Bernie Anderson '02
Manager Community Relations & Economic Development - IL
NICOR Gas, an AGL Resources Company
Nicor Gas is one of the largest natural gas distribution companies in the country, serving more than two million customers in 641 communities in the northern third of Illinois.
As manager of community relations, Anderson’s responsibilities involve maintaining quality relationships with elected and appointed officials at the municipal and state levels. He also manages franchise contracts and serves as a spokesperson for the company.Anderson has spent his career to date at Nicor. He accepted his first position with the company immediately upon high school graduation and has been steadily promoted to positions of increasing responsibility. While a full-time employee, Anderson earned his business degree from Illinois State University.
Catherine Bartels '77
Catherine Bartels is currently the General Manager at Bloomingdale’s. Prior to her current position, Catherine was the District Vice President for Macy’s in the St. Louis North District. Previous to this position, she was the Vice President and General Manager at Macy’s Union Square in San Francisco, California.
Catherine started her retail career in May 1980 at Lord & Taylor as a Department Manager, and during her professional career she consistently continued to move up the ranks. Catherine joined the I. Magnin franchise in 1986 and successfully transitioned to Macy’s when the company purchased I. Magnin in 1995. Ms. Bartels has been a buyer of women’s and men’s sportswear, a store manager, and worked in several stores ultimately returning to manage the Macy’s in the same building where she began. She has also worked as a store manager and Vice-President for Saks Fifth Avenue.
Catherine holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Illinois State University.
Bell, a Certified Public Accountant, began his career with Peat, Marwick, Mitchell & Co. (now KPMG) in 1974 after receiving his B.S in Accounting from Illinois State University. He spent 20 years with KPMG during which he advised numerous clients on various strategy and business matters. After leaving KPMG, Bell served as Chief Operating Officer and/or Chief Financial Officer for several services organizations, two of which successfully completed initial public offerings of common stock during his tenure.
From 2006 through March 2014 he was with Tectura Corporation, first as Chief Financial Officer and, since 2010, Chief Executive Officer. Tectura Corporation is a leading worldwide provider of business consulting and implementation and integration services relating to Microsoft Dynamics ERP and CRM products.
Throughout his career Bell has served on the Boards of Directors of various civic, social and business organizations.
State Farm® insures more cars than any other company in North America and is the leading U.S. home insurer. The company’s 17,000 agents and 68,000 employees serve more than 75 million auto, fire, life, and health policies in the United States and Canada. State Farm also offers banking, annuities, and mutual fund products to its customers. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company is the parent of the State Farm family of companies. The corporation is ranked No.22 on the Fortune 500 list of largest companies.
As executive vice president and member of Chairman’s Council of the State Farm Insurance Companies, Willie Brown had executive oversight for Creative Services, Administrative Services, and Enterprise Services. A native of Bloomington, Brown had spent his professional career at State Farm, rising steadily through the ranks. Along the way he earned a number of insurance designations including CLU, CPCU, and FLMI. Brown remains very active in public service. In 2005 he was inducted into the College of Business Hall of Fame.
Kevin Carroll '89
Vice President | Energy and Logistics
GROWMARK is a regional farm supply and energy cooperative serving customers in 30 states and Ontario, Canada. In 2016, the Bloomington, Ill. based organization recorded sales of $7.0 billion.
Kevin was named Vice President, Energy and Logistics in 2008. GROWMARK’s energy and logistics business includes sales of refined fuels, lubricants, propane, and transportation services.
He received a B.S. in Finance from the University of Illinois in 1979, and in 1989 he received an M.B.A. from Illinois State University. He joined the GROWMARK System in 1985 as a Financial Analyst and has held various positions including Treasury Operations Manager; Manager, Energy Operations; Director, Business Analysis and Research; and Region Manager in GROWMARK’s Western and Northern regions. Prior to joining GROWMARK, Kevin was a grain and feed ingredient merchandiser in Omaha, Nebraska. Kevin and his wife Tammy have three grown children.Kevin is currently a director for MID-CO COMMODITIES, INC., UPI, Inc., GROWMARK Foundation Board, GROWMARK FS, LLC; Seedway, LLC, Mid-America Biofuels LLC, and Manito Transit, LLC.
Little Jewels Leaning Center
McDonald's - Bloomington, Normal, McLean & Gibson City, Illinois
Julie Dobski, along with her husband Bob, is the owner of Little Jewels Learning Centers in Bloomington and Normal, 10 McDonald’s locations in Bloomington, Normal, McLean & Gibson City.
Julie believes their success is due to the support of many people and because of this, they make giving back to her community a top priority firmly advocating that this leads to a stronger community. They encourage and inspire others to become involved, quoting McDonald’s founder, Ray Kroc - “None of us is as good as all of us.”
Julie has been awarded an honorary doctorate from Illinois State University.
Julie’s current community involvement includes Chair of the United Way of McLean County Board of Directors, Past President of the Chamber of Commerce, Trustee of the Holy Trinity Catholic Church, Member of the Board of Directors for the Baby Fold, and President Elect for the Bloomington/Normal Sunrise Rotary.
Andy Drendel '72
Senior Vice President and Manager | Trust & Investments
First Bank & Trust
First Bank & Trust is a community bank in Evanston Illinois. The Bank was founded 20 years ago and has offices in Evanston, Winnetka, Skokie, Itasca and Naperville. Total assets are currently $1,000,000,000. The Trust Department serves individuals, not-for-profits and closely held businesses and is now at $505,000,000 in total assets.
