Although it’s difficult to define, most people say they know leadership when they see it. In this issue, you’ll know leadership when you read it.
At InterBusiness Issues, we dedicate every November to 40 Leaders Under Forty – a celebration of young leaders who contribute their skills to our region’s businesses and communities. Because of them and other leaders like them, central Illinois makes continual strides in every industry and in our determination to better the lives of the people who make their homes here.
Jolie Alois is an executive producer at WHOI-TV, where she oversees daily newscasts, approves scripts, helps manage a staff of 30, coordinates the internship program, is responsible for special report planning and election coverage, helps in the hiring process, and helps design the future on-air look of the station.
Alois is a three-time recipient of the Associated Press “Best Newscast” Award, received the 1998 Southern Illinois University Radio-Television Student of the Year Award, and received the 2004 American Red Cross Heartland Heroes Award.
Demonstrating her commitment to the community, she created the Kids Count Advisory Board to distribute One Class At A Time grants to area classrooms, hands out DNA identification kits at events throughout the area, helped create the Speedcam segment on HOI-19 News, organized the Kids Helping Kids Toy Drive, organized the Kids Helping Kids Food Drive for The Salvation Army, and answered phones for the Red Cross Hurricane Relief Telethon.
David Alwan is owner, president, and manager of Echo Valley Meats Inc., where he oversees the day-to-day operations of its wholesale production at the Bartonville location, manages the three retail store locations, and helps manage and plan the holiday gift catalog of Apple Valley Gourmet Meats and Treats.
Alwan received a Distinguished Citizen Award from Peoria and Bartonville Police Department and the Citizen of the Year Award from the Limestone Chamber Of Commerce. Among his professional awards, Alwan won first place in the 2003 Innovative Beef Recipe Category at the Illinois Meat Processors annual show and won first place in the 2004 Innovative Pork Recipe Category at the Illinois Meat Processors annual show.
Active in the community, Alwan hosts annual fundraisers for the local police department, DARE programs, and Bartonville Fire Department; volunteered for the Easter Seals Golf Classic; and donates hay from his farm to Central Illinois Riding Therapy.
Dr. Richard Anderson is assistant professor of Clinical Surgery at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria/Peoria Surgical Group Ltd. As assistant professor, Anderson provides thoracic, vascular, and general surgery to the area and instructs surgical residents and medical students in surgery.
Among his accomplishments, he received the Department of Surgery Teacher of the Year Award during three consecutive years, the Raymond B. Allen Instructorship Award, and the Outstanding Service Award from the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria.
Anderson currently is involved in many community organizations such as the Peoria Medical Society, for which he served as president and currently serves as director; the American Cancer Society; and the Midwest Surgical Society. He’s also a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, is Illinois State Chair for the Commission on Cancer, and is a karate instructor.
Chad Bixby is a 6 Sigma Black Belt at Caterpillar Inc., responsible for leading teams of employees on multiple process improvement projects related to sales growth and cost savings opportunities for Caterpillar in the North American market.
For the past three years, he’s led the development of Caterpillar’s industry segmentation marketing campaign, shifting Caterpillar’s approach to customers and revolutionizing the view Caterpillar has taken with its customers. Bixby also represented Caterpillar at national functions such as the Association of General Contractors and the National Utility Contractor Association annual meetings and completed the NUCA Institute for Leadership.
Active in the community, Bixby is a member of Vision 2020, serves on the Peoria Zoning Commission, is a West Point recruiter, volunteers for PACE and Jaycees functions, and serves the Peoria Country Republican party as a precinct committeeman. He was recognized as an Easter Seals VIP for his fundraising efforts.
Rebecca Bollin is marketing manager at the Economic Development Council for Central Illinois. Among her responsibilities, she develops and implements marketing and communication strategies for the EDC; The Heartland Partnership; TransPORT initiatives; and Peoria NEXT, where she’s responsible for the structural development of internal communication modules using the infrastructure of the Peoria NEXT web site.
Active in the community, Bollin is a member of the HITEC Advisory Board, a board member and secretary of the Young Professionals Organization, a graduate of the Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce Community Leadership School, an Alzheimer’s Association volunteer, a Peoria Business Academy volunteer, and is a previous member of Dress for Success Board of Directors.
