Amit Bhanti is clinical director of Orthotics and works as the education and residency coordinator for the Hanger Orthopedic Group. His responsibilities include managing patients on a day-to-day basis, leading the newly established residency program in orthotics and prosthetics, setting up educational seminars and symposiums for related professionals, and conducting research and developing new procedures and devices to treat musculoskeletal pathologies.
Bhanti received the Best Student Researcher Award by the Orthotic and Prosthetic Society of India in 1997, developed a new type of brace to manage a common foot/ankle pathology, and was recently appointed as International Faculty at Indraprastha University of Health Science in India.
He’s co-chair of the Social Committee and an active member of the International Service Committee of the Peoria Downtown Rotary, serves on the board of the Indo-American Society of Peoria, started an amputee golf tournament in Peoria last year, is actively involved in Christmas in April, and volunteers at Tyng School.
Shelly Bleistein is a grant coordinator for the YWCA of Peoria, where she seeks and writes grant proposals and other funding opportunities to support the YWCA of Peoria programs, especially homeless and housing-related grants. She also participates in other fund raisers and new program development.
For her contributions to the YWCA, Bleistein was named the 1996 Employee of the Year. "Under my direction, the YWCA Homeless Shelter was nominated by the State of Illinois for an Excellence in Service Award given by the Interagency Council on the Homeless, a federal council," she explained.
Committed to community service, her volunteer activities include Habitat For Humanity WomenBuild 2001-2002, Friendship House of Christian Service, First Baptist Church of Peoria, St. Philomena School, Girl Scouts-Kickapoo Council, Friends of People With AIDS, Hines Primary School, Children’s Home of Illinois, and Pride of Peoria Barbershop Chorus.
Jeffrey Bonick is a partner at Clifton Gunderson, LLP, responsible for assurance services to various governmental, nonprofit, and corporate organizations. He also provides tax and consulting services to organizations and individuals and is responsible for the recruiting and mentoring programs for the Peoria office’s assurance department.
Bonick is a certified public accountant, a certified fraud examiner, a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Illinois CPA Society, and was designated by Clifton Gunderson as an Employee Benefit Specialist.
A graduate of the Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce Community Leadership School, Bonick participates in many local organizations. He’s been a board member and treasurer of Family House for seven years, has participated in Arthritis Foundation telethons, is president of the Finance Committee at St. Vincent de Paul Church, and is a member of the Accounting Department Advisory Council for Illinois State University.
Meredith Bunch is vice president of Midstate College, directly responsible for marketing, eLearning, technology, and overall effectiveness of the organization. As vice president, she’s a strong advocate for education, demonstrating this commitment by earning a master of arts degree in organizational management in August.
Under Bunch’s direction, Midstate College has rapidly moved to the forefront of the eLearning arena. She guided the development and delivery of 90 online courses in the past three years, and this year, Midstate College was recommended for approval from the Higher Learning Commission to offer all of the college’s current degree programs online.
Bunch has served as a member of the Midstate College Board of Directors since 1999, serves as an active member of the board of directors for Girl Scouts-Kickapoo Council, co-chaired the Easter Seals-UCP Telethon VIP Campaign in 2003, joined the Talent Force 21: Task Force for Challenge Five, and served as an International Program Committee Member for the International Association of Science and Technology for Development.
Emily Cahill is grants manager at The Center for Prevention of Abuse. As part of her duties, Cahill writes and submits grant applications to local, state, federal, and private sources of funding for The Center’s five departments. "These departments provide supportive services to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and abuse, and elder abuse, as well as provide prevention education to area children and batterers’ education programming to perpetrators of violence living in the tri-county area," she said.
Cahill is secretary of the Peoria Area Homeless Consortium, a local cooperative of homeless providers in Peoria, Tazewell, Woodford, and Fulton counties; and sits on the Leadership Team of the Peoria County Safe To Live Cooperative, which focuses on substance abuse and violence prevention in Peoria County. In addition, Cahill is very involved with Junior League of Peoria, where she currently serves as the assistant chair of the Children’s Museum Committee, which is working to bring a children’s museum to the area.
In recognition of her efforts with Junior League, Cahill was named the Julep Gem, a monthly award recognizing volunteers who’ve made significant contributions to League efforts.
Dr. Tony Cazzato
Dr. Tony Cazzato is an engineering project team leader for Caterpillar Inc., responsible for managing programs and leading teams to evaluate and develop new technologies for future Caterpillar diesel engines.
