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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 on Friday - October 7, 2016.

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 2016-2017 College of Business Early Career Achievement Awards (ECAA).


Elizabeth BillingerELISABETH BILLINGER ‘10 

Elisabeth Bellinger majored in International Business and graduated from the College of Business in 2010.  She accepted a full tuition scholarship to Michigan State University College of Law and graduated in 2014.

 After graduating law school, Elisabeth moved to Nashville, Tennessee, where she was admitted to the Tennessee Bar in November 2014.  Elisabeth is a Contracts Specialist for a software company that specializes in providing operational risk services to financial institutions.  As a Contracts Specialist, Elisabeth addresses a variety of complex matters arising from each client’s contractual relationship with third parties.


Jeb CorleyJEB CORLEY ‘07

A 10-year Air Force Veteran, Jeb graduated from Illinois State University in December 2007 with a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing.  He joined Medix, a healthcare and IT recruitment firm based out of Chicago, as an entry level recruiter.  Jeb was promoted into sales shortly after and was then moved into a Director level role running one of their newest offices in Houston in 2009. 

Since then, Houston has become one of the largest offices at Medix, a 6 time Chicago Craine’s “Fastest 50 Growing Companies” award winner.  Now Executive Director of Business Operations, Jeb continues running the day-to-day operations in Houston and oversees the growth of their newest office in Tampa.  He lives in Houston with his wife Abie, also a College of Business Alum, and their daughter, Mia.


Shannon FallsSHANNON FALLS  ‘00

hannon Falls is a Senior Manager in the Assurance and Business Advisory Services practice of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP.  Since joining the firm in September 2000, Shannon has worked primarily in the Financial Services practice in Chicago, IL, Florham Park, NJ, and Houston, TX focusing on the firm’s insurance clients. 

Shannon’s audit experience includes insurance SEC reporting, initial public offering for an insurance company, life and accident & health insurance generally accepting accounting principles standalone reporting, property & casualty, life and accident & health statutory insurance reporting, carve out audits, broker-dealer audits, separate accounts audits, ERISA reporting, workers’ compensation audits, and regulatory compliance examinations. 

Shannon received a B.S. in Accountancy summa cum laude from Illinois State University in 2000.  She is a Certified Public Accountant licensed in the states of Illinois and Texas


Fellicia FosterFELLICIA FOSTER  ‘08

Fellicia Foster is Assistant Vice President and Human Resource Business Partner at BMO Harris Bank.  She is accountable for building holistic people strategies for the over 300 employees across the U.S. footprint for Mortgage Sales; while serving as an advisor to the Head of Mortgage Sales regarding HR-related issues.  Ahead of moving into her most recent Human Resources role, Fellicia initially joined the bank as an Executive Assistant.  She has been promoted four times into various expanded roles across the bank.  Fellicia also leverages her leadership skills through her involvement in community and professional organizations.
 She was formerly the Chair of BMO Harris Bank’s African American League of Professional (AALPS) affinity group.  She is also the Founder of the Black Business Employee Resource Group (BERG); a coalition of over 52 non-industry specific companies’ Business Resource Groups, across the Chicagoland area; Human Resources Management Association of Chicago – member; American Heart Association – Multicultural Executive Leadership Committee; Black Ensemble Theater’s Young Professionals Council – Vice President.  Fellicia was named as one of the 2014 “Top 40 under 40” by Collaborate Magazine, American Heart Association – Heart of Excellence Award and ISU’s 2016 Proud Young Alumni Award.


Matthew FowlesMATTHEW FOWLES  MBA  ‘12

Matthew Fowles is a Brand Manager at the Scotts Miracle-Gro Company, the world’s largest marketer of branded consumer products for lawn and garden care.  In this role, his is responsible for all elements of the marketing mix, profitability, and strategy development for the mulch and non-core soils businesses worth over $325MM. 

Prior to joining The Scotts Miracle- Gro Company, Matthew worked as an intern for Cherry Street Innovation, a strategy and innovation consulting company led by Illinois State University alum, Keith Wakeman.  During this time, Matthew was able to gain valuable marketing experience that included digital efforts for Gene Smart along with competitive analysis and positioning for Algae Nutrition. In addition, Matthew worked for several years in athletics, both inside and outside the lines.  He was drafted from Illinois State University baseball team by the Arizona Diamondbacks and spent three years in the organization.  Following a career- ending injury, Matthew returned to Illinois State University and worked in the athletics department facilitating student- athlete development in the Athletic Study Center.

Matthew lives in Columbus, Ohio with his wife, Hailey, an intensive care nurse at Riverside Methodist Hospital.  
Matthew and Hailey enjoy spending time in the garden with their dog, Piper, and dedicate holidays to those in need by volunteering at Meals on Wheels.