Bollin is a Big Sister with Heart of Illinois Big Brothers Big Sisters (HOIBBBS). She’s also a HOIBBBS board member, currently serving as secretary and Bowl For Kids Sake Committee chair. In her first year as chair of the Bowl For Kids Sake Committee, the fundraiser generated approximately $35,000.
Heather Boore is a pediatric diabetes educator and manager of the Pediatric Diabetes Resource Center at Children’s Hospital of Illinois. She’s responsible for supervising and directing the staff at Pediatric Diabetes Resource Center, developing and implementing educational programs, and coordinating education for children with diabetes and their families. She also educates families when their child is newly diagnosed with diabetes and, with her team, follows these children until they reach adulthood.
Under her leadership, the Pediatric Diabetes Resource Center has become an American Diabetes Association Recognized Educational Program, and Boore recently passed the certification exam to become a Certified Diabetes Educator. She also is a member of the American Association of Diabetes Educators.
Active in the community, she’s been involved with the 1st annual Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Walk to Cure Diabetes, the American Diabetes Association, the Peoria Municipal Band, and Grace Presbyterian Church.
Dr. Brian Bostwick is assistant professor of Clinical Medicine and Pediatrics at University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria (UICOMP). His responsibilities include providing primary health care to adults and children; supervising medical students and physicians in training at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center and Children’s Hospital of Illinois; educating medical students and physicians in training; and administrative duties for Internal Medicine Pediatrics, Combined Internal Medicine, and Pediatrics residency programs.
Bostwick is an American Academy of Pediatrics Fellow, an American College of Physicians Diplomate, and a member of the American Medical Association.
He’s a member of the Department of Medicine Executive, Competency, and Social Events committees at UICOMP; chairs the Greater Illinois Council—American Diabetes Association; is a member of the Lead Elimination Work Group Peoria City/County Health Department; is the attending physician at the American Diabetes Association—Camp Grenada; and is the faculty instructor for the Pediatric and Medicine M3 Clerkships.
John Campbell is group services administrator for Pekin Insurance, where he oversees the life, health, dental, and short-term disability underwriting decisions in the Group Department; manages all facets of service in the Group Department; serves as a liaison to more than 1,000 independent agents; and is significantly involved in new product development and the tracking of industry trends.
Among his professional accomplishments, Campbell earned designations including Charted Life Underwriter, Fellow Life Management Institute, Associate Customer Service, Registered Health Underwriter, Associate Insurance Regulatory Compliance, and Associate Reinsurance Administration (ARA). He also has been chairman of the Pekin Insurance Social Activity Committee since 2000.
Some of his community service has included the following organizations: Boys and Girls Club of Pekin, founder and continuously serving chair of the Brad Campbell Memorial Fund, which has donated more than $91,000 to youth-oriented organizations in the community; and baseball and softball coach at the Pekin Union Mission.
Johanna Christiansen is an attorney in the Federal Public Defender’s Office for the Central District of Illinois, where she represents indigent individuals charged with federal crimes in the United States District Court, the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, and the United States Supreme Court.
Some of her volunteer activities include the Junior League of Peoria, Family House, and the Komen Foundation. Christiansen served on the Julep’s Closet Committee for three years, chairing the committee for two of those years; serves as chair of the Community Development Committee for the Peoria PlayHouse, the interactive children’s museum created by the Junior League of Peoria; and serves in the Junior League’s Nominating Committee.
She’s also vice president of the Family House Board of Directors, overseeing Christmas Magic in November and the Family House Run/Walk, and is a 2004 graduate of the Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce’s Community Leadership School.
Karla Dennhardt is operations manager at S. Harris Uniforms, where she’s responsible for expansion and diversification into new markets and oversaw expansion into embroidery and screenprinting. Under her leadership, the company has experienced a 30 percent growth over the past four years.
Among her numerous volunteer commitments, Dennhardt is a commissioner for the City of Peoria, working on the Neighborhood Development Commission, Housing Quality and Value Ad-Hoc Committee, and the Medical Technical Commission. She also has served on numerous committees within the Junior League of Peoria; West Bluff Council; Randolph Roanoke Residential Association; and the Pilot Club of Peoria, where she’s served as president, director, and chaplain of Pilot International, Midwest District.
