Member Accolades (and news)
Date:  4/28/2017
ArticleType:  Member News

Member Accolades (and news): 

Share your news about events, company news (anniversaries, promotions etc.), accomplishments, etc. with us. Email it to Lindsay Quick or submit the news via our

WaterpROOFessional Roofing Company, has been granted certification as an NCA Approved Women Minority Business Enterprise (WMBE) under the (BEP) for Minority,Females, and Persons with Disiabilities. WaterpROOFessional Roofing Company has an unlimited licensed to work on Residential,Commercial and Industrial Roofing.

University of Illinois - The Spurlock Museum is hosting free weekly summer events fit for everyone in the family! The events range from performances to interactive activities along with special tours of the museum.

Spurlock Summer Sundays will span from Memorial Day through Labor Day and will rotate among three free series: Cultural Celebrations, Spurlock Time Machine, and Sunday Splash. The family-friendly Cultural Celebrations Performance Series highlights music, dance and storytelling from around the world on the fourth Sunday of the month from 1:00–1:45pm. The family friendly Spurlock Time Machine squeezes thousands of years of history into your summer as it invites you to get wrapped up in Ancient Egypt (June 11), sift through history with archaeologists (July 9), and step back into historic Urbana (August 13) on the second Sunday of the month from 1:00–3:30pm. Sunday Splash is geared towards participants 18 and over and will be held on the first, third and fifth Sundays of the month (June 4–September 3) from 1:30–3:30pm. This event allows you to wade into world culture with mini-tours of special artifacts and exhibits, dip your toe into some new multicultural board games, and create a splash with a themed art project. Sample projects include Indonesian batik watercolors, Chinese brush painting, Roman mosaics, and global constellation art.

For more information about our summer programming please visit our website at or contact our Education Coordinator Beth Watkins at

Darrold Kennedy AAMS®, Financial Advisor with Edward Jones will be celebrating his 10th anniversary in the Champaign Round Barn Office. Darrold joined Edward Jones in October of 2006 and moved to the Champaign office on May 7, 2007. His Branch office administrator Meg Crisman joined his office on May 7, 2012 so she will be celebrating her 5th anniversary with Edward Jones. Darrold's office is located at 1912 Round Barn Rd Suite E in Champaign

Edward Jones, a Fortune 500 company, provides financial services for individual investors in the United States and, through its affiliate, in Canada. Every aspect of the firm's business, from the types of investment options offered to the location of branch offices, is designed to cater to individual investors in the communities in which they live and work. The firm's 15,000-plus financial advisors work directly with more than 7 million clients. Edward Jones, which ranked No. 5 on Fortune magazine's 100 Best Companies to Work For in 2017, is headquartered in St. Louis. The Edward Jones website is located at, and its recruiting website is Member SIPC.

Coldwell Banker Commercial Devonshire Realty has earned the 2016 Commercial Elite award which is bestowed upon the top 15 Coldwell Banker Commercial® affiliated companies globally. This marks the 12th time in 13 years the office has earned this distinguished award.

Heyl Royster - Congratulations to Kevin Luther, partner at Heyl Royster for being inducted as a Fellow of the College of Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at the 12th annuall induction ceremonies on March 18 in Phoenix.

Habitat for Humanity and longtime national partner Lowe’s are hosting a “How-To” construction clinic Thursday April 27th. The clinic precedes the upcoming tenth annual National Women Build Week events. National Women Build Week, May 6-14 encourages women across the country to devote at least one day to help families build strength, stability and self-reliance through housing in their local communities. The project will support “Home for the Holidays”, a nationwide initiative by Lowe’s and Habitat for Humanity to build or repair 1,000 homes alongside families in time for the holidays.

“We are looking forward to National Women Build Week in May, and the opportunity to engage more women in our work,” said Sheila Dodd, Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity of Champaign County. “In collaboration with Lowe’s, Habitat will be providing instruction to women of all skill levels during our April 27th Women Build Clinic and on the National Women Build Days in May.”

This year’s clinic features expert instruction on; how to safely use hand and power tools, how to frame walls, how to install exterior siding, and how to finish interior with paint and trim. The local clinic will be held at Lowe’s Home Improvement Store, 1904 N Prospect in Champaign, on Thursday April 27th from 6-8pm. Due to the size and nature of the clinic, no walk-ins can be accommodated. Please pre-register at The $20 How-To Clinic registration donation will go directly to supporting the local Champaign County Women Build Program.

Clinic attendees will learn basic building skills in an all-women environment from Lowe’s and Habitat Construction staff. Refreshments are provided by Rosati’s, with raffle items donated by members of the Womens Business Council of Champaign County. Interested volunteers can also sign up online to participate in the National Women Build Week build on Friday May 5th from 12-3, Saturday May 6th from 8-11:30 or 11:30-3 in Urbana. Lunch and t-shirts are provided for all volunteer shifts, and registration is required at


Krannert Center - Global Arts Performance Initiatives, an engagement program of Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, is excited to announce the schedule of programming for the Sonified Sustainability Festival April 20-28, 2017. Festivities kick off April 20 at 7:30pm with New York City-based instrument builder and jazz musician Cooper-Moore performing a Sudden Sound Concert at Krannert Art Museum. Sonified Sustainability Festival continues with an Earth Day Celebration, Saturday April 22 from 2pm-5pm at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts. The celebration will feature New York City-based artists Terry Dame, who performs innovative electric music on homemade instruments made from recycled materials; Bradford Reed and his amazing pencilina, an electric board zither played by striking, bowing, and plucking the strings; and Geoff Gersh who pushes the sonic capabilities of electric guitar with and without the aid of electric devices and found objects. Along with the featured artists, there will be special guests from the community, environmentally-themed craft activities, and an information fair on sustainable organizations. On Sunday April 23, Reel Orchestrette, featuring Reed and Gersh, will provide live music accompaniment to the 1924 silent film The Epic of Everest directed by J. B. L. Noel at Spurlock Museum. On Tuesday, April 25, Sonified Sustainability Festival acknowledges the 35th Anniversary of the seminal environmental film Koyaanisqatsi directed by Godfrey Reggio featuring music by Phillip Glass with a screening of the film at Spurlock Museum. The festival concludes on April 27 and 28 with soundwalks scheduled in Urbana parks led by Chicago-based audio artist Eric Leonardson, co-chair of Midwest Society for Acoustic Ecology, an organization dedicated to exploring the role of sound in natural habitats and human societies and promoting public dialogue concerning the identification, preservation, and restoration of natural and cultural sound environments.

Sonified Sustainability events are open to the public free of admission and are suitable for all-ages. Supporting their educational mission, the festival is sponsored by the Student Sustainability Committee (SSC) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, with additional funding from Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, and co-sponsoring support from Krannert Art Museum and Unit One at Allen Hall.


Sonified Sustainability Festival Schedule at a glance:

Th April 20 7:30 pm Cooper-Moore Sudden Sound Concert, Krannert Art Museum

Sa April 22 2-5pm Earth Day Celebration featuring Terry Dame, Bradford Reed, and Geoff Gersh, Krannert Center for the Performing Arts

Su April 23 7:00 pm Reel Orchestrette, The Epic of Everest Spurlock Museum

Tu April 25 7:00 pm Koyaanisqatsi screening, Spurlock Museum

Th-Fr April 27-28 2:30, 4:30, 6:30 pm Eric Leonardson soundwalks, Urbana parks

Congratulations to Menold Construction and Restoration for celebrating 40 years in business.

Illinois American Water President Bruce Hauk, announced the Company’s acquisition of the Village of Sadorus water system. The purchase of the system adds approximately 185 customers to the Company’s customer base in the Champaign County District and serves a population of nearly 400 residents.

The Village of Sadorus Board voted in favor of the sale in April 2016 and the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) approved the sale for $240,000 on Feb. 1, 2017. Illinois American Water acquired the water system.

“We look forward to investing in Sadorus and ensuring quality water service to our new customers,” said Hauk.

Illinois American Water will invest approximately $1.2 million to address current issues with the water system including low pressure, discoloration, taste and odor. Illinois American Water’s investment includes installing two miles of water main to connect the Village of Sadorus to the Champaign County water system. In addition, undersized and outdated water mains in Sadorus will be upgraded and over 20 new fire hydrants installed.

According to Dave Farrar, sr. manager of field operations and production for the Champaign County District, “These improvements will enhance water quality as well as fire protection in Sadorus.” Barring no unforeseen circumstances, this project is expected to be completed by the end of 2018.

New customers will soon receive an Illinois American Water welcome packet in the mail. This packet includes information about online account management, billing and more.

The appraisal process used for the Sadorus water system was conducted under the supervision of the ICC and established as part of the Illinois Water Systems Viability Act. According to Hauk, this law gives communities an alternative to value their water and/or wastewater system when considering being acquired by an investor-owned water utility. He said, “Previous law only allowed the investor-owned water or sewer utility to pay the original cost minus depreciation to acquire a small system, public or private. Because of this, systems were deprived of receiving adequate value for their system.”

The Sadorus water system will be incorporated into the company’s Champaign County District, which currently serves residents in Champaign, Urbana, Savoy, St. Joseph, Bondville and Pesotum.

First Mid-Illinois Bank and Trust is pleased to announce that Heather Werner has been promoted to the position of Branch Manager. In her new role, she will be responsible for overseeing the daily operations, including the management of all functions and services provided at the Champaign banking center located at 2229 South Neil.

“Heather has broad banking experience, and she can provide leadership and supervision to promote a superior level of customer service at these branches,” said Elisha Walters, Regional Deposit Manager.

Prior to joining First Mid in 2013, she served as Branch Manager and Personal Banker at Central Illinois Community Bank and Head Teller with Main Street Bank & Trust. Werner is a graduate of Barstow Community College in Barstow, California.

Heyl Royster is pleased to announce that Benjamin C. Ford has joined the firm’s Champaign Office.
Mr. Ford concentrates his practice in the areas of medical malpractice defense and civil rights defense. Before joining Heyl Royster, he worked for legal assistance representing indigent clients in consumer defense cases in Illinois State Court, as well as representing debtors in Bankruptcy cases in Federal Court. Prior to that, he worked for a medium-sized law firm in Belleville, Illinois, where he defended clients in toxic tort, products liability, and premises liability suits.

Mr. Ford is a Champaign-Urbana native. He earned his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Illinois in 2007. While at U of I, he worked as a student manager for Illinois football. After graduation Mr. Ford was employed at the Champaign County Probation and Court Services. In 2013, he received his J.D. from the Southern Illinois University School of Law. While in law school, Ben worked for the Southern Illinois University Juvenile Justice Clinic, representing minors in juvenile abuse/neglect cases as a 711 student attorney. He was also a member of the moot court board, winning the 2011 Southern Illinois University Intramural Moot Court Competition, as well as Best Oral Advocate at the 2013 DePaul University College of Law National Cultural Heritage Law Moot Court Competition. He joins the firm as an Associate.

Champaign County Association of Realtors - Two Champaign area REALTORS® were part of a delegation of Illinois REALTORS® who attended MIPIM, in Cannes, France, one of the largest international real estate conferences in the world. Attending MIPIM from the Champaign were: 

  • Matt Difanis, co-owner of RE/MAX Realty Associates with offices in Champaign, Mahomet and Monticello. Difanis is the 2017 President-elect of Illinois REALTORS®.
  • Alex Ruggieri, Senior Investment Advisor for SVN-Ramshaw Real Estate in Champaign and current chairman of the National Association of REALTORS® Commercial Leadership Forum and chairman of the Illinois REALTORS® Global Working Group.


REALTORS® spent four days meeting real estate investors from throughout the world at the conference held at the Palais des Festivales in Cannes, France. Illinois REALTORS® provided information on the state and its many investment opportunities. Joining the Illinois REALTOR® state delegation this year was Jim Schultz, co-founder and CEO of Intersect Illinois, a public-private partnership economic development organization whose mission is to promote and expand Illinois business interests. Illinois Association members attending the event also have a mission to make sure international investors know the power of the REALTOR® brand when they look to invest in Illinois.

