• 2020 Member Accolades and News

  • Share your news about events, company news (anniversaries, promotions etc.), accomplishments, etc. with us. Email it to Lindsay Quick.

    Fehr Graham, a leading Midwest engineering and environmental firm, is proud to announce the addition of Todd Shankland as Chief Financial Officer.

    Shankland is helping the firm with financial forecasting and performance optimization and executing acquisitional and organic growth strategy. Prior to joining Fehr Graham, Shankland served as Vice President and Chief Financial Officer for Cleaners Depot, where he was the responsible for finance, accounting, human resources, information technology and risk management.

    “Todd brings great experience in all aspects of running a business including day-to-day operations, driving culture, and developing and executing strategic initiatives,” said Mick Gronewold, Fehr Graham’s Chairman of the Board and one of the firm’s eight owners. “Todd is an impressive addition to the firm. We are glad to have him on board.”

    Along with a notable career history, Shankland takes pride in his volunteer work. He is a tax advisor at Ladder Up Tax Assistance Program for Low-Income Households. He was a coach and mentor at North Lawndale College Prep High School and treasurer for Sub-5 Ride for Parkinson’s benefiting the Davis Phinney Foundation.

    Shankland has a bachelor’s degree in accountancy from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He and his wife, Gigi, have three children.

    Serra Champaign Strengthens 2020 Expansion Plans by adding Jennifer Falcon to the Leadership Team

    While 2020 has brought moments of tension and change to the Champaign community, one positive outcome this year is the transformation of the Serra Automotive brand. Serra Champaign earns two more dealerships in the county, Serra Subaru Champaign and Serra Buick GMC Champaign, joining the portfolio of automotive dealerships under the Serra brand.

    Along with the reveal of these new acquisitions, Serra Champaign adds a new face to the name, hiring General Manager Jennifer Falcon to oversee the development and implementation of this expansion.

    Falcon has spent over 23 years in the automotive industry. As she pursued an accounting degree from Franklin University, she started her career in the business working as a service cashier at Immke Northwest Honda and moved into various office positions before she became a Finance Manager.

    Falcon Leads Top 10 Nationwide Automotive Dealership

    After working with Immke Northwest for 8 years, Jennifer began her 14 year commitment to Honda Marysville as a Finance Manager turned New Car Sales Manager. Finally, advancing to General Sales Manager, Falcon’s greatest achievement in automotive came when she grew sales from 100 cars per month to 925, landing Marysville consistently as one of the top 10 dealerships in the country. She worked alongside the Honda visionary team, participated in several pilot projects, and is a 10 time winner of the Honda President’s Award.
    It’s safe to say that Falcon’s accomplishments are no small feat, and that the Serra Champaign group is now at an advantageous position with her leadership under their hood.  

    “I recruited Jennifer because I wanted the very best. Operating one of the largest Honda Dealerships in the US and working in nearly every department in a car dealership, I knew she would bring the highest level of leadership for both sales volume and guest satisfaction. Already making an impact, I expect she will quickly identify new ways to improve and maximize team performance, by motivating and empowering them to be their very best. Simply put- Jen Falcon is a game changer and will be a catalyst for growth." - Ben Quattrone, Managing Partner of Serra Champaign

    Her leadership skills are accompanied by OEM certified trainings including:

    • JM&A Certification
    • AFIP Certification
    • Completed the Honda Dreams Leadership training in 2016
    • Completed LMI leadership training and mentored for over a decade.

    “My most favorite part of the car business is the ability to build strong relationships with clients, the community, and our team,” says Falcon.

    History in Community Involvement
    Jennifer’s involvement in the community began early in her career and inspires her management style.  She is a philanthropist through and through, serving as a board member for a variety of organizations who support children’s needs and has years of volunteer work under her belt. Falcon remains on the board of NC4K and has acted as a board member for several community projects over the years.
    The list doesn’t end there. Falcon has sat on the board of Nationwide Children's Hospital and has volunteered with the organization for years supporting families hands-on. Her fundraising efforts are substantial, performing 5Ks for organizations like Batten Disease and Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation alongside volunteering. Jennifer is always pushing herself to the limit.  She has a track record of participating in 25 mile bike rides for Ride for the Cure with Pelotonia and has raised thousands for the following organizations:

    • Wounded Warriors
    • Pink Ribbon Girls
    • NC4K
    • Pelotonia
    • Run4kids Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation
    • And more

    Falcon was awarded Community Partner of the Year by Marysville City Schools where she taught job skills and financial education to at-risk youth, gifted sports gear over the holidays, and even got on the court for weekly basketball games.
    She quotes the famous saying from Maya Angelou, "People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel." With that philosophy in mind, Falcon intends to be a compassionate leader for both the Serra Team and the community of Champaign county.
    “The more we grow, the more we can give back!”