Andy his a solid background in fiduciary practice, trust administration, taxation and business management. Andy has supervisory responsibility for a team of highly skilled professionals. The team, and Andy himself, delivered fiduciary products, investment management services, comprehensive financial planning, tax consulting and wealth transfer services to the highest net worth families in the United States.Drendel came to First Bank & Trust after a short retirement from U S Trust / Bank of America (formerly LaSalle Bank N.A.) Previous to that he was vice president, manager, and senior administrator in the Milwaukee office of Marshall & Ilsley Trust Company. Prior to his five years in Milwaukee, he managed the business development and administration officers at the First National Bank & Trust Company of Rockford. Starting his career in Peoria at The First National Bank of Peoria, Drendel received his Certified Trust and Financial Advisor designation from the Institute of Certified Bankers, and has twice been elected President of the Corporate Fiduciaries Association of Illinois.
Mike Emmert, '75
Managing Director | Disputes & Investigations Practice
Navigant Consulting, Inc.
Prepared for the rigors of the corporate world thanks to four years of Illinois State Rugby and his accounting degree, Mike Emmert began his career as an auditor and system design consultant for Arthur Andersen & Co. In the early 1980’s he formed a litigation consulting company and success has continued to follow.
Emmert has led complex consulting engagements for Fortune 100 companies including General Electric, Citibank, AIG, Caterpillar, Exelon, and Allstate. He provides accounting, finance and other areas of expertise to corporations and corporate law firms in the resolution of litigation, other business disputes or regulatory investigations. Mike has presented expert testimony in Federal and State courts. In addition to being involved in several of the large financial statement investigations of the last 5 years, Hurricane Katrina losses and other news-related matters, Mike has led multi-year client engagements involving hundreds of professionals and the resolution of financial claims and losses totaling tens of billions of dollars. Most recently, his client responsibilities have included the evaluation of billions of dollars of property damage and other business losses suffered in New York City as a result of the events of September 11, 2001.
Mike was the Managing Partner of Ernst & Young LLP’s Global Disputes & Investigations Practice. In five years he grew the firm’s domestic practice from $15 million to $130 million, while tripling partnership profitability. Emmert achieved these results by implementing unique marketing programs, branding campaigns, thought-leadership initiatives, integrated culture enhancements, career management and staff enrichment. Throughout this period the practice was named the Ernst & Young LLP Consulting Practice of the Year. Mike also led the expansion of similar consulting practices at the global level for the company.
Mike lives in Hinsdale with his wife, Jan. Their son Phil resides in Nashville. Mike is a member of the AICPA, the ISCPA, the Vanderbilt University Masters in Accountancy Advisory Board, and the Information Integrity Coalition, among other professional and civic organizations. He also serves as a Trustee and is the Treasurer of the Chicago Zoological Society.
Bryan Eovaldi, '86 MBA '87
Vice President and Chief Operating Officer
General Credit Forms, Inc.
Earth City, Missouri
Bryan Eovaldi currently serves as Chief Operating Officer for:
In this capacity he reports to the President and is responsible for all operating functions for the above companies, as well as maintaining a functional oversight responsibility for the information services group. Mr. Eovaldi is a member of the Strategic Planning Committee and assists the President and Vice Chairman in all acquisition related matters.
Eovaldi earned his Certified Public Accountant (CPA) certificate in 1986. From 1986 to 1995 he worked at Arthur Andersen & Company, LLC in their St. Louis office as the Audit Manager for a variety of Andersen’s customers including GCF and several Fortune 500 companies. Eovaldi also provided consulting services to these companies and others as a part of his regular audit activities.
A member of the Electronic Transaction Association, Eovaldi also serves on the Illinois State Department of Accounting Advisory Council.
Connie Fako Shoemake is a business, education and technology leader specializing in strategy, management, operations and business development.
Connie has worked as a Senior Consultant for Moran Technology Consulting specializing on developing actions plans to identify and maximize the benefits of IT systems. Engagements included working with clients both globally and in the U.S. Previous to this role, Connie worked at IBM. Her last position at IBM was Vice President for Global Client Centers. In this role she provided thought leadership and direction to IBM’s global network of client centers, enhancing the capabilities of the centers to provide outstanding client experience, streamline center operations, drive incremental sales and enable sales teams and partners to showcase IBM’s solutions and technology capabilities.
Connie has successfully held multiple executive and management positions in sales, marketing, strategy, transformation, project management, partner development, acquisitions and technical support.
Connie is currently an advisor and board member for Illinois State University Business School, and National Children’s Center (NCC) in Washington DC. Connie is actively involved on the state board for Illinois Special Olympics. She is a former board member of the Illinois Technology Association and the Chicago Mayor’s Council on Technology. Connie has been active in professional organizations, including Women in Technology and the Chicago Executive’s Club.
In 2015, Connie was selected to participate in the Incubator.edu program designed to get high school students excited about becoming entrepreneurs by creating and fully developing their own product or service. Connie is actively involved as a substitute teacher for grades K-12 in Illinois school districts 15 and 211.
Melanie Feregul, '93
The Northern Trust Company
Northern Trust is one of the world's leading asset management, asset servicing and banking firms, serving successful individuals, families and institutions around the globe. They provide trust, custody, investment management, and banking services to individual and institutional clients throughout the world. As of June 30, 2012, Northern Trust has a network of offices in 18 U.S. states and has international offices in 16 locations in North America, Europe, the Middle East and the Asia-Pacific region.
Melanie joined Northern Trust's Internal Audit department right after graduating from Illinois State. Currently she works in Risk Management focusing on regulatory compliance within the Corporate & Institutional Services business.Melanie earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting from ISU became a CPA and CIA in 1993. In 1997, she earned an MBA from DePaul University.
Jackie Ferree '83
Chevron Corporation | Retired
Jackie Ferree, '83 ACC is a Finance Manager at Chevron Corporation. Located in San Ramon, CA. Chevron is a global integrated energy company with over 62 thousand employees operating in over 180 countries. She is a member of Chevron's Corporate Comptroller's Accounting Policy and External Reporting organization.
