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Early Career Achievement Awards Save

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 on Friday - October 20, 2017.

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 2017-2018 College of Business Early Career Achievement Awards (ECAA).


James Allendorph

BS | Business Administration

Upon graduation, James volunteered in the Peace Corps in Belize.  He organizes, coordinates, and hosted community wide health fairs to raise awareness of vital sanitary practices. He also recruited US based dentists to travel to Belize to provide free care to impoverished regions.  There, he learned what true struggle, sacrifice, and interpersonal relationships are all about. James used his time there as a backdrop to launch me into a legal career.

After he returned, James attended John Marshall Law School.  He served with the Honorable Judge Scotillo in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Third Municipal District. He also served as a teaching assistant while he was at John Marshall.  He graduate with his J.D. in 2012.  James has also help other prominent positions throughout this phase of his career with Goodman Networks, Blitt and Gaines, P.C., and the City of Des Plaines as their Consumer Protection Coordinator.

He is now an Associate Attorney General for the State of Illinois, a position he has held since 2015. James has found that public service and helping others has been a rich and fulfilling career move. He is grateful for Illinois State University for opening my eyes to that.


Kyle Barber

KYLE BARBER ’09, ‘10
BS | Accountancy, MS in Accountancy

Kyle Barber is a graduate of Illinois State with his Bachelor's and Master of Science in Accountancy. He is a Certified Public Accountant. He is also an Operation Enduring Freedom Veteran having deployed to Afghanistan soon after graduation, serving in the Air National Guard from 2006-2012.

Kyle is currently a Senior Staff Accountant II for Caterpillar, the world's leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment. Since he began with the company in 2011, he has held a variety of positions within Caterpillar of increasing responsibility ranging from legal entity inventory accounting, sales analysis, and product line financial support within various business divisions including Large Power Systems Engines and Earthmoving Machines. Caterpillar has recognized him as a top performer by consistently exceeding performance expectations. He enjoys the many challenges of his career, and considers himself a continual learner, focusing a lot of his time on teaching himself various data mining software tools and techniques. 

Outside of work, Kyle is an active participant in serving his community. In 2013, he co-led a team of 20 volunteers who raised $56,000 for Easter Seals. In 2014, he supported the development of a Young Professional's organization for The Salvation Army called Echelon. He is past chairperson for the Red Hot Christmas event, raising over $15,000 for The Salvation Army. In 2015, Kyle completed Peoria's Chamber of Commerce Community Leadership School that chooses emerging leaders and aims to develop and promote service within the community. He currently devotes his time and energy to The Salvation Army with 500+ service hours since 2015. In 2016, he received The Salvation Army's Young Leaders Award. He has also supported and participated in events for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

Kyle spends the majority of his free time watching his beloved World Series Champion, Chicago Cubs and even attended Game 7 of the World Series. He is a proud, die-hard Illinois State basketball fan and is hopeful Coach Muller will be getting us to "the dance" very soon. He lives in the Peoria area and will be marrying his beautiful fiancé, Danielle Daluga, in November 2017. He claims he was even able to turn his fiancé, a Bradley graduate, into an Illinois State athletics fan, although she may disagree. They have one dog-child named Ivy that they adore.

John Conrad

BS | Business Information Systems

Following graduation, John began working at a software company Autonomy as a Support Engineer. Over the next 6 years the company went through a number of acquisitions, into Hewlett-Packard, and divesting to become a wholly management owned organization of iManage in 2015.

John’s current position with iManage is Manager of Support Operations, which includes directing a team of Support Engineers, driving systems and operational changes, managing enterprise customer issues, and assisting the Cloud and Professional Services team with implementations and escalations.

John is a member of the Business Information Systems Advisory Board for the College of Business, where he has made a huge difference in the BIS Program.  He has been instrumental in students having successful internships and employment at iManage.

One of the most valuable things about his experience with Illinois State University was the Study Abroad Program.  He time studying in France provided him with amazing experiences and new relationships


Casey Emerich

BS | Business Teacher Education

Casey Emerich (Miller) graduated from Illinois State in 2009 with a Bachelor's degree in Business Teacher Education. After graduation, she began her teaching career at West Aurora High School where she taught business and computer education courses. In addition to teaching, Casey co-sponsored West High's DECA Business Club, an organization that prepares students for careers in marketing, finance, hospitality and management.