    When she’s not giving back, a few of Falcon’s favorite hobbies are playing tennis, running, mountain biking, cooking, and spending time with her friends and family. As you might expect, Jennifer is a huge sports and car enthusiast and loves to share these passions with pride. She is thrilled to begin her journey with Serra Champaign as General Manager.

    About Serra Champaign Auto Campus:
    Located in Savoy, Illinois, Serra Champaign Auto Campus comprises Serra Honda Champaign, Serra Subaru Champaign, Serra BMW Champaign, and Serra Buick GMC Champaign. As a part of the Serra Automotive family, the group holds prestige as ranking amongst the top 10 dealership groups in the nation, spanning 30 locations across 7 states. Customers near Illinois can experience the exceptional reputation of automotive customer service when working with Serra Champaign Auto Campus stores.

    Meyer Capel - James J. Schmidt has joined the law firm of Meyer Capel, A Professional Corporation.
    He will practice out of the firm’s Champaign office, concentrating his practice in employment, commercial and appellate litigation.  Schmidt graduated magna cum laude from the University of Illinois College of Law and was nominated for the Paul Lisnek Award for Excellence and Ethics in Trial Advocacy.  Prior to joining Meyer Capel, Schmidt spent the last two years as a law clerk with Justice Rita Garman of the Illinois Supreme Court.
    He is a member of the Illinois State and the Champaign County Bar Associations.  

    Clock Tower Community Bank - Russ Hamilton has recently joined Clock Tower Community Bank (A Division of Morton Community Bank) here in Champaign as Senior Business Development Manager. Russ will be working with Leon Hinton (the Market President for Champaign–Urbana) developing strong relationships and helping local businesses make the right financial decisions for their businesses. He will work across all business lines to provide cash management, wealth management, as well as lending and deposit solutions to help local businesses.
    Serving the Champaign Community for 20 years, Russ is still actively involved.  He is currently President of the Foundation Board at Parkland College, Board Chair for Illinois Public Media (WILL-TV) Community Advisory, a Rotarian, a past President of the Champaign County Chamber Board, and a past President of the United Way of Champaign County Board.
    Russ is married (Linda) with two children (Bret and Brooke).   He spent 30 years in broadcast with 20 of those years as President and General Manager, including 10 years as President and General Manager of WCIA-TV.   

    Clock Tower Community Bank is one of 44 MCB locations throughout Central Illinois.   We opened our doors in Champaign as a Loan Production Office in mid-2016, operating under the banner of Morton Community Bank, our parent company.  For 60 years, businesses and farms in Central Illinois have used Morton Community Bank for their credit and deposit needs.  In late January, 2020, the Champaign office re-located to a spacious, newly remodeled location at 2229 S. Neil St. in Champaign in the Shoppes of Knollwood. In February, our Champaign-Urbana Lending Office became a full-service bank …with a new name: Clock Tower Community Bank, A Division of Morton Community Bank.  Look for our drive-through lanes, our convenient drive-up ATM machine, and our night-drop for secure after-hours deposits. 
    Our friendly and knowledgeable staff members would be happy to assist you with your business or personal banking needs!  Russ Hamilton can be reached at russ.hamilton@mortonbank.com and (217) 359-4482.

    Rosecrance is proud to announce Kristen Hammel, LCPC, has been named director of mental health services at Rosecrance Central Illinois.
    Hammel is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor and National Board Certified Counselor with 15 years of experience in the mental health field. She has program management experience, and she and has been trained in a broad range of treatment modalities, including certification in eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) and  Hammel is a graduate of Southern Illinois University-Carbondale.
    “Kristen is a leader who brings creativity and enthusiasm to her role,” said Rosecrance Health Network President Dr. David Gomel. “She will be an excellent addition to the team as they work to provide the highest quality of care.”

    Meyer Capel - James J. Schmidt has joined the law firm of Meyer Capel, A Professional Corporation.
    He will practice out of the firm’s Champaign office, concentrating his practice in employment and commercial litigation.  Schmidt graduated magna cum laude from the University of Illinois College of Law and was nominated for the Paul Lisnek Award for Excellence and Ethics in Trial Advocacy.  He was licensed to practice law in 2019.  Prior to joining Meyer Capel, Schmidt spent the last two years as a law clerk with Justice Rita Garman of the Illinois Supreme Court.
    He is a member of the Illinois State and the Champaign County Bar Associations.   


    Illinois American Water is working with Sol Systems to develop two solar fields. The energy-saving photovoltaic (PV) fields will be located on Illinois American Water property in Champaign at 560 CR 1700 N and in Peoria at 6111 N Galena Road. The PV fields, which convert light to usable energy, will be the largest of their kind within American Water’s footprint, nationwide.

    According to Brent O’Neill, Director of Engineering for Illinois American Water, both systems will be rated at 2,000 kW and, combined, will help the company save over $200,000 in annual energy costs. In addition, an anticipated 20 jobs will be created during construction. Sol Systems will partner with local union contractors to complete the work.