This is the third year Illinois REALTORS® have taken part in the MIPIM Conference.

Rosecrance’s locations in the Champaign/Urbana area are now accredited by The Joint Commission after a successful survey visit in February.

The survey covered more than 300 behavioral health care standards and encompassed the majority of programs and services at six sites. The surveyor reviewed policies, standard operating procedures, walk-throughs, data, inspection reports, facility safety, personnel records, strategic planning, and organizational structure. A significant amount of time was also spent interviewing staff throughout all levels of the organization.

“It was a great survey, and Rosecrance staff did a phenomenal job representing our organization,” said Chelsea Collins, Rosecrance’s director of performance improvement and accreditation.

The Joint Commission is an independent, not-for-profit organization that accredits and certifies nearly 21,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States. Joint Commission accreditation is recognized nationwide as a symbol of quality that reflects an organization’s commitment to achieving higher performance standards.

Rosecrance in Rockford has been accredited by The Joint Commission for more than 30 years and received its most recent Gold Seal of Approval in September 2016 after a weeklong survey visit. Joint Commission surveys are typically done every three years.

“Rosecrance is a strong organization, and we are committed to our clients every day,” Rosecrance Health Network President/CEO Philip W. Eaton said. “That commitment was substantiated through this process and through the dedication of our staff.”

COLDWELL BANKER COMMERCIAL DEVONSHIRE REALTY is pleased to announce Tim Harrington’s induction into the 2016 Midwest Real Estate News’ Hall of Fame. This is the publication’s seventh inductee class with the Hall of Fame being created in 2010. Harrington is being recognized as being one of the leading commercial real estate professionals throughout the Midwest.

Habitat for Humanity of Champaign County is one of 23 organizations recognized by Habitat for Humanity International as an “Affiliate of Distinction”.

The Affiliates of Distinction program was established by Habitat for Humanity to honor local Habitat organizations that meet or exceed best-practice standards, and to uphold their work across the Habitat network.

Sheila Dodd, Habitat’s Executive Director since 2011 states, “Our affiliate has set high goals, and is pleased to receive this recognition of our team approach. The Habitat staff, volunteers, donors, partners, and families share this award with the Champaign County community we work so hard to support.”

For 25 years, Habitat for Humanity has worked in Champaign County to help local families achieve strength, stability, and self-reliance through shelter. Through our new construction, home rehab, A Brush with Kindness, and Neighborhood Revitalization programs, more than 100 Habitat homeowners have built or improved a place they can call home.

The recipients of this year’s Affiliates of Distinction include:
• Atlanta Habitat for Humanity (GA)
• Austin Habitat for Humanity (TX)
• Beaches Habitat for Humanity (FL)
• Habitat for Humanity of Champaign County (IL)
• Habitat for Humanity of Charlotte (NC)
• Habitat for Humanity of Clallam County (WA)
• DuPage Habitat for Humanity (IL)
• Habitat for Humanity East Bay/Silicon Valley (CA)
• Genesee County Habitat for Humanity (MI)
• Greater Des Moines Habitat for Humanity (IA)
• Greater Fox Cities Area Habitat for Humanity (WI)
• Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles (CA)
• Habitat for Humanity of Greater Newburgh (NY)
• Habitat for Humanity of Greater San Francisco (CA)
• Habitat for Humanity of Huron Valley (MI)
• Houston Habitat for Humanity (TX)
• Habitat for Humanity of Monroe County (IN)
• Our Towns of North Mecklenburg-Iredell Habitat for Humanity (NC)
• Habitat for Humanity Portland/Metro East (OR)
• Habitat for Humanity of St. Joseph County (IN)
• Habitat for Humanity Tucson (AZ)
• Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity (MN)
• Habitat for Humanity Vail Valley (CO)

Local Habitat organizations considered for the honor were reviewed by four criteria: Building a Sustainable Organization, Building Community Impact, Building Sector Impact, and Building Societal Impact.

Congratulations to Grant Cler for being named the general sales manager at Champaign Chrysler Dodge Jeep and Ram.

Fehr Graham, a leading Midwest engineering and environmental firm, was awarded two 2017 ACEC-Illinois Engineering Excellence Awards from the American Council of Engineering Companies of Illinois (ACEC-IL). The firm was awarded a Special Achievement Award in the Waste and Storm Water category for the Second Street Pump Station & Force Main in Champaign, and received a Merit Award in the Small Projects category for the Auburn High School Tennis Court Improvements in Rockford.

The Engineering Excellence Awards Competition recognizes projects of engineering firms. Entries are judged on the basis of engineering excellence, the degree to which the client’s needs are met, and the benefits to the public welfare and private practice of engineering. Special Achievement Awards are given for those projects worthy of special recognition of the engineer and owner/client for achieving engineering excellence. Merit Awards are given for those projects worthy of recognition for the engineer and the client.
Fehr Graham worked with the Urbana & Champaign Sanitary District (UCSD) on its Second Street Pump Station and Force Main Project. UCSD has seen dramatic increases to the population density in areas of downtown Champaign and the University of Illinois campus. These changes have resulted in much higher sanitary flows in sewers mains than originally planned for in 1923 when the sewers were installed. As a result, Fehr Graham was contracted by UCSD to provide all civil and environmental engineering services to shore-up the aged system to meet the needs of the growing population.

“The new Pump Station has reduced surcharging and reestablished capacity in downstream interceptors. This provided an innovative, cost-effective solution to serve Champaign, Urbana and the University of Illinois well into the future,” said Rick Manner, executive director the UCSD. “With help from Fehr Graham, the project was delivered below budget and completed within three months of the original completion date. Our goal is to see no sanitary sewer overflows in downtown and on campus associated with storms.”
Fehr Graham also worked with the Rockford Public Schools (RPS 205) on the Auburn High School Tennis Court Improvements project. RPS 205 faced the challenge of reconstructing or resurfacing the courts to provide a safe, long-term solution. As a result, Fehr Graham was contracted as the prime engineering consultant, providing consultation from the early stages of project development plans and specifications, to assistance in the bidding process, and construction oversight to completion. The solution was to install ProBounce®, a design that created a “floating system” to preserve structural integrity, fill cracks, level off and create a long-lasting surface.

“Fehr Graham has helped RPS 205 complete many successful projects,” said Todd Schmidt, Chief Operations Officer for RPS 205. “The tennis court improvement project was unique. We were looking for a budget-friendly solution with a long useful life, which is difficult with the freeze-thaw cycles associated with the Midwest’s extreme winter conditions. From the very early stages of the project, Fehr Graham provided proactive recommendations and as a result, construction disruptions were minimal and the high school tennis season was not delayed.”
The firm also received two Merit Awards in 2016 for the Ingersoll – Former Machine Factory Revitalized environmental project in Rockford and a Roundabout project in Freeport. They also received two Merit Awards in 2015 for the I-90 Rebuilding and Widening, Western Segment project and the Scout Camp Road Bridge project in Jo Daviess County.

Fehr Graham accepted the two 2017 ACEC-Illinois Engineering Excellence Merit Awards during the ACEC-IL Annual Engineering Excellence Awards Luncheon on February 9 at the Hyatt Hotel in Lisle, Illinois. Click here for a complete list of the 2017 ACEC-IL Annual Engineering Excellence Award winners.

Clark Dietz, Inc., one of the Midwest’s leading professional consulting engineering firms announced that Sean Widener, PE, and Stacie Dovalovsky, PE have been elected to the firm’s 2017 Board of Directors.

“Both Sean and Stacie are highly competent and dedicated individuals. They have demonstrated their deep commitment to our profession, our clients, and the future of our firm.” said John Boldt, CEO. "They will be strong additions to our leadership team.”

Re-elected board members include: John Boldt, PE, FACEC (Chairman, President and CEO); Charles Craddock, PE (Executive Vice President and COO); Jerry Payonk, PE (Executive Vice President); Hans Peterson, PE (Senior Vice President/Treasurer); Al Staron, PE (Senior Vice President/Secretary); Nancy Hiner (Senior Vice President); Mustafa Emir, PhD, PE (Vice President); Wes Christmas, PE (Vice President/Assistant Treasurer); and Jon Howaniec, PHR (Vice President).

Tonia Speener, PE, and Sean Marzano, PE, have been elected as new shareholders.

Devonshire Residential Management is pleased to announce the addition of the newest member of our team, Nikki Jones. Nikki is a licensed leasing agent and began her career in residential property management in 2015. In her current role as a leasing agent for Devonshire Residential Management, she’s responsible for marketing residential properties, processing rental applications and leasing, tenant relations, and maintenance requests.
As a native of Champaign, IL, Nikki attended Centennial High School and Parkland College. Nikki enjoys spending time with her family and enjoys traveling.
For more information on our staff, services, and available properties, please visit our website at or call 217.403.3300.

Curtis Orchard - The “Best Tasting Honey in the World” now comes from Illinois farm Curtis Orchard & Pumpkin Patch, just outside Champaign. The Center for Honeybee Research last week awarded its prestigious grand prize to the downstate agri-tourism destination, which just found out over the weekend that it beat out international entries from Italy, Israel and others. Curtis Orchard’s entry in the Black Jar Honey Contest also takes top prize in the Central U.S. for the second straight year. The fourteen-state region is defined as all states within the Mississippi River watershed and includes Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, North and South Dakota, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

Curtis Orchard’s managing beekeeper Rachel Coventry extracts and submits the Curtis Orchard entry each year. The honey comes from an apiary located on Curtis Orchard property in southwest Champaign. Coventry says the unique mix of pollen and nectar sources in the area including the apple trees, pumpkins and wildflowers on the orchard property contribute to the award-winning honey. “We have a unique setting with fruit trees, field crops, and various other plants that the bees use as pollen and nectar sources. Our honeybees stay close to the hive whenever possible, but may fly up to three miles if food sources become scarce, so having all of these pollen sources available to our bees makes for a rich & complex-tasting honey found nowhere else.”

Curtis Orchard opens for its 38th season on July 20 and will feature Rachel’s honey. Coventry is the granddaughter of Curtis Orchard founder Paul Curtis and the daughter of co-owner Randy Graham. She’s also Curtis Orchard’s store manager and mother of twin infant daughters.

For more information or to arrange an interview with Rachel, please contact her at 217.359.5565 (ext. 26) or at She is generally available between 10 am – 4 pm Monday through Friday. Photo & video opportunities of Rachel working with her honeybees are available with advance notice on most sunny days over 50 F.

More information about the Black Jar Honey Contest as well as complete contest results can be found at

Land of Lincoln Goodwill Industries - CARF International announced that Land of Lincoln Goodwill Industries has been accredited for a period of three years for its Mentor Services, Organizational Employment Services and Governance Standards. The latest accreditation is the second consecutive Three-Year Accreditation that the international accrediting body, CARF, has given to Land of Lincoln Goodwill Industries.

This accreditation decision represents the highest level of accreditation that can be given to an organization and shows the organization’s substantial conformance to the CARF standards. An organization receiving a Three-Year Accreditation has put itself through a rigorous peer review process. It has demonstrated to a team of surveyors during an on-site visit its commitment to offering programs and services that are measurable, accountable, and of the highest quality.

Land of Lincoln Goodwill Industries is a non-profit organization that provides job training, employment placement services, youth mentoring and other community-based programs for people who have a disability, lack education or job experience, or face employment challenges. In central and southern Illinois Goodwill operates six Career Centers and 15 retail operations and donation centers in Bloomington/Normal, Champaign, Chatham (2 locations), Effingham, Danville, Jacksonville (2 locations), Lincoln, Litchfield, Savoy, Springfield (2 locations), Vandalia and Quincy. 