Prior to her current position, Ferree was the Global Downstream Accounting Policy Finance Manager which consists of the worldwide refining, fuels, and lubricants marketing, supply and trading, and transportation businesses. She was also the Downstream North America and Global Finance Integration Leader for a $0.8 Billion worldwide project to standardize to one accounting system (SAP) and one global design for business work processes. Her twenty-five year career with Chevron includes transactional accounting, internal auditing, business performance analysis, and business planning positions. Ferree earned a double major in Accounting and Business Administration and passed the State of Illinois CPA examination in 1984.
Kasey Gandham '13
Kasey Gandham is the cofounder of Packback, a Chicago-based education technology startup assisting students, professors, and institutions with improving student engagement and affordability with their educational materials. Packback was founded in Kasey's junior year at Illinois State University, and today has raised $3M+ in venture funding. Packback made it's public debut and launch on the ABC TV show Shark Tank to over $8M viewers. Over the past year, Packback has grown to a 20 person team and has saved students a collective $14M in textbook costs.
Kasey graduated Illinois State in 2013 with a 3.95 cumulative GPA in addition to having worked two corporate internships, cofounding a startup, leading several service trips, and building and leading a new business fraternity on campus. Through college, Kasey worked internships as a Jr. Portfolio Manager in Wealth Management as well as a Product Manager in Marketing for COUNTRY Financial. During his senior year, he was selected as an ISU Bone Scholar, the highest distinction awarded at ISU, and in 2015, Kasey was selected as one of Crain's Chicago 20 In Their 20's.
Jared Hall is the Market President of Commerce Bank in Bloomington-Normal, IL. Commerce is a $25 billion diversified bank holding company based in St. Louis, MO. Prior to joining Commerce, he was a Director at Aldine Capital Partners (Chicago, IL); a private investment firm providing subordinated debt and equity securities to mid-sized businesses. Jared was responsible for sourcing and evaluating potential investment opportunities and managing portfolio company investments. Before Aldine, he was a Vice President in The Northern Trust Company's Corporate Banking Group and began his career as a commercial banker with American National Bank & Trust Company (now part of JP Morgan Chase) in Chicago, IL.
Jared earned an undergraduate degree from Wabash College and an MBA from the University of Notre Dame. He serves on the board of the Bloomington-Normal Economic Development Council and lives in Bloomington, IL with his wife and three children.
Ben Hart MBA '95
President and Chief Executive Officer
Hart is President and Chief Executive Officer of the Bloomington-based Heritage Enterprises Inc. Founded in 1963, Heritage focuses on serving the health care and therapy needs of seniors. With over 50 years of experience, Heritage now operates and manages over 55 facilities throughout Illinois, and one community in Indianapolis.
As a respected leader in the long-term care industry, Heritage provides comprehensive skilled nursing care, including Alzheimer’s and dementia memory care support, nutrition services and much more. Heritage’s exclusive RESTORE to Home Therapy program boasts licensed therapists trained to provide top-level physical, occupational and speech therapy tailored to seniors’ unique needs. In conjunction with a cutting edge long-term care pharmacy, Green Tree Pharmacy, Heritage fulfills a broad spectrum of senior care needs. From skilled nursing facilities to assisted living, supportive living and independent living communities, Heritage Enterprises raises the bar in senior health care.
Hart earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Accountancy from the University of Colorado at Boulder. He proceeded to earn a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Illinois State University (1995). Hart’s career in health care began in 1996 when he joined Heritage Enterprises, Inc. There he took on responsibilities for new development, acquisitions, and capital reinvestments of projects in excess of $100 million. Additionally, Hart oversaw the functions of facility management, information technology, environmental services and marketing.
Hart serves on the Illinois State University Foundation Board and the Illinois State University College of Business Advisory Council. He also serves on boards for several business organizations, including the Health Care Council of Illinois, Affordable Assisted Living Coalition and the Advocate BroMenn Philanthropy Council.
Executive Director | Business Development
Afni, Inc. provides customer interaction solutions for markets leaders primarily in the communications, insurance and healthcare industries. A privately held company, headquartered in Bloomington, Afni's presence spans the United States providing a tailored call center, collections insurance and debt purchase services to the nation’s leading companies. Afni is located in 5 states domestically and has a presence in Manila, Philippines.
Jeff started with Afni in 1995 and graduated from Illinois State University in 1999 with a degree in Criminal Justice Sciences. In his current role as the Executive Director of Business Development and Client Services, Jeff is responsible for the maintenance and growth within the telecommunications and healthcare verticals. Having spoken at industry conferences on website optimization, customer interaction channels and debt sales, Jeff's focus is on adding value for Afni's clients while ensuring a positive customer experience for their customers.
Karen Jensen, MBA '86
President and Chief Executive Officer
Farnsworth Group, Inc. is a full-service engineering, architecture and survey firm with more than 300 employees located throughout a nationwide network of offices. In addition to traditional services, the firm provides cutting edge technologies, including LEED consulting and Building Commissioning. Farnsworth Group is ranked as one of Engineering News-Record’s Top 500 Design Firms, with an in-depth portfolio of projects and a client base that includes farm communities, Fortune 500 companies and the Federal Government.
Jensen earned her degree in civil engineering from the University of Nebraska and an M.B.A. from Illinois State University. Prior to joining Farnsworth Group in 2002, Jensen served in various senior management roles, including president and COO for Environmental Science & Engineering, Inc. (ESE), a national environmental and engineering consulting firm.
As an active community leader, Jensen serves in board positions for a number of organizations including American Red Cross – Central Illinois Chapter, McLean County Chamber of Commerce, Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce, Commissioner on the Metropolitan Airport Authority of Peoria, OSF Saint Francis Community Advisory Board, and serves on the Society of Military engineers National Senior Executive Group.