Kevin HaltemanKEVIN HALTEMAN  ‘06

Kevin Halteman is the Program Leader & Digital Strategy in the CEO Office for Kaiser Permanente, a leading integrated health care provider.  He is responsible for a life stage consumer campaign and the channels to achieve it.
Additionally, this startup team is pioneering a stretch project program to further unleash the potential of all employees.  Kevin’s background is in marketing, consulting and finance within the Healthcare and Financial Services industries.  In the past year, he joined the board of a not-for-profit, has gotten married, and is expecting his first child in January


Matt HurleyMATT HURLEY  ‘06

Matt Hurley received a Bachelor of Science in Business Teacher Education from Illinois State University in May 2006.  He taught business courses at Olympia High School from 2006-2011.  He also coached 7th grade boys’ basketball and high school girls’ basketball.  In May 2011, Matt completed a Master of Science in Educational Administration and Foundations at ISU and was hired as the assistant principal of Olympia High School.  His primary responsibilities include tracking attendance, handling student discipline, evaluating teachers, and acting as a positive role model and leader in the Olympia community.
 Matt is currently enrolled in the superintendent endorsement cohort program at ISU and is an active member of the Illinois Principals Association.  He is a parish member at St. Patrick Church of Merna in Bloomington and a 2016 attendee of the Cursillo retreat.  Matt lives in Danvers with his wife and two daughters.


Melissa KatsMELISSA KATS  ‘11

Melissa graduated from the College of Business in 2011 with a major in Integrated Marketing Communications.  After graduation, she stayed in touch with Dr. Linda Showers who connected her with her current supervisor at Arc Worldwide of the Leo Burnett Group.  Melissa joined the Marketing Operations Department of Leo Burnett as an Associate Analyst and over a span of five years, excelled within her team. 

For the last two years, Melissa co-managed a team of seven analysts whom work to guide the execution of large marketing campaigns across various platforms and channels.  This fall, Melissa gets the privilege of marrying her high school and fellow ISU alum sweetheart, Kyle Cobban. 


Daniel LooneyDANIEL LOONEY  ‘03

Daniel is the owner of The Punchdown natural wine bar and kitchen in Oakland, California.  Illinois State taught him what it takes and the importance of a business plan before starting a business.  It also allowed Daniel the opportunity to study abroad in France for an international business and politics course that opened the door for him to get an international Master’s Degree and an introduction to the wine industry. 

This allowed Daniel to travel around the world (a few times) to over 30 countries in 2 years, learning first hand all about the wine business.  California was a natural draw for Daniel, and he moved out there shortly after.  Daniel opened The Punchdown in 2010, and just relocated to a bigger and better space.


Joe MazurkiewiczJOSEPH J. MAZURKIEWICZ ‘04

Joseph began his sales career at CDW Corporation at an inside sales position.  In 2005, he joined Walgreens Merchandising Division at the corporate office in Deerfield.  There he was able to leverage his experience from working in Bloomington store location during his time at Illinois State.  Joseph held a variety of positions throughout his time at Walgreens. The majority of his time was spent in Category Management.  Additionally, he was Walgreens' first Category Manager of Fresh Food.  This was a new role within the merchant organization.  The position was responsible for leading the development and implementation of the fresh food product assortment.  From Fresh Food, Joseph shifted to Category Manager of Beverages, managing one of the largest P&L desks in the company.  In the last year and a half of his time with Walgreens, he transitioned to a strategic role leading the planning and implementation of key strategic initiatives across the Merchandising Division.

In March 2016, he was appointed Director of Category Management at US Foods.  Joseph leads a team of Category Managers and Associate Category Managers responsible for the strategic direction, management, and financial performance of the produce categories at US Foods.  

Outside of work, Joseph is a member of the College of Business Marketing Department Advisory Council.  He has also served as a member of the Analytics subcommittee contributing ideas and resources towards the development of the Advanced Marketing Analytics Sequence. He also serves on the auction committee for the American Heart Association’s Chicago Heart Ball.  He is part of the AHA’s Metro Chicago Running Team.  He is currently training to run his first marathon on October 9th in Chicago.  Joseph’s and his wife, Danielle, have two girls, Natalie and Reagan, who keep them busy with new adventures every day.


Ryan MeyerRYAN MEYER  ‘05

Ryan, a 2005 magna cum laude graduate of Illinois State, has worked for SunTrust Bank since 2007 and currently serves  as Vice President of Non-Profit & Governmental Lending for much of the bank’s Florida footprint.  Headquartered in Orlando, Ryan manages a portfolio of nearly $1 billion and an ongoing deal pipeline of approximately $200 million that includes non-profit clients and prospects such as hospital systems, medical clinics, hospice organizations, behavioral development organizations, continuing care retirement communities, independent living facilities, assisted living facilities, skilled nursing homes, memory care units, elementary and secondary schools, colleges and universities, religious organizations, YMCA/YWCA’s, Goodwill’s, marine animal rehabilitation facilities, and others. 

A member of the Beta Gamma Sigma business honor society, Ryan is certified by the Illinois Bankers Association in several disciplines, was SunTrust’s top business banking sales award winner in 2008, was awarded the Risk Management Association’s Credit Risk Certification in April of 2010, won SunTrust’s top performer award for 5 quarters between 2010 and 2012, and was presented SunTrust’s award for excellence in portfolio management in early 2016.