    O’Neill said, “This is a really exciting project because of its multi-faceted impact to the communities we serve. Not only are we supporting local jobs and reducing operational costs which benefits our customers, but we are also reducing our environmental footprint.”

    To further illustrate the environmental impact, O’Neill explained, “Using EPA’s Green Power Equivalency we’ve determined the solar fields will offset greenhouse gas emissions of 16,222 cars or 8,462,000 gallons of gasoline over 15 years of operation. That’s a significant impact.”

    O’Neill added that solar energy is not new to Illinois American Water. Solar panels attached to an operations building in the Peoria District help to keep equipment batteries charged in inclement weather. Solar is also used at the company’s Corporate office and Metro East operations in southern Illinois.

    Sol Systems will access Ameren Illinois and Illinois Power Agency energy rebates to help reduce the overall cost of the project. Construction on the solar PV fields should be completed by April 2021.


    First State in Champaign is excited to announce that Brice Hutchcraft has been promoted to the position of Market President for the Champaign County area. Brice came to First State in 2017 as the Vice President of Commercial Banking and will continue to provide these services along with the overall leadership of the Champaign office.

    Brice received his bachelor’s degree in Finance from the University of Illinois in 2001 and has over 19 years of experience in advising businesses on financing and managing their growth. “I joined First State because of its unique employee-ownership structure, which enables us to operate as a true community bank. This allows our team to respond quickly with customized financial solutions”, says Brice.
    Originally from Mt. Carroll, Illinois, Brice has lived in Champaign for over 21 years, and has played an active role in supporting the community by serving on numerous board positions and volunteering on many community projects. A few of his most recent organizations include the Urban League of Champaign County, the Urban League Development Corp, 40 North/88 West Arts Council, the Champaign-Urbana Theatre Company and Courage Connection. He is currently an active board member for the Krannert Art Museum Council and is serving in his second year as the chair of the Promise Health/Frances Nelson/Smile Healthy board. His commitment to giving back to the community is just one of the reasons he was honored as a “40 Under 40” in 2012.

    “Brice is a true community banker at heart and an excellent representative of First State in the community. He works hard for his customers, and he brings an energetic optimism to everything he does. I’m proud of the work he’s done in his time with First State, and I am excited to see him expand our success in Champaign County as he takes on this new leadership role,” states Michael Atwood, President of First State Bancorp of Monticello, Inc.

    First State Bank is a subsidiary of First State Bancorp of Monticello, Inc., wholly owned by its employees with a strong commitment to service excellence. Together with its affiliate First State Bank of Bloomington, it operates locations in Monticello, Bloomington, Champaign, Tuscola, Atwood, Hammond and Heyworth.


    Gibson TeldataThe voice and data reseller Gibson Teldata, Inc.  is pleased to announce that Doug Elsbernd has joined the company effective August 17, 2020 in the role of Senior Account Manager. Doug resides in the Champaign area and has 27 years of experience providing exceptional service to businesses of all sizes. In his spare time, Doug is a proud Regional Council Member with the Make-A-Wish Foundation and fellow supporter of SJO sports where his daughter participates on the soccer and track team. 

    Confidential On-Site Paper Shredding - Midwest Fiber Recycling is marking its 30th anniversary as the region's leading full-service recycling company.

    It was 1990 when Midwest Fiber Recycling owners Ron and Linda Shumaker responded to a "Local Business for Sale" newspaper advertisement. Little did they realize they were investing in a company that would have such a significant environmental, social, and community impact.

    The Shumaker family purchased Decatur Paper Recycle Company in Decatur, Illinois in 1990 and operated out of a small building, employing only three employees, and exclusively serving Macon County. In 1995, they moved into a new 25,000 square foot building, allowing for enhanced material processing. After purchasing Weyerhaeuser Recycling in Normal, Illinois in 2001, the Shumakers formed Midwest Fiber Recycling.

    The expansion continued with the startup of Confidential On-Site Paper Shredding (C.O.P.S.) in 2003, the opening of a collection and baling facility in Peoria, Illinois in 2005, and the construction of a single-stream materials recovery facility in Normal, Illinois in 2011.

    In 2013, Midwest Fiber acquired a facility in Terre Haute, Indiana, and in 2017, purchased a facility in Urbana, Illinois.

    "Midwest Fiber Recycling has earned the trust of our suppliers and the communities we serve and has experienced tremendous growth,” said Chief Operating Officer, Mike Shumaker. He attributes the company’s success to its dedicated team. “The team at Midwest Fiber Recycling goes above and beyond for our customers, making 30 years of success possible.”

    Today, Midwest Fiber employs over 150 people at six locations with services extending across the United States. The company offers recycling options for paper, cardboard, plastic, non-ferrous metals, single-stream curbside recyclables, and other hard-to-recycle items. Midwest Fiber also provides paper shredding services through its sister company, Confidential On-Site Paper Shredding (C.O.P.S.).