Farnsworth Group is proud to announce the continued growth of its Champaign office.

The office’s Architecture group has added two new staff members, Jackson (Jack) Liong, a licensed architect, and Anna Halepatali, an architectural designer working towards her professional license. Jack is a native of Cairo, IL, and a graduate of Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. Anna resides in Savoy and is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign. The Architecture group also staffs multiple student interns, offering them important professional experience.

The Champaign office’s Civil group has also grown with the addition of professional engineers Mike Friend, PE, and Emily Jenkins, PE, CFM, PhD. Mike joins the team as an Engineering Manager with more than 30 years of experience in civil engineering design, permitting and construction oversight. A native of Gibson City, IL, he currently lives near Flanagan and is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign. A native of Rochester, IL, Emily is also a graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign and brings more than 10 years of experience in civil and ecological engineering, specializing in floodplain modeling as a Certified Floodplain Manager (CFM), stream restoration and wetland design. She is involved with the Champaign Chamber’s Leading Ladies Program and currently resides in Monticello.

Heyl, Royster, Voelker & Allen, P.C. - In the recently published 2017 Illinois Super Lawyers listing, four attorneys from law firm Heyl Royster’s Champaign office were named Illinois Super Lawyers. Three of which were the only Champaign attorneys selected in their respective categories. Partner Bruce Bonds was the only Champaign attorney listed by Super Lawyers in the Workers' Compensation category. Partner Renee Monfort was listed as an Illinois Super Lawyer for Personal Injury Medical Malpractice: Defense category. In the Super Lawyers’ Rising Star category, partner Joseph Guyette, was the only Rising Star listed in Champaign in the practice area of Workers' Compensation. Partner Brian Smith was listed as a Rising Star under the Civil Litigation Defense category. Overall, 24 Heyl Royster lawyers were listed as either 2017 Super Lawyers or Rising Stars.

Super Lawyers selects outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high-degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The selection process is multi-phased and includes independent research, peer nominations, and peer evaluations. The Super Lawyers list represents no more than 5 percent of the lawyers in the state, and the Rising Stars list represents no more than 2.5 percent of lawyers in the state from the pool of lawyers who are 40 years old or younger, or who have been practicing for 10 years or less. Super Lawyers is a Thomson Reuters publication.

Heyl Royster is a regional Midwest law firm with more than 100 lawyers, and offices in Peoria, Champaign, Chicago, Edwardsville, Rockford, and Springfield Illinois. The firm provides legal services for businesses and corporations, professionals, healthcare organizations, governmental entities, universities, insurance carriers, and other major institutions. Heyl Royster lawyers have successfully defended clients in all of the federal courts and in each of the 102 counties in the State of Illinois, as well as in courtrooms in Missouri and Wisconsin. Our attorneys also counsel clients on all aspects of business life. Through our lawyers' participation in bar and industry activities, we identify and help develop trends in the law which we believe will be of benefit to our clients.

To learn more about our firm, and for a full list of the 24 Heyl Royster 2017 Illinois Super Lawyers and Super Lawyers Rising Stars please go to

Champaign Urbana Schools Foundation (CUSF) will celebrate the accomplishments of five of our public high school alumni on Saturday, April 1 at the 2017 CUSF Alumni Recognition Gala at the Refinery in Champaign. Three different awards will be presented: Distinguished Alumni Award, Local Business Community Impact Award and the Local Hero Award. The 2017 Distinguished Alumni honorees are Lisa Gaye Dixon, Centennial High School graduate, class of 1982; Dr. Robert C. Mock Jr., Urbana High School Class of 1984; and George Shapland, Champaign High School, Class of 1949.

CLICK HERE to learn more.

COLDWELL BANKER COMMERCIAL DEVONSHIRE REALTY is pleased to announce the addition of Ashley Quach as a commercial broker in their Champaign office. Ashley joins Coldwell Banker Commercial Devonshire Realty after a successful career as a residential real estate specialist in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In 2011, she was named Rookie of the Year for her excellence in sales and customer satisfaction, closing millions of dollars in real estate sales volume. She brings this same formula of diligence, dependability and outstanding service to her clients in the central Illinois area in the commercial real estate arena.

Ashley graduated from Wellesley College in Massachusetts where she studied psychology and economics. She also worked as a research coordinator at the Harvard – Boston Children’s Hospital, giving her experience in statistical data collection and analysis.

Ashley is married to orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Jason Ye, and they have two children together, Alyssa and Jeremy. In her spare time, Ashley enjoys life with her family, exercising, empowering young mothers / women, and serving the community.

Fehr Graham, a leading Midwest engineering and environmental firm, recently added Jessica Endres and Josh Rak to its Champaign office.

Jessica Endres joined Fehr Graham in December as a project assistant. In her role, Endres provides clerical and secretarial support to the firm’s staff. She handles incoming and outgoing communications, maintains company data and is the office point person for all required administrative policies and procedures.

Prior to Fehr Graham, she was an office manager for a local Champaign business and has 20-years of customer service experience. She is a graduate of Parkland College and resides in Tuscola with her husband.

Josh Rak joined Fehr Graham in January as an engineer. He is responsible for structural and civil design support for buildings, bridges, water and wastewater treatment plants and forensic investigations.

Prior to Fehr Graham, he worked as a project engineer intern for Klein and Hoffman in Chicago where he inspected structural integrity of concrete, metal and wood structures. He was also responsible for developing proposals and project reports for building owners and for the City of Chicago. He has a master of science in civil engineering, with an emphasis on structural engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is from Wheaton, Illinois and currently resides in Champaign with his wife.

Illinois American Water’s Champaign County District recently honored employees with over 30 years of service. Several of the 10 employees and retirees honored have 40 years of service with the company. The group represents over 389 years of combined service.

“Our employees are our greatest asset,” said Dave Farrar, sr. manager of field operations and production. “We are honored to celebrate these impressive milestones with our coworkers. Their knowledge, expertise and incredible passion for providing the best service to their neighbors is inspiring.”

The employees enjoyed a celebration and were inducted into the Illinois American Water 30 plus club and the Illinois American Water 40 plus crew. Those honored included Mike Ashby, Jim Brown, Steve Conrad, Sharon Dyke, Rich Ford, Terry Lawhead, Mike Lemmon, Ellen Mulcahey, Gary Swearingen, and Scott Wilson.

RSM US LLP - the nation’s leading provider of audit, tax and consulting services focused on the middle market — recently named Ryan Pierson as director of risk advisory services in their Central Illinois practice.

Pierson is a Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) with more than 15 years of experience in information technology internal audit, IT governance, risk and compliance, and Sarbanes-Oxley. Based in the firm’s Peoria office, He will be responsible for providing IT risk advisory services to clients of all sizes across a myriad of industries in the firm’s Great Lakes Region and across the country. Ryan also has extensive international experience, performing on-site services for clients in 12 countries spanning 5 continents.

Coldwell Banker Commercial Devonshire Realty - Myrna Webber, Managing Broker of Devonshire Residential Management, headquartered in Champaign, has earned the ACCREDITED RESIDENTIAL MANAGER® (ARM®) certification from the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM®), an affiliate of the National Association of REALTORS®. The ARM® certification is awarded to managers of residential real estate properties who have met the Institute’s stringent requirements in the areas of professional education, examination and experience. ARM® Members must also abide by the rigorous IREM® Code of Professional Ethics that is strictly enforced by the Institute.

Myrna began her real estate career in 2005 and is also licensed as a Community Association Manager. In her current role, Myrna oversees a portfolio of rental properties including apartments, condos, townhomes, and single family residences. Additionally she manages condominium associations and a cooperative on the University of Illinois campus.

University of Illinois  - Congratulations to Lydia Kisley, a Beckman - Brown Interdisciplinary Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Illinois, for being named to the Forbes “30 Under 30” list.

Click here to see the full list.

Consolidated Communications announced effective January 16, 2017 Champaign Telephone Company (CTC) will take on the Consolidated Communications brand.

“Consolidated Communications is eager to continue its expansion in the Champaign-Urbana area and is now rebranding CTC as Consolidated Communications, supported by an expanded regional team,” said Doug Abolt, director of Commercial Services for Consolidated Communications. “We remain committed to the highest quality of service and are excited to introduce an expanded business product offerings in the Champaign-Urbana market.”

The Mattoon, Ill.-based provider is one of the largest independent communications providers in the United States and currently has operations in 11 states. Consolidated Communications completed the purchase of CTC on July 1, 2016 and immediately invested and expanded fiber services to businesses in the Woodfield Drive area of nearby Savoy, Ill.

“We’ve already extended our fiber reach within the Champaign-Urbana area and are uniquely positioned to provide diverse connectivity and services with superior reliability and redundancy,” added Abolt. “Consolidated’s investment and expansion of the fiber network in the area provides customers increased bandwidth at the most competitive prices.”

Consolidated Communications products and services will continue to be supported by the experienced, local team customers have known for many years. “We are proud of our dedicated employees who live in the communities we serve,” Abolt added. “Consolidated Communications has a history of being a strong local partner and our commitment to the Champaign-Urbana area remains steadfast.

Last year, Consolidated Communications gave more than 3 percent of pre-tax profits to non-profit programs and initiatives in the communities it serves across the country. Employees are actively engaged and involved in numerous organizations across the country, including non-profit organizations, schools, civic clubs, chambers of commerce and more. Last year, Consolidated Communications employees volunteered more than 37,000 hours in the communities where they work and live.

Hendrick House - Congratulations to Terrell Williams for being named President and CEO of Hendrick House. He will be taking over for long-time leader Betsy Hendrick.

Illini Hearing would like to welcome Teri Quednau to their practice.

At 32 years old, Teri was diagnosed with a conductive hearing loss in her right ear. After years in the Real Estate business and in administration for several medical centers, later she found herself working for a hearing aid dispenser. Passionate about helping people hear, she is pursuing a licensure as a Hearing Instrument Specialist under the tuteledge of Andy Bierbaum owner of Illini Hearing. As a team, Teri and Andy combine their years of shared experience to help the community in bringing awareness to Hearing Health.

Illinois American Water - The application process is now open for Illinois American Water’s 2017 Environmental Grant Program. The program supports innovative, community-based environmental projects that improve, restore or protect watersheds through partnerships. Diverse activities like watershed cleanups, reforestation efforts, biodiversity projects, streamside buffer restoration projects, wellhead protection initiatives and hazardous waste collection efforts are supported through grants of up to $10,000.

"Illinois American Water is committed to ensuring water quality through testing and treatment, as well as through consumer education and community source protection programs. We believe everyone is an environmental steward in protecting the nation’s water supplies, and this program is a way to help communities play an active role in this important effort,” said Bruce Hauk, Illinois American Water President. To qualify, proposed projects must be located in an Illinois American Water service area and: address a source water or watershed protection need in the community be completed between May 1, 2017 and November 30, 2017 be a new or innovative program for the community, or serve as a significant expansion to an existing program be carried out by a formal or informal partnership between two or more organizations provide evidence of sustainability (continued existence after the American Water grant monies are utilized).

In 2016, Illinois American Water issued six grants totaling $15,000 as follows: - The Alton Community School District #11’s Rock Spring Park Watershed Restoration Project received a $4,000 grant to construct a bio retention system and rain garden in an outdoor classroom. - The City of South Beloit received a $3,000 grant for the Nature at the Confluence Stream Team Programing which educates and engages residents through citizen stream monitoring, container gardening and more.

- Urbana Park District Douglas Creek Restoration Project received a $4,000 grant to restore native plants, trees and shrubs in the wetland and creek channel.
- Peoria Park District’s Illinois River Sweep received their full grant request of $1,500 to fund supplies for the annual Illinois River clean-up effort. Over 100 volunteers attended the event to remove trash and debris. - The Pekin Park District received a $2,500 grant for the Lick Creek Watershed Invasive Species Control and Restoration project. Volunteers removed invasive species along 15 acres of the Lick Creek Corridor.