Among his accomplishments, Cazzato, who earned a Ph.D. in materials science from Northwestern, was awarded two U.S. patents for technical innovation in material design. "I was also selected to lead Caterpillar’s 2007 engine technology program to reduce emissions from construction equipment and trucks by 90 percent by the end of the decade. And as an engineer and program manager in the aerospace and defense industry, I developed low-cost, durable materials for stealth aircraft like the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and the B-2 bomber."
Cazzato serves as vice president of the Uplands Neighborhood Association; was appointed to serve on the Historic Preservation Commission; serves as a board member on the West Bluff Neighborhood Housing Service, a grass roots organization that purchases homes in blighted neighborhoods and provides low-interest loans for ownership and renovation; and he launched a science/engineering mentoring program for underprivileged students in Evanston.
Jennifer Delost is an IT analyst II in the Systems and Processes Division at Caterpillar Inc. She’s part of the team responsible for coordinating and performing the activities for third level support to more than 30,000 Lotus Notes clients. Delost is a liaison between the Global IT Service Center, other local area help desks, facility second level support, and the Notes Client support team. This year, Delost became a Certified Green Belt in 6 Sigma at Caterpillar. Delost also teaches introduction computer courses at ICC; one of the courses she taught recently was for Head Start parents.
She’s director of volunteer activities for Caterpillar-sponsored Community Now, worked for several years in the IHSA March Madness Experience, helped with WTVP membership drives and the WTVP auctions, volunteers for United Way, is an active member of Avant Garde, and a Peoria Art Guild supporter.
For her volunteer efforts with the Peoria Park District, Delost received the 2002 Illinois Park and Recreation Association/Illinois Association of Park Districts Community Service Award.
Stacey DelVecchio is a hose and coupling engineering manager at Caterpillar Inc., responsible for leading a group of engineers who design and control all of the hose and couplings used worldwide on Caterpillar equipment, as well as those available to OEM customers. DelVecchio develops and implements engineering strategies that will work with the market opportunities the company pursues.
Among her accomplishments, DelVecchio implemented the first lean manufacturing concepts at a hose assembly facility; developed leadership programs correlated to improving employee engagement; designed, built, and started up a paint line, process fluids program, and waste water treatment facility in China; became certified as a Caterpillar 6 Sigma Black Belt; received Caterpillar Continuous Quality Improvement Award nominations for three projects; and received a Caterpillar Environmental Excellence Gold Award.
DelVecchio is a Relay For Life team captain; Engineering Explorer Post leader; a PEO member; and an active participant in the Society of Women Engineers-Central Illinois Section, which honored her with the Outstanding Engineer Award in 2003.
Ellen Erlichman is a licensed clinical social worker, running a private practice that strives to help parents and children live successful, happy, and productive lives.
Erlichman received her master’s degree from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. She’s a board member of the Mental Health Association of Illinois Valley, serving on the organization’s executive board and as chair of the Community Services Committee. She’s also a Children’s Home board member, currently serving as liaison to the Clinical Advisory Committee. She previously served as liaison to the Research and Ethical Committee and was involved in strategic planning for the agency and the rollout of the new vision and values statement.
Active in the community, Erlichman is an advisor on parenting issues on the WMBD Morning Mix; a volunteer at Peoria Academy School; a past advisor to the Elmwood school district; and has served as speaker for community organizations such as St. Phil’s School, Dunlap High School, Young Children’s Organization, several local churches, and the Women’s Lifestyle Show.
Tanya Fengel is accreditation and licensure coordinator for OSF Saint Francis Medical Center, responsible for comprehensive assessment, planning, monitoring, and evaluation for compliance with patient care-related standards and regulations. She also coordinates surveys, documentation, and requested information from regulatory agencies during onsite visits.
Fengel is co-chair of the Professional Nursing Congress Quality Committee and, for her success, has received a commendation from OSF Homecare for her presentation to the Illinois Hospice Board and hospice administrators and staff, commendation for overall success of the JCAHO Triennial Survey in 2002, and commendation for serving as a leader in the Employee Above and Beyond and the United Way Campaign.
Active locally and internationally, Fendel served as a missionary nurse in Pachica, Chile, is an interpreter for Spanish-speaking families, is a member of the Ethics Committee at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center, chairs the PALS Preschool Parent Advisory Committee, coordinates a Neighborhood Watch, and is a member of the Femmes Unir Women’s Organization in Bartonville.
Linda Ficht is an associate with Kavanagh, Scully, Sudow, White & Frederick, P.C., where she handles family law and corporate defense cases for the firm. She currently teaches Legal Environment of Business as an adjunct professor at Bradley University and Robert Morris College.
Her professional recognitions include the Lincoln’s Inn Award; National Association of Women Lawyers Award; Judge James O. Monroe, Jr. Award; and Excellence for the Future Award in Health Policy, Bioethics & the Law, and Trusts & Estates Law.
