Effingham County CEO News RSS Feed http://http://www.effinghamceo.com New Effingham County CEO news articles Friday, March 13, 2013 10:00:21 AM 7/21/2017 8:20:00 AM en Composite Meet the CEO Class of 2018 http://www.effinghamceo.com/page(0ee9cf59-ebd3-4637-a4c1-5cb5b1418d09)/2017/07/21/Meet-the-CEO-Class-of-2018-

The Board Shared the CEO Culture To The Incoming Students

It is always an exciting evening for the incoming CEO class and their parents to attend the CEO Orientation. This year the bar was raised on the importance of the CEO Culture and how this impacts the success of each student’s journey. Mr. Dwight Erskine, Mrs. Karen Etter and Mr. Bill Fritcher were the main speakers covering CEO expectations such as dress code, being on time, and doing your best everyday. The evening was not complete without hearing from our alumni Madeline Aherin and Samuel Childerson from the Class of 2017. They were in the seats of our incoming students over a year ago. Sam encouraged next year’s class to ask questions and now looking back he wished he had asked even more questions than he did. Heidi Thoele from the CEO Class 2014 shared that the class helped her to be more outgoing and without this program she would not be who she is today. It helped her to set higher goals for herself in college and in life. Each year we have a CEO Investor share why they invest in CEO. Chuck Deters from Dieterich Bank gave a wonderful testimony illustrating the possibilties of past, present, and future classes returning to our community.  The evening concluded where the students met with their facilitators Mrs. Sayers and Mrs. Teichmiller while the parents were engaged in a Q&A session with the Board, Alumni, and Alumni parents to answer any concerns that they may have for the coming year. It is going to be an exciting year ahead that begins Monday, August 21st.

Summer Update on The CEO Class of 2017

The Trade Show was back in May, but several of the students from the 2017 CEO Class have continued great strides with their businesses over the summer. We hope you enjoy this quick snap shot of their progress. Arianna Kopplin completed her CEO businesses event, The Royal Ball in June. The day was truly magical for all the children that attended. The children participated in several activities including learning a dance, taking a carriage ride and meeting the royalty. Arianna appreciates everyone who volunteered their time to help make it a success for the charity, Fear Nothing. The event was a great learning experience for her and she is excited to use her skills received from CEO to benefit her in her future education and career. Arianna is continuing her education at Missouri State University where she will be studying Entertainment Management. Jacob Bushue, recently presented Meghan Rewers, the CEO of Crisis Nursey of Effingham County, with a $120 check. The money came from the proceeds he raised at the recent CEO Trade Show selling water bottles designed to raise awareness for the Crisis Nursery’s mission. Kiersten Goodman was asked by WBGL to be on their Morning show. She was able get her name out on the air and received positive feedback from her interview. Over the summer she brought her book to Oil Belt and had youth groups read out of them together. She just returned from a mission trip where she led a devotional time each night with her team. In the beginning of her business journey, she originally ordered 300 books. After selling these, she is ordering more as she begins her speaking tour to different churches each week to talk about her book, Kiersten wants to encourage people and teach them how to incorporate God into their life each day by reading her daily devotional. She wrote this devotional to help people with their faith and to help them dig deeper. If you are interested in checking out her book, please contact Kiersten on Facebook @PlugintoEternity. CEO wishes the Class of 2017 great success as they head towrds their future endeavers this fall! 
CEO Class of 2017 Finishes Strong http://www.effinghamceo.com/page(0ee9cf59-ebd3-4637-a4c1-5cb5b1418d09)/2017/05/10/CEO-Class-of-2017-Finishes-Strong

Last Day of CEO (Cincinnati Reds Stadium Tour)

CEO Investor Breakfast Was Well Attended

The attendance at the CEO Investor Breakfast was outstanding despite the heavy rain. The Firefly Grill prepared a delicious breakfast and the networking between students and investors at the end of their CEO Journey was the perfect last chapter. Steve Witges, CEO Chairman presented 36 CEO Founder Investors with appreciation awards for their 10 year investment into the Effingham County program. He also honored Kent Probst, retiring CEO Facilitator, with a Crystal Award recongnizing his years of dedication in building the next generation of business leaders for Effingham County. This breakfast event also allows the students to share their personal journey and to say thank you to our investors. Many of the investors commented that hearing the personal stories and meeting the students provides evidence that their investment is impacting our future with strong business leaders for our county. A big thank you goes out to Niall Campbell and his team in making our morning so special. 

