.
A member of the South-West Kiwanis board of directors, Stowell is a member of the Central Illinois Bradley Alumni Council; director and chairman for the Children’s Hospital; stewardship chairman, finance and endowment committee member for the First Federated Church; and an adult continuing education instructor at Illinois Central College.
A participant in the Hersey Hawkins Weekend of Winners, he also serves as an ambassador for the IHSA boys basketball tournament, and coaches for The Salvation Army, YMCA, and YWCA biddy basketball programs.
Ann Strasma is a communications representative for the Corporate Public Affairs Department at Caterpillar Inc., responsible for internal public relations on projects as diverse as the company’s Intranet/Internet sites, Cat Word magazine, Cat Folks, and Background News.
A former WEEK-TV employee, she was the winner of the Illinois Broadcasters Association Silver Dome Award; a Peoria Advertising and Selling Club, Adam/American Advertising Federation Award finalist; a three-time Employee of the Month, and Employee of the Year in 1994.
A board member of the Heart of Illinois United Way, she chairs or participates in several of the agency’s committees; and is on the Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce Community Leadership School steering committee, and served on its alumni board from 1996 to 1999. She is a board member, and vice president of marketing for the Peoria Ballet.
Other organizations she is involved with include: Junior League of Peoria, Rotary Club of Peoria, Peoria’s Promise, Peoria Area Community Foundation, Peoria Area Transit Advisory board, and the St. Jude Midwest Affiliate Telethon.
Kip Strasma is an associate professor of English at Illinois Central College, advising and teaching students in writing and literature, directing research and committee efforts toward the integration of digital technology into each of these disciplines.
He is the recipient of the 1998 Graduate Student Excellence Award at Illinois State University; ICC’s 1998 Teacher of the Year Gallion Award; the 1999 Clarence W. Sorensen Award for best dissertation in the graduate school at ISU; and the 1999 Hugh Burns Award for best outstanding dissertation in the international discipline of computers and composition.
He was selected as a judge for the Illinois Association of Teachers of English creative writing workshop, the ICC/High School Scholastic Bowl, and the Illinois Intercollegiate Forensic Association competition. He was also nominated to a state-wide board that charters policy for offering college courses online.
A St. Jude Midwest Affiliate volunteer, he also volunteers for the YMCA of Peoria Challenge Cup, Heart of Illinois United Way, Junior League of Peoria Christmas in April, Boy Scouts of America, Heart of Illinois American Red Cross, WGLT, WCBU, and the Central Illinois Arts Center.
Tracy Techau is the W.C. Boyce Council, Boy Scouts of America executive/CEO, responsible for leading central Illinois Boy Scouts of America programs. The council serves more than 11,000 scouts through a compensated staff of 14, and volunteer staff of 3,500.
Since he assumed the executive/CEO position in September 1998, the council has been rejuvenated from near collapse; repaying debt, rebuilding morale, reducing cost structures, and dramatically increasing financial support from volunteers and parents of scouts.
Over the last year, under Techau’s direction, W.D. Boyce Council has renewed partnerships throughout its 14 counties, developed excellent fiscal controls, installed many new board members, assembled a new retail operation to meet the needs of volunteers, and delivered new programs, such as Scout Family Camp.
He takes the “service” mission of Rotary Clubs seriously, and was elected president of the Eagan, Minn., Rotary Club at age 27. He has also led or participated in many other projects for two other Rotary Clubs.
Dr. Tim Vega is group practice director of OSF Medical Group, managing operations for several OSF Saint Francis Medical Group primary care offices. He chairs the Healthcare Financing Administration Compliance Committee.
First vice president, and president-elect, of the Illinois Academy of Family Physicians, he is also a clinical associate professor at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria; serves on the Medical Advisory Board for OSF Women’s Health Services; and is past president of the Peoria Academy of Family Physicians.
Lead physician at OSF Chillicothe, he served on the American Academy of Family Physicians scientific program committee, which organized national meetings in New Orleans, Chicago, and San Francisco-drawing more than 20,000 participants; and served on the Patient Centered Care Documentation committee, and Employee Reform subcommittee.
Owner of Randolph Terrace Historic Bed and Breakfast, he is president of the Randolph-Roanoke Residential Association. He renovated a dilapidated home that became the 1997 Symphony Guild Showcase House.
Tamara Waterworth is currently vice president of small business banking at National City Bank, where she maintains and develops a portfolio of business banking relationships for the bank.
As a commercial lender, she increased her portfolio 10-fold over a six year period, helping the Peoria location’s small business initiative rank No. 1 among all National City locations in Illinois.
Currently on the Family House board of directors, she has served the organization in various capacities since 1994, including president, vice president, secretary, and assistant treasurer.
A 1998 graduate of the Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce Community Leadership School, she served on the City of Peoria designated zone organization; and is a member of the City’s Revolving Loan Fund Approval committee.
Active in the community, she volunteers for Christmas in April, the WTVP-47 Auction, the Children’s Miracle Network Telethon, and served two times as a Loaned Executive to the Heart of Illinois United Way campaign.
John Wetzel is general manager of PHD Services, overseeing the daily operations of the family-owned business, which employs 145 people. He has more than 13 years of progressive experience and responsibility, with documented success in the area of professional maintenance at various organizational levels.
As general manager, he has broadened the scope of PHD Services to include educational facilities, professional offices, industrial, landscaping, and more. A hands-on manager, he has a proven record of success, and is able to communicate and interact effectively with people in all levels of business.
A two-year board member for the Junior League of Peoria’s Christmas in April, and chairman of the logistics committee, he also has helped with fundraising for the Pediatric Resource Center and Peoria Notre Dame events. He also helps with the Buffalo Prairie Gang Camp, and the Heartland Community Health Clinic. A lifelong member of St. Vincent de Paul Parish, he has served as president of their Men’s Club, and been a Men’s Club member for six years. He assists with many Parish functions, and often serves as chairman of events. He served on the Jim Ardis for City Council committee.
John Wiesler is director of sales for Humana/Employers Health, responsible for sales and service of group health, life, and disability products, overseeing a staff of eight people.
A President’s Club qualifier for 1997 and 1998, he won the 1997 and 1998 Hat Trick award for the office exceeding medical, dental, and life insurance goals-one of only two offices nationwide to qualify two straight years. He was a Humana 1997-1998 Central Illinois Association board member, and Peoria Area Life Association member for the same period.
He is a board member of Peoria City Beautiful, the Girl Scouts Kickapoo Council, and the Richwoods High School Alumni Association. He is also a mentor for the Peoria Business Academy district schools, and was a member of the Easter Seals 1997 Leadership Team and telethon board member, and member of the Class of 1997 M.S. Society.
A 1998 graduate of the Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce Community Leadership School, he is an active member at Mt. Hawley Country Club, and the Clubs at River City. He is also vice president of Phi-Cappa-Psi housing corporation at the University of Illinois. IBI