She’s a member of the Peoria County Republican Women and has assisted Republican candidates in several elections. Ficht serves as Angel Tree Project coordinator for the Kavanagh law firm and is a pro bono attorney for the Prairie State Legal Service, where she provides free legal services to indigent clients. Prairie State specifically recognized her as the Kavanagh firm’s 2002 leader in pro bono hours, which contributed to the firm being recognized with the 2002 Prairie State Legal Services Pro Bono Firm of the Year Award.
Jill Finnegan is a senior associate for National City Bank’s Private Client Group, responsible for providing senior management support and managing much of the daily administrative activities. She also serves as special events and marketing coordinator for the department. Finnegan was recognized in 2001 with the Central Illinois Excel Award, National City’s highest honor for service.
Her volunteer service includes taking on many leadership roles for the American Cancer Society, serving as Team Recruitment Chair for the Peoria Relay For Life and as Event Chair in 2001 and 2002. She currently serves as chair of the West Central Regional Relay For Life Task Force, overseeing 18 Relays. She was chosen as one of six ambassadors representing the West Central region to participate in "Celebration on the Hill," a historical event in Washington, D.C., urging Congress to make cancer a national priority.
Finnegan also serves as a chapter member of the Susan G. Komen Foundation, where she actively volunteers for Race for the Cure. Most recently, she was named to the "Mammograms Save Lives" License Plate Fund Grant Review Committee.
Brent Fletcher is public service administrator and child protection supervisor for the Peoria Field Office of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (IDCFS). He reviews all investigation complaints received; conducts the new "Family to Family" initiative, for which Peoria is a pilot community; represents the IDCFS in administrative appeals; gives final approval on all investigative reports, ensures the child protection staff adheres to the Department’s "Best Practice" policy; and supervises social work interns from various universities.
Fletcher has a master’s degree from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, is a licensed foster parent, mentors at-risk youth in Tazewell County, is a licensed child welfare service worker, and is a certified public service administrator for IDCFS. He also worked with Tazewell County youth and the Pekin Park District in developing one of the area’s only "skate to bike" parks, assisting Pekin youth in learning how to approach government and adults in a proactive manner.
Additionally, Fletcher worked with the Pekin Park Police Department to develop a station adjustment program to keep some minors out of the court system. "The youth and their families have appreciated this opportunity, and it’s reduced the number of juvenile offenders in the park system," he said.
Laurel Frautschi is assistant professor of Sociology at Illinois Central College. During her career there, she’s developed several Internet courses; mentored faculty developing online classes; and served on college and departmental committees such as the Faculty Visioning Committee, Teaching/Learning Center Advisory Committee, and Critical Thinking/Writing Across the Curriculum.
Among her many recognitions, Frautschi received the Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award; Outstanding Senior Award in Sociology; and was nominated for the Faculty Who Make a Difference Award, Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers, and the Gallion Award.
On behalf of the ICC community, Frautschi has served as a Faculty Senate member for the Social Sciences department, co-edited a philosophy text, and assisted in Web page development for her department.
Her community contributions include serving as advisor for the Upsilon Mu chapter, moderating the Children First program and the High School Scholastic Bowl competition at ICC, serving as advisor for The Student Philosophy Association at ICC, and co-chairing the Take Our Daughters to Work Day Committee at ICC.
Patricia Gibson is general counsel for the 42 Catholic schools and 102 Roman Catholic churches located in the Catholic Diocese of Peoria and is chief legal advisor to the Most Reverend Daniel R. Jenky. She also serves as vice chancellor, functioning as a key administrative manager for the Catholic Diocese of Peoria, with chief oversight for all legal and administrative affairs.
Gibson was the first layperson in the Catholic Diocese of Peoria to serve as vice chancellor and the first general counsel for the Diocese. Her other accomplishments include receiving a law degree from De Paul University and a Pontifical law degree in canon law from the Catholic University of America, being nationally recognized for her work in the area of immigration as it applies to foreign religious persons, and acting as vice chair of the Illinois State Bar Association International and Immigration Section Council.
Gibson is past vice chair, current board member, and volunteer tutor for the Project Upward Literacy Program; and she provides pro bono counsel for immigration issues affecting individuals in central Illinois.
Larry Guenther is vice president at National City Bank of Michigan/Illinois. "I’m a middle market specialist responsible for managing and developing business relationships with companies who produce $25 million to $500 million in revenues. In addition to servicing those 35 relationships, I’m responsible for new business development throughout both Peoria and the Quad Cities," he said.