Personal Businesses Come Alive At CEO Trade Show

The 9th Annual Trade Show at the Keller Convention Center received huge support from the community. All the preparation and energy the students created for their personal business came to life as each student greeted potential customers who were interested in their products and services.  Dustin Gurley won the 2017 John H. Schultz Scholarship. This was created in memory of John H. Schultz and his wife Fran, an Effingham area entrepreneur and businessman. It was presented by their son Bob Schultz to Dustin as a $1,000 annual scholarship. Sidney Webster and Alex Denoyer were voted on by their CEO peers as "Entrepreneurs of the Year". Congratulations to Dustin, Sidney, and Alex. They each had an entrepreneurial attitude throughout their journey alongside their peers. Each week in CEO, they were asking questions, eager to meet guests who visited the class, and when given an expectation would exceed what was expected.  It was a wonderful evening showcasing all of the student's personal businesses.  This year demonstrated so many creative and well thought out business plans. Everything that the CEO Journey processed over the past eight months provides the Trade Show with so much energy. We wish the CEO Class of 2017 continued success in all their future endeavors.
Come Out And Enjoy the Trade Show Tonight http://www.effinghamceo.com/page(0ee9cf59-ebd3-4637-a4c1-5cb5b1418d09)/2017/05/03/Come-Out-And-Enjoy-the-Trade-Show-Tonight

Local Support Is All You Need

Martin’s IGA Plus has all the groceries your family needs. CEO was lucky enough to visit the store, and the class was nothing short of impressed. Roger Myers, general manager, Sandy Lewis, front end manager, and Mark Mankin, grocery manager, showed the class around the store and gave beneficial business and life advice. They stressed the importance of challenging yourself and starting small but with a vision. IGA may be more expensive, but the quality and freshness is what is most important to them. Additionally, it is much more than a grocery store. On top of produce and groceries, they have the Iron Horse restaurant, IGA catering, bakery, and flower shop. Thank you to the home-proud store, Martin’s IGA Plus for such a great tour!

An Agricultural Impact

The CEO class visited South Central FS which is a regional cooperative. FS owns part of Growmark and has 26 total member companies. All member companies buy from the same source. The class learned that South Central FS does much more than they knew. FS has an in house finance program, a precision farming department, crop insurance, and its own tire shop that sells almost 2 million dollars in tires. FS also has many different divisions, some being Total Livestock Services, which is made up by FS-Total Livestock Services, Newton Animal Health Center, Altamont Overhead Door, and EAHC Structures. These divisions are all very successful and help make up FS as a whole. South Central FS’s biggest export is soybeans to China. The class also visited the feed division and the Fast Stop. It’s amazing how much South Central FS does for our community, and the difference it would make if this company was not in Effingham County.

Never Say, “I Can’t”

Kyle Packer's presentation was truly moving!  Mr. Packer was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, but even with this challenge he never quits. He has had to overcome so many obstacles that many people would never imagine. Many actions that we do in a normal day take minimal effort, but Mr. Packer has to focus a large amount of attention on using the correct muscles to accomplish something we take for granted. On top of all the work he has had to complete to be seen as “normal,” he has also pushed himself out of his comfort zone. Mr. Packer told the class that getting outside your comfort zone is where you will find yourself. You will discover what you are afraid of, what exhilarates you, and you may even find something you genuinely love that you had no clue about before you tried it. Kyle Packer has gone on some pretty remarkable adventures including whitewater rafting, mountain climbing, and even sky diving.

2017 Trade Show Tuesday, May 2nd

We hope you enjoy being at the Trade Show this evening. The Keller Convention Center is the perfect venue for CEO to showcase their business ideas to Effingham County. It starts at 5:00 PM and ends at 7:30 PM. A special thank you goes out to our CEO investors who believe in this program and provided the resources to inspire these young men and women to start their own business.  We look forward to seeing you there!
CEO Trade Show Tuesday, May 2nd http://www.effinghamceo.com/page(0ee9cf59-ebd3-4637-a4c1-5cb5b1418d09)/2017/04/26/CEO-Trade-Show-Tuesday-May-2nd

Connie Houlihan Shares Her Perspective with CEO

The CEO class heard from Connie Houlihan on Friday, April 21st. Connie is an area native, who started her first business at age thirteen by giving piano lessons. Her love for music continued through her life and led her to a teaching job in St. Louis. She now owns a fencing business with her husband. Connie shared with the class some life lessons. She told the class, "Work more on yourself than your business." She also shared insight on how to have perspective on life. She said that everyone should view life like a fly on a wall. A fly on the wall doesn't see the drama in life, so we shouldn't worry about it either.

