2020 Member Accolades and News
2020 Member Accolades and News
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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.