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Newsletter for September 8th

CEO Business Visits

CEO Guest Speakers


American Obstacle

American Obstacle
Our day at American Obstacle was challenging and exciting! Students experienced eye-opening moments about themselves as well as their teammates. There were sacrifices made for the team and encouragement all around. At one point during the kayaking, the teams merged and seemed to forget it was a competition. Everyone helped everyone! Team building is an essential portion as there are 20 different students with 20 different communication styles. Yet, they all share one goal: To have a successful year and grow as an individual.

PDP Day 1 and Student Presentation

The Professional DynaMetric Program (PDP) was administered to all CEO students today. It is a statistically based, reliable process for identifying and quantifying people's natural behavioral strengths, predictable behavior and reactions to the world around them. We will reference this throughout the year as we form committees, vote on leaders, and resolve issues. While we all see life through the lens of our experiences, the feedback from this test allows us to see things from others' points of view and understand them better. It is tremendously helpful at creating a safe atmosphere where everyone is heard and a fluid line of communication is established.

Kyle Kocher and Haley Ochs also presented to the class some of the innovations they saw at the Farm Progress Show. They brought back some ideas for our trade show and shared how the booths were set up to draw the crowd in. They were very impressed at how some of the businesses were incorporating a culture of philanthropy within their booths. 

The rest of our morning was spent with the finishing touches of our Badge Business. 


Over 60 Years of Service

Mark and Lucas Bolander

Rex Vault may have started small in 1956, but it has grown to include two locations and over 30 employees. They specialize in septic tanks and burial vaults, but offer custom items as well. We received a tour around their location and were astounded at the amount of heavy machinery, specialized trucks and various products they offered. The concept of mixing and pouring concrete may seem basic, but their setup brings it to a whole new level. Their Mix-Mixer System can create 25 different formulas of concrete!

Students were able to check out a storm cellar as we discussed their specialty items. One rarely thinks about where the car stoppers at restaurants come from, but now we know! While we were there, a decorative burial vault was being created and we were able to watch their 'artists' in action. Rex Vault's ability to customize seems endless.

One student commented on how there were 'no loose ends'. It does seem that the Bolanders, and crew, work very hard to deal with excess in a environmentally friendly way, even using excess from the Broom Factory to strengthen their concrete. Efficiency is a strong point with their business in their use of technology as well. We were able to see one of their programs in action, which gave us a deeper understanding of how their products work.

It was a beautiful day to tour and the students were very thankful for the generosity of the company to provide donuts! We also appreciate Mark Bolander and his role within CEO. Not only is Rex Vault an investor, but Mark is an integral part of the CEO Board. 


JEDI Vision: Looking Ahead

Scott Bierman

"Get involved and give back. The effort will come back to you."

A life lesson from Scott Bierman, member of JEDI since its inception, as he spoke to CEO on the role JEDI plays in the community. Scott started by giving students a history of how JEDI was developed and some of their workings behind the scenes of Jasper County. He shared how they handle the risk of choosing which companies JEDI coordinates with to build our local economy. His information allowed students to see how building a community economy requires a strong sense of vision and contemplation of what the future may bring. One must understand the community as well as industry trends. He admitted that sometimes things haven't worked out the way he perceived they would, but that he has learned to, "Look beyond the dollars and cents to what's best for the community."

Scott informed the students about the creation of the TIF District and what that entailed for the county. Students asked for clarification about how companies are enticed to Jasper County as well as the investigative work it takes to decide if the company is a strong fit for our community. Scott was able to answer in a way that spoke of his longstanding role in the community and students were very impressed with his knowledge! 

Towards the end, Scott encouraged the students to join a community committee, wherever they end up, because it's important to give back. "You will take criticism. Just make it better." We appreciate Scott Bierman and the member of JEDI for their support of CEO. They are not only making our community better, they are making our CEO students better!


PDP Reveal

Earlier in the week, students took their PDP and today we analyzed the results. Students' answers are charted into four main categories: Dominance, Extroversion, Pace/Patience, and Conformity. There is a range on which they fall into each one. Some results showed a mixture of two strengths while other students had one that was far higher than the others. For today's activities, students were able to experience working in both a mixed group as well as a group of those with similar test results. The main goal is for students to see the differences in their classmates and develop the ability to adapt communication to create the most success as a team. No category is superior to any other category; they are simply different lenses by which we take in information and conduct ourselves. 

Midland provides charts for the students (one shown below) that break down the communication styles and tips on how to interact with each one. They also have a chart that shows the perceptions across the different styles. Examples: An extrovert may be seen as too chatty by a dominant. A pace/patience may see a dominant as overbearing. By encouraging students to see others' points of view, a broader range of understanding and empathy is created. These charts and test results will show up as we begin to work towards our class business. The PDP is a valuable resource for both facilitator and students! 


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Get Involved in CEO

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 20 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 25 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


Mikaela Haarman - Jasper County CEO

Mikaela Haarman

About Me

My name is Mikaela Haarman and I am the daughter of Kurt and Christine Haarman. I am currently a junior at Newton Community High School. I participate in Track and Field and enjoy being in Spanish, BETA, Math History, Science and FCCLA club as well as marching band. Outside of school, I enjoy running and spending time with my family and friends. After hearing about CEO, I knew it was something I wanted to be a part of. I look forward to expanding my knowledge of business, responsibilities and improving on my team working skills.


Learn More about Mikaela

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