Growing America

Jim Jones presented to the CEO Class on sustainable farming. Some of the students do not have a large agricultural background, but the presentation was still very interesting. These sustainable farms are indoor fields that are used to grow crops from styrofoam and take advantage of red and blue LED lights to substitute for the sun’s rays. Many of these "fields" have higher yields than an outdoor field, because insects are unable to affect the crops. Large cities, such as New York and Indianapolis, are beginning to implement these indoor farms around the city. The indoor growing stations are ideal, since most urban areas are unable to grow crops because of the lack of farm ground. Mr. Jones ended the class with a tip telling the students to be accepting of change, because it will always happen.

Much More than Baseball Cards

John and Lisa Schafer, owners of Baseball Card Connection, welcomed the CEO class to their store and home, all in one, last Thursday. Ever since John was a little boy, he collected baseball cards and started his first unofficial business at the age of 14. Today, that business he started at such a young age is made up of much more than baseball cards.  When you enter the Schafer’s store, you can find all sports memorabilia in addition to over 4 million baseball cards. Not only did John and Lisa enlighten the class about the sports memorabilia industry, but they also offered a multitude of life lessons. These lessons include: swing at good pitches, start your business at the bottom then work your way up, and when you kick the tiger, be prepared to face the consequences when it turns around. Thank you for allowing CEO to learn more about Baseball Card Connection and giving the class such awesome life lessons!

Bring The Family Out To Eat With CEO & YBNext

Bring the family out to Joe's Pizza & Pasta and support both CEO and YBNext. We hope to see you there!
CEO Met Sharks In The Tank http://www.effinghamceo.com/page(0ee9cf59-ebd3-4637-a4c1-5cb5b1418d09)/2017/04/16/CEO-Met-Sharks-In-The-Tank

Let's Talk about College

The CEO students had the privilege to interact with CEO alumni - Abby Marten, Justin Goeckner, Luke Jansen, and Justin Deters. The current CEO students had a rare opportunity to ask the alumni about college. In just a few short months they will be starting a new chapter. Many don’t know what to pack, how to make friends, or how to get involved. Abby, Justin, Luke, and Justin gave the students some first hand accounts of college life and how to survive it.

Creations Made With Love

Lori Ohnesorge, owner of Artisan Depot, opened her door to the CEO class for a unique business visit. Lori recognized that many artists that love to create, lack the enjoyment of running their own business. Because of this, she started Artisan Depot so that she could offer local handmade artwork on consignment. This is a unique business because 50-60 artisan’s work is for sale all in one place. She explained the ins-and-outs of running her business, but she also offered the students life advice. “I am sure you feel how busy life can get, being that it is the end of your senior year. If there is one thing I could tell you it would be to take time for yourselves, and have a little self-love.” Lori advised. She also told the students to think of those that do similar work as you as helpers. Two working together is almost always better than one. It is because of businesses like Artisan Depot that make Effingham a fun and inviting community to live in. Thank you Mrs. Ohnesorge for an exceptional tour and such great advice!

Taxes Made Easy

Matt Cekander presented to the CEO Class about taxes. Mr. Cekander is a certified public accountant with Doehring, Winders & Co. LLP. He explained how his broad tax knowledge could help the students and used examples to help make it stick. This information was brought to the students at a very important time as they are preparing for the CEO Tradeshow on May 2nd. Mr. Cekander also made sure to mention what tax precautions the students would need to be aware of for the CEO Tradeshow.