For her contributions to the community, Dennhardt was nominated for a Mayor’s Award—Neighborhood Awards in 2003, along with many additional awards through the organizations for which she volunteers.
Julie Drake is president of Jewel Technology Services, Inc. As an independent consultant, she is an advocate and architect for her clients’ telecommunications needs, working with several clients at a time to prepare a needs analysis, draft and distribute request for proposal documents to appropriate vendors, manage installation schedules and programming requirements of purchased systems, and perform in-depth telecom equipment/service audits. She also is in charge of marketing her company via a variety of vehicles.
Taking an active role in the community, Drake has taken on the following responsibilities: Corporate Casual Day chair and Race for the Cure volunteer for the Komen Foundation, Easter Seals VIP, NOVUS Board of Directors, Chamber of Commerce Marketing Committee, and the NAWBO Corporate and Economic Development Committee.
She also volunteers for the Rotary North Literacy Committee, STC Membership Committee, and is co-creator and volunteer for a Friday night drop-off program for children at her church.
Shevaun Fennell is operations manager for Chillicothe Metal Company, Inc., where she’s responsible for environmental, health, and safety issues; waste minimizations; recycling; and land use compliance. She’s also responsible for program management of sales exceeding $1 million per month.
Fennell is very involved in the Central Illinois Society of Women Engineers, sitting on its board of directors and council of representatives and acting as mentor program coordinator, treasurer, and nominating chair. For her work in career development and research, she received the Society of Women Engineers-Purdue University Certificate of Recognition in 2005. She also received Caterpillar’s Track-Type Tractors Division Employees Recognition Certificate.
Fennell has participated in Engineers Week at Lakeview Museum, Girl Scout Badge Days, Dunlap Science Demonstration, Hines School Science Expo, Girl Scout Bridge Building at Roosevelt School, Girl Scout Outreach Taft Homes, and Society of Automotive Engineers Wheels in Motion at Blaine Sumner Middle School.
Dr. Victoria Finkenstadt is a research chemist at the National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research (USDA), where she conducts research on polymeric materials of agricultural origin; develops plastic technology using novel, sophisticated preparation and evaluation techniques; collaborates with academic institutes and industries; and supervises technical staff and students in the laboratory.
Finkenstadt has received USDA Certificates of Merit for sustained superior performance in research, USDA Certificates of Recognition for Outreach Activities to the Community, and an American Chemical Society (ACS) Salute to Excellence for contributions to the Illinois Heartland ACS. Under Finkenstadt’s leadership, the Illinois Heartland ACS has received six consecutive Outstanding Performance ChemLuminary Awards from the National ACS and two awards for National Chemistry Week activities.
In a recent example of community involvement, Finkenstadt received a grant from ACS to co-host a speaker, Dr. Suzanne Lomax, from the National Gallery of Art, who gave a presentation at Lakeview Museum in October.
Dr. Jacqueline Fischer is assistant professor of Clinical Medicine and associate program director of Internal Medicine Residency at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria (UICOMP). Her responsibilities include development and implementation of curriculae for the Internal Medicine Residency program, teaching Internal Medicine resident physicians/medical students, and recruitment and training of residents.
Fischer received the University of Illinois College of Medicine-Peoria Outstanding Teaching Award, was voted by the UICOMP Internal Medicine residents as the Outstanding Faculty Teacher in Internal Medicine in 2004 and 2005, and received the same award from the residents at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana in 2001.
Putting her skills to good use, Fischer served 18 months as a non-salaried medical director of a busy rural health clinic in Kenya, Africa. She provided extensive medical training to local staff, oversaw patient care and public health outreach programs, and oversaw logistics of daily clinic operations.
Cindy Greene is vice president of Treasury Management at Associated Bank, responsible for creating and maintaining outside relationships with area business owners, controllers, and key corporate decision-makers. She also makes formal presentations of financial products to accommodate current and emerging financial needs of those clients.
Among her professional accomplishments, she’s been a Certified Treasury Professional since 1998 and is a graduate of the Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce Community Leadership School.