Ryan lives in Winter Haven, Florida, and outside of work, his passions include volunteering with the Heart of Florida United Way, teaching early financial responsibility to elementary school children through Junior Achievement of Central Florida, working with shelter animals for the Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando (formerly the ASPCA), and serving as President of the Central Florida chapter of the Risk Management Association.

Clayton Monfre


Clayton contributes his minor accomplishments to his full head of hair and Brad Pitt type looks, but mostly it is due to the support of his wife and business partner, Trish.  Together they own and operate A Perfect Promotion with offices in Morton, Illinois and Indianapolis, Indiana.  A Perfect Promotion is a marketing company specializing in all types of branded material such as apparel and promotional products.  If you want your logo on it, they will find a way to do it.  He also sells and promotes A Perfect Promotion’s abilities to potential customers. 

Clayton is the father to three beautiful children: Stella, Ace and Letty.  He thanks the Lord every day they look their mom and not him.  Clayton is an advocate for the Children’s Hospital in Illinois.  Through the craziness of business and life, Clayton knows he is here today because of his faith and trust in the bigger picture


James PattersonJAMES R. PATTERSON ‘11

Upon graduating with a degree in Business Information Systems, James (JP) pursued a career in the Business Technology department of Discover Financial Services.  He began as a technical consultant helping to design IT infrastructure solutions.  JP then pursued a new role within the Infrastructure group as a business-relationship manager acting as a liaison and creating process efficiencies in support of the Payments Services group. 

In 2014, JP joined the Cybersecurity Services organization and acted as the central point of contact for all M&A affiliates as it related to cybersecurity.  In mid-2015 his role transitioned and he is currently a part of the Performance and Risk Reporting team within the Cybersecurity Services organization.  The team provides key metrics for executive leadership as well as the Board of Directors.

 JP lives near family and friends in the northern suburbs of Chicago.  In his free time, he enjoys traveling, being outdoors, and serving in his church.


April Rowe

April is currently the Benefits Manager in Human Resources at OSF HealthCare in Peoria, Illinois.  She is responsible for the administration and evaluation of OSF HealthCare’s employee benefits.  Prior to her current role, she has worked in most areas of Human Resources, including recruiting, employee relations and HR compliance. 

April received her Bachelor’s degree in Management – Human Resources from Illinois State in 2006.  Since then, she received her PHR – Professional in Human Resources through Human Capital Institute and has been certified as a Six Sigma Greenbelt. 

April is very involved in the American Cancer Society – Relay for Life and currently serves as a committee chair.  April currently lives in Henry, Illinois with her husband, Andy, who is also a graduate of Illinois State University.  They are expecting their first child in February


Lesa RumshasLEISA RUMSHAS  ‘03

Leisa started her career with Humanscale.  She worked her way up to National Account sales and won several awards as well as Presidents Club.  Leisa left Humanscale after 3 years and worked at Shire Pharmaceuticals for 10 years.  Leisa worked in several fields: nephrology, gastroenterology, psychiatry, neurology and pediatrics.  She worked her way up to the highest sales position, Senior Executive Sales Representative.  She won quarterly awards and two Vice President Club achievements. 

Leisa left Shire to pursue a new career at Allergan Pharmaceuticals as a Senior Territory Manager in their optometric department.  She enjoys learning new disease states and selling products that help patients lead better lives.  Leisa is the Lead Territory Manager for dry eye and glaucoma for all the optometrists in the western Chicago suburbs.  With dry eye being one of the fastest growing chronic eye diseases, more optometrists are wanting to understand the disease state and treat their patients.  

Leisa is married to an Illinois State alum, Dennis Rumshas.  They have three children: Owen, Ellie and Easton.  Leisa is currently a member of the CCFA, NAMI and is working with a new College of Optometry that will be opening in the fall of 2017.  She enjoys being in sales and may consider being a manager when her children are a little older.


Lawrence Van RynLAWRENCE VAN RYN III  ‘06

Lawrence is a program manager with Raytheon Company.  In his current role at Raytheon Missile System business unit, he is responsible for the negotiation and capture of a greenfield program in the Arabian Gulf.  This program will result in generating new capabilities for the regional customer base while developing the host country’s indigenous industrial base.   Throughout his tenure at Raytheon Company, he led efforts in program management, strategic planning, and business development across markets in the Middle East, Europe, and Far East Asia. 

Previously, Lawrence earned his Master’s in Global Affairs and Management with honors at the Thunder School of Global Management.  Before his graduate education, Lawrence worked as a quality technical contractor for CMM Services, Inc. at Caterpillar.  

Prior to his professional career, Lawrence received his Bachelor’s in International Business at Illinois State.  Lawrence, his wife, an ISU College of Education alum, and their three children reside in Arizona.


2018-10-09T11:21:36.899-05:00 2018