CEO Students Benefit From Shark Attack

Last week the CEO classes presented their businesses to sharks. Much like the show Shark Tank, the students pitched their ideas to the panels of business people to gain advice and insight. Shark Tank Day opened doors of opportunity for the students to network with business people relating to their personal interests and business ventures. The students are thankful for opportunities like Shark Tank Day to continue to learn and make connections in the business world.  Special Thanks to the Following Sharks this year! Niall Campbell - Firefire Grill Teresa McCloy - Life Coach Jerry McDaniel - Superior Fuels, Inc Noah Brandenburger - Loudon Machine, Inc. Donnie Wilson - Midland Institute Lucas Wenthe - Bonutti Technologies Elaine Stock - Heartland Dental Jeff Traub - Downstream Energy Partners Jean Cornell - Hodgson Mills, Inc. Jim Deutsch - Smith Moore John Dietzen - Assisted Living Developer  Alec Ring - Ring Financial Ann Deters - Vantage Outsourcing Curtis Frost - Heartland Dental Michelle Mihlbachler - Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals Kevin Haarman - DHS Principal Darcy Sementi - Heartland Dental Matt Dammerman - Benchmark Realty
Questions Behind The Question http://www.effinghamceo.com/page(0ee9cf59-ebd3-4637-a4c1-5cb5b1418d09)/2017/04/09/Questions-Behind-The-Question

A Missing Piece Found Creates A Beautiful Asset

On Wednesday the CEO class had the opportunity to visit the beautiful, Tuscan Hills Winery. The idea of the winery all started when owner, Wanda Pitcher had a vision that she wanted to build a new business in Effingham. She previously worked at her family farm in Jasper County but was always looking for what was missing in Effingham County. Wanda saw that there was a need for a winery in Effingham so she began to look for a piece of land. Wanda had a vision of what she wanted so she searched to find the perfect demographic for the business. Once she found it, she let her creativity help her design the building. Wanda designed the building around the name, Tuscan Hills Winery. She had only visited three other wineries when it opened. The winery took 9 months to build and opened on July 1st, 2011. Wanda wanted a place for people to feel at home, relax, and decompress. She achieved just that with the motto, “Come as our guest, leave as our friend.” The class is thankful for Wanda and her vision that has contributed a great asset to our county.

Wright At Home

Making You Right at Home is exactly what Wright’s Furniture did for the CEO class. For over 100 years and four generations, they have been providing quality furniture, flooring, and decorations for homes and businesses. It started as a furniture store and funeral home in one when it was common because the caskets were part of the furniture business. Karen told the class to, “find what you love because then it’s not a job.” Wright’s Furniture was a great example of never getting comfortable. The Wright family has had to stay on their toes with the changing trends. In fact, they attend a furniture market twice a year to continue to improve. The CEO group is so thankful for such a unique business visit!

Proteges and Mentors Hustle One Last Time

With Mentor Hustle Hour, the proteges and mentors had one last chance to use class time to focus on their personal businesses, specifically preparing for Shark Tank Day. With Banker Day over and Shark Tank Day just around the corner, the proteges heard from Lucas Wenthe on how Shark Tank Day would be ran. The students also celebrated the last Mentor Hustle Hour this year by eating breakfast along side their mentor. Before long it will be May 2nd and the students are gearing up for the trade show!

Small Business, Big Presence

The CEO Class toured Vantage Outsourcing and many of the students knew very little about this business. Vantage Outsourcing outsources cataract removal technology across the United States to hospitals that are unable to afford to purchase the technology outright. After touring the modern facility, the class was divided into teams to conquer problems that Vantage faced at one time. The scenarios that were dealt to the class involved sales, inventory, or distribution issues. This was a very unique touch that showed the students more about day-to-day business at Vantage. After the students revealed their answers, they learned what the Vantage employees actually did. The Vantage executives shared a tip called the three A’s. This tip applies, if there is a problem, you must first  Acknowledge, Apologize, and Act. These three A’s are one of the key strategies that have developed this powerhouse of a company.
CEO Shared Business Plans At Banker Day http://www.effinghamceo.com/page(0ee9cf59-ebd3-4637-a4c1-5cb5b1418d09)/2017/03/31/CEO-Shared-Business-Plans-At-Banker-Day

An Eye For The Future

On Friday, the CEO Class attended the Effingham County Vision 2020 Breakfast. The breakfast was attended by influential leaders in the area that are constantly working to continue growth in Effingham County. This is what truly makes our county one of the best in the state. On the agenda was for all in attendance to imagine 2030, all the new businesses, schools, and people Effingham County would have to offer. After this exercise, the speaker noted, “This may seem years and years away, but the planning and first steps need to start today to accomplish that 2030 idea.” The main speaker was Rick Workman, he told the attendees that it is important to be focused on the youth of Effingham County because they are our future. Mr. Workman spoke directly to the CEO Class several times in his presentation asking that the students continue contributing to the powerful business leaders this community is fortunate enough to have!

Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

The CEO Class had the opportunity to learn about The Equity. In general, The Equity provides everything a farmer needs and buys everything a farmer produces. The class learned many important lessons from The Equity. First, the students learned that The Equity is a cooperative which is a very different business model from other businesses that they have toured or learned about. The Equity is not focused on making a profit, their goal is to purchase supplies in bulk to receive prime rates on their equipment, seeds, or technology. After the end of the year, their stockholders have a portion of their money returned based on the amount of money spent at the cooperative. This business model technically has multiple owners and is very appealing because it is so successful. In many industries, competitors are not very willing to work together to buy products. When farmers purchase seed through The Equity, the cooperative purchases all the seed together at a much lower, bulk price, and then distributes the seed out to the farmers. The farmers are working together which is not only helping themselves, but also helping each other. Thank you to The Equity for presenting on their unique business!

Family Businesses Share Experience

CEO had the opportunity to visit two businesses within one day this past Monday. Culver’s, owned by Chris Debolt and his family, have a lot to offer when it comes to the American meal, but the CEO classes learned about more than just the food. Chris had to go through a lot of training to get the business to where it is today. The menu is set in stone by the headquarters, but Chris challenges himself to think outside of the box and make his Culver’s shine and he has done a great job in doing so. He pushes himself and his employees to do their best possible. He told the class, “Whenever you have a decision to make in life, make sure you have options.” It is up to each of us to decide what we make out of life. Students then ventured across the street to Lexington Inn and Suites. The hotel is owned by Kanaiyalal Shah and managed by his son, Arpit Shah. The family is original from India and journeyed to America about 22 years ago. Kanaiyalal has owned several other types of businesses in the past, but found his passion for the hotel business and ran with it. Both father and son offered valuable life and business advice. Arpit told the class, “It’s not about what you know, but more about who you know.” Networking is vital to success in business and Arpit’s lesson is valuable as the CEO tradeshow is quickly approaching. The class is grateful for the chance to learn from great community and business leaders such as Chris Debolt and the Shah’s.

The Cost of Starting a Business

Banker Day is designed for financial professionals in Effingham County to provide feedback to the students on their business plans. The bankers are spread throughout a room, and it's the students' job to go and talk with them. Each student had the opportunity to talk to as many financial professionals, as time allotted, to gain feedback on the financials of their business plans. Each banker may have a different opinion on the student's financials, so the students are faced with the task of picking which things to keep the same and which to change. With Banker Day behind them, the students now gear up for Shark Tank Day on April 10th for Mrs. Sayers's class and April 11th for Mr. Probst's class.
Big Business, Small Town Living http://www.effinghamceo.com/page(0ee9cf59-ebd3-4637-a4c1-5cb5b1418d09)/2017/03/25/Big-Business-Small-Town-Living

A Blessing We Take for Granted

Effingham and Jasper County CEO Classes shared a class to learn more about EJ Water. The classes were told that, ironically, EJ Water stands for Effingham-Jasper Water, because they supply water for those counties. Bill Teichmiller, CEO of EJ Water, presented to the class about how EJ Water began, the struggles they face, and where they are going in the future. EJ Water sometimes faces challenges bringing water to their customers due to the rural area they serve. EJ Water has to obtain an easement before they are allowed to cross someone else’s land to lay pipes to bring water to a customer.   Mr. Teichmiller also stressed that customer service is one of the most important qualities to possess in a business. He believes this is one of the largest contributing factors to the growth of EJ Water over the years. EJ Water currently serves 12,000 customers and has plans to serve even more in the future.

The Art of the Trade

With less than 40 days until the students showcase their businesses, Dan Remmenga came back to class to share how important the trade is. Dan challenged the students with a simple trading activity to prove to the class how people value different things. Dan then shared tips on greeting people at the trade show. He said that a handshake, a thank you, and eye contact are some of the most important things to remember. The students left class feeling ready for their Trade Show May 2nd!

