Week 26 February 2016
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Banker Day
Thank you to US Bank's Glenda Boone and Toni Perkins, Anna State Bank's Jon Vicenzi and Greg George, Anna-Jonesboro National Bank's Nina Lofton, Capaha Bank's Josh Joiner, and Small Business Development Center's Candy Eastwood and Brett Whitnel  for reading and critiquing the business plans for our CEO team members in preparation for Loan Request Day.  What excellent practice this is for the team members to explain, defend, and take constructive criticism in a business atmosphere!  With each experience, they become more confident!

Again, we continue to be amazed at the willingness of the business community members to offer their time and assistance.    
Samantha Smith:  Tuesday morning leading up to the presentation to the bankers I was a little nervous. My business is so different I was not sure what the response would be. As soon as I sat down and began explaining my idea I got really excited. The bankers had a lot of great feedback, and I would say I got an overall positive response.

Austin Beszczynski:  Banker Day was very reassuring. They said my presentation and my business plan were great and I only had to fix a few things. It helps to get more professional opinions on my business plan.

Logan Jerolds: Meeting with the Bankers and SBDC staff at the Shawnee Extension Center was extremely helpful for me and presented many new ideas as well as new problems I had not seen. These meetings are really making me very excited for what is to come for my business. 
Alex Foeller and Scott Harris
Masters Choice
Adam Jung:  Wednesday, we got to meet at the Masters Choice new office.  The place is impressive right from the first step inside where you are greeted by a secretary, a fireplace, a flat screen tv, all inside a huge front lobby.  The most striking feature of the office though, would have to be the black and white pictures of the employees.  The pictures were all taken of employees during work.  I believe this is very important for a company to do. This shows that the company has pride in their employees, which in turn makes the employees feel good and shows customers how well their company treats them.  Alex and Scott both had great advice for us, and we learned a lot about Masters Choice.

Samantha Smith:  I just love Masters Choice.  When everyone walks into work they all greet each other with smiles on their faces and seem so happy to be there. They all seem genuinely excited about their job. I also think it is really awesome that the employees come in early to do a daily devotional together. You can really sense the unity as soon as you walk in the door.

Kaitlin McWhorter:  Scott Harris and Alex Foeller shared with us some of their experiences from working at Masters Choice. Scott said, “Sometimes we do have product discrepancies. Sometimes it’s our fault, and we make it right.” That is the way I want to look at things with my business. If something goes wrong, if someone leaves my business and is not ‘Wowed!’, then I want to be sure that I can make it right. I know how powerful word-of-mouth can be, and I want that to build my business up, not tear it down. “A satisfied customer is the best business strategy of all.”- Michael Leboeuf

Looking ahead...       7:30-9:00 am

  • Mon   3/7    Steve Grimmer, Alto Clay Works, Alto Pass  
  • Tue    3/8    Dongola School, Recruitment for CEO
  • Wed   3/9    Loan Request Day, Shawnee College, Anna Ext.
  • Thu    3/10  Jill Rendleman, All Seasons Farm, Cobden 
  •  Fri     3/11  Shavonna Shipley and John Bigler,  Cunningham Enterprises, Anna                               
Guests are welcome.  Please call Evelyn Bailey, Facilitator, 618-697-4038,
to confirm the day's location as they sometimes change.
Andy Sisulak
Baysinger Architects
Adam Jung:  Andy Sisulak is very community oriented not only within his local area but the whole southern Illinois region.  Andy is the Director of Marketing for Baysinger Architects, the architectural firm on file for many schools in the area.  

MacKenzie Conway:  It was really neat to see what Andy Sisulak's life was like because he had a very different life path. I thought it was amazing that he went from family lumber and construction work to car racing to plane racing. (I didn't even know plane racing existed.)

Meghan Smith:  Andy Sisulak has done a lot of amazing things in his lifetime! He has a very interesting background. It started as a young man helping his father to doing  event marketing and then getting a job offer to work at Disney.  Then he was approached to help start a driving school. Now I am not talking about on the road driving, but racing driving! After a couple of years of that he thought, why not start a plane racing course?  Now he currently works at Baysinger Architects as marketing director, and he loves it. He has found his passion! "Go find what makes you excited!"

Austin Klasner:  Andy Sisulak was very interesting to speak with. I mainly focused on the parts where he spoke about websites, but some other parts added to the feeling that maybe I want to work hard and make my business on a larger scale one day. Looking at that racing site had me thinking about one day moving on to bigger businesses.
Facilitator's Footnote: 

As you read the students' comments and look at their pictures, can you see how they are changing?  Most stand a little straighter and eye contact and interaction with adults are easier.  With many stories about failure leading to success, they are not completely at a loss when others find weaknesses in their business plans, but instead seem to be thankful someone did so they can improve!  They are initiating contact with resources and finding needed help or further connections. They listen for content about how a specific business works, but they also pick out parts of a talk that may be of particular use to them. They are thinking of the long-term future, not just the next weekend like many teens.  All good things!

All of those involved with Union County CEO gratefully acknowledge
the ongoing commitment of these CEO board members:

Rollie Hawk,  Chairman, CIO Union County and
Union County Technology Solutions
Darren Bailey, Vice Chairman, Union County Treasurer
Mark Chamness, Treasurer, Whitney Accounting
Lisa Boget, Secretary,  Wellsprings Dermatology
Patrick Harner, Admin. Agent, Five County Regional Voc Center

Cindy Benefield Cain, Southernmost Illinois Tourism 
Mindy Carter, Heartland Gifts and Promotions
Ryan Carter, Advanced Drainage Systems
Bill Ecker, State Farm Insurance
John Goddard, Dongola High School

Mike Hanson,  Shawnee High School
Crystal Housman, Cobden High School
Jon Vicenzi, Anna State Bank

And the generosity of these investors:

City of Anna
Anna State Bank
Anna- Jonesboro National Bank
The Bailey Family
Dr. and Mrs. Steven Beatty
Collin Cain, Grassy Lake Hunting Club
Cobden Civic and Industrial Foundation
Lyn Crabtree, Masters Choice
Bill Ecker, State Farm Insurance
Rusty Flamm, Rusty’s Home Center
Rollie Hawk, Union County Technology Solutions
Craig Lindvahl, Midland Institute
Josh Lofton, Merschmann Seeds
Schaefer Enterprises
Sharon Schaefer Trust
Schaefer Excavating Company
E.T. Simonds Construction, Beck Simonds
Union County Economic Development Corporation
Union County Hospital, Jim Farris CEO
Union County Government
U.S. Bank, Cobden
Wes Wilkins, Wilkins Law Office

To be an investor or friend of Union County CEO, contact Mark Chamness, CPA, Whitney Accounting,
   618-833-2145 or