Among his accomplishments, Guenther was a 2000 Excel Sales Award Nominee, a 2000 Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce Community Leadership School graduate, and received his MBA from the University of Nebraska-Omaha.
Guenther is president of the Alzheimer’s Association Board and has previously served on committees such as board development and finance. He’s also actively involved in the chapter’s annual Memory Walk. Guenther is a member of the Downtown Rotary, is a member of the United Way Pillars Society and volunteered with the United Way employee campaign at National City Bank, is a member of the Professional Business Group, and is active with the Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce.
Karen Hallam is the group health insurance broker for C.L. Wyman & Associates, Inc., where she provides employee benefit programs and services tailored to her clients’ needs; develops and presents benefit proposals; offers on-call customer service; monitors marketplace and industry trends; educates clients and employees about the industry and benefits packages; and develops, organizes, and hosts educational seminars for target markets.
Hallam is on the Marketing Committee of the Creve Coeur Club of Peoria; is a Red Carpet Member and serves on the Planning Committee to organize the Discovery Forum for Peoria NEXT; is on the Board of Governors for the Opera Illinois League Housing Committee, as well as developing and hosting a murder mystery benefit; serves on the Young Professionals Organization Social Committee and Ambassador Committee, where she’s meeting host, speaker recruiter liaison, membership recruiter, and involved in corporate fundraising; recruited volunteers for the summer 2003 pledge drive for WTVP; served as a campaign volunteer for Councilman John Morris’ re-election; and was a candidate representative for Daniel Schmidt’s election campaign to Third District Appellate Court.
Kenneth Imming is vice president and owner/operator of Advanced CAD/CAM Service Corporation (ACCS). His responsibilities include managing, planning, organizing, and directing ACCS departments toward objectives based on profit and return; and directing and overseeing the organization’s entire on-site staffing business by working directly with recruitment to find the appropriate technical personnel.
Imming started ACCS, an engineering business, in 1991 with only one business partner and has successfully grown the business to 85 people. "I lead ACCS in finding the right people to complete projects for their customers, which includes convincing people from all over the U.S. that Peoria is a great city to work and live," he said.
In 1999, ACCS received the Outstanding Small Business Award from the Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce.
Imming is a 2000 graduate of the Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce Community Leadership School, a tee-ball coach for the Peoria Park District, softball coach for the Peoria Girls Softball League, kindergarten soccer coach for St. Vincent de Paul Church, a board member of the Central Illinois Bradley Alumni Chapter, and was recently elected as an ambassador for the Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce.
John Kolmer is a NAFTA trade specialist at the Bradley University NAFTA Opportunity Center, responsible for assisting central Illinois small businesses in the development and expansion of international trade opportunities. "I manage the NAFTA Opportunity Center’s program of one-on-one counseling, market research and seminars focused on international business planning, modes of market entry, logistics, and export finance," he explained.
Kolmer participates in the Rotary Club of Peoria-North’s literacy project at Kingman School, regularly volunteers at WCBU FM 89.9, and judges junior and senior high school projects in the State of Illinois History Day competition.
He received the State of Illinois Certificate in International Business; achieved Certified Business Specialist certification from the Illinois Small Business Development Association; graduated from the Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce’s Community Leadership School; was named to the board of directors of the Economic Development Council of Central Illinois; and was appointed to the Industry Sector Advisory Committee for Trade Policy Matters on Small and Minority Business, the only advisory committee to the U.S. government on the export concerns of small and minority businesses.
Nathan Kress is general manager of Dealer and Customer Support at Kress Corporation, where he contributes to management of the business in all departments-specifically, sales and product support-correlating the Kress product with dealers and customers.
Kress is a graduate of the University of Illinois, earning a degree in agricultural engineering, and completed the Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce Community Leadership School.
He keeps up to date on current agricultural issues and lends his expertise to the Peoria County Farm Bureau Board, is an active member of St. Joseph’s Church, and is a member of Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity.
As heir to the Kress Corporation, he’s on a fast track in leadership. He’s spent three months in Australia, learning and working with Kress customers and potential customers. His strong desire to successfully lead the 35-year-old company his father began, as well as contribute to the betterment of the Peoria area in general, is evident to all who know Kress.
Unable to accept the award in person, Kress sent the folowing message: "It’s a privilege to receive such an award. Thank you."
Dr. Giuseppe Lanzino
Dr. Giuseppe Lanzino is associate professor of Neurosurgery and Radiology in the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria Department of Neurosurgery. He’s chief of the Cerebrovascular Section in the Department of Neurosurgery and director of the Microneurosurgical Laboratory.