A Heart for Healthy

Often times, convenient medical care is taken for granted. When the CEO class toured HSHS St. Anthony’s Hospital, it was very evident that all employees of the facility work extremely hard to provide the best services possible, all while giving back to the community every chance they can. Theresa Rutherford, President and CEO of the hospital, is such an inspiration to all. She started as a nurse, and worked her way up to President and CEO for four years now. She spoke to the CEO class about the importance of always doing your very best, giving back to the community, and knowing your value. “When I first came here, people would introduce themselves by saying, ‘Hi, I’m just a janitor here’ or ‘Hi, I’m just a cafeteria here’ or ‘Hi, I’m just a IT tech here. This is not how it should be, and is no longer how it is at the hospital. Everyone has great responsibility in their jobs and that is something they should take pride in. You do not have to be a doctor to affect patients. Even though you may not be at the bed-side of a patient, you are helping those that are,” she stated powerfully. Teresa's message was one for the books! CEO would like to thank not only Theresa, but each and every individual who dedicates their career to offer the beneficial and outstanding services provided by HSHS St. Anthony’s Hospital in Effingham, Illinois.

Hire a CEO Summer Intern

Have you thought about who you are going to hire this summer? This is an opportunity to strengthen your summer workforce with a highly motivated CEO Intern. Your company will play an integral role in partnering with us towards strengthening Effingham's economic development for the future. Our goal is to allow these bright young leaders to return to our area, so these internships help us to retain our most valuable assets of human capital for our community. How to Hire a CEO Intern 1. Write a job description to be sent to the CEO Network Developer.2. They will post the position on the CEO website. (Deadline Monday, April 3rd)3. Your internship will be made available to 200 potential prospects from our CEO Alumni.4. Students will send you their resume and your company will select who to interview and hire.5. Once your internship position is filled, please contact the Network Developer, so they may remove it from the website. Many of our CEO alumni are majoring in marketing, business administration, psychology, accounting, law and numerous areas of study. They will assist your organization with managing additional projects over the summer months and possess the communication skills to work within the culture of your company. Contact Lisa Teichmiller, CEO Network Developer, with your job listing at mlisateichmiller@gmail.com. The deadline is Monday, April 3rd to accept intern postings on the CEO website.

Preparing for the BIG Day

34 days until the Trade Show! This week the class also visited the Keller Convention Center to get a better understanding of how the trade show will work. It was very helpful to hear Patty Greene's suggestions as far as the do’s and don’ts of working a trade show booth. The day also made the class start to think in greater detail about booth placement, design, and needs. The Trade Show will be held on May 2nd from 5-7:30 PM at the Keller Convention Center. The class is excited to show off all their hard work and hopes to see you there!

The Hartkes Share Heart and Keys to Success

Rich and Angie Hartke spent little time talking about financials and a lot about life and business. The class heard how Rich and Angie got to where they are today. Rich has three private Prudential offices, but works mainly out of the one in Effingham. Although, Rich is very successful today, it took a lot of hard work to get to where he is. After working on the farm for 10 years, he left for his true passion in finance. He has worked for Prudential for 18 years and moved buildings several times. They built their own office, which has been a goal of theirs for a while. Angie also worked several jobs before joining the Prudential team. She credits Scott Kabbes of Eaglesoft for teaching her how to be an ‘intrapreneur’ and office manager. Rich and Angie are very involved in the community, both serving on various boards. They gave us advice on what they think are the Keys to Success. They are to have passion and a vision, set goals, have a mentor, have good people on your team, focus on your health and have a positive attitude. They encouraged us to think about who would be on our life board of directors. They left us with the quote, “We all possess HEART and the KEYs to success, it’s up to each of us to utilize these on our journey.” The CEO class would like to thank Rich and Angie for speaking to the CEO class this week and for being an investor of the program!
A Variety of Business Visits http://www.effinghamceo.com/page(0ee9cf59-ebd3-4637-a4c1-5cb5b1418d09)/2017/03/22/A-Variety-of-Business-Visits-

A Growing Industry

CEO toured Accuracy Firearms. One of the four owners, Levi Slater, gave his story on how the business got to where it is today. In 2009, Levi and several of his police and army buddies decided they wanted a place to buy and sell firearms, as well as a place to shoot their guns. Levi said it was not a business idea but a hobby when they started out. They first started their business in a garage, it was a small gunshop with $6000 invested into it. Their beginning goal was to sell 100 guns in a year and they surpassed this goal within the first 2 months of opening. The four partners took out a substantial loan to build inventory with the intentions of putting all the money made back into the business. The partners did just that, and did not start making money for themselves until 2013! In 2014 they spoke with J&J Ventures about doing a security venture, which included a shooting range for their employees to practice safety techniques.  J&J Ventures bought Accuracy Firearms’ current building and later partnered with them. At Accuracy Firearms they also teach classes as well as serve as the official training center for the Effingham Police. They have 2-3 concealed carry classes a month which sell out very quickly. The added range is 1.4 million dollars, it has five tactical lanes and five standard lanes, with the tactical lanes being more technology advanced than the others. Accuracy Firearms pride themselves on customer service, because of this, they have had overwhelming success.