Casey left high school teaching in 2013 to become a full-time faculty member at the College of DuPage, Illinois' largest community college. As an assistant professor in the Office Technology Information (OFTI) program, Casey teaches face-to-face and online courses, develops course curriculum, and is a member of the Business and Technology Division Curriculum Committee. She also serves as the program's co-coordinator by managing course scheduling, dual credit agreements with partnering high schools, instructor staffing, and degree and certificate development and revision. She recently completed a Master of Science degree in Online Teaching and Learning from California State University-East Bay.

Casey lives in Chicago with her husband, Joe Emerich '10, a commercial insurance broker. The two met in Schroeder Hall and hosted their 2016 wedding at Illinois State.


Rosanna Fugate

BS | International Business, Marketing

Rosanna Fugate works in Samsung's Global Strategy Group based in Seoul, South Korea. In this role, she is responsible for executive-level projects under the office of the chairman, which drive Samsung's growth in key emerging markets and industries. Prior to this role, Rosanna worked for MetLife, a leading global insurance provider, in the New York City and the Chicago area. In her six years there, Rosanna held a number of roles including a position in the Chief of Staff office for the head of the Latin America region in which she managed a number of cross-functional initiatives related to regional governance, executive travel, communications, employee development and quarterly reporting for the Office of the Chairman & CEO. In addition, Rosanna was chosen for the Leadership Development Program, a highly selective three year rotational program for high potential talent.

Throughout her career, Rosanna has been passionate about supporting others in their professional development. At MetLife, she led the MetLife INROADS Alumni Network affinity group (MIAN). In this role, she transformed MIAN from an informal grassroots organization to an officially recognized employee affinity group through the creation of a formal leadership structure and national programming. Because of her efforts, MIAN was recognized for its best practices in employee recruitment and retention by INROADS, Inc. in 2014. At Samsung, Rosanna is currently responsible for developing and establishing the first diversity & inclusion training and corresponding governance for the Global Strategy Group, a department of 80+ employees representing 20+ nationalities.

Rosanna received her BS in International Business and Marketing from Illinois State University in 2008 and her MBA from the Harvard Business School in 2016, where she served as Co-President of the LGBT Student Association.


Kathryn Henkel-Slade

BS | Accountancy, MS in Accountancy

Kathryn started her career with the Comptroller of the Currency as an Assistant National Bank Examiner.  She worked for them for a little over 3 years when an opportunity came up to work at ADM.  Kathryn started her career at ADM in 2007 as an Accounting Analyst working with ADM Latin America doing accounting for joint ventures in the Latin America region. It was while working with these regions that she had the opportunity to help open a new office in Panama. 

Starting in 2011, she spent a year working with the ADM Grain North office in Minneapolis, MN doing accounting for grain elevators.  She moved back to Decatur in 2012 and shortly after was promoted to Accounting Supervisor for the NA Cocoa Accounting division.  ADM made the decision to divest of this business in 2014, at which point she accepted a promotion to Accounting Manager and helped to lead the North American team through the largest divestiture in ADM history. 

Kathryn wrapped up her work with ADM Cocoa in 2016 and accepted a role with the 1ADM team which is a project focused on business transformation, and working towards putting the company on an integrated system.  In this position, she has helped to educate employees on product costing, and has helped to standardize accounting procedures as it relates to inventory costing. 

In October, Kathryn will be moving to a new role as a Global Controller for our Global Fixed Assets.  In this role, she will be managing a team of 12 people, and will be the global policy leader on accounting for ADMs fixed assets.  In addition to this, she also oversee the accounting department's new hire and intern recruitment.  She is a CPA and a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA).

When not at work, Kathryn is both a wife and mother of a one-year-old boy.  In her spare time, she serves as a member of the Advisory Board for the Accounting Department at Illinois State University.  In the past, she has served the community with my work with Big Brothers Big Sisters, both as a Big and as chairman of the local advisory board.