Greene has volunteered for Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, and the IVC School District 321 PTA. She was an Easter Seals VIP last spring, is a past JFL Marshall County Board member, was a JFL Marshall County Flag Football director for two years, volunteered for the Mossville Medina Youth Softball Association, was a co-director of Chillicothe JFL Flag Football, was a Mossville PTA member and volunteer, and currently participates in Relay for Life. She also is an active supporter of foster parenting and adoption.
Anthony Howard is director of Diagnostic and Treatment Services at Methodist Medical Center. In this role, he provides leadership and vision for Methodist’s Diagnostic and Treatment Services, which includes Medical Imaging, Nuclear Medicine, PET, Radiation Oncology, and Centralized Transportation. He also oversees 130 staff members and manages revenue and expense budgets for nine cost centers.
Howard has been recognized as the “I Care” Employee of the Month at Methodist, received a News 25 Home Town Hero, and has won East Peoria’s Festival of Lights decorating award for the past five years.
Active in the community, he’s a volunteer with the Heart of Illinois United Way; a member of the Pillars Society; sits on the Funds Distribution Committee for Health and Rehabilitation; collects funds for March of Dimes, leukemia research, and other charitable organizations; and works collaboratively with the Susan Komen foundation to provide mammograms to uninsured and underinsured women in our community.
Douglas Huff owns Statewide Properties, Inc., where he oversees operations in regard to renovations, rentals, development, and new acquisitions.
Among his professional accomplishments, Huff has testified before Illinois State House and Senate subcommittees on housing revenue issues, and under his leadership, his company has experienced rapid growth—both geographically and in sales volume.
As he’s grown his company, Huff also has found time to devote to the following community endeavors: he’s a member, past director, and current committee chair of the Rotary Club of Peoria-North; board member of the Heart of Illinois Big Brothers/Big Sisters; treasurer of Rachel’s Dream, an organization working to build homes and schools for abandoned or abused children in Mexico; and a graduate of the Class of 2004 Community Leadership School. He also is involved with Redeemer Lutheran Church through coaching softball, new member orientation, and bringing home communion to shut-ins.
Rodney Johnson is senior auditor at Clifton-Gunderson LLP, where his primary responsibility is to manage various assurance engagements, primarily with financial institutions.
In addition to his Certified Public Accountant certification, Johnson is a Certified Treasury Professional. Among his professional affiliations, he’s earned membership in the Illinois CPA Society, American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, and the Association for Financial Professionals.
Active in the community, Johnson currently serves as chair for the City of Washington’s Annual Cherry Festival Planning Committee. He also serves on the advisory board for the Peoria Business Academy and is a past chairperson. Other activities have included the Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce Community Leadership School; Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce’s Education Committee Ambassador; candidacy for alderman in the City of Washington; volunteer instructor for Junior Achievement; and involvement with HOI United Way, serving on the FIRE Committee and as a corporate campaign organizer.
Dr. Daniel Joseph is a chiropractor, president, and co-owner of Joseph & Hishon Chiropractic & Acupuncture. He’s also in the process of completing a 100-hour post-graduate course to become a Certified Chiropractic Sports Physician.
He’s an active member of the Illinois Prairie State Chiropractic Association and the American Chiropractic Association; a local representative of a national not-for-profit organization called the Doctor’s Speakers Bureau; and speaks to many local businesses, church groups, and professional groups on pain and stress management. Joseph sponsors the “Methodist Wellmobile” and is a recipient of the Eastern Health Information Association Award.
Active in the community, Joseph served as an ambassador to the Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce; served as an Easter Seals VIP; and raises funds for Easter Seals, Children’s Home, Junior League of Peoria, Race for the Cure, Juvenile Diabetes, Alzheimer’s Foundation, Whitney’s Walk, CanDo Run, American Heart Foundation, and most recently victims of Hurricane Katrina.
Dina Kalina is an administrator and pre-kindergarten teacher at St. Vincent de Paul Preschool. She’s responsible for the overall administration of a preschool program for 100 children, including enrollment, staffing, purchasing, budgeting, accounts receivable and payable, public relations, special event planning, curriculum planning, parental communication, and teaching of one pre-kindergarten class.