Re-Lighting a Family Tradition

Students were excited to visit Zach Mette at Mette’s Distinctive Lighting. Zach was a CEO student in 2015 and is currently finishing college while running the lighting business with his mom's help. He did not expect his lighting business to take off the way it did, but it is clear to see that he has found his passion and has taken it to the next level.   Mette’s Distinctive Lighting offers a variety of options including outdoor, indoor, under cabinet, fans, and more! They not only offer lights, but they can help plan the light layout for your home or business. CEO enjoyed hearing all about the business, but the best part was the advice Zach offered about their personal businesses.  “Order merchandise as early as possible,” he advised. “There will be 100 hurdles before you get to your final jump.” Looking into the future, this advice is very helpful for the students as they work diligently on their personal businesses, preparing for the trade show on May 2nd. Not only did CEO have the opportunity to explore Zach’s business, but his family’s as well. His parents are part owners of Mette’s Cabinet Corner on the south end of town. They have specialized in kitchen and bath, cabinets and countertops since John and Janice Mette started the business in 1981. John told the students, “Paying bills and good credit are the most important along with the business plan. My wife and I started this together and we never stopped at forty hours a week.” The CEO class took this advice seriously and admires the hard work it takes to start and own a business. Mette’s has been operating for many years, but they have been constantly growing and changing. They recognize how helpful technology can be, and have used it to their advantage. However, many immediately think that an increase in technology means loss of jobs, but this is not the case. Technology has increased production at Mette’s, therefore the need for employees has increased. Julie, daughter of John and Janice and current part owner, left the students with this, “Always be looking ahead and ready for change.”

Have a Seat with Irwin Telescopic Seating Company

Irwin Telescopic Seating Company is a leader in the manufacturing of audience seating for gyms, stadiums, auditoriums, and much more. Irwin has two manufacturing plants, one in Altamont and the other in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The manufacturing plant in Altamont produces all of the company’s telescopic seating. The students went on a tour of the plant and learned the process of how seats are made. Throughout the tour, the students learned that the company has provided the seats found in Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, and many more well-known places across the United States. In addition to the many places in the U.S., they also supply seats to various places internationally, such as, VTB Arena in Moscow, Russia. Thank you, Irwin Telescopic Seating Company, on allowing the CEO classes to learn more about why Effingham County has so much to offer!

The Importance of Purifying Water

CEO toured the EJ Water Delbert D. Mundt Water Treatment Plant. The water treatment plant is a gem in the rough. It is crazy to think that without this treatment plant many people in the community would not have water. The water treatment plant actually processes and cleans the water that many of the students use every single day! The water treatment plant only has two huge tanks to purify the water, but the plant runs 24 hours a day producing about three million gallons of purified water. Due to the usage of smartphones, the plant can be monitored from anywhere. If something seems wrong, the technicians are alerted on their phones. Their phones have access to many different automated features, so they can essentially control every aspect of the plant when they are miles and miles away. Also on their network, the water towers and other treatment plants can be accessed. This has saved the company so much money because before these smartphones these processes had to be personally maintained. The students were amazed to see how much work goes into something so simple, such as water, that is often taken for granted. EJ Water takes pride in offering the very best in pure water to their consumers, and it is evident that they care as soon as you walk in. The CEO Class will be touring the Dieterich office soon, and is excited to learn more!
Do You Have An Entrepreneurial Spirit? http://www.effinghamceo.com/page(0ee9cf59-ebd3-4637-a4c1-5cb5b1418d09)/2017/03/11/Do-You-Have-An-Entrepreneurial-Spirit