    In celebration, Midwest Fiber Recycling will be hosting employee appreciation events at each location throughout the fall season. They welcome community members to learn more about their rich history and exciting plans for the future on their website: www.midwest-fiber.com. Once on the website, visitors can enjoy an updated history and a new historical video that offers an inside look into the recycling process and highlights community services.

    For company updates and 30th-anniversary contests and giveaways, connect with Midwest Fiber on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Midwestfiber.

    Thirty years ago, Midwest Fiber operated within a 100-mile radius of their first location in Decatur, IL. Today, they buy and sell paper and plastic in over 20 different states and regularly ship material around the world. According to Business Development Director Todd Shumaker, continued growth is anticipated as plastics and other recyclable markets continue to expand.

    He stated, “It is a pleasure to continue to serve our customers and be flexible based upon the needs of our market and our world. We look forward to service in the next decade and beyond.”
    For more information about Midwest Fiber Recycling, please visit www.midwest-fiber.com.


    Webber & Thies - The Urbana-Champaign law firm of Webber & Thies, P.C. is pleased to announce that Attorney Mary Ann Royse joined the firm effective August 1, concentrating her practice in the areas of real estate development and transactions, wills and trusts, and general business matters. She has 25 years of experience providing exceptional service to hundreds of businesses and individuals in central Illinois and south Florida. Of great benefit to those we serve, Ms. Royse has formed excellent relationships with real estate brokers, bankers, contractors, insurance experts and others supporting firm clients.

    Ms. Royse earned her law degree in 1995 from the University of Texas School of Law. She is a member of the Champaign County, Illinois State and Florida Bar Associations. She is a member of the Real Estate Law Section of the Illinois State Bar Association and the Real Property, Probate & Trust Section of the Florida State Bar Association. Ms. Royse has been involved in many community organizations, including the Champaign West Rotary Club, Executive Club of Champaign County and Leadership Illinois. She is a former member of the Champaign Human Relations Commission.

    Webber & Thies is one of the oldest full-service law firms in central Illinois, and represents a diverse client base throughout Illinois and beyond.

    Spherion  - The Spherion Owner Community announced today that Urbana High School class of 2020 graduate Jaden Johnson is one of the two winners of its inaugural Excellence in Leadership Scholarship. The scholarship, created in honor of former Spherion President Sandy Mazur, highlights the contributions made during her distinguished 18-year career at Spherion.

    A recent graduate from Urbana High School, Johnson plans to attend Northern Illinois University. With a goal of creating a companion robot for children who are long-term hospital patients, Johnson plans to major in Mechatronics Engineering. 

    Making time to tutor his basketball teammates and volunteer at various community events and food pantries, Johnson’s involvement in his community emulated Sandy’s same commitment to the Spherion community. Johnson earned an award for volunteering over 250 hours per year for the past two years and during his high school career, he created a permanent “Blessing Box” at C-U Church in Urbana that allows the community to put non-perishable food and toiletry items for those with food insecurity to pick up at any time for free.

    “Jaden represents the best of the qualities that Sandy possesses,” said Somers, owner of Spherion offices in Champaign, Rantoul, Charleston and Decatur. “We’ve been inspired by Sandy’s legacy and are delighted to be able to recognize the achievements of Jaden as he moves forward with furthering his skills at NIU.”

    The Spherion Owner Community, in addition to local Spherion owner Cindy Somers, coordinated with nonprofit The Richland County Foundation – which disburses grants for charitable organizations – to review over 220 applicants and choose the ten finalists. From there, Mazur and four other representatives from the Spherion Owner Community chose the winners. With the names and locations removed, the group of five reviewed the applicants and, solely based on their merits, selected Jaden Johnson as one of the two winners. 

    “As one of the judges, we had some amazing submissions, but Jaden’s application was extraordinary,” said Mazur. “He truly embodies the mindset of ‘paying it forward’ and is a great example of leading by example. As someone who saw a need in the community and decided to fix it with a ‘blessing box’ similar to a community library, Jaden is in a class of his own. We are excited to see what he will go on to do in the future.”

    The annual scholarship honors two graduating high school students who best represent the qualities of excellence, leadership and passion that Sandy put forth daily during her tenure at Spherion. Her willingness to “go the extra mile” for others has inspired the network of owners to donate funds in her name, in order to celebrate graduates aspiring to further their education with college, technical or skilled training. In addition to Johnson, another winner was awarded, Ellie Furnish in Greencastle, Pennsylvania.
    For more information about the Sandy Mazur Scholarship or to make a donation, please visit: https://www.richlandcountyfoundation.org/donate/sandy-mazurspherion-excellence-in-leadership-scholarship.