Interested in research from the beginning of his career, he had already completed a six-month research fellowship in Holland by the time he was finished with his medical education. Lanzino was named a fellow on the Stroke Council of the American Heart Association and the American College of Angiology, is a member of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons, a member of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, and received the 2002 Bayer Fellowship for Cerebral Ischemia Research.
Dr. Lanzino is developing a fund raising campaign to finance the continuation of his research efforts and is organizing a Cerebrovascular Aneurysm Patient Support Group. He also sponsors a Peoria Chapter of the Think First Foundation.
Rick LeHew is director of field services for the Chicago District Golf Association, responsible for overseeing downstate operations of the Association. His position includes training the golf pros around the state in the USGA handicap system, the USGA course rating system, and the slope system. He also administers the USGA and CDGA golf tournaments around central Illinois, as well as the State Amateur Golf Championships.
LeHew is a four-time city golf champion and a three-time runner up. He’s a three-time Peoria stroke play champion, a six-time Greater Peoria Fall Classic champion, placed third in the 1993 Illinois State Amateur Championship, placed in the top 15 four times, and is a three-time Marigold Champion. He was also part of the All-American ICC golf team in 1983-1984.
As a community volunteer, LeHew has assisted with many local charity golf outings, including the Bradley Chiefs Club, Easter Seals-UCP, St. Jude, and Susan G. Komen. He’s also active with the Peoria Area Sports Commission and the Easter Seals-UCP Wines on the Prairie event.
Mike Mangold is president and owner of Mangold Ford Mercury, responsible for overseeing operations of all departments of the dealership.
For his successes in business, including growing the company from 40 to 80 employees and dramatically increasing sales, Mangold has been honored with the Woodford County Business Achievement Award, the Eureka Business Association’s 2002 Rose Award, the Ford Motor Company’s 1997 North American Customer Excellence Award, the 2001 Ford Motor Company Golden Shovel Award, and was Ford Motor Company Blue Oval Certified and Mercury Advantage Certified in 2001-2002.
Mangold has been an active supporter of the Peoria Rescue Ministries, including being corporate sponsor of the organization’s annual golf outing. He’s a member and Sunday School teacher at the Apostolic Christian Church in Washington, and supports organizations such as the Eureka Apostolic Christian Nursing Home, Maple Lawn Homes in Eureka, the Bloomington Mennonite Relief Sale, Eureka College, Eureka Community Hospital, The Baby Fold, and Friends of the Children of Haiti.
Marc Maske is general manager of Scherer Buick Pontiac Isuzu, responsible for overseeing the successful performance of the entire automotive dealership. He provides direction to the various departments and sets goals and fiscal year plans including new procedures, programs, customer satisfaction standards, and services for each department.
Prior to running Scherer Buick Pontiac, Maske established Saturn of Peoria from the ground up and successfully ran the business for 10 years. The Saturn Corporation asked him to serve as a board member on its Customer Enthusiasm Task Force, and he received many certificates of recognition and awards from the company, including Tops in Customer Satisfaction in Service and Sales of his territory.
Active in the community, Maske serves on the board of the Peoria Metro New Car Dealers Association and is past president of the organization. He’s currently vice president of the Pediatric Resource Center and is co-chair of the PRC’s main fundraiser, "Spirit of Hope 2003." He’s very active in his parish, St. Thomas Church in Peoria Heights, and is a past member of organizations such as Cursillo, Rotary North, Ambucs, and the Chamber of Commerce.
Tory McCord is a program director at Bradley University, responsible for administering the Bradley University alumni-to-student mentor program; coordinating the Bradley Alumni/Volunteer Organization; identifying, recruiting, and training alumni volunteers; advising the Bradley Ambassadors, coordinating activities of alumni chapters in her 25-state territory; and serving as staff liaison to the Bradley University Alumni Association Student Involvement Committee.
Among her many accomplishments, McCord helped coordinate a collaboration committee of key departments on campus to develop and implement leadership opportunities for students, developed a program to increase school spirit, revised the programming of the Bradley Ambassadors, and implemented an alumni/student mentor program that was launched as a pilot program in fall 2002. "It was such a success that I’ve opened it to any alumni and students interested in participating. I anticipate having 70 to 100 ’matches’ this academic year," she said.
Her community involvement includes work with Family House, Kickapoo Council of Girl Scouts, Junior League of Peoria, The Salvation Army, the Heart of Illinois United Way, Christmas in April, and the YWCA.
Monica McGill is an adjunct faculty member at Robert Morris College (RMC), where she teaches computer studies. Along with her teaching duties, she recently completed RMC’s Center for Applied Leadership program entitled "Early Insights," which is designed to develop leadership abilities within the school.