Deon Johnson '97
Assistant Vice President
State Farm Insurance
Deon Johnson, CPCU, CLU, ChFC, is an Assistant Vice President in P&C Underwriting at State Farm Insurance Companies. Deon began her career with State Farm in 1998 as an underwriter in Illinois. After a series of first-line leadership positions, Deon was promoted to underwriting section manager in West Lafayette, Indiana. In 2008, Deon returned to Bloomington as a manager and in 2010, she was named auto operations manager in Ballston Spa, New York. Deon was promoted to Assistant Vice President in 2013 and assumed her current role of Leadership Enterprise Development Associate in 2015.
Deon earned her Bachelor of Science degree from Illinois State University in 1997 and later earned her Chartered Property and Casualty Underwriter (CPCU), Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) and Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC) designations.
Deon is married to Trevin and then have a son, Nealo
Kate King Wu '76
Adjunct Professor, CPA
University of Nebraska - Omaha
Kate King Wu, a Certified Public Accountant in Omaha, Nebraska, is also a faculty member at the University of Nebraska – Omaha. Kate has over twenty years of teaching at the college level and has also taught at the College of Saint Mary, Metropolitan Community College and Bellevue University.
Prior to joining the University of Nebraska – Omaha, Kate held over seven years of auditing and consulting experiences with the Big-Four accounting firms in both United States and Hong Kong.
She has been appointed by the Governor of Nebraska to serve on the Nebraska State Board of Public Accountancy (NBPA) and is now in her second 4-year-term.
Kate has been appointed by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants’ Board of Examiner to serve on the Board of Examiner’s Content Committee and also on one of its four subcommittees.
Kate has served on the Board of Trustees of the Foundation of The Nebraska Society of Certified Public Accountants, the Board of Directors of The Nebraska Society of Certified Public Accountants.
She was the President of the Midwest International Trade Association Inc. and has also served on the Board of The Great Plains Girl Scout Council Inc. where she is a Lifetime Member. She is currently a member of both the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Project Management Institute. Kate is also currently on the Creighton University Medical Center Service League Board.Kate has both a Bachelor of Science and an MBA degree in Banking and Finance from the University of Nebraska – Omaha and also a bachelor’s degree in Accounting from Illinois State University. She is licensed to practice as a Certified Public Accountant in the United States.
John F. Kocher '87
For more than 60 years, MultiAd has provided its customers with innovative solutions for the creation, organization, facilitation, and distribution of marketing content. Whether the client is a manufacturer, financial institution, retailer, newspaper, or publisher, MultiAd’s enterprise solutions are designed to help maintain brand integrity. The company’s capabilities include asset management, online document creation tools, marketing resource management applications, image and data libraries, desktop publishing software, sheet-fed and print-on-demand services, content distribution, and mailing services.
Kocher was senior vice president of the Kwikee Division which develops, manages, and distributes national and store branded images and data for advertising, promotional, and merchandising needs. His passion and vision for MultiAd Kwikee, coupled with his forward thinking, have produced innovative solutions for both manufacturers and the Consumer Package Goods’ retail trade community. Kocher’s contributions have been recognized with multiple awards from MultiAd. He was also elected as one of Peoria Area’s “40 Leaders Under 40” in 2001.
Community service is a central value for Kocher. He serves on the Advisory Board for the St. Jude Midwest Affiliate. He has been treasurer of the St. Jude Benefit Meet for the past 20 years and is involved in many fund-raising events benefiting the organization. Kocher has also been an active volunteer working on behalf of Easter Seals, American Red Cross, American Lung Association, American Cancer Society, The Children’s Hospital of Illinois, Children’s Miracle Network, and many of the Catholic parishes in the Peoria area.
Chris Korsgard '84
Sikich is one of the leading providers of professional services in the Midwest. The firm’s 250 professionals are based at six Midwest offices to serve middle-market businesses, governmental entities, and not-for-profit organizations. The company develops and assists clients in implementing strategic, operational, financial, management, and technology solutions to the most complex challenges posed in today’s global economy. Its Information Technology division focuses primarily on Microsoft products and services, including ERP and CRM applications. The Microsoft Dynamics software consulting team is part of the firm’s $15 million IT consulting division and is currently in the top 1 percent of Microsoft consulting partners in the world, with more than 1,000 clients including Illinois Tool Works and Caterpillar.
As a partner at Sikich Technology, Korsgard focuses on information technology (IT) consulting services. He oversees the business and financial (ERP) software team that designs, develops and implements technology solutions for companies across a broad spectrum of industries and organizations, including Caterpillar, Illinois Tool Works and Equity Group.
Korsgard began his career as an auditor with Price Waterhouse (PW) in Chicago, eventually transferring into the firm’s technology consulting division just as personal computers were beginning to penetrate corporate America. He left PW in 1989 to join Wolf & Company, a regional CPA firm in Oak Brook, where he became a partner heading up Wolf’s IT consulting area. In 1995 Korsgard co-founded Softbite Solutions with fellow Illinois State grad Kevin Smith. In 2002 the company merged with Sikich, a large regional CPA firm based in Aurora. Korsgard serves on several boards helping to advise Microsoft on the direction of their business software (Microsoft Dynamics) division and is also on the U.S. Board of the International Association of Microsoft Certified Partners (IAMCP
Al Lewis '90
Metro District Sales Manager
The Sherwin Williams Company
Al began as Assistant Store Manager in 1991. By August 1993, Lewis had been promoted to Sales Representative, in which he beat the previous year’s territory sales volume by over 20%. Lewis has received the Master’s Club Award, President’s All-Stars in 1996, Top 50 Sales Representatives in the entire United States, and the Leader’s Club Award.
Lewis has achieved seven Circle of Excellence awards, which recognized the top management performance achievement amongst peers for the entire community. Lewis also closed a $1.2 million dollar deal with the Chicago Housing Authority. He served in district management for multiple store units in Chicago and National Accounts, where he directed a team of account executives to foster sales growth and strategic partnerships with national clients across the U.S. and Canada. Emphasized relationship development with Top 50 Multi-Family, Home Builder and Healthcare customers within designated markets.