    Webber & Thies, P.C.The Urbana-Champaign law firm of Webber & Thies, P.C. is pleased to announce that Attorney Mary Ann Royse joined the firm effective August 1, concentrating her practice in the areas of real estate development and transactions, wills and trusts, and general business matters. She has 25 years of experience providing exceptional service to hundreds of businesses and individuals in central Illinois and south Florida. Of great benefit to those we serve, Ms. Royse has formed excellent relationships with real estate brokers, bankers, contractors, insurance experts and others supporting firm clients.
    Ms. Royse earned her law degree in 1995 from the University of Texas School of Law. She is a member of the Champaign County, Illinois State and Florida Bar Associations. She is a member of the Real Estate Law Section of the Illinois State Bar Association and the Real Property, Probate & Trust Section of the Florida State Bar Association. Ms. Royse has been involved in many community organizations, including the Champaign West Rotary Club, Executive Club of Champaign County and Leadership Illinois. She is a former member of the Champaign Human Relations Commission.
    Webber & Thies is one of the oldest full-service law firms in central Illinois, and represents a diverse client base throughout Illinois and beyond.

    Regency Multifamily is excited to announce the promotion of Kaci Conklin to Director of Leasing and Training. Conklin joined Regency in April 2016 as a Leasing
    Coordinator at Fountain Park Apartments in Bloomington, Indiana. She has since held leasing positions at most of Regency’s thirteen apartment communities in addition to operational and marketing roles.

    As the Director of Leasing and Training, Conklin will share best practices with all new leasing team members, provide regular leasing quality audits, manage the company lead
    management system, and assist with marketing strategy and implementation.

    First Mid Bank & Trust was recently awarded $20,000 in grant funding from the Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago COVID-19 Relief Grant Program to assist small businesses and nonprofits affected by the pandemic. Today, the bank has announced that the awarded grant funds will be distributed across the bank’s footprint to local food pantries.

    “With the help of the Federal Home Loan Bank, we hope these funds will be able to provide some relief to these organizations that are helping individuals and families within our communities,” says Matt Smith, Chief Financial Officer of First Mid Bank & Trust. “Giving back to the community has always been a focus for First Mid, so we are happy that we are able to support these organizations during these times.”

    Rosecrance received a grant from the Champaign County COVID-19 Response Fund, which is administered by the United Way of Champaign County and the Community Foundation of East Central Illinois. This grant will provide telehealth equipment for clients in central Illinois who rely on Rosecrance’s Mobile Crisis Response program for counseling and support.

    “We are grateful for the incredible generosity of the United Way and their community partners,” said Anne Boccignone, Vice President of Communications and Development. “The grants allow us to keep a safe, healthy environment for our clients and staff, and they help us stay connected

    Illinois American Water announced the following promotions within its Operations leadership team:

    Karen Cooper, formerly Senior Operations Manager in the Southern Division, has been promoted to Operations Director of the Southern Division and Central Divisions in Southern Illinois. In this role, she has management oversight over the company’s Interurban District (Metro East), Cairo District, Hardin County, as well as the Central Division, which serves the Alton, Godfrey and Riverbend areas. 

    Joe Ahlvin was named Senior Operations Manager for the Southern Division (Metro East, Cairo, Hardin County). Ahlvin has been with American Water since 2006, most recently as an Engineering Manager-Project Delivery responsible for capital investment projects in the Southern and Central Divisions. 

    Brian Wiemers has been named Senior Operations Manager in the Eastern Division (Champaign, Pontiac, Streator and Sterling service areas). He has been an employee of Illinois American Water since 2010, most recently as Senior Production Manager in the Eastern and Northern Divisions.

    Eric Larson has been named Senior Operations Manager for the Western Division (Peoria, Pekin and Lincoln service areas). Larson started his career at Illinois American Water in 2016 as Senior Field Operations Superintendent. 

    Illinois American Water has also received the J.D. Power award for ranking highest in customer satisfaction among large water utilities in the Midwest according to the J.D. Power 2020 U.S. Water Utility Residential Customer Satisfaction StudySM.

    Illinois American Water also ranked #1 in the Midwest in the 2016 study, which was the first year for the J.D. Power Water Utility Residential Customer Satisfaction Study. The study measures satisfaction among residential customers of 90 water utilities that deliver water to at least 400,000 customers and is reported in four geographic regions and two size categories: Midwest Large, Midwest Midsize, Northeast Large, Northeast Midsize, South Large, South Midsize, West Large and West Midsize. Overall satisfaction is measured by examining 33 attributes in six factors (listed in order of importance): quality and reliability; price; conservation; billing and payment; communications; and customer service.

    In addition to ranking #1 in the Midwest Large region, Illinois American Water also achieved the highest score in the Midwest Large region for five of the six factors measured within the 2020 study – price, conservation, billing and payment, communications and customer service.

    RSM US LLP, the nation’s leading provider of audit, tax and consulting services focused on the middle market – is honored to support the communities of Central Illinois with the donation of $20,258 to local food banks by the RSM US Foundation. The organizations receiving benefits are the Peoria Area Food Bank, Eastern Illinois Foodbank, Central Illinois Foodbank and FISH of Galesburg.

