The College of Business honored the first inductees into its Alumni Hall of Fame in 2002/03. Each year the College will name a small number of alumni to the Hall of Fame from nominations submitted by alumni, friends, faculty, and staff. Alumni are recognized for significant career accomplishment and outstanding service to others. A committee of faculty and staff assembled by the dean chooses the honorees from those nominated. The inductees are honored on a permanent plaque in the College of Business.
The College of Business honored its sixth class of Alumni Hall of Fame recipients during the 2008/2009 Business Week events.
LaVerne Council '86 M.B.A.
Corporate vice President and CIO, Johnson & Johnson
As corporate vice president and chief information officer, LaVerne H. Council oversees Johnson & Johnson’s global information technology group. In this capacity Council is responsible for managing information technology and related systems for the Johnson & Johnson worldwide enterprise. Council is a member of the Corporate Global Operating Committee. Her organization includes more than 250 operating companies, over 4,000 information management employees, and a budget of over $1.9 billion.
Council accepted her current position at Johnson & Johnson in 2006 as a proven thought leader with a demonstrated track record of achievement that includes a wealth of global experience in information technology, supply chain management, and business operations. Before joining Johnson & Johnson, she was global vice president for information technology, Global Business Solutions and Development Services for Dell, Inc.
Council is actively involved in her community, serving on the Board of Trustees for the March of Dimes, chair of the board of Liberty Science Center, and a member of many other industry advisory councils. In 2008 Council was selected by Loyola University as the 2008 IT Executive of the Year, nominated for the 2008 CIO Hall of Fame, and selected by the Global CIO Executive Summit as a 2008 Top Ten Leader and Innovator. She was featured on the cover of the March 2008 edition of CIO magazine and was selected for Forbes’ 2007 list of Technology Power Women.
Council holds a B.S. degree in business from Western Illinois University, graduating with highest honors. also has an M.B.A. in operations management from Illinois State University.
Andrew C. Jackson ‘80 BUA
President, Bravo TECH Inc.
In 1996 Andrew C. Jackson cofounded Bravo Technical Resources, Inc. (BravoTECH), a business technology, professional services, and IT staff augmentation firm. BravoTECH now services the entire United States from its headquarters in Dallas.
Jackson is involved in business and community organizations. He has been in the Texas Association of Business since 1986, serving as chairman of the Dallas and Fort Worth chapters. Jackson is on the associate board of SMU Cox School of Business, Metroplex Technology Business Council, and is the CEO of Netweavers. He is also an active member in the Technology Executive Networking Group, Society for Information Management, the National Association of Computer Consultant Businesses, and was an active member of the American Electronics Association. Jackson has been involved in the North Texas chapter of the National Kidney Foundation, and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
Jackson received his bachelor’s degree in 1980 from Illinois State University and currently resides in Colleyville, Texas with his wife, Patty, and their two children.
Dan Rutherford ‘78 BUA
Vice President, ServiceMaster Company and Illinois State Senator
Dan Rutherford is currently a state senator and vice president of ServiceMaster Company. Rutherford began his career as a legislative assistant in Springfield following his graduation from Illinois State University where he served as student body president.
Rutherford served as the statewide executive director of Illinois for Ronald Reagan in his first election as president. Following Reagan’s inauguration, Rutherford served as liaison between the Thompson Administration and the Reagan White House for executive branch appointments. Rutherford became head of the International Business Division of the Illinois Department of Commerce, overseeing trade and promotions offices. Later he joined the ServiceMaster Company where he continues to serve today. Senator Rutherford was first elected to the Illinois Senate in 2002 following a ten-year term in the Illinois House of Representatives.
Dan has visited all of the continents. He has back-packed across Europe, led safaris in Kenya, and competed in regattas off of Melbourne, Australia. Dan’s passion is scuba diving. He is an advanced certified diver with well over 200 dives.
Stefanos "Scottie" Venale ’86 FIN
Lieutenant Colonel Stefanos “Scottie” Venable is currently a managing director for The PrivateBank in Chicago, in charge of all loan, syndications, and capital market operations. Having graduated from Illinois State University in 1986, Scottie originally joined G. Heileman Brewing Company as an area sales manager in Central Illinois. Additionally Scottie Venable joined the U.S. Army Reserves after receiving his commission as a second lieutenant from Illinois State’s Army ROTC program. In 1987 Scottie moved to Chicago and joined the CM Financial group as a broker. While at the CM Financial group, Scottie became a top salesperson and moved into a manager position to recruit, hire, and train his own sales force.
After four years of developing his own brokerage business, Scottie went to the University of Illinois to work on his M.B.A. While going to school at night, Scottie became a deputy treasurer for Cook County. In 1998 Scottie ran for public office when Cook County President George Dunne supported him for the position of Cook County commissioner.
In 1998 Scottie received a master’s in business administration and became a vice president with LaSalle Bank in Chicago, running financial operations. In 1999 Scottie was activated in the U.S. Army and deployed to the European Province of Kosovo. After a successful tour of duty, Scottie then returned to LaSalle Bank running their global purchasing and accounts payable functions. Upon his second return from duty in December 2007, Scottie joined Bank of America as a senior vice president, continuing his role as the organization’s lead for global offshore operations. This past September Scottie moved to The PrivateBank assisting in the start-up of commercial operations leading from an asset base of $4 billion to over $9 billion.
Scottie has been married to his wife, Deborah, for 10 years and they have three children: Valeria-Jean, Joshua, and Zachary.
James Schlesser ‘74, '76 MS
Partner, Deloitte Taz LLP
James Schlesser has been a partner within Deloitte Tax LLP for over 22 years, with 32 total years at the
While working with manufacturing and distribution industry clients, Schlesser developed an expertise in serving the tax and business consulting needs of Japanese-owned companies, and later became the leader for the Japanese Service Group of the firm’s Midwest region. Schlesser became a member of the firm’s tax education committee and was a lead instructor, serving as the dean of numerous tax courses.
Schlesser served as the Chicago office and Midwest region tax managing partner prior to his decision to focus on regulatory and risk management issues for the tax function. In June 2007 he transferred to the Washington D.C. office to be a national partner within the risk management group.
In addition to his professional responsibilities, Schlesser has been involved in various community activities in the Naperville area. He was elected as president of the board of education of the Naperville School Board. Schlesser has also been actively involved in two nonprofit organizations, Samaritan Interfaith Counseling Center and the DuPage Public Action to Deliver Shelter, Inc.
In 1976 Schlesser became the first Illinois State University student to earn the Illinois CPA Society Gold Medal as the highest scores on the CPA exam in the State of Illinois, and later earned the AIC PA Elijah Watts Sells award for one of the highest scores in the country.
Schlesser and his wife Kathy have four children spread throughout the country, as well as three grandchildren.