While working for the Department of Defense-where she began her career in education, teaching at the National Cryptological School-McGill received several awards, including one for winning proposals for Computer Sciences Corporation. She also received a service award from C.H.O.I.C.E.S., the 2003 Promising Projects Award from the Illinois Association of Gifted Children, and a National Organization of Women Peoria Chapter Equality Day Award.
Active in the community, McGill served on District 150’s Strategic Planning Committee, is involved with the Kellar Gifted Committee, and taught an enrichment class at Kellar. She’s worked with the Washington Gifted School Computer Club, wrote two grants last year for the club, and served as a Bear Buddy to a child at Irving Primary School.
Michael McKenzie is vice president and controller of First Capital Bank, for which he served as one of the founding officers in 1996. He manages the bank’s accounting department-preparing monthly and annual financial statements, reporting the results to the board of directors, preparing regulatory reports, preparing and reviewing tax filings, managing relationships with auditors and examiners, managing staff, and managing the technology systems of the bank. McKenzie is a Certified Public Accountant and Certified Management Accountant.
Active in the community, McKenzie is treasurer of Goodwill Industries of Central Illinois; vice president of the Peoria Public Library Board; past president of the Central Illinois Chapter of the Institute of Management Accountants; a 2004 Blitz Committee member for the Habitat for Humanity Greater Peoria Area; a member of Rotary Club of Peoria; a 1998 graduate of the Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce Community Leadership School; and he volunteers for Christmas in April, Relay for Life, and the United Way.
Angela Moore manages the Illinois Institute for Addiction Recovery at the Proctor Hospital location, BroMenn Regional Medical Center location, and the new Springfield location. She also manages the Counseling Center at Proctor Hospital. Her responsibilities include supervision of more than 50 staff and involvement in program development, resource development, performance improvement, quality assurance, interviewing, public and media relations, budgeting, and training.
Moore has a master’s degree in clinical psychology and health services administration, is a licensed clinical professional counselor, is certified at a master’s level in alcohol and other drug counseling and compulsive gambling, is a registered mental illness/substance abuse treatment professional, and has authored material related to mental health and addiction. For her dedication, she received the Proctor Employee Personified Award.
Moore is active at Family House, the Mental Health Association of Illinois Valley, as a PEO member, and as a member of the Academy of Eating Disorders Professionals.
Charles Moore is executive director of the East Peoria Chamber of Commerce, accountable for the overall operation of the organization. Specifically, he plans, directs, coordinates, and manages the current and long-range programs and activities set by the board of directors. He also attends all committee meetings; area community functions; and serves as a liaison with business, community, and government leaders.
Among his accomplishments, Moore is a graduate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for Organization Management, a four-year program; and he’s listed among the Who’s Who in Executives and Professionals 2001.
His community involvement includes acting as commissioner of the East Peoria Housing Authority; serving as a volunteer for the East Peoria Festival of Lights Commission; and is a member of the East Peoria Kiwanis Club, Peoria Jaycees, Young Professionals of Greater Peoria, Boy Scouts of America Watamalo District, Relay for Life Survivor Dinner, and East Peoria Light Up the Trail. For his community work, Moore was named the Peoria Jaycee Outstanding Young Business Professional of the Year in 2002.
Jon Neidy is assistant director of Continuing Education and director of the summer and interim sessions at Bradley University, responsible for constructing programs and assessments, identifying and recruiting instructors, evaluations, database maintenance and support, and coordinating and leading volunteers. He also teaches entry-level computer courses and prepares and administers budgets. For his role in the summer and interim sessions, Neidy organizes and budgets more than 300 courses in the university’s five sessions.
He represented Bradley on a national level as a leader in the Elderhostel Institute Network, developed the Continuing Education division’s Web site, served as the assistant director for Bradley’s Institute for Gifted and Talented Youth in 2001-2002, and developed a computer class for talented youth.
Neidy is very active with various Bradley organizations, the Peoria Art Guild, Acorn Equality Fund, Planned Parenthood, Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy, Luthy Botanical Garden, Peoria Area Men’s Network, and Race for the Cure.
Curt Oldfield is the dean of instruction at Spoon River College in Canton. His responsibilities include consulting with faculty and administrative personnel for planning, evaluating, and directing programs and activities; preparing personnel recommendations; conducting faculty meetings; planning and conducting orientation and in-service programs; preparing budgets; preparing and reviewing program recommendations; and evaluating instructional programs.
Oldfield is active on the Fulton County Board; acts as board secretary and business services chair of the Fulton County Emergency Medical Association; serves as board chair of the American Red Cross, Fulton-Schuyler Chapter; is board secretary and legislative chair of the Illinois Prairie Agriculture Coalition; and serves as director of the Canton Area Chamber of Commerce Leadership Academy.