    These donations are part of a larger firm-wide initiative to support our local communities during these unprecedented times. Through the end of April, RSM employees were given a per diem which could be donated directly to a local food banks or used to support grocers and restaurants – some of the sectors hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic, and a significant number of the firm’s client base – in the cities where RSM’s 11,000+ people live and work nationwide in the U.S. and Canada.

    To date, RSM has donated more than $1.8 million to local food banks across the country through this effort, and $2.9 million was spent by RSM’s people nationwide to support local restaurants and grocers.

    “Working exclusively from home as a result of the coronavirus pandemic was a big change for our people and for our communities,” said John Kaiser, Central Illinois Market Leader. “To help ease the pain of restaurants and grocers, and to help our people and our communities, the RSM US Foundation was pleased to provide this extra support during these unprecedented times.”

    Illinois American Water and the American Water Charitable Foundation are together providing over $58,000 in donations to COVID-19 relief funds to organizations across Illinois. Examples of projects eligible for the grants include social service organizations; pandemic relief funds; medical equipment, supplies, testing and treatment efforts; food banks and meal programs.
    The funds will be allocated to 25 organizations across the state in Illinois American Water’s regional operating divisions. This is in addition to a $100,000 donation American Water and the American Water Charitable Foundation made to Feeding America.

    “Now more than ever, we must all come together to help our frontline workers and those providing resources to our neighbors,” said Illinois American Water President Justin Ladner. “Illinois American Water is grateful to these organizations for the work they are doing to provide assistance to residents impacted by this public health emergency. We are proud to collaborate and support their efforts.”

    Both OSF HealthCare Foundation and Amita Healthcare Foundations will use the funds to procure personal protective equipment and supplies for frontline healthcare workers. The Boys and Girls Club of Livingston County is currently providing child care to children of healthcare workers and will use funds for healthy meals and critical cleaning supplies.

    The following organizations will put their grant funding toward providing meals and stocking local food pantries as well as supplying residents in need with face masks, toiletries and needed resources. The organizations are listed within the appropriate Illinois American Water operating division(s):

    EASTERN DIVISION – Champaign County, Pontiac, Sterling & Streator (In addition to the Boys and Girls
    Club of Livingston County listed above)
    - Daily Bread and Soup Kitchen in Champaign-Urbana
    - Eastern Illinois Food Bank
    - Sauk Valley Food Bank in Sterling
    - Streator Food Pantry

    Last month, Illinois American Water was one of the first water utilities to suspend shut-offs for nonpayment and restored previously interrupted residential customer service. Illinois American Water has also suspended late fees until further notice and is working with customers who are experiencing hardships, including offering the option to apply for payment programs and its H20 Help to Others payment assistance program.

    They also announced the following promotions of two employees into key statewide roles:
    Rachel Bretz, Director of Water Quality & Environmental Compliance
    Rachel Bretz has been promoted to Director of Water Quality and Environmental Compliance. She is responsible for the management of all laboratories, water quality, environmental stewardship and environmental rules and regulations. Additionally, she will lead the Water Quality and Environmental Compliance team across the state.

    Bernie Sebold, Senior Program Manager, Health & Safety
    Bernie Sebold has been promoted to Senior Program Manager, Health and Safety. In this role, Sebold leads the company’s safety team and is responsible for planning and directing the Health and Safety Program in compliance with federal and state Occupational Health and Safety (OSHA) regulations.

    First Mid - West Bend Mutual Insurance Company recently honored First Mid Insurance Group’s Commercial Division in Forsyth, IL, with their President’s Award for earning top status in the company’s 2019 agency incentive program, Partners In Excellence. This marks the second time in three years that First Mid’s Forsyth office has earned this prestigious award, the first time in 2018 when the agency was known as J.L. Hubbard Insurance & Bonds.

    Partners In Excellence is a program that measures five areas of agency performance, including profitability, premium volume and agency management. About 1,600 independent insurance agencies participated in the program.

    “Being honored with this award two out of the last three years speaks to all the great people at First Mid Insurance Group. I cannot think of a time in my 27-year career when we’ve assembled a stronger team and commitment to our customers,” says Dan Martini, First Mid Insurance Group’s President. “The onset of COVID-19 has made the last couple of months difficult and life-changing for so many people. As an agency, we’ve dug in. These changes have made us more nimble, better stewards to our clients, and more committed to bringing value to those we have the privilege to serve. I could not be more proud of our team and our company.”

    Martini adds, “We’re also proud to work with West Bend, a company that understands the value of relationships and community service. Thank you again to their amazing people for the honor of being awarded with West Bend’s President’s Award. Their partnership and commitment to the independent agent sets them apart, and their value proposition will make them a dedicated partner of our agency for years to come.”

    “The competition for the President’s Award is strong, so it’s almost unprecedented that First Mid Insurance Group has now won this award two out of the last three years,” says Kelly Tighe, West Bend’s Senior Vice President - Sales. “They’ve proven they have the ability, over time, to grow organically while maintaining superior profitability. First Mid is also a great corporate citizen as evidenced by giving back to the communities they serve, a value system we share. We’re excited about the future of First Mid Insurance Group and West Bend.”

