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Early Career Achievement Awards

The Early Career Achievement Awards celebrate outstanding young alumni who have demonstrated innovative and responsible professional leadership and the potential for future distinction. The pool of nominees was especially strong this year and the College extends its congratulations to all those under consideration for their successes. We are proud of you and appreciate all you do that enhances our reputation for excellence.

They return to campus to receive their award and share advice with current students through panel discussions during Homecoming Celebrations at Illinois State University.  - See more at:
They return to campus to receive their award and share advice with current students through panel discussions during Homecoming Celebrations at Illinois State University.  - See more at:
They return to campus to receive their award and share advice with current students through panel discussions during Homecoming Celebrations at Illinois State University.  - See more at:

They return to campus to receive their award and share advice with current students through panel discussions during Homecoming Celebrations at Illinois State University on Friday - October 3, 2015.

Panel Discussions — 3:00 - 4:00 pm  Learn from the Award Winners in a Question and Answer session.

Awards Ceremony − 4:15 - 5:00 pm  Mingle with the Awards Winners during a short reception immediately following a brief presentation celebrating their early career success.

Here is a brief look at the winners of the 2015-2016 College of Business Early Career Achievement Awards (ECAA).


 Andrew Bordewick is a Product Manager at COUNTRY Financial in Bloomington, Illinois. In this role, he is responsible for researching and developing new products from concept to market launch, and then managing product performance in the marketplace. In addition, Andrew develops, negotiates, and maintains co-marketing partnerships to offer 3rd party products to COUNTRY Financial customers. Andrew devotes volunteer time as a Marketing Consultant to St. Mary’s Grade School and Central Catholic High School in Bloomington, helping both schools with enrollment objectives. At St. Mary’s he has also served as coach of the cross country team, chairman of the Education Commission, and co-chairman of the strategic planning committee. At Central Catholic, Bordewick is a member of the Board of Trustees.


 Dusty is the assistant principal at Pontiac Township High School. In addition to assisting the principal in curriculum and instruction, he works with students every day on attendance and discipline issues, runs the faculty/student mentoring program, and evaluates teachers. Prior to his current position, Dusty spent eight years as the business teacher and department chair at University High School. While there he became a National Board Certified teacher and earned his Masters in Educational Administration from ISU. Dusty was the head football coach from 2008-2013, during which his team won three conference championships and had two undefeated regular seasons. In 2013, they appeared in the quarterfinals in the 5A playoffs.  In addition to coaching at U-High, Dusty also played for the Bloomington Edge/Extreme indoor football team for five seasons (2006-09, 2012) and coached for three seasons (2010-11, 2014).

 Dusty’s family resides in Bloomington with his wife, Julie - a realtor/broker for Coldwell Banker and a substitute teacher at U-High.  The Burk’s have a daughter and son and attend Eastview Christian Church in Normal.


 Jim Cronauer is a tax services partner in McGladrey’s Great Lakes practice.  Jim graduated from Illinois State University in May of 2001 and started his career with McGladrey in July of that same year.  He has since obtained an MST from DePaul University. He was hired as a tax associate and quickly progressed through the various levels and was ultimately promoted to Partner in October of 2014.

 At McGladrey, Jim specializes in proactive tax planning for closely held multinational companies and their shareholders.  He has advised and guided clients from both the sell and buy side through complex transactions. He is a member of McGladrey’s Research & Experimentation Credit national group and assists clients from all over

the country with their R&D credit claims and documentation substantiation.  Jim has significant experience with federal and state audit defense work related to high net worth individuals and large and mid-sized business entities.   It includes exams which focus on the overall tax return as well as those focused specifically on the research credit.  Additionally, Jim is actively involved in recruiting ISU graduates for the Great Lakes Region of McGladrey and has served on several not-for-profit boards.

Jim and his wife Alissa live in the far Northwest Suburbs of Chicago and have two daughters, Annie and Caitlynn.


 Mari Ruscitti Docter is an old school market researcher, and a Client Insights manager at comScore, one of the world’s leading global media measurement and analytics companies. After graduating from Illinois State University, Mari worked as an analyst at the Nielsen Company, in the Global Services organization, supporting over $3M of business. She helped companies like Coca-Cola, Procter and Gamble and Energizer Holdings understand global market consumption trends. After being on the supplier side, Mari decided to take her analytical skills to United Airlines. She later moved on to the Customer Experience group, where she helped determine the long term customer experience strategy.  Mari decided to leave United Airlines for a career in digital marketing at comScore. She has been responsible for providing retail clients insights into improving their digital footprint and how to optimize their digital investments. Mari is also the Social Media Chair of the Build On Young Professional Board, Chicago chapter, where she helps execute events and fundraisers to help local at risk CPS students gain access to community service opportunities in their local neighborhoods.