Grant information and application forms can be found online at Applications should be emailed to by March 27, 2017.

The Audiology Clinic at the University of Illinois is offering free adult hearing screenings January 25th, 2017 through April 2nd, 2017. Screenings appointments may be scheduled by calling 217-333-2230 (no scheduling via email).

The Audiology Clinic educates and trains Doctor of Audiology students to provide clinical diagnostic, consultative, and treatment services for individuals with communicative impairments. The clinic is housed in the Department of Speech and Hearing Science, which is accredited by the Council of Academic Accreditation of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

The Audiology Clinic is open to the public to provide diagnostic hearing assessments, industrial hearing evaluations, and amplification services (hearing aid consultation, demonstration, fitting dispensing and repairs, as well as assistive listening devices). Any person who is interested in hearing assessment, hearing protection devices, or management of hearing problems can make an appointment. No referral is needed.

The Audiology Clinic is located 901 S. 6th Street in Champaign (southwest corner of 6th and Daniel streets). Parking is available at designated metered spaces in the adjacent south lot. Audiology Clinic Hours Monday-Friday, 8:30am – 4:00pm, phone 217-333-2230.

Dragon Fire Pizza - Congratulations to Dragon Fire Pizza for being included on Cosmopolitan’s list “50 of the Best College Town Pizzerias in the Country”.

CLICK HERE to see the full list.

University of Illinois - Six University of Illinois faculty members were elected to the 2016 Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Jianjun Cheng, Brian T. Cunningham, Kevin T. Pitts, Bruce L. Rhoads, Chad M. Rienstra and Joseph Torrellas were among the 391 new fellows chosen for thier efforts to advance science.

Ameren Illinois - Congratulations to Ameren Illinois for being named a Best Place to Work for LGBTQ Equality by rhe Human Rights Campaign Foundation.

Champaign County Association of REALTORS® - Mortgage rates inching higher did not slow down home sales activity in November in the Champaign County area as home sales rose by more than 30 percent as compared to a year ago, according to the Champaign County Association of REALTORS®. This total was the highest level of home sales reported for the month of November since 2005, when 213 homes were reported.

For the month of November 2016, a total of 209 homes (single family and condominiums) were sold as compared to 160 homes sold in November of 2015, up 30.62 percent. A total of 2,793 homes have been reported year-to-date through November as compared to 2,547 sales in the same period a year ago, up 9.65 percent. There were 195 pending sales reported for the month of November, reflecting an increase of 3.72 percent from 188 pending sales reported a year ago. Pending sales for the month of November reflect the number of active listings that went under contract and are awaiting closing, usually 30 to 60 days in the future.

Carle - Congratulations to the Neuroscience Institute at Carle for receiving the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association's Get with the Guidlelines Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award. The award recognizes the hospitals commitment to providing the most appropriate stroke treatment according to nationally recognized, research-based guidleines based on the latest scientific evidence.

Coldwell Banker Commercial Devonshire Realty  -  Zach Wetherell, Josh Markiewicz and Tim Harrington of Coldwell Banker Commercial Devonshire Realty announced the lease of 12,716 square feet of space on the fifth floor of M2 in downtown Champaign to the law firm of Heyl, Royster, Voelker & Allen, P.C. Heyl Royster serves businesses in the Midwest with 120 lawyers in offices located in Peoria, Chicago, Edwardsville, Rockford, Springfield, as well as in Champaign-Urbana. In its Champaign-Urbana office the firm has 12 attorneys and 16 staff. The firm is moving from 102 E. Main Street in Urbana and will be open for business in the new office on January 3.

Champaign Urbana Schools Foundation is partnering with Champaign Unit 4 and Urbana School District #116 to pilot two new grant programs—The Gift of Music and A Gift for the Fine Arts. Thanks to the generosity of an anonymous donor, nine music teachers in Champaign Unit 4 and three elementary fine arts teachers in Urbana School District #116 were awarded more than $8,000 for special projects this school year.

The Gift of Music ‘s goal is to support and enhance K-12 music education in Champaign Unit 4 schools, and A Gift for the Fine Arts’ goal is support and enhance fine arts education in Urbana School District #116 elementary schools. Both grant programs have a spring and fall application window. A selection committee reviews proposals and recipients are announced in May and December. Activities considered for funding include student attendance at a performance, guest artist or artist-in-residence programs, instrument purchase, fine arts focused field trips or school related performances.

Spring recipients of The Gift of Music and A Gift for the Fine Arts grant programs were announced last week and projects include a performance of Opera for the Young at Dr. Howard Elementary in Champaign and a field trip to the Art Institute of Chicago for 5th grade art students at Dr. Williams in Urbana.

Fehr Graham, a leading Midwest engineering and environmental firm, continues to grow and develop its Champaign and Springfield structural engineering team. The firm announced that a current team member has received licensure as a Structural Engineer in Illinois, resulting in now seven Illinois-licensed Structural Engineers on staff, making it a Structural Engineering powerhouse in central Illinois.

Structural Engineers (SEs) help make us safe in the buildings, bridges, and railways that we use every day as a part of our daily lives. Following intense classroom training at institutions such as the renowned University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and years of real world practical experience under the guidance of his mentors, a young SE can apply and sit for an exam to become licensed by the State of Illinois as a Structural Engineer

Muhanad “Mo” Jawad recently received his SE license from the State of Illinois. He joins six other SEs that are key to local and regional engineering projects.

They also recently added Emory Alred to its Champaign office.

Alred joined Fehr Graham as an Associate Engineering Technician in the firm’s Engineering division. In this role, Alred will be a Resident Project Representative, assisting engineers in projects by observing progress and quality of work. This includes field checks of materials and installed equipment, in addition to serving as the engineer’s liaison with project contractors.

Alred has performed construction inspection & administration duties since 2006. His experience includes construction inspection for the Willow Pond Pump Station in Rantoul, the Westville-Belgium Sanitary District treatment plant improvements, and Lincoln Avenue and Church Street improvements for the City of Urbana, as well as various municipal infrastructure projects.
In conjunction with the University of Illinois, Alred is a graduate of the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) Engineering Technician Training Program.

Congratulations to Tim Murray owner of High Caliber Training Center for being recognized as a Patriotic Employer by the U.S. Department of Defense.

BIGG Success - We are honored to announce that Mary-Lynn is a Rule Breaker Awards 2016 Winner! From over 2,000 businesses nominated, Mary-Lynn and BIGG Success are among the 7 winners selected.

The Rule Breaker Awards honor business owners who have forged their own path. They celebrate entrepreneurs for ignoring conventional wisdom, taking the path less traveled, and doing it the hard way.

Mary-Lynn was selected as the Rule Maker of the Year “for her innovative approach to promoting the Rule Breaker Awards contest on social media.”

This is quite fitting as BIGG Success helps businesses and professionals grow their brands using the new social tools.

Learn more about this award here.

Midland States Bancorp, Inc. (NASDAQ: MSBI) and Sterling National Bank, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sterling Bancorp (NYSE: STL) announced today that Midland States Bank, Midland’s wholly-owned bank subsidiary, has completed its acquisition of the trust department of Sterling National Bank of Montebello, New York. With the acquisition of Sterling’s approximately $400 million in managed assets, Midland has increased the size of its wealth management operations to approximately $1.6 billion in assets under administration.

Midland has retained all 12 members of Sterling’s trust department, bringing Midland’s Wealth Management Group to 45 professionals. As part of the transaction, Midland also established a trust office in Tarrytown, New York, which will operate under the name of Midland Trust Company, a subsidiary of Midland States Bank.

Clark-Lindsey received the prestigious Excellence in the Workplace Award at the national conference of Leading Age in Indianapolis this week. Leading Age is a national organization serving non-profit senior living communities. The award recognizes our innovative Imagine culture that focuses on the core values of meaningful life, real home and empowered staff that support intellectual, physical, social and spiritual well-being. People locally know Clark-Lindsey is a great place to live AND work. And now we’re serving as an example of excellence across the country.

Rogards - Independent Stationers, an industry leading nationwide member-owned business products cooperative, recently elected its Board of Directors, and its officers for the coming year.

Elected to three-year terms were: Tonya Horn of Rogards, in Champaign, Illinois; Tom Bramlett of OEC in Mobile, Alabama; and Mary Catherine Sigmon of Kennedy Office in Raleigh, North Carolina.

The State Farm Center announced today that country group Florida Georgia Line will headline a show with special guests Dustin Lynch and Chris Lane on Thursday, February 23 at 7:00 p.m. as part of their nationwide DIG YOUR ROOTS Tour. The show adds to the already impressive “Grand Re-Opening” line-up scheduled to appear at the newly renovated facility in the coming months, joining the likes of Green Day, Dierks Bentley, Pentatonix, The 1975, the WCIA 3 Broadway Series, the Harlem Globetrotters, and more.

Tickets go on sale to the public, Friday, November 18 at 10 a.m. CT at the Illinois Ticket Office at State Farm Center, online at, or over the phone at 866-ILLINI-1.

Congratulations to Curtis Orchard for being named a “must-visit” spot on FlipKey’s list of Where to Experience Quintessential Fall Activities. Read the full article HERE.

MSA Professional Services - The American Society of Civil Engineers Central Illinois recently presented the 2016 Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement Award to the Village of Danvers and MSA Professional Services (MSA), Champaign. In 2013, the Village turned to MSA for help treating its water system, which contained high arsenic and iron levels. After extensive review, the Village decided to upgrade and build a new treatment plant building along with modifications and upgrades to the existing treatment plant.

MSA helped the Village secure a low-interest loan through the Illinois EPA’s Public Water Supply Loan program to finance the $3.4 million project.

MSA Professional Services (MSA) also announced the addition of a new team member to its Champaign office.

Katrina Royce-Malmgren joined MSA as a knowledge manager, a new position. She will help develop a knowledge management strategy for the firm’s many information systems and processes. Royce-Malmgren earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree with a Psychology major from the University of New Hampshire in Durham, New Hampshire, and a Master of Library and Information Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Heartland Bank and Trust Company, a trusted home loan leader in the Bloomington-Normal community, proudly announces the hiring of Mike Curran to the local mortgage lending team. Curran, a graduate from the University of Illinois with a B.S. in Finance, brings sales and customer relationship experience from roles at IBM and Afni. He has also completed Wharton School Executive Education at the University of Pennsylvania. Curran has served on the boards of the United Way of McLean County and the Red Cross of the Heartland. He is a native of Joliet.

Michelle’s Bridal and Tuxedo is a stop you do not want to miss on your Black Friday shopping trip! Bridal gowns starting at $199, bridesmaids for $25, and special occasion dresses for $99 are just some of the deals you can expect when stopping into shop. Not only will dresses be marked down, select accessories will be 75% off. This is something you do not want to miss!

The Black Friday shopping will take place at Michelle’s Bridal and Tuxedo located in Urbana November 21-26, during regular store hours. Whether this is your first time shopping for a bridal gown or you have an eye on the dress of your dreams, the stylist at Michelle’s Bridal will help guide you to ultimate savings.

Michelle’s Bridal understands that weddings can get expensive quick. If you are planning on a budget or just want some amazing deals, Michelle’s should be your first stop to ensure you have the best options available for your style. These deals only come around once a year so make sure you take advantage of them! On top of all these great wedding deals, there will also be select dresses from M2 for sale for $50. No matter the occasion, Michelle’s Bridal and Tuxedo is the perfect stop for your Black Friday shopping!

Culver's - On May 5, 2016, more than 550 Culver’s restaurants nationwide said thank you to their local FFA Chapter or other agricultural organizations through Culver’s Thank You Farmers Scoops of Thanks fundraiser.
Guests who donated $1 to these organizations received a scoop of Fresh Frozen Custard. Over $56,000 was raised by the Culver’s community to help create awareness and generate support for agriculture.
Culver’s on South Neil Street raised $1083.00 during the Scoops of Thanks fundraiser, blue barn wall decal sales, and donation canister and will donate it to the Local FFA Chapters.