Currently his is a Metro District Sales Manager, responsible for leading a talented sales force to grow market share within the commercial property maintenance and contractor market segments.
J. William Lin '60 MBA '70
President and CPA
Lin & Lincoln CPAs Ltd.
Lin & Lincoln CPA’s LLC was founded in 1980 by William Lin andhas since been growing rapidly into a full service CPA firm serving business as well as personal for more than30 states and 10 countries internationally for: auditing, taxation, accounting, financial planning, and management advisory.
William received an M.S. in Business Administration from Illinois State University in 1970, and in 1960 he received B.A. from National Chung-Hsing University, Taipei, Taiwan.
With an American dream in his mind, he came to ISU for a master’s degree in 1969.Prior to attending ISU, he worked as a high school teacher, and also worked for the National Bank of Communications in Taiwan.
As soon as he graduated from ISU, he concurrently served as chief accountant for Computer Service Inc., Maxium De Paris, and Bistrol Restaurant under the same owner.
In 1987, he organized the New Asia Bank, the biggest Chinese Bank in the Chicago area and he served on the board of directors for 18 years. During that time he chaired the loan committee which contributed to the success of the bank and helped communities and people with a low credit rate.
William is serving as Board of Directors for: Taiwanese World Chamber of Commerce, Taiwanese American CPA Association of North America, Taiwanese American Chamber of Commerce of North America, and Taiwanese American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Chicago.He served on the Board of Directors for:New Asia Bank, AA Investment LLC, Executive Building II Corp., Mt. Jade Technological Association, Wilmette Family Services, and Asian American Advisory Council.
Besides Lin & Lincoln CPA’s LLC, he is serving as president of AA Investment II LLC, and Executive Building Corporation, Best Group LLC, and AA Triple LLC. Furthermore, he served as president for: Hsing-Pei University Alumni Association Mid-West Chapter (Alumni Combination of National Chung-Hsing University in Taichung, Taiwan, and National Taipei University in Taipei, Taiwan, He was awarded as outstanding alumni by both universities.), Taiwanese CPA Association of North America, Taiwanese American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Chicago.
William Lin also contributes effort in helping communities and people.
President | Sweeteners and Starches
Archer Daniels Midland Company
Kris Lutt is president, Sweeteners and Starches, in Archer Daniels Midland Company’s Corn Processing business unit. In that role, he is responsible for all commercial activities of the company’s North American sweetener, starch and acidulant businesses.
Kris joined ADM in 2002, and most recently served as president of ADM subsidiary Golden Peanut and Tree Nuts, a leading handler, processor and exporter of peanuts and tree nuts, with processing facilities in major growing areas in the United States, Argentina and South Africa. Before that, Lutt was president of ADM’s Milling business, and before that, adviser to the Office of the Chairman. Within ADM’s Corn business, he has served as general manager, Specialty Feed Ingredients, and vice president, Corn Processing. Before joining ADM, Lutt worked for Minnesota Corn Processors, which ADM acquired in 2002.
Kris holds a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from the University of Nebraska and an MBA from Illinois State University. Kris also serves on the Acacia Fraternity Foundation and the Community Foundation of Macon County.
Vice President - Agency Operations
A native of Los Angeles, Rob is Vice President of Customer Service for COUNTRY Financial. COUNTRY Financial serves about one million households and businesses throughout the United States and offers a full range of financial products and services from auto, home and life insurance to retirement planning services, investment management and annuities.
Rob leads enterprise customer service operations, including contact centers, customer service support and operational excellence.
Prior to this position, Rob served as Vice President of Financial & Brokerage Solutions and Vice President of Trust Services for COUNTRY and as an attorney with the Office of the General Counsel for the Illinois Farm Bureau family of companies. He has also served as a director and Chairman of the Board of the IAA Credit Union.
Rob is a graduate of the University of Southern California and Georgetown University Law Center. He is a member of the Leadership Council for the Griffith Foundation for Insurance Education and is the President of The WGLT Friends Council.
Joseph E. McNeely '86
President and Chief Executive Officer
FreightCar America, Inc.
Joseph is a successful leader with comprehensive rail industry experience and diverse business background with a track record of driving value in manufacturing, leasing, and distribution industries. Joseph has significant rail, mergers, acquisitions and international experience. He has a CPA/MBA with major audit and consulting firm experience, including performance management, operational excellence, and Activity Based Management.
Joseph assumed FreightCar America’s President and Chief Executive Officer position in October 2014. Prior to the promotion, he served as FreightCar America’s Chief Financial Officer since September 2010. Joseph served 13 years in a variety of managerial and leadership positions in the rail industry which included responsibility for sales, marketing, business development and IT and well as finance at two railcar lessors.
Currently, he is serving on the American Association of Railroads Associates Advisory Board, and is the President of the RSI American Railway Car Institute Committee (ARCI).
Most recently, Jospeh held a position of Vice President Sales and Marketing at Mitsui Rail Capital, focusing on railcar leasing sales and marketing, business development, and diversification of their railcar product portfolio. During this time, he implemented best practices in the sales and marketing functions, purchased over $100 million of new and used railcars and sold over $80 million worth of existing railcars.
Previously, Jospeh held positions at GATX Corporation, including Vice President of Finance for GATX Rail, and was responsible for managing and leading the consolidation of a global rail finance team, implementing best practices to drive down costs, and improved finance processes across the board.
Joseph began career with Arthur Andersen, LLP and was a senior manager on numerous accounting, audit and consulting engagements serving the manufacturing and distribution industries. He successfully led activity based management, information systems, strategy development, mergers and acquisition projects.
Eric Mickel '89
Senior Business Resource Manager
Caterpillar | Enterprise Cost and Business Analysis
With more than 25 years of accounting experience, Eric Mickel ‘89 is the senior business resource manager for Caterpillar’s Enterprise Cost and Business Analysis group.
