“Expert Day” was the first of three formal business presentation days for the students in the Union County CEO program. Those involved with CEO voice appreciation to all of those who support the Union County CEO program and “Creating Entrepreneurial Opportunities.” Photo provided.

Union County CEO prepares for trade shows

Community members are invited to: “Be ready to be amazed at the annual Union County CEO Trade Show.”

The show is set for Wednesday evening, May 4, at the Barn Event Center, which is located at 3805 Lick Creek Rd. near Anna.  

At 6:30 p.m., the event will be open to members of the public, who will have an opportunity to purchase and learn about new goods and services available in Union County. 

CEO Businesses

Booths this year will include:

HB’s Custom Lures by Hunter Boyd.

Living Edge Décor by Natalee Brown.

Farm to Jar by Olivia Brumleve.

Buttercup Barn Quilts by Abigail Dahmer.

Dekals by K by Kirstin Guardian.

Hall of Fame Engraving by Kyle Hall.

Inner Peace-Sitting Services by Madi Hawk.
BackYard Bonfires by Camden Hodges.

E-Makulate Designs by Makenzie Howell.

Hangin’ J Lanyards by Luke Lasley.

Ele and Nels Boutique by Peyton Lingle.

Farmhouse Wreaths by Abby Remsey.

Trade Show at SIU

The CEO class will also be participating in the Jackson/Union County Trade show, which is scheduled from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Thursday, today, at the Dunn-Richmond Center at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. The trade show is open to the public.

First, Second Semesters

The first semester of this high school class focused on planning and executing the highly successful class business: Small Business Christmas on Ice.  

The second semester has focused on each student developing their own “side hustle” business.  

And all of this was being done while the CEO students were visiting successful business and community leaders at least twice a week at 7:30 a.m.

Many class days were spent working on the financial aspects of running a business with SBDC’s Deb

 Barnett and Ken Stoner; Dori Bigler, City of Anna; and Mark Chamness, board member, Whitney Accounting.  

“Experts Day”

With first drafts of business plans in hand, they had “Expert Day,” when they presented their ideas and asked questions.  

The “Experts” were Rollie Hawk, Arrowleaf; Samantha Smith, alumna, OnBrand Marketing; Danielle Stevens and Travis Holtkamp of Country Financial; Mary Kay Miller of H&R Block; Doug Hileman, former farm management services consultant; Stephanie Cox and Kati Denny of A-J National Bank; and Matt Lasley and Nathan Hodges of NovoNordisk. 

“Banker Day” 

With this new information, the team members completed the business plans, created business “pitches” and added the financial components which were reviewed on “Banker Day.”  

Participating bankers were David Carter, Greg George and Amber Belcher from Anna State Bank; and Kati Denny and Clatus Bierman of A-J National Bank.

“Throw Your Pitch Day”

Then, after another round of revisions and polishing of their pitches, the students were ready to present their final business plans at “Throw Your Pitch Day.”

This is when the written plans and their presentations are individually evaluated, loans are approved or denied and the businesses are given the UCCEO stamp of approval.  

The “Scouts” included board member Lisa Tomazzoli, Shawnee Hills Real Estate; as well as UCCEO supporters Kelli Wood, Edward Jones; Travis Holtkamp, Country Financial; and Bill Ecker, State Farm. 

“All of these professionals are community members and supporters of the Union County CEO program,” Union County CEO program facilitator Melanie Smith said.

“All of them were 100 percent invested in these experiences as our many speakers. So much knowledge, expertise, and encouragement was shared.  We appreciate them all so much”

Grateful for Support

As always, the advisory board of Union County CEO, a chapter of Midland Institute of Entrepreneurship, is grateful for the many ways the business community and individuals support this program which positively affects not only these students but also Union County in many ways.

For more information about this program and opportunities to support, contact any of the professionals; contact CEO treasurer, Stephanie Cox, A-J National Bank; or go to www.unioncountyceo.org/news.

Barnett and Ken Stoner; Dori Bigler, City of Anna; and Mark Chamness, board member, Whitney Accounting.  

“Experts Day”

With first drafts of business plans in hand, they had “Expert Day,” when they presented their ideas and asked questions.  

The “Experts” were Rollie Hawk, Arrowleaf; Samantha Smith, alumna, OnBrand Marketing; Danielle Stevens and Travis Holtkamp of Country Financial; Mary Kay Miller of H&R Block; Doug Hileman, former farm management services consultant; Stephanie Cox and Kati Denny of A-J National Bank; and Matt Lasley and Nathan Hodges of Novo Nordisk. 

“Banker Day” 

With this new information, the team members completed the business plans, created business “pitches” and added the financial components which were reviewed on “Banker Day.”  

Participating bankers were David Carter, Greg George and Amber Belcher from Anna State Bank; and Kati Denny and Clatus Bierman of A-J National Bank.

“Throw Your Pitch Day”

Then, after another round of revisions and polishing of their pitches, the students were ready to present their final business plans at “Throw Your Pitch Day.”

This is when the written plans and their presentations are individually evaluated, loans are approved or denied and the businesses are given the UCCEO stamp of approval.  

The “Scouts” included board member Lisa Tomazzoli, Shawnee Hills Real Estate; as well as UCCEO supporters Kelli Wood, Edward Jones; Travis Holtkamp, Country Financial; and Bill Ecker, State Farm. 

“All of these professionals are community members and supporters of the Union County CEO program,” Union County CEO program facilitator Melanie Smith said.

“All of them were 100 percent invested in these experiences as our many speakers. So much knowledge, expertise, and encouragement was shared.  We appreciate them all so much."

Grateful for Support

As always, the advisory board of Union County CEO, a chapter of Midland Institute of Entrepreneurship, is grateful for the many ways the business community and individuals support this program which positively affects not only these students but also Union County in many ways.

For more information about this program and opportunities to support, contact any of the professionals; contact CEO treasurer, Stephanie Cox, A-J National Bank; or go to www.unioncountyceo.org/news.

The Gazette-Democrat

112 Lafayette St.
Anna, Illinois 62906
Office Number: (618) 833-2158
Email: news@annanews.com

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