She’s a graduate of the Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce Community Leadership School, a graduate of the Bradley University Foundations of Leadership Course, was named a Who’s Who Among American Teachers, and received the WEEK-25 Women in Leadership Award.
Kalina is also president of Junior League of Peoria, where she leads an organization of more than 450 women volunteers who promote service, develop leadership skills, and improve the community through various projects. In addition to her work with Junior League, Kalina volunteers for St. Vincent de Paul Parish, Children’s Home, and the Heart of Illinois Association for the Education of Young Children.
Aaron Kilgore is fire systems coordinator at State Farm Fire and Casualty Co., where he coordinates and implements state insurance filings; coordinates, tests, and implements system programs; coordinates project work activities; acts as liaison between Illinois Operation Center Fire Company, Corporate Fire Systems, State Farm’s Insurance Support Center, and other departments; develops and administers system training; and creates job aides and programs that promote efficiency in the division.
Among his accomplishments, Kilgore earned the Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter designation, which requires passing eight rigorous undergraduate and graduate-level examinations. He’s currently working toward a Chartered Financial Consultant designation through the American College.
Kilgore is a member of the Heritage Ensemble and volunteers for the local chapter of the Central Illinois CPCU Society, where he’s co-chair of the All Industry Day Committee. He also serves as a member of the Staff/Pastor Parish Relations Committee, youth choir director, and assistant conductor at Bethel United Methodist Church.
Leonard Kuntzman is senior vice president at Central Illinois Bank. His responsibilities include managing the commercial banking activities for the four Peoria area branches, including a multi-million-dollar commercial loan portfolio consisting of construction lending for large scale offices, warehouses, retail, multi-family housing, residential subdivisions, and medical/physician practices, along with manufacturers/wholesalers and distribution companies.
Among his accomplishments, Kuntzman earned a Masters of Business Administration, is a graduate of the Springfield Leadership Institute, and is a continuing education graduate of Advanced Credit Education and Professional Lending Consulting.
His community involvement includes Rotary Club of Downtown Peoria; Peoria Chamber of Commerce Marketing Committee; Boys & Girls Club of Peoria Board of Directors; Finance Committee for the W.D. Boyce Boy Scout Council; past president of the St. Philomena Parish Council; and Central Park District and Parochial youth basketball, soccer, and baseball coach.
Dr. Julian Lin is assistant professor of Neurosurgery and Pediatrics at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria and chief pediatric neurosurgeon with Associated University Neurosurgeons, S.C. In addition to performing surgeries and caring for patients, Lin also teaches the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria Neurosurgery Residency Program.
He received the Resident Research Award from Children’s Miracle Network three consecutive years and received First Place in the Resident Award Competition from the American College of Surgeons. Lin also received a Peoria NEXT Research Grant and a College Heuser Research Award. Among the results of his research, he developed an improved bicycle safety helmet for children.
Much of Lin’s research is to benefit the community and health care, including development of an active device for the control of hydrocephalus and development of endoscope tools for resection of intraventricular lesion.
Tina McNaught is sales manager at OSF HealthPlans, Inc., where she supervises and oversees day-to-day operations of Medicare sales and marketing functions, providing training and education to all existing and new employees about products; ensures CMS compliance; and develops strategies for growth and stabilization of the Medicare product.
Under her leadership, McNaught’s department received one of the highest Employee Opinion Survey results in the company, and their Medicare Advantage PPO demonstration plan is ranked third nationally in overall enrollment and market.
Active in the community, she volunteers for the following organizations: Christmas in April, United Way, Arthritis Foundation, Alzheimer Association, Race for the Cure, American Red Cross, Senior Olympics, American Heart Association, OSF Healthcare Foundation, and the Great American Clean-Up. McNaught also adopted residents of Heartland Apartments for Christmas and chaired the Bergner’s Community Days Coupon Sale for the benefit of the senior citizens at OSF Saint Clare Home.
Rhonda Milburn is a realtor at Jim Maloof/Realtor in Peoria. Her responsibilities include preparing comparative market analyses, designing marketing plans and contracts for clients, arranging closing-related details, procuring buyers and sellers, maintaining a working knowledge of all central Illinois towns and their amenities, establishing relationships with real estate industry contacts, holding open houses, and maintaining community relations.