CUMTD - was honored to be a 2016 recipient of 40 North 88 West’s ACE Award in the Business category. From their website:
“Business ACE Award – Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District (CUMTD), for their willingness to partner with local organizations and help create programs that celebrate and support local artists by bringing art and poetry into the lives of millions of riders each year.

The winners were chosen from over 90 public nominations by an independent panel of community-based judges representing a broad cross-section of Champaign County. This year’s judges were: Tim Bartlett, Executive Director of the Urbana Park District; Emily Young, Magnet Site Coordinator at Stratton Academy of the Arts; Lisa Kesler, local artist and illustrator; and Bridget Lee-Calfas, Advertising and Publicity Director at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts.

The ACE (arts, culture and education) Awards are presented annually by 40 North | 88 West in conjunction with National Arts and Humanities Month to honor the work of artists, teachers, businesses, individuals, organizations, volunteers, community and government leaders. Each award highlights a different part of the cultural life of our community and celebrates those that, through hard work, dedication, and creative energy, cultivate the arts of Champaign County.

The seven ACE Award categories are: Advocate, Artist, Volunteer, Business, Teacher, Student, and Lifetime Achievement. Anyone can submit a nomination for an ACE Award. You may nominate multiple candidates and self-nominations are accepted. Must be 14 years or older and a resident of Champaign County to be eligible to win an ACE Award. Previous nominees may be resubmitted.

REALTOR® Alex Ruggieri, Senior Investment Advisor for Sperry Van Ness/Ramshaw Real Estate in Champaign is the 2016 REALTOR® of the Year for the Champaign County Association of REALTORS®. Ruggieri received the award at the CCAR annual awards banquet on October 20 at the I Hotel in Champaign.

The award is based on involvement to the REALTOR® Association, real estate industry and contributions to the community.

Ruggieri has more than 40 years of commercial real estate industry experience and was recently named chairman of the National Association of REALTORS® Commercial Leadership Forum. Ruggieri will begin a one year term as chair of the forum beginning in November of this year. The Commercial Leadership Forum committee works to provide members, staff and volunteer leadership of NAR’s commercial structures with an opportunity to learn about timely commercial real estate issues and exchange valuable information that contributes to their success.

Illinois American Water - Out of 240 water tanks included in Tnemec’s Tank of the Year contest, Illinois American Water’s Champaign County water tank placed in the top 12. The new one-million-gallon elevated water storage tank located at 2814 Hundman Drive in Champaign will be featured in Tnemec's annual water tank calendar.

The new water tank welcomes visitors to the area with both Illinois American Water’s logo and the You’re Welcome logo. The You’re Welcome logo represents a community campaign to brand Champaign-Urbana as a hub for innovation, attract top talent and companies, drive economic development, and brag about the micro-urban community.

According to Dave Farrar, sr. operations manager for Illinois American Water’s Champaign County District, the investment of over $3 million for the new water tank ensures reliable water service to customers. “The new tank helps ensure adequate supply for residents, businesses and fire protection. We are especially proud of the tank’s design and that it features the You’re Welcome logo.” said Farrar.
This steel tank was built mostly at ground level before being raised to the top of a concrete shaft, comprising the composite-style elevated storage tank. According to Farrar, using concrete for the shaft was both less expensive and requires lower future maintenance.

City of Champaign - Congratulations to Ben LeRoy, associate planner for the City of Champaign for being named the 2016 Emerging Planner of the Year by the Illinois Chapter of the American Planning Association.

MTD will provide free rides on Tuesday, November 8, 2016 from 5:30 am until 7:30 pm so that riders can get onboard and vote. Voting is a fundamental right and civic duty. MTD is offering free rides on Election Day so that everyone can have their voices heard. Public transportation is the only transportation for many people including those who choose to ride the bus rather than drive and those who lack personal transportation. They all should have the opportunity to vote.

Riders should be prepared and learn where their polling place is and which route(s) will take them there. MTD operators will not have this information. MTD’s website at has an easy-to-use Trip Planner. Registered voters can learn their polling place options at MTD ADA Paratransit customers may also receive free prearranged rides to or from their polling place between the hours of 5:30 am and 7:30 pm.

Get some exercise using the bus while you exercise your right to vote on Tuesday, November 8, 2016. From 5:30 am until 7:30 pm all rides are free. Just board and go—no ID, no pass, nor cash is needed!

Farnsworth Group - Congratulations to Matt Davidson of Farnsworth Group for being awarded the Louis V. Hencken Alumni Service Award from his alma mater Eastern Illinois University. Learn more about this award here.

REALTOR® Jim Waller, a licensed real estate broker with Coldwell Banker Honig-Bell in Champaign has been installed as the 2016-17 president of the Champaign County Association of REALTORS®.

Waller received his real estate license in 1984. As a member of CCAR, Waller has served on many committees including the Association Operations Committee, Technology Development and Multiple Listing Service Committee. Waller will represent CCAR at the Illinois REALTORS® and National Association of REALTORS® business meetings this year. He oversees the Association operations and leads the Association’s Board of Directors.

Waller has been in charge of the local Salvation Army/Coldwell Banker Honig-Bell toy drive for 21 years. He has served on the Board of Directors for Big Brothers/Big Sisters and St. John’s Lutheran school board.

Other 2016-17 CCAR officers elected and installed include: President-elect Max McComb, a broker with RE/MAX Realty Associates in Champaign and Eric W. Porter, a broker with RE/MAX Realty Associates as Secretary-Treasurer.
Newly installed directors include: P.J. Trautman, real estate broker/appraiser with Champaign County Realty and Jayme Ahlden, a broker with RE/MAX Realty Associates in Champaign.

Other members of the CCAR Board of Directors include: Immediate Past President Stefanie Pratt, a broker with Coldwell Banker Honig-Bell; Scott Bechtel, broker/owner of Keller Williams Realty; Kimberly Krisman Clark, a broker with RE/MAX Realty Associates; Liz McDonald, a broker with The McDonald Group and Alex Ruggieri, broker with Ramshaw Real Estate/Sperry Van Ness.

The Champaign County Association of REALTORS® installation of officers was held on September 15, 2016 at the Hawthorn Suites in Champaign. The Champaign County Association of REALTORS® is a voluntary trade organization serving Champaign County and surrounding areas and it is the leading resource for REALTOR® members and an advocate for homeownership and private property rights.

Ramshaw Real Estate  - W. Todd Salen was recently added to the University of Illinois Phi Kappa Psi Hall of Honors. He was inducted along with Robert Dudley, CEO of British Petroleum, Christopher Perry, Private Equity Investor, and Major Dr. Thomas Koritz, former Top Gun pilot and first US soldier to die in the Gulf War.
The Hall of Honors recognizes members of the Illinois Delta Chapter of Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity who have distinguished themselves in business, athletics’, public service or service to the fraternity after graduation. Salen has served both the local and national fraternity for nearly 40 years. The past 27 years he has served as Chapter Adviser for the local chapter and also serves the University of Illinois as Chair of the Board of Fraternity Affairs. He joins former Illinois Jerry Colangelo, John “Red” Kerr, Prentice Marshall and homecoming founder C.F. Dab Williams amongst others in the Hall of Honors.

Congratulations to local breweries Destihl, JT Walker’s & Triptych for being named to Thrillist’s list of The 21 Best Breweries in Illinois. Read the full list here.

Green View - Locally owned Mahomet Landscapes announced today that Green View has acquired its facility at 2005 E Jones Court in Mahomet. The transition is planned for December 1, 2016. Mahomet Landscapes, which has operated from the site since 2006 is pleased that the community will be served without interruption for its Landscape and Garden Center needs for years to come. Green View also will bring the availability of new products and services previously not available. These include a wide selection of plant material, garden accessories and lawn care services.

Snyder Insurance - Grant Sloniger has been hired as Sales Manager and Commercial Insurance Broker for Snyder Insurance, a division of The Snyder Companies. His duties will include leading the Commercial, Personal, and Benefits Sales Teams, developing new customer relationships, and sourcing acquisitions, and partnership opportunities with other insurance agencies. His territory will cover the Snyder Insurance offices in Bloomington, Champaign, and Springfield.

Since 2005, Sloniger was the Managing Director for a National Insurance Broker, overseeing their operations in Illinois, Iowa, and Missouri. He has been licensed as a Commercial Insurance and Benefits Broker in Illinois since 1992, earned his Certified Insurance Counselor designation in 1995 and served on numerous Agency Councils for some of the Nation’s top insurance companies. The Snyder Companies have a 110 year history of providing innovative solutions to customers seeking real estate, new home and commercial construction, business and personal insurance, hotel and apartment community development and operations.

Midland States Bank - The Conference of State Bank Supervisors (CSBS), the nationwide organization of banking and financial regulators from all 50 states and U.S. territories, has announced the appointment of Midland States Bancorp (Nasdaq: MSBI) CEO Leon Holschbach to serve a two-year term on the organization’s Bankers Advisory Board.

Mr. Holschbach was recommended for appointment by his home state bank commissioner Secretary Bryan A. Schneider of the Illinois Department of Financial & Professional Regulation.

Fehr Graham, a leading Midwest engineering and environmental firm, is pleased to announce the addition of new team members to its Champaign office.

Michelle Brown joined Fehr Graham as a Program Administrator. In this role, Brown plans and coordinates project work such as billing, budgeting, tracking deadlines and other administrative responsibilities. Brown earned a Bachelor of Arts in Speech Communications from Eastern Illinois University.

Michael Cunningham recently joined Fehr Graham as a Water/Wastewater Engineer in the firm’s Engineering division. In this role, Cunningham is responsible for projects in the areas of wastewater collection and treatment; potable water supply, distribution, and treatment projects; and engineering and environmental engineering related work.

Cunningham earned a Bachelor of Science in Nuclear, Plasma and Radiological Engineering and a Master in Environmental Engineering from the University of Illinois-Champaign. Prior to Fehr Graham, he was employed with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency Pollution Prevention & Energy Efficiency Program where he was responsible for projects related to the usage of waste and water.

Cole Janisch joined Fehr Graham as a Staff Engineer in the firm’s Engineering division. In this role, Janisch is responsible for civil, municipal, land development and environmental engineering services. He prepares reports, research investigations, process studies and specifications.

Janisch earned a Bachelor of Science in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of Wisconsin and is currently working to obtain his Masters of Science from Kansas State University. Prior to Fehr Graham, he was a Structural Engineer working primarily in the industrial and agricultural sectors.

Narendra Patel joined Fehr Graham as a Senior Project Engineer in the firm’s Engineering division. In this role, Patel plans, develops, coordinates and directs large and small engineering projects.

Patel earned a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering and a Diploma in Civil Engineering from the M.S. University of Baroda, India. He also earned a Master’s degree in Civil/Environmental Engineering from Bradley University in Peoria, IL. Patel has over 16 years’ experience in civil and environmental engineering.

First Mid-Illinois Bancshares, Inc. (NASDAQ: FMBH) (“First Mid” or the “Company”), holding company of First Mid-Illinois Bank & Trust, First Clover Leaf Bank and First Mid Insurance Group, has announced that Mary Schwartz Westerhold has been appointed to the board of directors.

Ms. Westerhold previously served on the Board of Directors for First Clover Leaf Financial Corporation, holding company for First Clover Leaf Bank, which was recently acquired by First Mid.

The Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District (MTD), City of Champaign, City of Urbana, and University of Illinois have partnered to purchase bike light sets for the 8th annual ‘Light the Night’ Bike Light Distribution Campaign. Teams of volunteers including law enforcement will install more than 1,000 bicycle lights, educate bicyclists about laws that require bikes to have lights at night, and provide information on safe riding during both daylight and nighttime hours. Bicycle lights will be installed on Thursday, September 22, 2016 from 4:00 pm until 7:00 pm (or until all light sets are gone) at two highly-visible locations on the University of Illinois campus:

• Wright and Green near the Alma Mater statue;
• Lincoln and Illinois near Illinois Street Residence Hall

Bicyclists operating bikes without lights will be encouraged to have a light installed at these locations. Bicycles will be equipped with a set of front and rear lights by teams of volunteers at each location. Lights will only be installed on bicycles without lights; lights will not be given to individuals.

MTD will have a bus at the Lincoln and Illinois location so that bicyclists can learn to use the bike racks on the bus. MTD staff will be on hand to assist.

The purpose of the campaign is to improve the visibility of bicyclists at night while educating riders about the safety benefits of a bicycle light and the requirement for a front light and rear reflector as specified in Illinois law for operation of bicycles at night. The Illinois rules state that every bicycle when in use at nighttime must be equipped with a lamp on the front able to emit a white light visible from a distance of at least 500 feet, and with [at least] a red reflector on the rear visible from 100-600 feet. A lamp emitting a red light visible from a distance of 500 feet to the rear may be used in addition to the red reflector.

With daylight hours shrinking, and Daylight Savings Time fast approaching, the organizers think this is an ideal time to remind bicyclists of the need for front and rear bike lights in low light conditions. Drivers should also be reminded to be alert for bicycle traffic at all times of day and night, and to remember that bicycles travel on the same roads, must obey the same rules, and have the same rights as automobiles.

Representatives of the MTD, City of Urbana, City of Champaign, and the University of Illinois as well as other organizations including the Bike Project of Urbana-Champaign, Champaign Urbana Urbanized Area Transportation Study (CUUATS), Champaign County Bikes, and the Campus Bike Shop make this annual event possible.

Courage Connection - A woman is beaten every nine seconds in the U.S. In Champaign County the police answer over two thousand domestic violence phone calls in a year. Courage Connection provides a place of safety and an environment in which survivors are empowered and their voices are heard.

It isn’t easy to see when a loved one is being abused, mistreated or is abusing others and it is natural to want to step in and help put an end to the violence. Supporting an abused loved one is emotionally taxing and if not done properly can destroy your relationship with the victim. There are countless factors when considering leaving an abusive relationship – Love, fear, shame, money, but for most family members and friends it can be challenging to understand why anyone would stay with their abuser.

Courage Connection identified the need to provide guidance and support to the family and friends of abused victims. The Family and Friends Support Group is one of many domestic violence services that help individuals cope with the harsh realities of violence. A parent that is a current member of the group said; “As parents, we feel helpless and embarrassed. We are too ashamed to talk to family or friends about this. We really felt that we had no one to go to and somehow this horrible situation reflects on our parenting. Watching our child being hurt physically and mentally is tearing us up inside. The support group has given us an outlet without being judged or making us feels like we are bad parents.”

The Family and Friends Support Group guides individuals on how to be part of a healthy support system for their loved ones. Feelings of anger, hurt, shame and a host of other emotions may arise. In additional to learning communication tools, family and friends will have the ability to share their concerns, questions and experiences with a well-trained counselor in a confidential setting. Structured and supportive conversations with people who are in similar situations can ease the feeling of isolation, helping participants better understand their own feelings, and better understand their own options. Counselors, Sara and Amanda, have a deep understanding of the topic’s sensitivity; they act as facilitators, while participants steer the topic to their current needs. Participants are welcome to take the time they need to be comfortable in the group, and to share only when they are comfortable doing so.

Courage Connection’s Family and Friends Support Group meet the first and third Monday of the month. For more information please email or call 217-352-7151and ask to speak with Sara or Amanda.

Illinois American Water is inviting 3rd, 4th and 5th grade classrooms within the Company’s service area to participate in an “Imagine a Day Without Water” art contest. Winning students will win their classroom a $100 donation. Artwork may also be featured in a future bill insert and other
communication pieces.

“It’s hard to imagine even just one day without water. We need water to make a cup of coffee, grow fruits and vegetables, and manufacture nearly every product we use in our daily lives. We also need water to fight fires and for public health. While essential, few people understand the fundamental value of water and the systems that bring water to and from homes and businesses all day, every day,” said Bruce Hauk, president of Illinois American Water.

To help educate Illinois American Water’s youngest customers, the Company is partnering with the Value of Water Coalition on the 2nd Annual “Imagine a Day Without Water” event launched today, Sept. 15, 2016. All across the nation, events and activities will take place to highlight the important, and often taken for granted, role our drinking water plays.

Participation in the “Imagine a Day Without Water” art contest is easy. Students are asked to draw a picture and write one sentence that describes what water service and a day without water means to them. Teachers can find instructions and materials online at, in the “Learning Center” area of the site. Learn more about “Imagine a Day Without Water” here

Winner(s) of the art contest will be announced in November. Last year’s winning artwork can be viewed on the Company’s Facebook page here -

By submitting an entry the student, teacher and school are agreeing to have the submission, including
identification information like name, school, etc. to be used in Illinois American Water materials. All entries
should be sent to External Affairs Manager, Karen Cotton, at 7500 North Harker

Congratulations to Chris Billing, vice president of Berns, Clancy and Associates for being named the 2016 Mentor of the Year for the state of Illinois by the Illinois Society of Professional Engineers.  The award recognizes an Illinois Society of Professional Engineers member who best exemplifies the ideal image of a mentor. Chris has mentored young engineers over the last 25 years through the Berns, Clancy and Associates mentorship program. He also mentors young students through the fifth grade Engineer in the Classroom program and Urbana High School’s internship program to provide guidance to potential future scientists and engineers.

Heartland Bank and Trust Company will host a Community Shred Day on Saturday, September 17 from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Heartland Bank is offering this shred service free of charge at its 1101 W. Windsor Rd. branch in Champaign.

Local residents and businesses are invited to bring personal documents for secure, onsite shredding.
COPS, a service provider of document storage and disposal, will have its mobile shred unit on hand to destroy documents onsite. People will be able to watch their documents being shredded through the unit’s observation window. Items with staples and paperclips can also be shredded.

Properly disposing of personal documents is one way for people to protect themselves from identity theft. The Federal Trade Commission recommends shredding sensitive documents such as charge receipts, old utility bills, copies of credit applications, insurance forms, physician statements, unused checks, bank statements, and expired charge cards.

For more information on how to prevent or report identity theft, visit: For more information on Heartland Bank Shred Days, visit:

Jim Lund has joined the firm as a member of Meyer Capel's real estate and transactional practice groups. Jim brings a wealth of experience in real estate and banking law to the clients of Meyer
Capel. His background includes 11 years in house in the banking industry including employment as an attorney for one of the four Farm Credit System Banks. Jim also has 15 years of experience as an attorney in private practice. Over the course of his career, Jim has handled numerous financial transactions involving in excess of $100 million in the aggregate for his real estate and banking clients.
Jim has represented real estate clients with commercial, recreational lake shore and residential real estate developments; sales, acquisitions, and financing transactions; tax deferred exchanges; leasing, foreclosure, evictions and transactions involving common interest communities. Jim's banking clients have sought his advice with regulatory matters, finance, syndications/participations and special matters involving assets/creditors' rights.

Edward Jones - FORTUNE partners annually with Great Place to Work to conduct the most extensive employee survey in corporate America to identify the 100 Best Companies to Work For. Two-thirds of a company's survey score is based on the results of the Trust Index Employee Survey, which is sent to a random sample of employees from each company. This survey asks questions related to their attitudes about management's credibility, overall job satisfaction and camaraderie. The other third of the scoring is based on the company's responses to the institute's Culture Audit, which includes detailed questions about pay and benefit programs and a series of open-ended questions about hiring practices, internal communications, training, recognition programs and diversity efforts.

Financial services firm Edward Jones ranked No. 10 on FORTUNE magazine's "100 Best Companies to Work For 2016" list in its 17th appearance on the prestigious list, according to Mark Thies.

In the FORTUNE survey of associates, for which the ranking is predominantly based, 94 percent of Edward Jones associates said they have pride in the work they do. And 95% of associates say that overall, Edward Jones is a great place to work.

Edward Jones' 17 FORTUNE rankings also include top 10 finishes for 13 years, top five rankings for six years and consecutive No. 1 rankings in 2002 and 2003. Last year, the firm ranked No. 6 overall.

The full list and related stories appear in the March 15 issue of FORTUNE magazine and at

In addition to this most recent FORTUNE honor, Edward Jones was named a great place to work for women and for millennials by the Great Place to Work and FORTUNE magazine.

Employees from RSM US LLP (“RSM”) – the nation’s leading provider of audit, tax and consulting services focused on the middle market – recently held its seventh annual RSM US Volunteer Day to benefit local and national nonprofits across the country.

In Champaign, 30 RSM employees joined together to build a home for someone in need. Working in 2 shifts, volunteers installed the framing and foam board on a private home build. Working alongside Habitat for Humanity of Champaign County staff, RSM employees took the work site from subfloors to a nearly complete frame.

Habitat for Humanity of Champaign County has a mission of bringing people together to build homes, communities and hope. While they are a Christian housing ministry, they do not proselytize; through their open door policy, they welcome volunteers and supporters from all backgrounds to help them improve the lives of families needing safe, affordable, decent housing.

Hickory Point Bank today announced that Kip McDaniel has been named Mortgage Loan Officer for the Champaign-Urbana area.

RSM US LLP, the leading provider of audit, tax and consulting services focused on the middle market, announces several promotions in the firm’s Champaign office.

“I am pleased that these professionals are being recognized for their contributions to our Central Illinois practice,” said Dave Seiler, Central Illinois practice leader. “Their combined experience is invaluable as RSM continues to focus on truly understanding our clients in a variety of industries and providing them with the best possible service. I am excited about the strength and depth of our team and how our clients will continue to benefit as a result of the promotion of these talented professionals.”

Alan Broaddus has been promoted to Assurance Senior Associate. In this new role, he will be responsible for leading a team through the full audit process, preparing financial statements, and understanding of the needs and strategies of our diverse client base.

Broaddus, who joined the firm in October 2014, holds a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting from the Eastern Illinois University. He recently completed all examination requirements to become a Certified Public Accountant and is currently pursuing his license.

Alex Roth has been promoted to Tax Services Supervisor. In this new role he will help lead our growth, identify new business opportunities, and provide strategic tax planning and compliance solutions for our clients.

Roth, who joined the firm in August, 2012, holds a Bachelor’s degree from Illinois Wesleyan University and a Master’s degree from Illinois State University. He is a Certified Public Accountant and a member of the America Institute of CPAs.

Anthony Deddo has been promoted to Assurance Manager. In this role, he will be responsible for managing multiple engagement teams and clients, providing a comprehensive review of audits, and recognizing opportunities to increase and improve client service.

Deddo, who joined the firm in November, 2014, holds a Master’s degree from Bradley University. He is a Certified Public Accountant and a member of the America Institute of CPAs.

Dennis Stephen has been promoted to Assurance Senior Associate. In this new role, he will be responsible for leading a team through the full audit process, preparing financial statements, and understanding of the needs and strategies of our diverse client base.

Stephen, who joined the firm in December, 2014, holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Houston. He is currently pursuing his Certified Public Accountant license.

John Breen has been promoted to Tax Services Senior Director. In this role he focuses on tax planning and compliance for a broad mix of clients including small businesses and agriculture.

Breen, who joined the firm in September, 1993, holds a Bachelor’s degree from Illinois State University and has been enrolled to practice before the Internal Revenue Service since 1987.