After graduating from Illinois State University with a degree in accounting, Eric started an 11-year career at PricewaterhouseCoopers where he primarily supported heavy industrial and high-tech software companies. In 2000, Eric joined Team Caterpillar as a corporate accountant. His Caterpillar career has taken him to Aurora, Illinois; Grenoble, France and Peterborough, England. Today, Eric works at Caterpillar’s corporate headquarters in Peoria, Illinois.
For more than 85 years, Caterpillar Inc. has been making sustainable progress possible and driving positive change on every continent. With 2014 sales and revenues of $55.2 billion, Caterpillar is the world’s leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, industrial gas turbines and diesel-electric locomotives
Erick Miner '70
Central Illinois Truck Inc.
Erick W. Miner is President and CEO of CIT Group, Inc., a group of 15 retail heavy and medium-duty truck dealerships representing franchises for Kenworth Truck Company, Volvo Trucks North America, Mack Trucks, Isuzu Commercial Trucks of America, and Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corporation in sales territories throughout all of Illinois, half of Missouri, and northwestern Indiana. The company also owns a finance company, CIT Equipment Finance, Inc. and a truck leasing company, CIT Group Leasing, Inc. The company was founded in 1975 in Normal, Illinois.
Miner graduated from Illinois State University in 1978 with a degree in accounting. He obtained his CPA certification and worked in public accounting until joining CIT Group, Inc. as Controller in 1984. He became President of the company in 1991, purchasing the company in 1992. In the past two decades, CIT has grown from two dealership locations generating $12 million in annual sales to its present size, becoming a consistent market share leader with annual sales in excess of $300 million and employing over 500 people. The company has received a number of industry awards over the years, most recently winning three Kenworth Truck Company North American Dealer of the Year awards in the past four years.
In addition to serving on the boards of several community organizations and industry groups over the years, Miner has held positions on the Volvo Trucks North America Dealer Advisory Board, and the Kenworth Truck Company North American Dealer Council, ultimately serving as Chairman of the Kenworth Truck Company North American Dealer Council in 2003. In 2011, Miner was a finalist for the American Truck Dealers Association Dealer of the Year, the industry’s top dealer award. CIT has worked closely over the years with Illinois State University’s Professional Sales Institute and is proud to be a Platinum Partner with the Institute. Miner is on the Institute's advisory board and enjoys speaking to sales, marketing, and business administration classes at the university. CIT employs a number of Illinois State University graduates.
Miner and his wife Jada have six children and live in Bloomington, Illinois. Two of their children are Illinois State University graduates.
William J. Motchar '85
President and Chief Executive Officer
Charlotte, North Carolina
After graduating Illinois State University, Will spent 13 years in progressing responsibilities in sales, marketing, and global business unit management with National Starch & Chemical Company. During this time Will also earned an M.B.A. from Wake Forest University.
Will joined Navis Global in 1998 as Vice President, Global Sales & Marketing. In 2005, he was promoted to President and CEO. In 2011, Will purchased the company from the private equity group that owned Navis Global. Founded in 1929, Navis Global is the leading finishing machinery supplier to the global textile industry. Based in Lexington, North Carolina, Navis designs, engineers and manufactures high tech machinery for the global knit, woven, nonwoven, technical and geotextile industries. Navis has sales and service offices in over 60 countries with manufacturing facilities in the U.S. and Taiwan.
Will also serves as Chairman and member of the Board of Directors of the American Textile Machinery Association.
Thomas Reedy '81
Senior Managing Director
Dillon Kane Group LLC
Thomas Reedy is Senior Managing Director of Dillon Kane Group LLC. With over thirty years of entrepreneurial experience in financial services and technology, Tom’s leadership empowers professionals within organizations to act as a stimulus for growth strategies – cultivating opportunities in new and existing markets; manifesting portfolios of innovation; and, managing to success. Prior to joining Dillon Kane Group, Tom served as CEO and Chairman of iTRACS Corporation, a market leading infrastructure technology company. Prior to iTRACS, Tom spent twenty years in the investment business. During this period, Tom served as Senior Executive Vice President at EVEREN Securities, the tenth largest U.S. brokerage firm, where he had responsibility for all Capital Markets activities. Within the Capital Markets division, Tom had direct responsibility for EVEREN’s market leading Real Estate Group. Tom has earned a reputation for establishing and tapping into networks reflecting a rich diversity of business, technical and entrepreneurial IQ to nurture disruptive and breakthrough innovations, speed time to market, and improve organizational outcomes. Tom’s market reputation reflects a commitment to creating long-term shareholder value, leveraging balanced portfolios of growth initiatives, and maintaining a high level of integrity and transparency.
A committed community leader, Tom’s public service includes a Presidential appointment (1997 – President William J. Clinton) to the Board of Trustees of the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars. Shortly after, Tom was appointed Chairman of The Center’s Investment Policy Committee. During Tom’s six year term as Chairman, he orchestrated comprehensive change in investment policy and focus of the Center’s endowment funds.
Tom lives in Hinsdale, Illinois with his wife of 27 years and has four children. Tom holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Illinois State University, and an MBA in finance from the University of Michigan. He is a certified public accountant, certified managerial accountant, and has multiple securities industry accreditations.
Sharon Rossmark '78 MBA
Chief Operating Officer
Sharon Rossmark is the Chief Operating Officer for AeroVista Innovations an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) service company and premier provider of aerial mapping and imagery solutions. Sharon’s executive background includes corporate officer experience with diverse industry and functional positions in publically traded Fortune 100 and start-up companies.
She currently serves as chairman of the board of directors for the National Children’s Center, Washington, D.C., Treasurer for Board Source and is also a board member of Special Olympics Illinois.
Previously, Sharon served as vice chairman of the board of directors and chair of Patient Safety for Sinai Health System, Chicago. She also has served on the American Hospital Association’s Committee on Governance and on the board of trustees at Oakton Community College.