She’s a graduate of the Jim Maloof/Realtor Agent Training Academy and a 2004 graduate of the Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce Community Leadership School.
Milburn is a board member of the Illinois Central College Educational Foundation Board, president of the Toulon Community Foundation, board member and former vice president of the Young Professionals Organization of Greater Peoria, member of the Chamber of Commerce’s Business Advocacy Committee, and a member of the Crittenton Center’s Special Events Committee. For her service, she received the AARP Shining Star Award for volunteerism.
Dr. John Murray is a plastic surgeon at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria and Peoria Surgical Group, where he performs reconstructive and aesthetic surgery.
Among his community involvement, Murray is a consultant for and coordinates breast reconstructive surgery at the OSF/Susan Komen Comprehensive Breast Center, which provides comprehensive care for diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer and other breast diseases. He’s also an active member of Northminster Presbyterian Church.
Some of the recognition he’s received include being named to the Consumers’ Research Council of America Guide, “Americas Top Surgeons, Plastic Surgery,” 2002-2004 and being named the assistant professor of Surgery and director of Aesthetic Surgery at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria.
Murray also is a Diplomate of the American Board of Surgery and the American Board of Plastic Surgery and a member of the Association for Academic Surgeons.
Michael Owens is president of Finance at Cullinan Properties, Ltd., where he’s responsible for obtaining financing for all of its projects. During his tenure at Cullinan, he’s placed more than $225 million of financing.
Owens also is responsible for selected lease negotiations, both renewals and new tenants, and is an asset leader on various projects, including One Technology Plaza and the majority of the company’s office building portfolio. He negotiates development agreements and zoning on various projects, most recently the new 80,000-square-foot FedEx ground facility at Morton Commerce Park.
Owens is president and treasurer of Central Youth Baseball, coaching at all levels and responsible for selling team sponsorships at Central Youth Baseball, which raises thousands of dollars for the program. He’s a fifth and sixth grade head boys basketball coach at St. Philomena, a member of the St. Philomena Men’s Club, and a member of the Knights of Columbus, St. Jude Council #4333.
Lisa Parker is principal of Dunlap High School, where she’s responsible for the management of daily operations; the evaluation and development of staff and faculty; coordination with the superintendent’s office and school board about the school’s fiscal, educational, and building needs; and the allocation and management of school finances.
Recently, Parker worked collaboratively in the design and construction of a new multi-million-dollar addition to the high school building. Some highlights include an extensive Fine Arts wing, Town Center, and the Freshman Academy concept to ensure a positive start to high school. In the last school year, the Chicago Sun Times named Dunlap High School the 13th best in the state, based on academic achievements.
During her first year as principal, Parker organized the Dunlap Career Fair; during the 2005-2006 school year, she encouraged student council members to compete in the St. Jude Teen Challenge, which they won. Currently, she’s developing new ways for students to support St. Jude.
Patricia Redman is assistant state’s attorney for the Peoria County State’s Attorney’s Office, where she represents the State of Illinois, prosecuting petitions for abuse and neglect of children. Her responsibility is to provide for the protection, guidance, care, custody, and guardianship of minors through court proceedings.
Redman placed first in International Law Moot Court Team for two consecutive years, was admitted to the Order of the Barristers, and received the Lincoln Inn Award. She also published an article in the Journal of Legal Medicine on recognizing property interests in bodily tissues.
She currently serves as president-elect of the Junior League of Peoria; previously served as vice president of the Fundraising Council; and chaired committees including Julep’s Closet, Habitat Partners, and the Public Policy and State Public Affairs Committee. She also volunteers for Christmas in April, Habitat for Humanity, United Way Legal Campaign, and Luthy Botanical Garden and provides pro bono legal services for Prairie State Legal Services.
Matthew Ryan is an inventory records analyst at Caterpillar Inc., where he validates inventory accuracy to ensure maximum availability to the company’s customers.
Ryan is a 2005 graduate of the Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce Community Leadership School and is a 6 Sigma Greenbelt. He was named the Peoria Jaycees Member of the Year and the Peoria Jaycees Chairman of the Year and received the Peoria Jaycees Keyman Award.
