The George R. and Martha Means Center for Entrepreneurship Advisory Council is a group of corporate and professional leaders who gather throughout the year to discuss current affairs, development, membership, and partnerships to provide advice to the director of the center on the mission, program, and other aspects of the George R. and Martha Means Center for Entrepreneurship.
Executive in Residence
Hyde Park Venture Partners
Corey Ferengul is an Executive in Residence with Hyde Park Venture Partners (HPVP), a Chicago-based venture capital firm. He is also an active member of the Hyde Park Angels, a well-known angel investment group with over 120 members in the Midwest and serves on the Boards of Directors or Advisory Boards of several early stage companies including Players Health, Packback, Wurl, and Quikly.
Prior to joining HPVP he was the CEO of Undertone, a New York-based advertising technology company. The company was sold to Israel-based Perion in 2015. Earlier in his career he spent many years with Rovi Corporation, holding several executive roles. During his time there, the firm’s revenues grew from $200M to nearly $700M and its market cap went from $1B to over $6B. Other stops on his career path include time spent in enterprise software at Platinum Technology and tech industry analysis at the Meta Group. He currently lives in the Chicago area
Ryan Fiala '04
D.P. Dough Calzones
Ryan Fiala earned his BS degree in Entrepreneurship in 2004 and his MBA in 2006 from Illinois State University. He opened D.P. Dough Calzones in Uptown Normal in 2008. Fiala has since purchased and extensively renovated the property and expanded the store to three times its original size
A graduate of the 2012 class of Leadership McLean County and active member of Bloomington Rotary and the McLean County Chamber of Commerce, Fiala also serves on the Advisory Board of the Means Center.
He resides in Normal, IL with his wife Rebecca and sons Nathan and Eli.
Katie Hill-Gottesman, Founder of Commuter Advertising, oversees expansion of first-to-market transit media products utilized by hundreds of advertisers in 13 cities reaching more than 240 million targets annually. She previously worked at Leo Burnett Worldwide, where she led ad-tech projects for a Fortune Five client.
Ms. Gottesman serves on the Advisory Board for the Means Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at Illinois State University and was recognized by Illinois State University as an Early Career Achievement award recipient. She has been featured in national publications including The New York Times.
She holds an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and a BS in Marketing from Illinois State University.
Kevin Kingston '76
President & CEO
As President and CEO of Kingston Wealth Management Group, Inc., Kevin is responsible for the vision, leadership, and team development of the firm. He attended the University of Illinois, received his Business Administration degree in 1976 from Illinois State University and founded Kingston Wealth Management Group, Inc.
He completed the Chartered Financial Consultant® and Chartered Life Underwriter® designations from the American College, Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania in 1982 and 1984. Kevin designs cost-effective benefit and estate plans for professionals and business owners. In the areas of business and estate planning, Kevin works with client's professional advisors in designing and implementing strategies to help them achieve their financial goals.
He is a member of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors, the Society of Financial Service Professionals, and the Top of the Table's top 1,000 international financial service professionals. Kevin is a registered representative of ValMark Securities, Inc.
Ron Whitton, 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, and has been franchised in 14 Midwestern states.
Ron not only serves as a Means Center Advisory Board member, but contributes his time as a member of the Illinois State University College of Business Alumni Board, the Management and Quantitative Methods Department Advisory Board, and the College of Business Advisory Council.