 She resides in the River North neighborhood in Chicago, with her husband, Cameron Docter a management consultant.  You can find Mari outside of work at yoga, Soul Cycle and in her kitchen, attempting to create her Mom’s Filipino dishes.


 Steve Fiala is the owner of D.P. Dough in Champaign, Illinois. As a fixture on the University of Illinois campus since 2006, D.P. Dough has sold more than 1 million calzones and is regularly voted among the favorite restaurants on campus. Steve enjoys giving back to the surrounding community through his business and regularly donates food to local non-profits. Currently, he and his brother, Ryan ‘04 MBA ‘06, are working together on a pizzeria & brewery concept that they hope to open soon.

 In his free time, Steve enjoys spending time with his wife Angie ‘05, and their daughters, Eden and Vivian.  He also enjoys cooking and is fortunate to have a wife who allows him the time and garage space to brew beer.



 Zach Frazier works for the Bank Administration Institute as the Senior Account Manager. After graduating with a double major in Marketing/Sales and Entrepreneurship, Zach was tasked with building a client base of financial institutions in the Midwest for a young financial technology provider. After five successful years of client acquisition and sales and being named a ‘Rising Star,’ Zach transitioned to BAI where he is tasked with selling research and data bench-marking to national banks. The mission of BAI and Zach’s focus is to provide the information that helps bankers make smarter decisions every day.

Frazier now resides in Geneva, IL, with his fellow Redbird wife Anna, and their children, Noah and Mae.


 Jake is currently the Administrator for Tempe St. Luke’s Hospital in Tempe, Arizona.  He is responsible for all internal and external relations for the state-of-the-art hospital, including physician and staff engagement, strategic planning and partnerships, and community involvement.  Jake previously served as Chief Operating Officer for IASIS Healthcare’s Mountain Vista Medical Center in Mesa, Arizona. Following his time at Illinois State, Jake received a Master’s Degree in Healthcare Administration from the University of Illinois-Chicago. Jake recently became a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives (FACHE), a professional healthcare certification and designation. He also was elected to and serves as a board member for Tempe Community Council.

Jake lives in Chandler, AZ with his fiancée, Jamie. He is also part of a true ISU family as his mother, Nadine, graduated in 1983 and his brother, Justin, is a current Redbird.


 Zoe Grubbe has worked in advertising for almost 20 years on brands such as Gatorade, S.C. Johnson, and Frito Lay. She current works in the Business Affairs department of DDB Chicago as the Production Manager on McDonald’s TV and Digital projects.

 Outside of the ad biz, she tutors grade school kids. She lives in Chicago with her husband, Alan and their cat who thinks she’s a dog, Hester.


 After graduating from Illinois State University, Alec began his career at Morgan Stanley in the Investment Management Analyst Training Program working within the Senior Secured Bank Loan group. In 2010, Morgan Stanley’s investment management business was acquired by Invesco creating one of the largest global bank loan asset managers.
 During these early years of his career, Alec remained actively involved with Illinois State University. He had a direct hand in creating the Illinois State Alumni in Finance (ISAF) alumni network and served as the President of ISAF.
In addition to remaining actively involved with ISU since graduation, he has also been committed to furthering his own education.  Alec achieved the prestigious Chartered Financial Analyst designation in 2012 and entered the part-time MBA program at the University Of Chicago Booth School Of Business. After graduating from the Booth program, Alec was given the opportunity to move to London to help support the growth of Invesco’s European senior secured bank loan platform.

 Since relocating to London with his wife and dog, Alec has been working as a Senior Analyst in Invesco’s Senior Secured Bank Loan group. His primary responsibilities are underwriting various leveraged investment opportunities, including senior secured floating rate bank loans, high yield bonds and mezzanine investments, and actively tracking the performance of a pool of investments valued at over €700 million. As part of a four person team, Alec’s responsibilities also include helping support the launch, marketing and management of their various portfolios. Outside of work, Alec and his wife are active in their church and are thoroughly enjoying the opportunity to travel around Europe.