Matt Horschler

BS | Finance, Insurance

While a finance student, Matt secured a highly selective paid internship with State Farm Insurance Bank and decided to double major in Finance and Insurance.  His decision to double major in Insurance was the start of a remarkable post­graduate career. Upon graduation, Matthew accepted a full time employment offer from Pekin Insurance.  At Pekin Insurance, Matt underwent training to be a property insurance field adjuster. He quickly mastered the skills set and was promoted to be on the Catastrophe Team within one year of full time employment.

 After 2 years with Pekin Insurance, Matt took an opportunity to move to Indianapolis, Indiana with American Family Insurance in 2011, one of the largest Property and Casualty insurance companies in the United States.  He worked to develop their large loss property division and their national catastrophe team.

In 2014, Matt moved to Nashville, Tennessee to the Auto-Owners Insurance South Regional Catastrophe Team. Matt was in this role for 18 months when he was asked to join their highly selective catastrophe team of 40 total adjusters in the United States. While working for American Family Insurance, Matt traveled all over the United States as a member of the company's Catastrophe adjuster team, helping policyholders' who had endured severe weather.

After a year with American Family Insurance's Catastrophe Team, Matt was contacted by the Vice President of Claims for Auto-Owners Insurance and offered  and  accepted  a  position  with  Auto-Owners  Insurance,  another Fortune 500 company,  located  in Nashville, Tennessee.

Matt was asked to be the first employee and catastrophe team lead on a newly developed catastrophe team while facilitating management with progress and managing the states of Tennessee, Georgia, and Alabama.

In January 2017, Auto Owners recognized Matt's impressive leadership by promoting him to the position of Assistant Manager over the South Regional Catastrophe Team. At age 29, he is currently the youngest member of management in this department.

Matt earned his CPCU and AIC designations and plans continue to pursue his continued education.

Clyde Miller

BS | Marketing (Professional Sales)

Clyde Miller is a 2008 graduate of Illinois State University with a major in Marketing and a concentration in Professional Sales. As a senior, he was a sales scholar (among the top students in the sales sequence) and mentored new sales students. He also participated in many other activities including the Sales Scholar Program, Illinois State Cheerleading, the Red Alert Executive Board, and was a member of Delta Sigma Pi.  Illinois State offered opportunities, which Clyde took full advantage. He held various jobs and internships around campus.

Since graduation, he has held a series of financial management, sales and data analytics positions at Wells Fargo, lnfogix, Information Builders and now at Salesforce. He began working at Salesforce in 2015 as a Solution Engineer, and after 18 months was promoted to Lead Solution Engineer.  He has steadily advanced in his career from individual contributor to his current position of team leadership.  He has continued his growth through attaining new certifications and designations at Salesforce, becoming a certified Salesforce Platform App Builder in 2015, Certified Salesforce Administrator in 2015, and a specialist in the Salesforce data visualization product Wave.

Clyde has shown substantial commitment to others and embodiment of College of Business principals through his service involvement with Habitat for Humanity, Feed My Starving Children, Technovation juvenile entrepreneurship training, and the Ronald McDonald House.

In particular, Clyde has given back extensively to ISU over the past year and a half as alum readily willing to share with students his insights on careers in Data Analytics and Sales. Clyde participated in 2016 and 2017 Business Week as a panelist at the analytics sessions. He was a guest speaker in three Sales Management and Introduction to Professional Sales classes.  Additionally, in the spring of 2017, Clyde gave a video-recorded interview on the benefits of studying Marketing Analytics and organized a field trip for Illinois State University sales and marketing analytics students to tour the Salesforce headquarters in Chicago, network with analytics professionals, and complete a series of use case studies.

Clyde has made significant contributions to the learning experiences of the College of Business analytics and sales students over the past year and a half.  

He met his wife, 10 years ago, on the Illinois State cheerleading team, and they were married 3 years later. They now lives in the Northwest suburbs of Chicago and have two amazing kids, a daughter and a son.

Jeff Riley

BS |Business Teacher Education

Jeff Riley is in his 9th year in education and currently serves as the Director of Strategic Partnerships at Joliet Township High School District 204.  This district level administrative position is responsible for coordinating strategic partnerships that positively impact student learning and achievement, including school business partnerships and special projects that support district initiatives.