For his work on behalf of Spoon River College and the community, he was named the 2002 Spoon River College Outstanding Alumni, received the 2001 Spoon River College Outstanding Faculty Award, was a 2001 National Finalist in the American Farm Bureau Discussion Meet, was a 2000 Illinois Farm Bureau Discussion Meet Winner, and received the 2000 Illinois Farm Bureau Agriculture Excellence Award.
Amy Paul-Cassulo is a news anchor for WMBD-TV, where she delivers the 5 p.m., 6 p.m., and 10 p.m. news. Her position also involves reporting in the field, producing the weekly "Food for Thought" report, providing reports for Regent radio stations, and hosting an annual television show about heart health for OSF St. Francis Medical Center.
Her accomplishments include winning the Illinois Broadcasters Association (IBA) Award for Best TV Anchorperson in Medium Market (2002), the IBA Award for Best Newscast (1999), and the IBA Second Place Award for Best TV Anchorperson (2003).
Dedicated to community activism, Paul-Cassulo is a member of the Central Illinois Multiple Sclerosis Society, a PR Committee member of the Peoria Holocaust Button Memorial Project, is the Restaurant Chair of the Easter Seals-UCP Wines on the Prairie event, and emcees the Muscular Dystrophy Association telethon. She’s been a Peoria Junior League member, volunteered for St. Jude, participated for five years in The Salvation Army style show, contributed to the United Way annual simulcast, served as the Youth Farm live show host, and acted as judge for the Hoops and Heroes scholarship program.
Lisa Plantamura is a trainer for Employers’ Association, where she conducts on-site training for companies in the areas of frontline, supervisory, and strategic analysis in customer service; professionalism; stress management; and supervisory classes such as motivation and leadership in volunteer organizations.
Plantamura earned a master’s degree in marketing and an MBA, received 30 hours of training through the Philip Crosby Quality Education system, is a 2002 graduate of the Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce Community Leadership School, and was named one of the 25 Women in Leadership this year.
Active in the community, she’s the current president of the Junior League of Peoria, where she’s also served on the Leadership Team for the past six years as Children’s Museum chair, provisional chair, vice president of marketing, and president-elect. Plantamura is the immediate past president of St. Vincent Women’s Guild, is an active member of Entre Nous, served on the Community Leadership School Steering Committee, volunteers as Den Leader for Tiger Cubs, and serves as Picture Person at St. Vincent de Paul.
Sid Ruckriegel is owner of SIDAL, Inc./Paulan Properties. He’s responsible for overseeing overall company management, daily operations, marketing, and site selection and future growth planning for SIDAL, Inc., a restaurant holding and operating company that operates 56 Papa John’s Pizza, Rally’s Hamburgers, and Jo-Jo’s Restaurants. SIDAL, Inc. currently employs about 1,700 people. Paulan Properties is a real estate company that operates in Illinois and Indiana.
Ruckriegel is president of the Champaign Papa John’s Marketing Co-op, a member of the Quad City Papa John’s Marketing Co-op, a nominee for the Papa John’s International Franchise of the Year, a board member of the Lake County Steelers, a member of the National Restaurant Association, and a three-year member of the National Leadership Conference.
Active in the community, Ruckriegel is an 11-year member of the Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce; established the SIDAL Papa John’s Scholars, which has awarded past scholarships totaling $75,000 to area students; and is a local supporter of the Race for the Cure, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, the American Diabetes Association, and Big Brothers, Big Sisters.
Bret Stone is vice president of employment services at Parc, responsible for directing all functions in the areas of Parc consumer’s employment and vocational training. Stone pioneered Parc’s Transitional Employment program, offering an outcome-oriented training option for persons with disabilities. He also supervises ParkWorks, which provides outsourced services to area businesses, as well as employment opportunities for Parc clients.
Active in the community, Stone is a member of the Workforce Network, helping to forge a formal written partnership with the Workforce Network Board, and working with non-profit agencies, ICC, District 150, area businesses, and government agencies to actively research local workforce development issues.
Stone is a founding member of Business Leadership Network, a coalition of agencies and businesses that aims to increase employer awareness of the workforce potential among people with disabilities. He’s also a member of Prairieland Enterprises, a coalition of agencies in central Illinois that work together to compete for larger contracts.
Lynn Van Norman
Lynn Van Norman is manager and marketing director for Peoria Open MRI, where she oversees daily operations, negotiates contracts with insurance companies, and hires and trains center staff. She’s also responsible for marketing Peoria Open MRI to physicians and staff throughout central Illinois and creating public awareness.