Lauren Melzer (Leggett) is the Regional Director of Technology Insurance at The Hanover Insurance Group. In her role as director, Lauren oversees six Midwest states and is responsible for the growth and profitability of the region’s Small Commercial and Middle Market Technology book of business. Lauren loves working with the unique and ever changing exposures the technology industry presents.

Prior to joining Hanover’s Technology Insurance Practice, Lauren spent 5 years in commercial middle market underwriting at both Hanover and Travelers Insurance Companies. In 2014 Lauren received Hanover’s Community  Hero award for her volunteer work with the Junior League of Kane and DuPage County. Lauren is also actively involved in Hanover’s professional woman’s networking group.

Lauren graduated from Illinois State University in 2008 with a BS in Insurance. While attending college she was selected for an internship with Lloyd’s in London, sat on the Gamma Iota Sigma executive board, and was part of The Katie School Leadership program. She currently resides in Aurora, Illinois with her husband, Brad (Political Science and History ‘08).



Anna (Hettinger) Moellering has been working for Caterpillar Inc. in Peoria since graduating magna cum laude from Illinois State University in 2004. She began in the Remanufacturing Division where she held a variety of staff accounting positions of increasing responsibility, including assisting with the financial integration of four acquisitions. Anna then moved to Corporate Accounting as a senior staff accountant where she was responsible for analyzing Caterpillar’s consolidated financial results and helping to prepare the quarterly earnings releases.

While in this position, she also helped implement two company-wide reorganizations, aligning business unit reporting and analysis with the updated enterprise strategy. In her next position as the Corporate Offices Supervisor, Anna was responsible for the monthly closing and analysis of the largest legal entity ledger in the company.

Today, she is an accounting consultant working on special projects in the Energy & Transportation CFO group. Anna and her husband, Mark, reside in Washington, Illinois, with their two daughters.


Kevin Orris is entering his second season with the Chicago Blackhawks as the team’s Media Relations Coordinator. He is responsible for coordinating interview requests and appearances, as well as assisting local and national journalists and broadcast rights holders.

Kevin joined the Blackhawks from the St. Louis Rams, where he served as Managing Editor and oversaw the team’s digital media efforts. He previously held positions with the Tampa Bay Rays and Peoria Rivermen. The Grayslake, Illinois native graduated from Illinois State University with a degree in Integrated Marketing Communications in spring 2012.



Upon graduation from Illinois State University, Lindsay started Law School at The John Marshall Law School in Chicago Illinois. She is now a practicing attorney in the field of criminal law as a prosecutor for the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office in Chicago, assigned to the Narcotics Prosecutions Bureau. Throughout her time as a prosecutor, Lindsay has had the opportunity to litigate bench trials, jury trials, and motions. She has been able to advocate on behalf of the victims of crime and the people of Cook County.

Lindsay is also a trial team coach and instructor at the John Marshall Law School where she teaches law students evidence and trial advocacy. In addition, she serves as the Assistant District Justice of the Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity  (Chicago District). She also has the honor of serving as an advisor to the Zeta Tau Alpha sorority at Illinois State University.  
 She is thankful for the support of her fiancé, Greg Kornesczuk, who is also an Illinois State University College of Business graduate.  Lindsay is humbled by the love she received from her parents and siblings who have always encouraged her to follow her dreams.


Sarah Shay, a 2010 Illinois State alum, graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s degree in Management and Quantitative Methods with an emphasis in Human Resource Management. Upon graduation, Sarah began her human resources career in the hospitality industry as a Human Resource Specialist.  She quickly realized she had the personality and perseverance for this fast-paced industry. Over the next few years, Sarah took increasingly progressive responsibilities until she achieved her first Director role at 26.

Sarah is the Director of Human Resources for MileNorth Hotel located right off Michigan Avenue. In her role she directly oversees all Human Resources functions for the hotel’s 120 team members. She plays a key role in the multi-million dollar asset’s Executive Committee, making decisions regarding all aspects of the hotel operation.  She’s an active participant in The Hospitality Employer Labor Relations Association and the Hospitality Human Resources Association.

Sarah also devotes her time to local charitable organizations including the Lincoln Park Community Shelter and Ann & Robert H. Lurie’s Children’s Hospital.  Sarah has received numerous accolades for her performance and for her commitment to associate engagement.

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