Champaign County EMA is hosting a free “Ready Business: Preparing a Disaster Business Plan” course by the Extension Disaster Education Network (EDEN). The course will be led by Rick Atterberry of University of Illinois Extension and taught from 8:00AM to 11:00AM on Friday, September 23rd at the ILEAS Training Facility at 1701 East Main in Urbana. To enroll in this course, contact the Champaign County emergency Management Agency at 217-384-3826 or before September 16th. Feel free to share the attachment about the course details to those that might be interested.

SERVPRO - Each September, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) sponsors an awareness event—National Preparedness Month ( —to encourage both home and business owners to review and update their emergency preparedness and business and life continuity plans. David McGuire, owner of SERVPRO® of Champaign/Urbana, encourages Urbana property owners to take advantage of the information available from FEMA, because advance planning is critical in dealing with and recovering from the unexpected.

First Mid-Illinois Bancshares, Inc. (Nasdaq: FMBH) (“First Mid” or the “Company”) and First Clover Leaf Financial Corp. (Nasdaq: FCLF) (“First Clover Leaf”) announced that on August 31, 2016 each company’s stockholders voted in favor of the merger between the two companies. Approximately 99.2% of the votes cast by each of the First Mid stockholders and the First Clover Leaf stockholders voted in favor of their respective merger proposal.

As previously announced, under the terms of the merger agreement between First Mid and First Clover
Leaf, at the closing of the merger, each issued and outstanding share of First Clover Leaf common stock
will be converted into and become the right to receive, at the election of each stockholder and subject to
certain adjustments, either (a) $12.87 or (b) 0.495 shares of validly issued, fully paid and nonassessable
shares of First Mid common stock, par value $4.00 per share, together with cash in lieu of fractional shares.

Stockholders who failed to make an election by the Election Deadline of 5:00 p.m. central time on August
31, 2016 are deemed to have made an election to receive stock consideration. Overall elections are subject to a proration so that no more than 75% of the First Clover Leaf shares will be exchanged for First Mid stock and no more than 25% of the First Clover Leaf shares will be exchanged for cash.
First Mid and First Clover Leaf have received all necessary regulatory approvals to complete the merger and expect the transaction to close on September 8, 2016.

Congratulations to Flora Gems for celebrating 160 years in business.

Congratulations to Carle for being named to the Best Hospitals list by U.S. News and World Report.

Champaign County EMA - By preparing for disasters, businesses can save time and money if the worst happens. To help small and medium-sized businesses develop their business continuity and disaster preparedness plans, the Extension Disaster Education Network (EDEN) has developed a course called “Ready Business: Preparing a Disaster Business Plan.” The Champaign County Emergency Management Agency will offer the course in September.

The course will be led by Rick Atterberry of University of Illinois Extension and taught from 8:00AM to 11:00AM on Friday, September 23rd at the ILEAS Training Facility at 1701 East Main in Urbana.

This course will help businesspeople:
-Understand the need for business continuity and disaster preparedness planning
-Know the concepts of business continuity and disaster preparedness planning
-Discover their disaster risks
-Begin writing their individual disaster plans

To enroll in this course, contact the Champaign County emergency Management Agency at 217-384-3826 or before September 16th.

This course was developed by the Extension Disaster Education Network (EDEN). To learn more about EDEN, go to

The University YMCA is pleased to present, HOODED TRUTHS by Candace Hunter as part of the Art @ the Y public arts initiative. HOODED TRUTHS will open with a public reception on August 25, 2016 at the University YMCA’s Murphy Gallery at 1001 S. Wright Street, Champaign, Illinois, 61820. A viewing will begin at 5:00pm followed by a gallery talk with the artist herself, Candace Hunter at 5:30pm. Light refreshments will be served. The reception will close at 7:00pm. HOODED TRUTHS is on view in Murphy Gallery of the University YMCA from 9:00am to 9:00pm on Mondays through Thursdays and from 9:00am to 5:00pm on Fridays from August 25, 2016 through October 7, 2016. More information is available at

State Farm Center will kick off its Grand Re-Opening Celebration following a nearly $170 million, six-phase renovation on Thursday, October, 27. Dierks Bentley’s SOMEWHERE ON A BEACH TOUR 2016 with special guests Randy Houser and Drake White and The Big Fire will be the first event held inside the iconic venue following the extensive renovation.

Tickets go on sale to the public, Friday, August 26 at 10 a.m. at the Illinois Ticket Office at State Farm Center, online at, or over the phone at 866-ILLINI-1.

When Rogards opened for business on Monday, August 1, it only had one owner instead of the three owners it has had for the past five years. Chad and Catherine Hoffman have made the decision to sell their shares of the 110 year old company to their business partner, Tonya Horn. The change comes after a successful time period for the three business partners, as they acquired the company from Horn’s father in 2011 and have steadily grown the business since then.

Illinois American Water is accepting applications for its 2016 Firefighter Grant Program. Through this program, the company provides financial assistance to fire and emergency organizations serving communities in its service areas.

According to Bruce Hauk, president of Illinois American Water, the Firefighter Grant Program is another opportunity for Illinois American Water to support fire protection efforts. He said, “This program allows our team to build on our partnership with our local heroes and contribute to their hard work. Since 2010, we’ve had the privilege of awarding over $294,000 for over 280 grants to our community firefighters.”

The maximum grant amount is $1,000. Fire departments-districts are eligible for one grant per calendar year. Only uniformed professional and volunteer fire departments serving Illinois American Water’s service territory are eligible to receive funding. Grants of up to $1,000 will be considered to cover the costs associated with the following:
• Personal protective gear
• Communications equipment
• Firefighting tools
• Water handling equipment
• Training and related activities/materials used to support community fire protection
• Reimbursement for specific fire training classes, including training manuals and workbooks

Fire departments should send a letter of application postmarked by Sept. 8, 2016 with the following information:
• Description of the organization(s) seeking support
• Overview of specific project to be funded and grant amount requested
• Community problem/challenges that the project will address
• Timeframe for implementation of project
• Summary of other sources being approached for support of project
• Project budget

Applications can be emailed to Karen Cotton, manager of external affairs, at

Parkland College - David Charney and Adam Karch, Parkland College/Early College and Career Academy (ECCA) automotive instructors, recently took their dual credit engine team, consisting of eight ECCA high school students, to the Dual Champion Qualifying event for the Hot Rodders of Tomorrow Engine Challenge, in Joliet. The Hot Rodders of America Engine challenge is a competition to see how fast high school students can tear down and rebuild an engine. After being disassembled, the engine is rebuilt to factory specifications, all while being timed and with up to five judges watching. Competing against fifty other teams, the ECCA Engine Team qualified for nationals with a time of 27 minutes and 50 seconds, with no errors or penalties. Karch says, “this is a great achievement for our team in its first season. The promoter of this contest told us early on that no school had qualified for nationals in their first season.” Students will compete in the national competition at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas, Nevada, in November. The winners of the competition will receive scholarship money.

Birkey’s Farm Store, Inc. was recognized by Case IH for achieving Pinnacle excellence recognition in all areas of its business inlcuding sales, marketing, operations, parts and service.

Only seven dealerships of 548 across North America earned Pinnacle ecellence status.

Birkey’s locations earning Pinnacle excellence status were Gibson City, Henry, Hoopeston, Oakland, Prophetstown and Urbana which accounted for six of the seven dealerships recognized with this status for 2015.

Culver's and Blood Services of Illinois - Give a pint, get a pint -- it’s that simple. To help support local blood drive efforts, Culver’s of Champaign is offering a complimentary pint of the restaurant’s signature handcrafted Fresh Frozen Custard to individuals who donate a pint of blood on August 17th from 2:30 to 5:00 at Culver's, 2302 S. Neil St. Champaign Illinois.

Culver’s of Champaign has partnered with local FFA chapters as part of a larger, nationwide effort by Culver’s and its guests to thank the family farmers on which the restaurants depend. Through October 31 guests will have the chance to show their support of farmers by purchasing Blue Barn wall cutouts they can sign and have hung on the restaurant’s wall. Culver’s will donate $1 for each decal purchased.

Through the Thank You, Farmers partnership, participating restaurants across the U.S. will help spread awareness and generate support for the nation’s hardworking farmers

Fehr Graham, a leading Midwest engineering and environmental firm headquartered in Freeport, IL, with 10 locations in three states including Champaign and Springfield, today announced it has earned a spot on the Zweig Group Hot Firm List for the third year in a row. Fehr Graham ranked #72 on the prestigious list that identified the 100 fastest-growing privately held architecture, engineering, planning and environmental consulting firms in the United States and Canada. Placement on the list is based on both percentage revenue growth and dollar revenue growth over a three-year period compared to the other entrants.

Effective August 1, Girl Scouts of Central Illinois has relocated its local Champaign office and Trefoil Boutique to 1001 S. Wright St., Rm. 1. Trefoil Boutique hours have changed: Monday and Wednesday 3:30pm-6:30pm and Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday 11am-2pm. Street metered parking is available on Wright, Chalmers & 6th Streets at 75 cents per hour. One Girl Scout guest parking space is available near the west door at the back of the building. Free parking is available after 5pm in the lot on 6th Street between Daniel & Chalmers and the parking garage on 6th and John. Bus lines include Yellow, Blue, Navy, Brown, Silver and Illini. Please continue to call 217-328-5112 with any questions or for an appointment.

Heartland Bank and Trust Company proudly announces the hiring of Todd Lindsey, CTP, as Treasury Management Sales Officer for the local market. Lindsey will serve the business banking and financial management needs of the Champaign, Urbana, Bloomington, Peoria and Princeton area communities. He is responsible for developing new business relationships and assisting existing business clients with their deposit and treasury management needs. 

The company also proudly announces that Jason Orris has been promoted to Retail Support Manager for the several of the bank’s branches in central Illinois including the locations at 1101 W. Windsor Rd. and 2101 W. Springfield Ave. in Champaign and 602 S. Vine St. and 1812 S. Philo Rd. in Urbana.

Hickory Point Bank today announced that Dave Brandon has been named as an Associate in the Trust and Wealth Management Group. In addition to trust account management, Mr. Brandon will develop new business in the areas of trust, shareholder services, investment management, and farm management.

Local entrepreneur, David McGuire of SERVPRO of Champaign/Urbana was/were recognized with the FOUNDER'S Bronze award for outstanding revenue performance during an Awards ceremony at the 47th Annual SERVPRO® Convention. A record-setting group of more than 2800 franchise owners, key staff and corporate representatives attended the convention, which was held at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas from June 26 to 30.

Heartland Bank and Trust Company proudly announces the promotion of Belinda Landry as Community Reinvestment Mortgage Banker to serve local customers. She most recently worked in the bank’s loan servicing support area. In her new role, Landry serves customers in the Bloomington-Normal, Champaign-Urbana, Peoria, and Farmer City communities and is based at the bank’s 405 N. Hershey Road location in Bloomington. She is responsible for assisting customers with residential lending needs, including new home mortgages, mortgage refinancing, second mortgages, home equity loans and lines of credit. Landry specializes in helping homebuyers understand and use down payment assistance and community grant programs

Ramshaw Real Estate, a full-service commercial and residential real estate brokerage and management firm, is pleased to announce the growth of the home office team to better meet the needs of its growing customer base. Lisa Clarkson was named Marketing Coordinator, Abigail Craig was appointed to Portfolio Manager, and Jennifer Crowley has joined the team as Administrative Support. In addition, Sarah Kasper was promoted to Office Manager after serving as the Business Innovation Center’s Receptionist since March of 2015.

They also announced an 8 ½ year deal with Tri Rinse, Inc. An environmental contractor, Tri Rinse was founded in 1981 and is headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri. It will occupy 158,159 square feet, or a little over fifty percent, of the previous Bell Sports, Inc. facility located at 1924 CR 3000 North in Rantoul, Illinois.