She served as vice president of board development and secretary of the Heart of Illinois Big Brothers, Big Sisters, sat on the Heartland D.A.R.E. board, served as a mentor with the District 150 Health Academy, was a member of the Junior League of Peoria, volunteered for the Friends of Strays in Princeton, graduated from the Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce Community Leadership School in 2003, served as a contact person for the 1st Annual Walk for the Mind, and participates on the Alzheimer’s Association Memory Walk Committee.
In her role with Peoria Open MRI, she’s involved the company with charitable organizations such as the American Cancer Society and St. Jude and captained a Memory Walk Team sponsored by Peoria Open MRI.
Michael Wells is program administrator for Catholic Charities, providing administrative leadership and oversight for a large foster care program covering central Illinois and the communications department at Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Peoria. "I manage an approximately $8.5 million budget and work collaboratively with foster care and other social service providers to ensure continuous improvement of the foster care system," he said.
Wells, who has a master’s degree and is a licensed clinical professional counselor, was an adjunct professor at Heartland Community College, and has been a clinical supervisor and a private counselor. He’s co-authored research articles, consulted with the Department of Children and Family Services regarding outcome analysis and program evaluation, and coordinates the annual Depression Screening Day for McLean County.
Wells was one of the founding leaders and is current chairperson of Joining Forces for Children and Adolescents, serves as president of the Mental Health Association of McLean County, and provides pro bono private counseling. In recognition of his many contributions, the Mental Health Association of Illinois Valley named Wells the 2003 Jean Tucker Award winner for Children’s Mental Health Provider of the Year.
Brent Wheeler is general manager for the RiverPlex Recreation and Wellness Center, where he’s responsible for overseeing all aspects of both the Recreation and Fitness operations of the RiverPlex. In this position, he implemented the Ring of Hope billboards that surround the RiverPlex arena and initiated the Halloween alternative program, which takes place annually at the facility.
During his tenure at the RiverPlex, Wheeler has created and implemented multiple events at the facility for underprivileged kids in the Peoria area. He’s initiated partnerships with other not-for-profit organizations, such as the Day of Hope program. This program, in conjunction with District 150, brings the C.H.O.I.C.E.S. Youth Outreach Phase I program to Peoria’s primary schools, where they pledge their commitment of respect for each other, their teachers and principals, and the property.
Wheeler is active in the community, committed to serving on the OSF Saint Francis Children’s Hospital Telethon Committee, volunteering as a member of the Subcommittee for Juvenile Justice Council for Peoria County, and acting as a high school baseball coach.
Michelle Williams is manager of the Wellness and Disease Management programs at the Methodist Medical Center of Illinois. She’s responsible for the daily operations of the Methodist Wellness Center, cardiopulmonary rehabilitation, and Diabetes Care Center-including budgeting, financial planning, staff supervision, program development, and community education.
Committed to community-wide health, Williams started a walking program at ShopKo in Peoria and East Peoria; implemented the Methodist Wellmobile; designed and implemented the Moon Walk program for the Peoria Area Labor Management Taskforce Committee; and developed Heart Smart For Teens, an innovative program that reaches out to inactive teens to help them develop healthier habits.
Williams is a member of the Peoria City/County Health Department Smoking Coalition; teaches Bible school and exercise classes through her church; participates in sports enhancement programs at area high schools, training student athletes during the summer to prepare them for the upcoming sports season; is a volunteer instructor at area basketball camps; and has been a member of the Peoria Junior League for two years.
Nancy Wraight is human resources manager for OSF HealthPlans, Inc., where she leads more than 200 employees. Her duties include advocating for employees, leadership and supervisory training, affirmative action, recruitment, recognition, employee events, orientation, employee newsletter, employment strategies, and special programs.
Wraight helped OSF HealthPlans receive one of the highest employee opinion survey results from any organization through Morehead and Associates. She’s a member of the U.S. Department of Labor Openings and Turnover Team, leads the Leave Sharing Bank Committee at OSF HealthPlans, and served on the Central Illinois Workforce Development Study.
Through OSF, Wraight coordinates Coats for Kids, Adopt A Family, School Supply and Easter Basket drives for local families, and co-chairs the OSF Foundation Campaign. In the community, she’s vice president of the Parent Council and is on the board of trustees at Peoria Academy. She also volunteers for Children’s Hospital of Illinois, Girl Scouts, American Red Cross, Peoria Community Theatre Company, United Way, and Washington Senior Center. For these and other efforts, Wraight was named the Peoria Jaycees Outstanding Young Business Professional of 2003. IBI