October with Union County CEO

October brought a variety of visits and guest speakers to Union County CEO as well as team meetings that focused on conversation skills and class business ideas! 

Pumpkin Town

This years class decided to have a display at Pumpkin Town on the Choate Campus as part of Union County's Colorfest celebration.  This was a wonderful team building activity for the students.  Each student had an opportunity to see that even though they may not have skills in one area they have may have skills in another which is what makes a team of different successfullly work together.  

CEO Alumni

Aaron Goeckner

CEO Alumni, Aaron Goeckner, visited class to talk about how CEO had impacted his path to Southern Illinois University. Aaron discussed his personal business that he started while in CEO and that he continued after high school.  He gave the class advice on making the most of their CEO experience and using the skills that they develop in this class to their advantage when applying for scholorships, jobs, and in the work force. 


From the Heart

Janice Newton
As teenagers, flower shops are not a usual visiting place except for the ocassional corsage. The class was surprised by the information that Janice Newton shared regarding the business of a flower shop and the work that goes into making the perfect flower arrangement.  

Robinson Fresh

Clay Mitchell
Many of the students had passed Robinson Fresh's plant but had no idea what happened there. Clay Mitchell met with the class and did a wonderful job of explaining the process of fruit and vegetable distribution throughout the country. Most of the students were surprised to find out the amount of work that goes into getting fruits and vegetables to a grocery store. Clay also spoke to the class about looking for opportunities. Don't just see a vegetable and fruit distribution center, but see the opportunity in the various jobs that make a company like Robinson Fresh successful. 

True Colors

Evelyn Bailey
On a previous visit, Evelyn Bailey had given the class a short True Colors personality test. Evelyn joined the class to review each student's results and explain further what each color meant about their temperament. 

Putting our "Art of Conversation to Work"

The students practiced conversations skills on each other by pretending to be someone else! The students' creativity really came through on their alter egos! 

E.T. Simonds

Beck Simonds
Beck Simonds joined the class to talk about E.T. Simonds and how this family business grew over the years. The class was surprised to learn about the different businesses that fall under E.T. Simonds and the extent of work that they do in Southern Illinois. 

Anna Quarry

William Pyatt
A much anticipated visit for the Union County CEO program was the Anna Quarry.  The class met with William Pyatt who explained the business of the quarry and gave us a tour of the grounds.  Anna Quarry is one of E.T. Simond's businesses so this visit was a continuation of Beck Simond's presenation. The class was amazed at the depth of the quarry and the work that goes into getting the stone from the ground to a useable product. 

TrepStart Day

TrepStart Day is a one day  youth event at St. Louis University that spotlights successful young entrepreneurs from around the country.  The class was accompanied by Facilitator, Kathy Bryan, and board member, Bill Ecker. The keynote speaker, Jeff Platt, is the CEO of the trampoline park company, Skyzone, which is one of the largest trampoline park companies in the United States.  Jeff discussed what it meant to be an entreprenuer and how to suceed as one. He emphasized trusting your gut which helped him get where he is today. He also said that knowing your market and following the changing needs of your market to be able to stay at the top of your industry was incredibly important.  The rest of the event featured youth entrepeneurs from around the country whose companies included things such as bowties, dog treats, cook books, and even a not-for-profit that provides food for the needy. 

Tri-State RV

Ken Frick
Ken Frick, owner of Tri-State RV, discussed with the class the need to evolve and grow with the changing trends in any industry.  He astounded  the class with his current marketing strategies and how, with the use of the internet, scientific it has become. Angie Wyatt with Growing Media Marketing joined the class before meeting with Ken.  Angie gave the class some advice on starting their personal businesses and the importance of marketing in the right way. 

Student Journal Highlights for this week

On Aaron Goeckner:  I think my favorite thing he said to us what about how he got the scholarship. He didn't have the highest ACT score, but he knew how to talk to people and be respectful and hard working, and that is what won him that. I related to that on so many levels. I might not get the highest scores, but it just comes to show if you work hard to get what you want, you will succeed.

Grace  Schroeder

Grace Schroeder
Thursday, October 12, 2017Learn More About Grace

On Aaron Goeckner:  I appreciate the way he was talking about time management, and about how he was going to have to end his business soon because of school and other time consuming activities. It was intriguing to talk with someone who has gone through the CEO program and to see how it affected him throughout college and work.

Connor Allen

Connor Allen
Thursday, October 12, 2017Learn More About Connor

It was really great to hear from someone that was so close in age. It made him super relatable. He had some big goals and I look up to someone like that, since I too have big goals in my future.

Zoe Fuhrhop

Zoe Fuhrhop
Thursday, October 12, 2017Learn More About Zoe

Alejandra on Janice Newton-- One thing that Janice mentioned while she talked to us was “hard work pays off”.

John on Clay Mitchell--Clay Mitchell had a brilliant way of explaining to us exactly what it is that he does. He had the whole operation of Robinson Fresh mapped out for us so that understood how the business worked. This really gave me a greater understanding of what Robinson Fresh does right here in Cobden.

John Russell

John Russell
Tuesday, October 17, 2017Learn More About John

Alejandra on Clay Mitchell--Like a few other business owners that have spoken to us, he also gave us advice  which was that “there are a lot of opportunities all over the place”. I really liked how he mentioned this because sometimes we think that we are limited when it comes to choosing a career, but in actuality, we are not.

Alejandra on Beck Simonds--One thing that I found fascinating was that their company recycles roof shingles and turns them into a special grounded down material that eventually is used for fixing roads. I found this recycling process very fascinating because it helps prevent roof shingles from taking up space in landfills.

Megan on Beck Simonds--I enjoyed learning about how many factors are to be considered when doing a job, such as bids. Beck showed us that hard work pays off, and that we should all work hard.

Megan Rhine

Megan Rhine
Tuesday, October 24, 2017Learn More About Megan

John on Trepstart Day--At Trepstart we got to hear from Jeff Platt, owner and creator of Sky Zone. The thing that stuck with me the most was how he said you have to stick with your gut. He said if you put in the work that sticking with your gut is the next most important step.

John Russell

John Russell
Monday, October 30, 2017Learn More About John

Cheyenne on TrepStart Day--I learned so much such as how important it is to not to give up.

Cheyenne Thorn

Cheyenne Thorn
Wednesday, November 1, 2017Learn More About Cheyenne

John on Ken Frick--I would have never guessed that he used so many statistics to operate his business. He seems to have perfected his use of demographics and which areas to target which has grown his business substantially.

John Russell

John Russell
Wednesday, November 1, 2017Learn More About John

Alex on Conversation Skills Activity--The main key to a conversation is questions and how important they are.  The other thing is that you have to relate with the person in anyway possible. From there we can start a conversation with anyone we want.

Alex Rogers

Alex Rogers
Thursday, November 23, 2017Learn More About Alex


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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.

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