Previously, Jeff was a dedicated teacher at Joliet Central High Scholl for 5 years.  He taught Accounting, Marketing, and Computer Application while contributing to numerous academic and community initiatives. His primary focus was to provide his students with authentic and valuable learning experiences that go beyond the classroom.

Jeff has continued to be a lifelong learner, receiving his Master's Degree from the University of St. Francis in Educational Leadership with his Principal's endorsement and is currently pursuing a second Master's Degree in School Business Management from Northern Illinois University.

 He is married to his wife Brittani (ISU Education 2011) and is the father of future redbird Grant, born in November 2016.


Ronnell Robinzine

BS | Finance

After graduating from the Illinois State University College of Business in May 2009, Ronnell attended the University of Florida - College of Law to pursue a career as a business lawyer. After graduating from law school in May 2012 and passing the Florida bar exam in the summer, Ronnell began his legal career in private practice as an Associate at Bush Ross, P.A. in Tampa, FL, where he practiced commercial litigation, corporate, and real estate law.

In July 2014, Mr. Robinzine joined the Miami, FL office of Akerman LLP, a national law firm. While an Associate at Akerman, he focused his practice in real estate law, representing financial institutions and investors in commercial mortgage-backed securities originations, as well as purchase, sale, and financing transactions. Ronnell also represented clients in real estate aspects of corporate transactions, including merger and acquisition deals and bond offerings.

Ronnell recently accepted an offer to join the international law firm of Foley & Lardner LLP as an Associate, continuing his legal career as a business law attorney concentrating in commercial real estate.


Alex Rubin

ALEX RUBIN  ’11, ‘12
BS | Finance, MBA

Alex’s career began at a global staffing firm in Minneapolis.  Alex quickly realized that there were gaps to be filled in the industry and wasted no time starting his own business that is now New Roots Solutions at the age of 27.  His current job, as principal of his company NewRoots Solutions, tasks all employees with client business development and recruiting and staffing solutions.  

He has been able to use his transitional skills to launch a platform for a more “boutique” service that could offer tailored and exclusive experience to clients with staffing needs.   At the core of what drives his business' success is an overall engagement with clients to understand their needs and goals and to reach beyond what Alex’s company has previously done to provide the best possible service to each and every client.

Alex drives the success of his business model through his commitment to the core principals outlined by his tenure at Illinois State University as both an athlete and a student. 

He continues to invest in his community, using his business platform to help various charities and causes, as well as providing his employees with opportunities for expanded learning, career growth, and professional development.


Brett Schaefer

BSMPA | Accountancy

Brett Schaefer is a Senior Manager of Assurance Services with RSM US, LLP.  He specializes in audits of middle market companies in the industrial products, consumer products, logistics, and technology industries. 

Since graduation, Brett has been a major supporter of the Accounting Programs at Illinois State, where he was a Presidential Scholar and a graduate assistant in the Accounting Department.  He frequently gives back to the Accounting Department by judging case competitions and assisting in recruiting. 

He is a CPA and a member of the Illinois CPA Society (ICPAS) and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA).

Brett lives in South Elgin, Illinois with his wife Melissa (also an ISU graduate), their daughter Emerson, and Bailey, their German Shepherd.


Jon Worthey

BS | Human Resource Management, Business Teacher Education

Jon Worthey is the Global Planning & Analytics Lead - Americas HR for Mondelez International, the $26 billion maker of Oreos. He graduated in December 2012 with a double major in Human Resource Management and Business Education (Distinguished Honors in both).

After graduating, Jon spent two years in Indianapolis working for Cummins on the Workforce Planning & Analytics team, and later returned to the Chicago-land area when an opportunity to lead HR Reporting & Analytics opened at Mondelez.

He played a critical role in the multi-year, $3.5 billion transformation program undertaken at Mondelez, which included Zero Based Budgeting, organizational restructuring, setting up a shared services organization, and Supply Chain Reinvention. This project took Jon all over the world, including stops in Dubai and London, and positioned him as a trusted adviser of senior management at the company. He is a part of the North American HR Leadership Team at Mondelez and supports global and Americas-based strategic initiatives.

Jon resides in the northern suburbs of Chicago with his fiancé, Jacquelyn.  He is pursuing his Masters in Analytics from The University of Chicago.

2018-10-09T11:21:38.383-05:00 2018