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College of Business Hall of Fame 2016 - 2017 Alumni Inductees

From senior-level executives at top corporations to highly successful entrepreneurs, we are proud to welcome our 2013-2014 College of Business Hall of Fame inductees back to Illinois State University to interact with students, faculty, alumni and industry partners. Their accomplishments and commitment to excellence not only reflect their professional dedication and service to others, but also add value to our programs and the Illinois State brand for all of our graduates.

Holding this induction ceremony and luncheon during Business Week provides students, faculty, and other alumni the chance to interact with the inductees and learn from their experiences.

Penny Cermak, '87 | MS '91

Portrait of Penny Cermak

Penny Cermak joined Scott & White Healthcare in Temple, Texas, as a senior vice president in 2012 at which time she had responsibility for the system’s revenue cycle operations, corporate accounting, tax, governmental finance, and academic operations finance. Following a merger with Baylor Health Care in October 2013, she is now the CFO for Baylor Scott & White Health (BSWH)–Central Texas, one of two divisions formed through the merger, and is a key member of the Central Texas executive operations team and the Baylor Scott & White executive finance leadership team. BSWH is the largest not-for-profit health care system in the state of Texas, with over $11 billion in assets and $9 billion in revenue. Cermak has been employed in the field of health care finance since 1996, and prior to joining Baylor Scott & White, she served as chief financial officer and treasurer for (Advocate) BroMenn Healthcare System in Normal for nine years and was previously system controller. Cermak began her career with five years of public accounting experience at Illinois Agricultural Auditing Association in Bloomington.

Cermak has been actively involved in Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA), where she is certified as a fellow and is a current member of the HFMA National Board of Directors and also serves on the executive committee. She is a past president of the McMahon-Illini chapter and served on the HFMA National Board of Examiners. Cermak has also served as a member of the American Hospital Association (AHA) Solutions Board of Directors and currently serves as the financial expert on the AHA’s audit committee. She has served on numerous additional joint venture and community boards over the course of her professional career, including the startup of Immanuel Health Center, a not-for-profit clinic now serving those in need in west Bloomington. Cermak was recently the recipient of the Austin Business Journal’s 2015 Best CFO Award in the Non-profit category.

Cermak received both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in accounting from Illinois State University and is a CPA. She resides in Temple, Texas, with her husband Mark and daughter Eve.

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Jamie Huff, '96 | MBA '09

Portrait of Jamie Huff

Jamie Huff is president of Progressive Impressions International (pii), a Bloomington-based company. Pii was founded in 1991 with a core group of three people and a contract with a national insurance company for the largest newsletter in circulation. With a vision of providing personalized marketing programs in a time when it was unprecedented, pii excelled through the ’90s and 2000s. The pioneering spirit of pii and its founders has guided it through each decade keeping the company at the forefront of emerging technology.

Pii is a data-driven, customer-engagement company that focuses on helping its customers create and deliver their marketing communications messages to the right people at the right time. Owned by Taylor Corporation, Pii combined with 80-plus other companies making Taylor the third largest graphic arts communication company in North America today. Pii has three U.S. locations and three international locations. Serving Fortune 1000 accounts in the insurance, health care, and automotive industries, pii also relies on the strength of that Taylor network. Through that relationship, pii has access to 7 million square feet of operations capacity and 12,000 professionals around the world.

Huff has served many roles during his tenure at pii including vice president roles in finance, business development, and technology. Additionally, he stays active in several local and national not-for-profit organizations through pii’s commitment to giving back to the community. He earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting in 1996 and an MBA from Illinois State University in 2008.

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Kris Lutt, MBA '06

Portrait of Kris Lutt

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.

Lutt 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.

Lutt holds a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from the University of Nebraska and an MBA from Illinois State University. Lutt also serves on the Acacia Fraternity Foundation and the Community Foundation of Macon County. Lutt is a member of the College of Business Advisory Council at Illinois State University.

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William J. Motchar, '85

Portrait of William J. Motchar

Will Motchar is the president and chief executive officer of Navis Global. Founded in 1929, Navis Global is the leading finishing machinery supplier to the global textile industry. Based in Lexington, North Carolina, the company designs, engineers, and manufactures high-tech machinery for the global knit, woven, non-woven, technical, and geotextile industries. Navis has sales and service offices in over 60 countries, with manufacturing facilities in the U.S. and Taiwan.

Motchar graduated from ISU in 1985. Following graduation, he spent 13 years in progressing responsibilities in sales, marketing, and global business unit management with National Starch and Chemical Company. Motchar spent most of his time in the international business unit with extensive travel in Europe, Asia, and Latin America.

Motchar joined Navis Global in 1998 as vice president, global sales and marketing. In 2005, he was promoted to president and CEO. In 2011, Motchar purchased the company from the private equity ownership group.

Motchar also serves as chairman and member of the Board of Directors of the American Textile Machinery Association. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Illinois State University and an MBA from Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Motchar serves on the College of Business Advisory Council at Illinois State University.

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Ron Whitton Jr., ‘80

Portrait of Ron Whitton Jr.

Ron Whitton graduated from Illinois State University in 1980 with a major in business administration, a minor in economics, a partial in accounting. That same year, Whitton 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, Whitton purchased Spring Green Lawn Care in Peoria and completed the Account Executive College Program at Northwestern University. In 1991, he purchased Jimbos Jumbo, a takeout restaurant located in Pekin. In 1998, Whitton won the Peoria Chamber of Commerce Small Business of the Year award with SpringGreen.

In 2001, he purchased a commercial building in Peoria and started Dentsmart with Dave Haxton. In 2002, Whitton started developing body shop and insurance company partnerships in Illinois and had one Dentsmart technician in Illinois, and in that same year Whitton won the account executive of the year award while still working in the brokerage business. In 2005, he sold Jimbos restaurant and Spring Green Lawn Care to focus on growth of Dentsmart. Soon after, Whitton started developing the Dentsmart brand in Iowa. In 2006, Whitton began licensing the Dentsmart brand in other states including Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Missouri, Indiana, Ohio, and Tennessee, in addition to Illinois and Wisconsin. In 2011, Dentsmart was approved by the federal government to change to a franchise system in all active markets. In 2016, Dentsmart had more than 100 people serving 12 markets, including newly added Nebraska and Arkansas. In 2010, Whitton’s daughter Andrea started attending ISU as a first year student. Her attending ISU got Whitton involved in supporting the school with time, talent, and treasure.

Here is a recap of his ISU involvement: Established the Ron and Cathy Whitton endowed scholarship program for an incoming first year student or transfer student majoring in business, established the “Pay it Forward” College of Business endowed scholarship for a student involved in COB Registered Student Organizations, established a marketing scholarship and entrepreneur scholarship and is a member of the Alumni Board, College of Business Advisory Council, the MQM and Means Center advisory councils and participates in the Alumni Scholarship program, hired and worked with interns from PSE business organization to facilitate the Dentsmart social media presence. Whitton also enjoys supporting his church and other charities.

Whitton has been married to his wife Cathy since 1981, and she has been on this journey with him since the beginning. They have two children, Derek, lives in Pekin and Andrea, lives in Baltimore.

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