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October 9th, 2015 Newsletter

Craig Lindvahl, Executive Director of Midland Institute for Entrepreneurship

A great start to our week with a visit from CEO’s first facilitator, now Executive Director of Midland Institute of Entrepreneurship, Craig Lindvahl visited us! As always, our students were entertained, amused and interacted with Craig as he shared with us the history of CEO, his nonlinear path to where he is today, and all of the exciting growth the institute is experiencing. This year there are 30 classes in the midwest and hopefully 40 next year including the states of Tennessee, South Carolina, and Colorado. We also discussed how all CEO students continue to build the brand of CEO by focusing on being gracious, engaged and welcoming in all situations. Plainly put, there are no bad days. This also led to a great conversation about the importance of discussion after the initial greeting and taking notes for a record of your experiences in the future. Jasper CEO students left feeling inspired and proud to be a part of such a wonderful organization.


Personalities and Team Building

Our annual visit from Sgt. Derek Meyer with the Illinois National Guard was nothing short of fantastic! We started by taking the BEST personality test (Bold, expressive, steady, and technical) and then broke into groups with similar personalities. Sgt. Meyer emphasized there are no personalities that are better than the others. We all exhibit characteristics of each personality we just have to know when to turn them on and shut them off at appropriate times. While in groups they drew group pictures expressing their personalities without using words or numbers, only graphics. As you can see from the pictures, the day became interesting quickly! This activity was followed by a team building activity where students were reshuffled (not according to personality types) and they played the spaghetti game. Each group was given a set amount of marshmallows and spaghetti noodles and asked to build the tallest free standing tower possible. Their facilitator was very impressed with teamwork inside of the groups. What Sgt. Meyer and I hear was student feedback that was constructively critical, encouraging, and analytical. This will be a great asset as we continue to plan for our class business.


Class Day

I typically don’t do newsletter write-ups for class days, but today is an exception. Today was an amazing day!! I am proud to announce that after several sessions of brainstorming, disagreeing, respectful candor, emotions, analyzing, etc., we have settled on a class business! For those of you inside the world of CEO you know what a big deal this day is (For those who aren’t as familiar, we want you to know all about us! Come and visit to see what exactly it is that we do!) . We are not ready to make an announcement about our class business yet, but we hope to within the next few weeks. So keep reading every week!

I have included some pics of one of our many brainstorming boards about the class business as well as a new class picture with our lanyards and name badges. This was our first attempt at a small class business where students were in charge of finding the resources for getting the badges and lanyards created and also finding sponsors since we start the year with a zero balance. Again this year, we made a nice profit after our expenses were paid thanks to our generous sponsors, Superior Fuels, Inc., Eagle Country Water Works NFP, Peoples State Bank of Newton and Farley Insurance Agency. With the funds left after the badges and lanyards were paid for we purchased class dress shirts for each student to add to their professional attire, a mandatory piece of the CEO experience.


Dynegy, Newton Power Station

Thursday was a new adventure for Jasper CEO students at the Newton Power Station with Paul Hardieck, Production Manager and Vita Kistner, Administrative Manager. The Newton Power Station site study began in 1969 and was finished in 1977. Since this time it has become an integral power supply source and employer to many locals. Many of us remember this facility as CIPS until 1997 when it sold to Ameren and then again in 2013 to it’s current owner Dynegy.

A multitude of topics were discussed today but they emphasized their belief that safety is #1. Also included in our conversations were why they ship the preferred sub-bituminous coal from Wyoming, the process of producing electricity inside of the plant, and managing environmental issues on it’s 7800 acres and 1800 acre lake. We also discussed the importance of a backup plan and the nonlinear path that many of the employees have had to get to the point of working for Dynegy.


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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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