Newsletter for March 2nd

CEO Guest Speakers


Greg Sidwell

Greg Sidwell and Ralph Portlock, members of Masonic Lodge #216, presented about how the Masons benefit Jasper County. By holding fundraisers for the K9 Unit, Jasper County Home Front and a variety of other charities, the Masons have served Jasper County well through philanthropy. The Masons have been a part of Jasper County since 1856 and are proud of their longstanding history.

Students watched a video about how the Masons began and the brotherhood that resulted. We toured the Masonic Lodge and were taught about the various rituals and their meanings. We appreciate the role the Masons hold in JC and are thankful for their part in being a CEO investor!

Putting the Future into Perspective

Tom Purcell

Having been a part of the CEO program since before its first class, Tom Purcell is a pillar in the CEO community. Former and current CEO students lovingly refer to him as 'Uncle Tom'. Our morning with him was filled with great stories, delivered well and with the finess that is Tom Purcell.

As students are 3 months from the end of the class, the gems of wisdom from Tom Purcell carried a lot of weight. He spoke about college, how to conduct yourself in the workplace, resumes and references. He explained that students should ‘have a saleable skill coming out of high school’ because ‘it’s what you can do more than the degree you have or the school you go to’. Plus, having a side hustle to help pay for school is always a good idea. He also told students to get a business minor, no matter what they majored in. It simply opens up different doors and is a solid foundation for life. Tom shared stories about how important it is to keep your professionalism, even outside the workplace. “Be careful what you say in a social situation that is also a business situation,” (i.e. working dinner). Another nugget of wisdom was, “People are always talking to you in a variety of ways. Our job is to listen.” Before he left, he gave students a website that included a cost of living exercise for people who are contemplating moving to a new job.

We appreciate Tom’s time spent helping the CEO program thrive!

Pohler's Pharmacy

LaDonna Pohler

In the age of convenience and technology, LaDonna Poehler has left her mark as an innovator. Opening up her telepharmacy in Dieterich, IL has allowed her to expand while maintaining her high-quality service to customers. Illinois has the strictest protocol for telepharmacies of any of the 8 states that allow it. So, offering this in Dieterich is a huge step from the common pharmacy set-up.

The Medicine Shoppe in Newton, LaDonna’s other location, is a franchise. This gave way to questions about the addition of a new location into the Medicine Shoppe Family. LaDonna was able to share the basics of owning a franchises business as well as the concept of a telepharmacy. Her pharmacy tech at Dieterich, Danyelle Kessler, also shared how she is able to fill approved prescriptions and how they communication between stores. They showed students how communication worked between the two locations by filling a mock prescription and allowing students to talk to The Medicine Shoppe via an iPad. Poehler Pharmacy is located on the East side of Dr. Michelle Braddy’s practice in Dieterich, right next to the post office.

We appreciate LaDonna’s role as a mentor and an investor. She is an asset to the program and especially to her mentees!

Pyramid Marble

"What is success?" Barry Brandt of Pyramid Marble and Granite asked students on Thursday morning. "Success, to me, is achieving realistic goals that you have set." Barry went on to inform students on how his 'Never Quit' mindset led him to working with the US Treasury and for Steve Jobs. "Failures are part of striving for success," he stressed. And, even though he never specifically said it, the theme of hard work and dedication flowed through Barry's conversation with students. When a situation arose during the building of his business, he would find a solution, even to the point of taking the concept of a large CNC machine to develop a new one that worked on site. Barry started from scratch with the goal of quality and treating people honorably. This shows up in every process from hand selecting the materials to holding firm to his quality promise after installation. Pyramid has employees who pay attention to every detail and are skilled in their role in the process. It's important to Barry that every aspect of their business stay within the company, thus ensuring top-quality product, design, and installation. They even go as far as to set up a mock kitchen for each installation as a double check.  The overall culture of this business was respect and dedication to doing the job well. Barry's enthusiasm is contagious and the students left impressed!

Thank you, Barry, for giving us a tour and telling us your story. It was amazing!

Probst Grain & Livestock

Chris Probst

“Growth is great, but it takes a lot of cash. Cash is king.” -Chris Probst

This was not the first time we had heard something similar, but never in reference to the balancing act that is farming. Students had the opportunity to be led through projected financials, closeout reports, and breakevens. Knowing your financials and having spreadsheets to compare aid in any business’s bottom line and risk management. Whether it’s investments or crops and livestock, diversification is essential.

Chris also shared tips on working with others. First and foremost, be somebody others want to work with. Relationships play a significant role in land acquisition, growth opportunities, and taking a business to the next level, but none of those are as important as making the connection. Be genuinely interested in others, work on your conversation skills and adjust your communication style to those with whom you are working. He also stressed the importance of being informed and knowing the trends in the industry. He reads everything he can get his hands on! 

Chris finished with these final thoughts: Continue to educate yourself. Have a vision. Have a goal. When doors open, go through them!

Thank you for opening your home to us and touching on so many relevant topics. Thank you, also, for being an investor in CEO. We really appreciate it.

Share this news article

Jasper County CEO Calendar

Add this calendar to your iPhone
Print Calendar

Latest News

News Archive

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 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

Jasper County CEO Business Investors

Jasper County CEO Calendar