A governance geek, she is a frequently requested speaker, panelist and facilitator on board governance, the role of the board in patient safety and executive mentoring.
Sharon earned the Governance Fellow designation from the National Association of Corporate Directors, completed her undergraduate studies at Illinois State University and received her MBA from the University of Illinois Chicago.
Ms. Rossmark has established an endowed scholarship to support U.S. military soldiers & veterans majoring in Business at Illinois State University. She is also the executive producer of a WWII documentary. Portions of the documentary appeared in an Emmy Award winning History Channel documentary.
Stuart Schuette '86
Chief Executive Officer
American Tire Distributors
Huntersville, North Carolina
Stuart Schuette is currently Chief Executive Officer at American Tire Distributers.
Stuart was Chief Operating Officer of US Foods In his role, he oversaw the operational and administrative functions of more than 70 divisions. Stuart also planned and directed all operational strategies, policies, objectives and initiatives to achieve the goals of US Foods while positioning the company for future growth.
During his 20-year career at US Foods, Stuart has held a variety of executive positions including Region President; Zone President; Division President; Division Vice President, Finance; Manager, Financial Operations; and Manager, Planning.
Prior to joining US Foods, he was an executive at Martin Brower, a subsidiary of Reyes Holdings, LLC, the world’s largest distributor of products to more than 8,400 McDonald’s restaurants. Stuart was also Senior Financial Analyst at Heller Financial and began his career in the Small Business Division of Arthur Anderson in Chicago.
Stuart holds a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting and business administration from Illinois State University
Kelley J. Smith '81
Kensington Realty Advisors, Inc.
Kensington Realty Advisors is a SEC Registered Investment Advisor providing investment management and advisory services. Assets under management of $1 billion include multifamily, industrial, retail, student and senior housing properties.
Ms. Smith’s main responsibilities are the asset and portfolio management activities of the firm, including dispositions. Ms. Smith is also responsible for overseeing the financial management and accounting functions, and is the primary liaison with clients as to property operations and performance. She is also a member of Kensington’s Investment Management Committee.
Chief Executive Officer
As the Herman Miller office furniture dealer in Central and Northern Illinois, Widmer maintains showrooms in Peoria, Rockford, Normal and Champaign. Widmer Interiors is a Herman Miller Certified Dealer; one of only 49 dealers in the U.S. to hold this accreditation.
Win began his career at Widmer Interiors in 1997 with positions in customer service and sales, before becoming CEO in 2006.
Win received his degree in accounting from the University of Illinois in 1993 and an MBA in 1995, also from the University of Illinois. Prior to joining Widmer Interiors, Win worked as an auditor at Price Waterhouse in Peoria.Win serves on the advisory board of the Salvation Army. He has been an active Rotarian since he joined the Rotary Club of Peoria in 1998. Win is also active with his church, Grace Presbyterian, and serves on the board of Campus Outreach, the church’s college ministry.
James L. Svab, CPA '92
PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) is a global professional services firm providing assurance, tax and advisory services. It is the world's largest professional services firm and the largest of the Big Four accounting firms.
Jim is an Assurance partner in the Chicago office focusing on insurance companies and the financial services industry. In addition to leading audit engagements, he provides accounting advice and has assisted companies with IPOs and capital market transactions, internal control implementations, due diligence projects and forensic accounting investigations. He has served clients of all types and sizes, including SEC and foreign registrants, mutual insurers, multinationals and private companies.
Jim is the past co-leader of PwC’s IFRS practice for the insurance industry where he assisted companies in accounting conversions and other IFRS-related activities. Earlier in his career, Jim served a three-year tour with PwC Switzerland in the Zurich office, where he provided accounting advisory and IPO services to companies seeking access to the U.S. capital markets.Jim received a degree in accounting from Illinois State University and became a certified public accountant in 1992. He has been a member of ISU’s Advisory Council to the Department of Accounting (2006-2012) and currently serves on the Board of the United Way of DuPage/West Cook County
Matt Taphorn, '88
Senior Business Resource Manager
East Peoria, Illinois
Matt is currently the Senior Business Resource Manager with the Material Handling & Underground Division of Caterpillar, Inc. located in East Peoria, Illinois. In this position, Matt leads a team supporting the mining products produced at several facilities around the world with responsibilities including strategy development and execution, financial accounting, reporting, and decision support. The Material Handling & Underground Division supports the following product groups: Material Handling – Large Track Type Tractors, Large Wheel Loaders, Off-Highway Trucks, Wheel-Tractor Scrapers, Surface Rock Drills, and Articulated Trucks, and Underground Mining – Hard Rock Vehicles, Longwall Mining, Room & Pillar Mining, and Hard Rock Cutting. Prior to his current role, Matt has held positions in Corporate Accounting, Remanufacturing, and in Global Mining with leadership roles in the integration of the Bucyrus acquisition and subsequent divestiture of the related distribution businesses, and the integration of the Siwei acquisition. Matt joined Caterpillar in 2004.
Matt started his career at Price Waterhouse in Peoria from 1988 to 1991 as a Senior Auditor. He was the Controller for PJS Publications, a publishing company located in Peoria from 1991 to 1998. Matt was a Financial Advisor for AG Edwards in Peoria from 1998 to 2002, and a Financial Consultant for Robert W. Baird & Co. in Peoria from 2002 to 2004.
Matt holds a bachelor’s degree from Illinois State University (1988), and is a Certified Public Accountant. He currently resides in Morton, Illinois along with his wife Kelly (Nimmo) Taphorn (ISU ’90). His son Drake (MAS ISU ’15) also resides in Morton, and is employed as an accountant by Caterpillar in Peoria. His daughter Karson (BN Illinois Wesleyan University ’16) is employed as a labor and delivery nurse by OSF St. Joseph in Bloomington. His twin sons, Chase and Drew are currently in school at North Central College in Naperville, and Illinois Central College in East Peoria, respectively.