    Homefield Energy today announced it is committing $60,000 to support Illinois communities as they begin the process of economic recovery from COVID-19.

    “As with so many states, COVID-19’s impact on Illinois has been profound, and Homefield Energy and its employees are honored to do our part to help meet critical needs in the communities we serve,” said Brad Watson, Homefield Energy’s director of community affairs. “Our company is inspired by the organizations working on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic. We stand with you – now, more than ever before.”

    The $60,000 donation will directly support communities and individuals to meet their most pressing needs, including funding for food banks, community assistance funds, domestic violence prevention, and more.
    • $25,000 will go to Peoria organizations, including the Community Foundation of Central Illinois and the Center for Prevention of Abuse
    • $15,000 will go to St. Louis metro area organizations, including O’Fallon Community Food Pantry, Community Interfaith Food Pantry, and Collinsville Food Pantry
    • $10,000 will go to Bloomington-Normal organizations, including the United Way of McLean County and The Midwest Food Bank of Illinois-Bloomington-Normal
    • Food banks and community assistance funds in Champaign-Urbana and Decatur will also receive donations

    “We appreciate the support of Homefield Energy as The Community Foundation of Central Illinois partners with nonprofits, working to address essential needs in the community,” said Mark Roberts, president and CEO of the Community Foundation of Central Illinois. “This donation enhances our ability to provide emergency food and basic supplies, interim housing and shelter, primary health care services, utility assistance, and support for children and vulnerable populations.”

    Homefield Energy’s donation to communities in Illinois is part of a $2 million commitment to non-profits and social service agencies across the country from Homefield Energy’s parent company, Vistra. Serving nearly 5 million residential, commercial, and industrial retail customers with electricity and natural gas, Vistra is the largest competitive residential electricity provider and the largest competitive power generator in the U.S.

    Coldwell Banker Commercial Devonshire Realty - Zach Wetherell of Coldwell Banker Commercial Devonshire Realty has earned the organization’s Bronze Level Circle of Distinction based on transaction revenue for 2019. The Circle of Distinction is an honor bestowed upon the top ranking producers among Coldwell Banker Commercial® professionals. This is the fifth year Zach has earned this prestigious award.
    Heyl Royster announces Tyler Pratt has become partner in the firm.  

    Tyler Pratt focuses his practice on medical malpractice, professional liability defense, and trucking litigation. He regularly defends physicians, nurses, hospitals, and clinics in professional liability claims involving significant injury or death. Tyler also represents clients in business and commercial litigation and estate litigation. Tyler obtained his J.D., cum laude, from Valparaiso University and his B.A., magna cum laude, in History from the University of St. Francis. Tyler practices in the firm’s Champaign office.

    Coldwell Banker Commercial Devonshire Realty has earned the 2019 Commercial Elite award which is bestowed upon the top 15 Coldwell Banker Commercial® affiliated companies globally. The company ranked #7 within the global network. This marks the 15th time in 16 years the offices have earned this distinguished award.

    CBCDR is also pleased to announce that Timothy Harrington has earned the organization’s Silver Level Circle of Distinction based on transaction revenue for 2019. The Circle of Distinction is an honor bestowed upon the top ranking producers among Coldwell Banker Commercial® professionals.

    A leader in the Central Illinois area for commercial leasing, sales and management, Coldwell Banker Commercial Devonshire Realty is highly recognized as a high-quality developer and premier provider of commercial services. They are also affiliated with Allied Capital Title, located on the 1st floor of 201 W. Springfield. For additional information, visit the company’s website at www.cbcdr.com.

    Clark-Lindsey is excited to welcome its newest leadership team member, Crystal Bailey. Crystal, a Certified Public Accountant, recently filled the role of Accounting Manager. A native of East Central Illinois and an alumna of the University of Illinois, Crystal brings a breadth of experience with her to Clark-Lindsey. Professionally, as a finance and operations executive with a range of functional experience, she has a special interest in organizational structure and processes in support of growth strategies.

    Please join Clark-Lindsey in extending a warm welcome to Sandra Jones, COTA/L, our new Therapy Director.

    Sandra grew up in Arcola, IL and attended Parkland College, where she obtained an AAS is Occupational Therapy more than thirteen years ago. Since then, she has worked in area hospitals serving individuals of all ages. More recently, she has worked in Life Plan Communities like Clark-Lindsey, where she has concentrated on care for older adults. Over the years, Sandra has acquired many new skills, with an emphasis on increasing independence and improving quality of life. At Clark-Lindsey, Sandra will oversee the therapy department at Renewal Therapy Center, which provides inpatient and outpatient occupational, speech and physical therapies, along with outpatient aqua therapy.