CEO Congratulates St. Anthony Bull Dogs On Their State Title

Teichmiller named Effingham County CEO Facilitator

Lisa Teichmiller of Dieterich has been selected by the Effingham County CEO Board to be the next Facilitator beginning with the 2017-18 class this fall. Teichmiller will replace, Kent Probst, who is retiring from his position, to pursue other interests. Teichmiller has served as the Network Developer of the CEO program for the past 3 years. In addition to her past involvement in CEO she has a Bachelor’s Degree in Speech Communications and a Master’s Degree in Communication from Eastern Illinois University. Her previous work experience includes consulting, communications, and most importantly she’s an entrepreneur. Steve Witges, Effingham County CEO Board Chairman, states “We are very excited about Lisa serving our program in the role of Facilitator. She brings a passion and energy for learning like no other. She is committed to doing her part to keep Effingham County and it’s many communities alive and growing well into the future, which is what CEO is all about”.

A Different Take on Soybeans

The owners of Maddison Avenue Candle Company, Nathan and Stephanie Gannaway, see soy crops become more than just a bean field. They can see soybeans being transformed into a hand-poured, candle-making business. Stephanie Gannaway purchased Maddison Avenue Candle Company from a couple in Charleston in 2012. When they bought the business, they were living in Effingham, and Stephanie was an English teacher at Effingham High School. They now live and operate their business in Charleston. Stephanie completely transformed the business into what it is today. The company now ships candles internationally and across the United States. She also operates a unique side of Maddison Avenue Candle Company with her wholesales orders. Many of her wholesale customers request private labeling that Stephanie designs for the customer, so they can brand their own business. Maddison Avenue Candle Company also prides itself on not using additives when making their soy candles. Thank you to Stephanie and Nathan Gannaway for giving the class a unique look into the candle business!

Party Worx Is More Than Just Party Supplies

The CEO Class visited Party Worx on Wednesday. The owner, Kyla Pals, once worked in the store as a college student. She always had a special talent with the store, but never saw herself as an owner. One day, the owner approached her about purchasing the store. Mrs. Pals had started a family and a new job, but decided to take this new responsibility on as well. She and her husband purchased the business in March of 2013, and they have been operating it ever since. Mrs. Pals believes that without such a supportive, hands-on husband combined with trustworthy, hard-working employees her store would never be where it is now, four years later. Party Worx does not only sell party supplies, but, to many businesses in town, Party Worx supplies their toilet paper, bleach, towel dispensaries, and other necessary items. This business visit came at a crucial time for CEO students as they are thinking of ways to decorate their Tradeshow booths. 

Four Forms of Intellectual Property and a Modicum of Advice

CEO welcomed Lucas Wenthe to their class bright and early on Monday morning. Mr. Wenthe, Intellectual Property Counsel at Bonutti Technologies, Inc, shared with the CEO students knowledge about the four different types of intellectual property (IP): trade secrets, copyrights, trademarks, and patents. The students’ knowledge about IP was brought to a whole new level. Did you know that McDonald’s secret sauce for Big Mac’s is a well known  trade secret? Not only did Mr. Wenthe explain the basics of IP, but he also enlightened the class with a few new vocabulary words such as “modicum.” Anything, with just a modicum of creativity, can be copyrighted; modicum meaning a very small amount. Even music was involved in his presentation! One example used was a court case between two songwriters and artists about the rendition of an old classic into a new hit. Additionally, Mr. Wenthe challenged the class to answer their own questions and tested the students’ critical thinking skills. Not only did he teach about IP, test critical thinking skills, and incorporate music, but he also brought a humorous, fun, and exciting atmosphere to the room that was well appreciated. Mr. Wenthe was an invigorating start to the CEO week.

Technology Is Advancing The Family Farm

On Thursday the class visited Wendte Farms. The farm is currently run by five people with Roy being the head of the operation. Wendte Farms is a grain based operation that Roy's father started in 1951. Today they farm over 6,000 acres. Soon after Roy graduated from the University of Illinois the Wendte's started to incorporate technology into their farm. Today, there is not a single vehicle on their farm that doesn’t have auto steer. The class learned about the new technologies and how the innovation increased efficiency. The technologies they have are very impressive. One technology they have incorporated is a GPS system that creates a yield map as they harvest. The map then gives them the ability to see where the soil is producing the best crop, which provides them with the area they should or should not have to fertilize for the next year. Technology is constantly changing and improving. It was interesting to see how the widespread technology advances are helping the agriculture industry immensely. Thank you to the Wendte's, for giving CEO students the opportunity to learn more about the agricultural industry and the new technologies within it.