He serves on the Peoria Park District Board of Trustees, the Community Now! Board of Directors, was the Peoria Jaycees 2004 chair of the Community Organization and Volunteer Expo, and founded the Peoria Civil War Round Table and the Central Illinois Living Historians. Ryan volunteers for the Peoria Historical Society, McClean County Historical Society, Koerner Pioneer Homestead, Peoria Zoological Society, Springdale Cemetery Management Authority, Friends of the GAR Hall/Central Illinois Landmarks Foundation, Habitat for Humanity, MS Carnivale, Wines on the Prairie, Erin Feis, and Zoo To Do.
Kevin Socha is a 6 Sigma Certified Master Black Belt at Caterpillar Inc., where he’s responsible for training, mentoring, and coaching project leaders and acting as a change management expert, enabling the organization to improve critical business processes.
For his work in product design and construction methods, Socha has been awarded three patents and received a Top 5 Annual Quality Improvement Award Nomination for Performance Engine Products “Outperforming the Competition.” Among his other accomplishments, Socha was one of three Master Black Belts who led the deployment of Lean 6 Sigma throughout Cat Logistics beginning in September 2004.
Active in the community, Socha was an Easter Seal’s 2005 VIP volunteer, resulting in more than $2,000 being donated toward the 2005 Easter Seal’s Campaign. Since 2001, Socha also has been actively involved in the American Cancer Society Relay for Life fundraising event, raising more than $1,500 each year.
Mary Spangler is a member of the Peoria School District 150 Board of Education, responsible for representing citizens to ensure every student in Peoria has an opportunity for an outstanding education. Specifically, she works with fellow members of the board of education, as well as the administration, in moving the school district in a fiscally responsible direction while having high expectations of both students and educators.
Other responsibilities include working with agencies, officials, and organizations to establish a collaborative relationship that will support and guide the future citizens of Peoria.
Spangler is currently chair of the Curriculum and Prevention committees for District 150, is a member of the District 150 Foundation Board of Directors, and previously worked with CHOICES.
Taking seriously her professional commitment, Spangler researches public education thoroughly—most notably by attending four conferences in just one year during her board tenure.
Gregory Truninger is economic development director at the Economic Development Council for Central Illinois. As director, he creates and executes aggressive economic development programs designed to attract new businesses to the area and helps existing area businesses access the resources to grow. In addition, he’s director of Foreign Trade for United States Foreign Trade Zone #114.
As director of Foreign Trade for Zone #114, his work led directly to the creation of the Illinois Foreign Trade Zone Association (IFTZA) and a $33,000 grant received by the EDC to create a web site for IFTZA.
Truninger volunteers at Pearce Community Center, distributes food for the needy during the holiday season, and coaches youth soccer and basketball teams. He’s also served on the PIC Executive Board (now Workforce Development), the President’s Revolving Loan Fund Association, Rotary International, the Pekin Chamber of Commerce Transportation Committee, and the Washington Economic Development Commission.
Dr. D. Jeremy Ufert is a physician specializing in family practice at Methodist Medical Group at Lacon. He’s also a part-time clinical instructor and attending physician for the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria Family Medicine Residency. In this role, he serves as a mentor, guiding residents in their training during rounds at Methodist Medical Center.
During his second year as a physician, Ufert was asked to be the recruitment director for the Family Medicine Residency program, where he promoted the program and met with and recruited new doctors.
Active in the community, Ufert has been taking part in medical missionary trips to Haiti since medical school—spending two to four weeks at a time donating his services. He also volunteers every week at the Peoria City/County Health Department and the Marshall County Health Department. In addition, he volunteers as a wrestling coach at various area high schools.
Jeffery Ulrich is manager of the JPMorgan Private Client Service office in Peoria, where his responsibilities include relationship management, encompassing all aspects of the financial, asset management, and wealth transfer needs of high net worth clients.
Among his professional accomplishments, Ulrich led his company’s Peoria sales team as they initiated and built a private client group in Peoria. For his role, he’s received many sales awards.
Active in the community, Ulrich is past treasurer and current chair of the Central Illinois Debt Management & Credit Education Inc. Board of Directors, guiding the agency through a name change and accreditation.