Mark Thorndyke '85
Managing Director – Wealth Management
Senior Portfolio Manager, PIA Program
Wealth Management Advisor
Thorndyke Wealth Management Group
With Merrill Lynch since 1986, Mark manages client portfolios within the Personal Investment Advisory Program®. After receiving his undergraduate degree from Illinois State University, he has participated in post-graduate programs over the years at Harvard University, London School of Economics & Wharton Business School. He lives in Lake Barrington with his wife Susan, & their four children.
Mark was named to Barron’s Top 1,200 Financial Advisors in 2014; an honor he has held for the past six consecutive years. He is currently ranked 26th in Illinois.
Jeff VanDeCasteele '82
Director | Finance, John Deere Power Systems
Deere & Company
John Deere (Deere & Company - NYSE: DE) is the world's leading manufacturer of agricultural and forestry equipment, a major manufacturer of construction equipment, and a leading supplier of equipment used in lawn, grounds, and turf care. John Deere also manufactures and markets engines used in heavy equipment and provides landscape and worldwide financial services. Since 1837, the company has extended its heritage of integrity, quality, commitment, and innovation around the globe.
Jeff VanDeCasteele is the Director, Finance, John Deere Power Systems, a position he has held since January 2014. In this role he is responsible for the counseling, internal controls, financial shared services, corporate financial analysis and the company’s internal management reporting.
After graduating from Illinois State with a degree in accounting and business administration he began his career with Deere & Company as an Internal Auditor. He also received his CPA certification. He has held marketing positions in support of the Deere dealer organization in dealer systems, parts marketing and as territory manager in Nebraska, Missouri and Illinois. VanDeCasteele served in accounting and finance leadership assignments in Kansas City, Raleigh and Waterloo. In 2002 he returned to the World Headquarters and led teams in financial systems, accounting and supply management. Prior to accepting his assignment as Director, Management Reporting in 2008, VanDeCasteele served as Director, Internal Audit, U.S. and Canada.VanDeCasteele volunteers as a member of the United Way Community Investment Panels. He is also a member of the ISU Department of Accounting Advisory. He is a past Board Chairman and Board member of the Deere Employees Credit Union.
Stefanos Venable '86
Senior Vice President | Loan Operations
First Midwest Bank
Stefanos “Scottie” Venable is a Senior Vice President, Loan Operations for First Midwest Bank. Scottie develops and manages all loan operations. This includes but is not limited to the closing and documentation functions and complete servicing functions of both the commercial, consumer and mortgage portfolios.
Before working at First Midwest Bank, Scottie was a Senior Vice President at Standard Bank and Trust in charge of all loan, syndications and capital market operations. After graduating from ISU in 1986, Venable worked for G. Heileman Brewing Company as an Area Sales Manager and also received his commission as a second lieutenant from the US Army Reserves. He later moved to Chicago where he became a broker and top sales manager hiring and training his own sales force for the CM Financial group.
After four years of developing his own brokerage business, Scottie began his MBA at The University of Illinois. While attending school at night, Venable became a Deputy Treasurer for Cook County, Illinois. After earning completing his graduate work Venable became a Vice President with LaSalle Bank in Chicago running financial operations. In 1999, LTC Venable was deployed to Kosovo. After completing his second tour of duty in December 2007, Venable joined Bank of America as a Senior Vice President as the organization’s lead for global offshore operations. This past September he moved to The Private Bank assisting in the start-up of commercial operations leading from an asset base of $4 billion to over $9 billion.Venable and his wife, Deborah have three children: Valeria-Jean, Joshua and Zachary.
Mary Ann Webb '78
Sulaski & Webb, CPAs
A 2006 College of Business Alumni Hall of Fame honoree, Mary Ann Webb was the first woman to be admitted to partnership in a CPA firm in McLean County. She was named a Woman of Distinction in 1992 by the YWCA in recognition of her career achievements and is currently a member of the board of directors of the Illinois CPA Society and the Illinois CPA Endowment Fund. Mary Ann has shown tremendous support for Illinois State University with many years of service on various advisory councils, steering committees. She has also held leadership positions in the Redbird Club.
A long record of service to others is evident in Mary Ann’s community involvement. She has been a director of Citizens First Financial Corporation and Citizens Savings Bank and is currently a director of Main Street Bank and Trust. Mary Ann has served as President of the Children’s Foundation, Chair of the Workforce Investment Board, as Treasurer of the Bloomington Rotary Club, and as an officer of the McLean County Chamber of Commerce. Other commitments include her work with the Chestnut Health Systems Board, Busey Wealth Management Board, Illinois CPA Society Endowment Fund Board, and Bloomington Public Library Foundation Board.
Ron Whittin, Jr. '80
Ron graduated from Illinois State University in 1980 with a major in Business Administration and a minor in Economics. That same year, Ron started working as sales rep for Standard Brands—Food Manufacturer. A year later, he went to work for PMI a food broker headquartered in Chicago. In 1988, Ron purchased Spring Green Lawn Care in Peoria, Illinois, and in 1991 purchased Jimbos Jumbo, a takeout restaurant located in Pekin, Illinois. In 2001, Ron started Dentsmart with Dave Haxton.
The next year Ron started developing body shop and insurance company partnerships in Illinois, and had 1 technician in Illinois. In 2005, he sold Jimbos restaurant and Spring Green Lawn Care to focus on growth of Dentsmart. Soon after, Ron started developing the Dentsmart brand in Iowa, then in Wisconsin.. Ron sold Dentsmart in Iowa in 2010 and then the next year, purchased East Missouri franchise to start developing. In 2013, Dentsmart had 16 techs serving Illinois, plus 5 in training. Currently, Dentsmart has 7 techs serving Wisconsin, plus 3 in training; as well as 4 techs serving eastern Missouri.