    Clark-Lindsey is excited to welcome Mario Cartagena, Executive Chef to its team. Cartagena has an eclectic background, having worked throughout the country in a variety of high-end restaurants, including under a Michelin star chef in Las Vegas.

    Cartagena began cooking at age five, after falling in love with the TV show “Iron Chef.” Originally from Miami, Florida, his parents moved to the Urbana area after several of his siblings attended the University of Illinois. At the recommendation of his sister, he attended culinary school at Kendall College in Chicago. From there, he worked as a chef for Norwegian Cruise Line, at the world-famous Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas and at the Dearborn Tavern in Chicago. Chef Mario loves to cook Italian and Spanish food, and hopes to incorporate these cuisines into the menus at Clark-Lindsey. He is excited to call Champaign-Urbana home, be closer to his parents, and is especially glad he took former Executive Chef, Kyle Thompson’s recommendation to apply at Clark-Lindsey.

    Developmental Services Center - Jodie Harmon joins Developmental Services Center as the director of development and communications. Jodie brings expertise in a multitude of areas including fundraising, donor stewardship and planned giving. DSC is thrilled to welcome her talent and leadership to the agency.

    Rosecrance Health Network announced today that effective February 2, David Gomel, Ph.D., has been named President and Chief Operating Officer. The appointment is the first step in the transition to retirement for current Rosecrance President/CEO, Philip Eaton.
    Eaton began his career with Rosecrance as a social worker in 1971, and has served as the agency’s leader since 1982.While Dr. Gomel will be responsible for Rosecrance operations, Eaton will remain as CEO for the coming months during the transition. It is anticipated that Dr. Gomel will take over full responsibility of Rosecrance Health Network and report directly to its board of directors beginning in January 2021.
    “The members of the Rosecrance board of directors – current and former – will be forever grateful to Phil Eaton for his leadership, vision, and service,” said Dan Pecora, chair of the Rosecrance Health Network Board of Directors. “Without his leadership, there is no question that thousands of individuals seeking treatment for substance use or mental health disorders would not have been served.”
    Dave Gomel began working at Rosecrance in 1993 as a counselor in adult substance abuse treatment. He has served in many roles since then, from supervisor at the former Alpine Campus to administrator of the Griffin Williamson Campus, and most recently, regional president of Rosecrance, Inc. He holds a doctorate of philosophy in public policy and administration with an emphasis in nonprofit administration, a master of science degree in health service administration, and a bachelor’s degree in psychology. He has overseen the day-to-day services at Rosecrance’s many sites and the expanding organization for several years. Outside of work, he is active in the community, coaching basketball, serving on the YMCA of Rock River Valley Board of Directors and volunteering for Special Olympics. He is also a member and past chairman of the Illinois Association for Behavioral Health Board of Directors.

    Fehr Graham, a leading Midwest engineering and environmental firm, announced the promotion of Chad Osterbur to Project Manager. 

    Osterbur, who works in the firm’s Champaign office, manages several municipal and private engineering projects. 

    Osterbur, who joined Fehr Graham in 2012, designs infrastructure and works on transportation, construction stakeout and inspection, project management, and boundary and topographic surveys. He also designs highway improvements, including storm sewers, culverts, pavement, sidewalks and bike paths. 

    Osterbur earned a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2000.


    Safeworks Illinois - Governor JB Pritzker has appointed Dr. David J. Fletcher to the Illinois Workers Compensation Commission (IWCC) Medical Fee Advisory Board (MFAB).

    The MFAB consists of nine members appointed by the governor, with the advice and consent of the Illinois Senate. Three members represent employees, three represent employers, and three represent medical providers. The MFAB advises the IWCC on the establishment of fees for medical services and the accessibility of medical treatment for injured workers. In 2005, Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission (IWCC) established a Medical Fee Schedule (MFS) for services to injured workers that led to the creation of the MFAB.

    Previously, Dr. Fletcher had been appointed to the MFAB Board by former Republican Governor Bruce Rauner in 2016 and served until November 2018.

    In addition to his reappointment to the MFAB, Dr. Fletcher has served since 2011 as the senior physician member of the Illinois Advisory Committee for the Workers’ Compensation Research Institute (WCRI), a 12-person committee comprised of the major stakeholders in the Illinois Workers Compensation system, including the IWCC Chairman.

    Dr. Fletcher has taken care of more than 19,000 Illinois workers hurt on the job through his private occupational medicine practice, SafeWorks Illinois, (www.safeworksillinois.com) located in Champaign, IL, having established himself as one of Illinois’ most knowledgeable physicians on issues pertaining to all facets of the Illinois workers’ compensation system – clinical, legislative, regulatory, policy, and research.

    Village of Rantoul - The state of Illinois has earmarked half a million dollars in capital appropriations for the new $20 million artificial turf sports complex that will be built in west Rantoul. CLICK HERE for more information. 


    The Atkins Group -  Congratulations to The Atkins Group on the completion of their new 60,000 square foot warehouse in north Champaign on Boardwalk Dr. Read more here