Week 32 4.7.17


Regional CEO Trade Show Coming Soon!

You have been following our team since August, so you will want to see their work come to fruition at the Regional CEO Trade Show. It will again be at the Dunn-Richmond Center on the SIU campus, Tuesday, April 25, 4:30-6:30. Their displays will draw you in and you'll want to know more.  You may find items you want to purchase and services you will want business cards for.  Mark your calendars to see our students' work and that of about 4 other CEO programs.

And, while most other students are completely relaxing during the spring break, CEO entrepreneurs are working on creating inventory, business cards, trade show booths, and other marketing strategies!


SIU Hosted Trade Show Workshop


More from our SIU Day

After a half day of speakers including host, Dr. Kyle Harfst, Executive Director, SIU Research Park & Executive Director of Economic Development Park; Dr. Brad Colwell, Chancellor;  Rex Duncan; Amy Wigfall; and Curt Jones, local entrepreneur and creator/owner of the internationally popular Dippin' Dots, it was time for some mingling of the six CEO program members, pizza and closing remarks by Dr. Terry Clark, Dean of the College of Business.  Union County CEO chose to end the day with a campus tour with the entertaining Cece, a student worker from the beautiful new Student Services Building.  A good day--learning, networking, and teambuilding!


Dave and Kim Prater, Strike Zone


Student Journal Highlights for this week

I learned quite a bit this week when we visited the Dunn-Richmond Center in Carbondale this Tuesday. From one of the speakers, Dr. Kyle Harfst, we learned that we should “Never burn a bridge,” because you never know when someone across that bridge is going to need you, or if you’re going to need them. When the presentation moved over into selling our product or service, Dr. Harfst said this, “Effective selling is teaching. The more you know your product, the more you can educate your customer on that product and on why that customer should buy your product.”

The trade show workshop day was truly amazing! I met another girl my age who was doing the same thing for a business. I did not think of her as a threat whatsoever. We even sat down together and “picked each other's brains”. She gave me some wonderful advice on labeling my products, and I gave her advice on how to package her product and marketing. I loved hearing from the Dippin’ Dots founder. My favorite part of the day was the tour at SIU. I had already taken 3 tours prior to that, but this tour was different--almost like it had more meaning. Our tour guide Cece was so much fun. I love SIU and all it offers to the community. I am so so so excited for the trade show!

We visited the Dunn-Richmond Center in Carbondale for a day of learning about the trade show. A lot of advice was given to us to help us on how to display our products and services, as well as how to act, and draw people in. I talked to Ms. Wigfall, of Aimee Wigfall Photography, about her booth and some of the things she incorporated in it. She had made a giant tulle skirt, which naturally piqued my interest, and used it to draw people to her booth by placing it on a mannequin.

With the trade show getting closer, I have begun to create my booth and get all the different pieces required. I have purchased tags for my products and have created my signage for the tradeshow.  All of it is getting closer and now it’s all about building inventory to sell.

Jessa Bond

Jessa Bond
Tuesday, April 4, 2017Learn More About Jessa

I think the most interesting thing related to CEO was the Trade Show Workshop day. It was amazing to hear from some of the other CEO students and their amazing ideas like hydro dipping or attachable pockets. It was neat to see others and how they approached their business. I look forward to seeing our competitors grow and challenge us to do better. The other CEO students were not only a good part of the day but the current business owners that we met too, like the founder of Dippin’ Dots. He just seems like a normal every day guy and then you find out this normal everyday guy owns a huge company that is in every state and around a dozen countries. This guy is so nice he remembered Erin’s interest in the new coffee flavored Dippin’ Dots that he came back with a sample just for her.

Julian Smith

Julian Smith
Wednesday, April 5, 2017Learn More About Julian

The Strike Zone visit was also a really interesting visit. I had no idea that the owner had other businesses and a job. It was great to sit there and hear his story, and then after he left, his wife lead us around the place. Something that I thought was interesting was that he and his brother both come up with great business ideas, and then they kind of just go with it, which is how they got the idea to also do laundromats.

Shad Turner

Shad Turner
Thursday, April 6, 2017Learn More About Shad

Mr. Dave Prater is a very interesting man and a very entrepreneurial man also. He has multiple businesses in Anna while having a full-time job. That is what a hardworking man looks like to me. He is one who I think offers really good life lessons such as 888, which stands for 8 hours of sleep 8 hours of work and 8 hours of bettering yourself. That's some of the best advice I have ever received.

Aaron Lence

Aaron Lence
Thursday, April 6, 2017Learn More About Aaron

The best thing for me this week has to be just the experience of CEO outside the classroom. CEO is not just a class, but it can be for those who don't take advantage of it. It's just a class for those who just want to go in do the work and leave, the ones with an employee mentality. But if you go into this class and take everything you learn and try to apply some of it to your own life, then it becomes more. Then you start learning and asking questions wherever you are. I said the class outside of class because it's never over, it teaches you to learn on your own so you never stop growing. The best thing related to CEO for me this week has to be the things I learned from John Nimmo, Andy Sisulak, Brian Meyer, or Lee Hackney. These are all individuals that if you want to you can learn an amazing amount from.


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The manner in which the CEO program is funded is critical to its success and sustainability. All funds raised are used exclusively for the Union County CEO program. To participate, a 3-year $1000 per year commitment is required. Business Partner Investors commitments of time and energy are also critical to the program's success. Contributions may be tax deductible, as our organization is a 501(c)(3) not for profit organization.

When we are not touring local businesses, we need a place to host the class. During that time, the 10 CEO students and their Facilitator would meet at your site where they would also have guest speakers and guests from the community attend. Hosting requires a facility with internet access and adequately accommodates up to 15 people.

We are looking for people to share real-life stories about the concepts of running a business, from strategic thinking, product development to marketing, and cash flow management. Also, sharing your personal successes and failures are what recent classes have enjoyed the most.


If you are interested in participating in any of the above programs, use our contact form to send us a message

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