October 10th Weekly Newsletter

Business Visit to Parklanes with Steve French

Monday started our fabulous week off at Parklanes in Newton (Est. 1959) with owner, Steve French. We were even treated to free drinks by a community member! Thanks Ray! Steve shared with us several advantageous morsels as future business people. Steve purchased Parklanes from the Eberhard Family 24 years ago and has thrived and expanded the business every year since. Here is a sampling of some of the topics we discussed:

• College is only good if you know how to use and apply it.

• How you dress and conduct yourself and how you represent yourself to others is crucial.

• When staffing your business, you have to judge others, they are representing your business.

• In a job interview, know more about their company than they do.

• As an entrepreneur, put everything in it and then work like crazy!

• Learn how to read people. Find people’s passion and talk about it with them.

• The measure of success in your life starts in high school. Develop good people skills and a good attitude early in life and work heavily on both.

• Written expression, math skills, and common sense are key!

• Don’t just go through the routine of your job, it will get you nowhere. Pay Attention!

• You have to help your employees see the total picture.

• If money is your driving point, it will derail you.

• It is okay to be skeptical and ask why.

As you have read, Jasper CEO students had a great lesson in entrepreneurship and soft skills. It was a very valuable day!

Steve French, owner of Parklanes

Jasper CEO and JEDI Meet

Jasper CEO and JEDI (Jasper County Economic Development, Inc.) teamed up on Tuesday for a powerful meeting! Our top secret class business was presented with a broad scope and JEDI members were asked to respond. The interaction between CEO and JEDI was better than we could have ever imagined. The input these gentlemen gave was outstanding and critical to the success of our class business which also centers around their motivating factor, economic development (there is the first hint…stay tuned to our upcoming newsletters for more hints and the final unveiling of the 2015 Jasper CEO Class Business)!

JEDI Members

Leadership from the National Guard

Two National Guardsmen joined our class on Wednesday, Sergeant Derek Meyer and Sergeant Steve Fehrenbacher, to discuss leadership and the critical role it plays in our daily lives, growing referrals, and taking care of your employees! Our students enjoyed the interactive presentation and time to break out into small groups and work together. There were two tidbits that these gentlemen left with us that we found particularly invaluable:

• “If everybody thinks the same way, somebody is not thinking.” -Sgt. Patton

• “Soldiers are our greatest weapon, not guns, radios or vehicles.”

o We also felt this was very applicable to any business in that, “Employees are Employers greatest asset.”

Sgt. Derek Meyer
Sgt. Steve Fehrenbacher

Awestruck at Dynegy

Thursday found us at Dynegy for an experience of a lifetime! CEO students were hosted by John Cooley, Managing Director, for an insightful tour and informational session about Dynegy and how supply and demand drives their business. The Newton Power Station was build in 1977 and covers a vast 7,800 acres with an 1,800 acre lake, all managed by Illinois Department of Natural Resources. The Newton Power Station can produce 100 megawatts of power through their two units in a safe and environmentally friendly manner, both of which are of utmost importance to Dynegy’s mission. We learned several fun facts as well:

• It takes approximately 7 days for water to travel thru the lake and back to be reused in the plant.

• The boiler temperature reaches temperatures of 2300 F at its peak combustion temperature.

• Dynegy owns 18 miles of rail and dumps approximately 17,000 tons of coal each day.

Jasper County is very lucky to have a facility like the Newton Power Station and we certainly enjoyed our time with our guides!

Rachel, Kristen, and John Cooley admiring the view from Newton Power Station rooftop.
Rachel, Kristen, and John Cooley enjoying the Autumn view from the Newton Power Station rooftop.

2014 CEO Student Journal Entries…

“…there are going to be things you don’t like, things you don’t want to do, but if you really want to get to your final goal, you have to realize it’s vital. Sometimes you don’t have to like what you’re doing; you just have to realize it’s worth it for your future outcome.”

“I think we even manage to inspire each other sometimes, which personally I find that really awesome. That a group of teenagers...high schoolers at that... are managing to make such an impact on the community and each other is unbelievable. I’m definitely looking forward to what lies ahead.”

Chris Pitcher


2014-2015 Jasper County CEO - Class Business CEO - Christopher Pitcher


2014-2015 Jasper County CEO - Class Business CFO  - Kristen Frohning

Kristen Frohning, Class Business CFO

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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 Jasper 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 0 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 5 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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