He serves as a board member of the Community Workshop & Training Center, Great Rivers Regional (Nature Conservancy), and Proctor Health Care Foundation. He also has served on the Central Illinois Humane Society and the Center For Human Services. Ulrich is a graduate of Leadership McLean County.
Patrick Ward is Mathematics chair at Illinois Central College, where he supervises 40 adjunct math teachers each semester, creates the teaching schedule for more than 50 math instructors, examines and monitors the updating of the math offerings at ICC, maintains communication with high school math faculty, and ensures course outlines and texts are up to date.
Ward has completed grants related to cooperative education in mathematics, online mathematics courses, and an outreach program to open communication between ICC and area high schools. He also has given presentations at the national, state, and local levels on different areas of mathematics education.
Among his community activities, he’s coached grade school soccer, flag football, tackle football, wrestling, and baseball; is on the Citizen’s Advisory Committee at Metamora Grade School; and is a past board member at Metamora Grade. Ward is currently on the Illinois Section of the Mathematics Association of America Board of Directors.
Alicia Washington is an attorney for Prairie State Legal Services. Her areas of concentration include family law cases, housing issues, and denials of Medicaid and Social Security claims. She also litigates domestic violence cases, advocating for abused victims—including children—in five counties, and delivers critical civil legal services for the indigent and elderly.
Among her accomplishments, Washington was a Bill Faust/David Holmes Fellow and graduated with distinction from Bradley University with a Masters of Arts Leadership in human service administration.
Washington’s community service has included board membership on Workforce Development, Peoria County Bar Association, Peoria Black Chamber of Commerce, African American Hall of Fame Museum, and the Peoria Area Association of Realtors. She also volunteers for the Tomorrow’s Scientists and Technician’s Committee of the Tri-Country Urban League.
Judy White is coordinator of the Human Services Program at Illinois Central College, which includes five degrees and three certificate options. She assisted with the development of the program, including course development, student recruitment, and class instruction. She’s also a full-time faculty member who provides instruction within the Social Science Department for occupational and transfer students.
She’s been recognized by members of Congress, school districts, and colleagues for creating prevention programs for teenage pregnancy, drug and alcohol issues, mental health issues, and educational concerns. She also was honored for her work as the founding director of a children’s advocacy center.
White is actively involved with numerous coalitions and social service agencies as an advisory board member, she’s a Girl Scout leader, and assists at her children’s elementary school. Most recently, she worked with ICC students to develop a comprehensive local human services directory.
Michelle Whited is director of student activities at Bradley University, where she provides programming support, leadership development, budget management, and organizational development to more than 200 student organizations.
Some of her accomplishments include receiving the National Association for Campus Activities (NACA) Mid America Janet Carl Smith Award 2002 and the NACA Mid America Hall of Fame Award 2004—both given in recognition for service to the region, as well as the encouragement of student involvement in the association and dedication to the development of young student activities professionals. She also was named the Bradley University Student Organization Advisor of the Year in 2000.
Active in the community, Whited has volunteered for NACA for 10 years, serving as regional coordinator, regional conference coordinator, and regional communications coordinator. She also has assisted local agencies including the Peoria Park District, Catholic Charities, Glen Oak Zoo, and Peoria Art Guild.
Elizabeth Wholf is a 6 Sigma Black Belt at Caterpillar Inc. She’s responsible for developing and implementing engineering process initiatives for the Mechanical Components Center of Excellence (MCCOE) within the Large Power Systems Division (LPSD). She’s also responsible for leveraging the MCCOE projects into broader LPSD and Caterpillar research and engineering efficiency initiatives.
Among her accomplishments, Wholf led the development of a manufacturing plan for a new product. This included providing an overview of manufacturing and assembly processes, projecting capital expenditures and piece part costs—all within a three-week period. She also led the Assembly Planning team at Fuel Systems, which developed new assembly processes.
She’s been involved with the Society of Women Engineers since joining Caterpillar in 1989, including the chartering of the central Illinois section in 1992. Other volunteer efforts include work for the Girl Scouts, Junior Achievement, Literacy Volunteers of America, Christmas in April, and the MS Walk. IBI