For more information on SVN | Ramshaw Real Estate, visit

Illinois American Water’s 2015 Water Quality Reports are now accessible through its website at, as well as via printed copies that can be mailed to customers upon request. By providing two easy ways for customers to receive confirmation that their drinking water meets all federal standards for water quality, the company is working to increase the public’s understanding of the value of water.

Also known as the Consumer Confidence Report, the water quality report compares the quality of water supplied by Illinois American Water against standards established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that are enforced by the Illinois EPA. The report describes local drinking water sources and shares test results, including substances detected and their levels. Illinois American Water continues to meet all standards.

“Meeting these standards is the most important thing we do every moment of every day,” said Illinois American Water President Bruce Hauk. “Our teams of water quality, plant operations, and water distribution professionals work hard each and every day to ensure the highest quality water and service to our customers, and these annual results are a testament to their dedication. We encourage our customers to familiarize themselves with the information in these reports.”

According to EPA, American Water’s subsidiaries together have greater than 99.9 percent compliance for both water and wastewater standards over the last five years.

In addition to online access, customers can ask for a hard copy to be mailed to them by contacting customer service at 1-800-422-2782.

Habitat for Humanity - In funding partnership with the Illinois Attorney General Revitalization grant funds, and volunteers from the Unitarian Universalist Church of Urbana, and the Habitat Women Build 2016 volunteers, Habitat will dedicate their 88th home on Tuesday, July 26th at 6:00 pm in Champaign with Melanie Robinson and her family. The public is invited for a short ceremony and house blessing at 512 West Beardsley in Champaign.

Sheila Dodd, Executive Director for the local Habitat affiliate says, “This opportunity allowed Habitat to revitalize a property and help the Robinson’s secure a new home in a well-established Champaign neighborhood. We are thrilled that Melanie and her children have helped to build their future together through Habitat.”

The Habitat model requires homeowners to complete 30 hours of financial education classes as well as 250 hours of labor in building their home. Ms. Robinson and her eldest daughter worked many weeks alongside volunteers from the Urbana Unitarian Universalist Church, as well as with the Habitat Women Build participants. On May 7th, Ms. Robinson and close to fifty Women Build volunteers completed the front porch and installed the siding. “I know the “love from a higher power” has helped to boost my confidence, and kept me believing I could do this with Habitat, says Ms. Robinson. I tell my children that hard work and staying focused will help them realize their dreams. This experience is proof of how people can work together to help one another. I’m so appreciative of the blessing that building this house has provided my family.”
For more information on Habitat for Humanity of Champaign County please view this link or

Christie Clinic welcomes Dr. Nick Karagiorgos to the Vein and Vascular Center.

Bemco/Spring Air of Central Illinois is teaming up with Champaign Park District, Boy Scouts of Central Illinois, Mega Events, and This Is It Furniture to attempt to break the world record for Human Mattress Dominoes at West Side Park on September 24, 2016. The current world record is held by Maryland with 1,200 participants.

We are attempting to set a new world record with 2,000 participants. The unique benefit of this community project is that the 2,000 mattresses are being DONATED TO FILL CENTRAL ILLINOIS SHELTERS. Bemco/Spring Air will be selling mattresses for $200 each now through September 15th. Each person or company who purchases a mattress will get to choose from a list of shelters where they would like their mattress to be donated. These include, area shelters for men, women, veterans, and youth, such as Times Center, The Center for Women in Transition, and The Round House, to name a few. After the world record attempt, the Boy Scouts of Central Illinois will be delivering the mattresses to the different shelters in Central Illinois--unless you prefer to deliver your donated mattress yourself.

If you are interested in purchasing a mattress to be donated, donating any dollar amount, or purchasing a sponsorship package, visit our website for details ( or contact Mike Namoff at 217-202-2821.

Habitat for Humanity will be celebrating 25 years of bringing people together to help build strength, stability and self-reliance through shelter in 2017. In recognition of this anniversary year, Habitat plans to construct 2 homes in Urbana with the financial and interfaith support from community churches, temples, mosques and houses of worship. Representing all the major monotheistic religions—Islam, Judaism, and Christianity—local faith groups will be joining together to provide a “hand up” working alongside two local Habitat homeowners in the coming year.

Initial outreach has generated interest from over 20 faith groups, and participation is welcomed from any Champaign County faith group. Habitat plans to ceremoniously “kick off” the builds September 11, 2016 (A National day of Service and Remembrance) with each participating group adding soil from their place of worship to the build sites in Urbana. A weeklong blitz build to get the homes secured for the winter months will take place later in the fall, with the homes being completed in the spring of 2017. Faith group volunteers will be participating alongside other faiths in collaborative service and community engagement. For more information or how to be involved please contact Kelly Hill, Habitat Development Director

Champaign Urbana Schools Foundation - Congratulations to Jessy Ruddell for her new position as Retail Manager at the I.D.E.A Store.

Congratulations to Jeff R. Livesay for recently being named partner at Martin, Hood, Friese & Associates.

Consolidated Communications Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: CNSL) announced today it has completed the acquisition of Champaign Telephone Company (CTC) and its sister company, Big Broadband Services, a private business communications provider in the Champaign-Urbana, Ill. area.

“We are pleased to finalize the CTC acquisition and look forward to leveraging the combined strengths of both companies to serve the greater Champaign-Urbana, Ill. area with expanded commercial services,” said Bob Udell, president and chief executive officer of Consolidated Communications. “This acquisition reinforces our commercial growth strategy, which includes both organic and acquisition growth.”

CTC serves approximately 1,500 business customers across the greater Champaign, Ill. area. The acquisition adds 275 fiber route miles and 310 lit buildings to Consolidated’s Illinois network.

“We will continue to have a strong, local presence in the greater Champaign-Urbana area and are very excited about the benefits this business combination will provide CTC customers,” added Udell.

First Mid-Illinois Bancshares, Inc. (NASDAQ: FMBH) today announced that, effective after the US market opened on June 27, it joined the Russell 3000® Index following the Russell US Indexes annual reconstitution.

Annual reconstitution of the Russell US indexes captures the 4,000 largest US stocks as of the end of May, ranking them by total market capitalization. Membership in the US all-cap Russell 3000® Index, which remains in place for one year, means automatic inclusion in the large-cap Russell 1000® Index or small-cap Russell 2000® Index, as well as the appropriate growth and value style indexes. FTSE Russell determines membership for its Russell indexes by objective, market-capitalization rankings and style attributes.

“Inclusion in the Russell 3000® Index will give our stock increased exposure to investors and the financial community,” said Joe Dively, Chairman and CEO of the Company. “The continued execution of our strategic growth plan and increase in market capitalization during the past year enabled us to achieve this inclusion in the widely followed Russell 3000® Index.”

Indexes provided by FTSE Russell, a leading global index provider, are widely used by investment managers and institutional investors for index funds and as benchmarks for active investment strategies. Approximately $6 trillion in assets are benchmarked against the Russell US indexes.

For more information on the Russell 3000® Index and the Russell US Indexes reconstitution, go to the “Russell Reconstitution” section on the FTSE Russell website.

Congratulations to John Foreman, president of The News-Gazette, Inc. for receiving the Distinguished Service Award from the Illinois Press Association. Read the full article



Illinois American Water received the J.D. Power award for ranking highest in customer satisfaction among water utilities in the Midwest according to J.D. Power’s 2016 Water Utility Residential Customer Satisfaction StudySM. The utility also achieved the highest score in the region for price and communications.

This first-time, national study was based on more than 20,000 responses, representing more than 83 million residential customers of the 84 largest water utilities across the United States. Residential customers were surveyed in March 2016 and had experiences with their utility within the past six months. The Overall Water Utility Satisfaction Index measures key performance indicators in six areas: delivery (including quality), price, billing and payment, conservation, communications, and customer service.

Design Group International is pleased to announce Matthew M. Thomas as its newest Senior Design Partner. Mr. Thomas joins the partnership after nearly six years as a Senior Consultant with the firm.
Mr. Thomas will continue to consult with organizations and their leaders as they transform for a vibrant future, focusing on the following areas: 

  • helping organizations and their leaders get, understand, and act upon good data - whether financial or qualitative;
  • helping leaders analyze, strategize, and model their businesses for healthy decision-making;
  • strengthening the overall capacity of associational systems.



    Farnsworth Group, Inc., a national full-service engineering/architecture firm, was certified as a great workplace today by the independent analysts at Great Place to Work®.

    “The Great Place to Work certification is one of the most recognized designations in the U.S. business community, and is a real testament to the culture that has been built by our employees,” said Farnsworth Group President and CEO Karen Jensen, PE. “The survey indicated that more than 95 percent of our employees take great pride in working at Farnsworth Group. That translates to a truly great workplace, which ultimately serves to the benefit of our clients.”

    Kim Peters, Vice President of Great Place to Work’s Recognition Program, said: "We applaud Farnsworth Group, Inc. for seeking certification and releasing its employees' feedback. These ratings measure its capacity to earn its own employees' trust and create a great workplace - critical metrics that anyone considering working for or doing business with Farnsworth Group should take into account as an indicator of high performance."

    Farnsworth Group employees completed 299 surveys, resulting in a 90 percent confidence level and margin of error of ± 2.49.

    Midland States Bank announced that it has hired Cynthia Carr as its Director of Information Security and IT Governance. Carr joins Midland after spending more than 25 years in various IT leadership and delivery positions.

    At Midland, Carr will be responsible for the development and implementation of an expanded Information Security and IT Governance roadmap and execution plan.

    Carr received her Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Systems from Wilberforce University in Wilberforce, Ohio. She received SAP, ERP and Business Intelligence training from Advanced Computer Training in Glenview, Illinois. Carr also has over fifteen years of experience as a HIPAA Security Officer where her responsibility was to ensure compliance with the standards of the federal government regulations by managing all technical system, policies and procedures.

    Congratulations to Busey Bank and BPC, Inc. for being named “2016 Best Places to Work in Illinois”. To view the full list of recipients CLICK HERE.

    First Mid-Illinois Bank & Trust was named 2015 Central/Southern Illinois Community Lender of the Year Award by the U.S. Small Business Administration at their summit and awards conference on May 9, 2016. This award is presented to the community bank with the best overall performance record for lending to small businesses in Illinois.

    Eric McRae, Executive Vice President and Senior Lender for the company stated, “First Mid-Illinois Bank & Trust is committed to the economic growth of the communities we serve. Small businesses are the engines that power our local economy. First Mid is honored to receive recognition from the SBA for the third consecutive year for our role in supporting small business.”

    Spherion Staffing Services, a local recruiting, staffing and workforce solutions provider backed by the resources of a $2 billion global workforce leader, recently honored Cindy Somers, owner of the Charleston, Decatur and Savoy offices in Illinois, with the company’s 2016 Clerical Sales Growth Award. The annual award recognizes the Spherion leader who achieves the greatest year-over-year sales growth in the clerical skills sector.

    Somers’ leadership and her staffing team’s end-to-end service approach garnered significant growth in clerical skills project volume for her three offices in 2015. Additionally, this marks the third consecutive year Somers’ offices have led the company in clerical skills revenue generation.

    “A great deal of the successes Cindy and her team have enjoyed come from their commitment to understanding the trends and events shaping their local markets,” said Sandy Mazur, division president of Spherion. “Cindy’s drive, dedication and ability to lead by example have created new opportunities to assist job seekers and businesses specializing in clerical fields. We are thrilled to celebrate her accomplishments and proven history of serving our clients and candidates.”

    Somers first began working with Spherion in 1992 and moved into an ownership role in 1999. Under her leadership, Spherion has expanded its community presence through involvement with local organizations including the Champaign West Rotary, the Don Moyer Boys and Girls Club and local United Way chapters.

    The American Red Cross recently recognized SERVPRO®, a cleanup and restoration company, for participation in its Disaster Responder Program1. As a Disaster Responder Program member, SERVPRO pledges a donation to the Red Cross in advance of disasters, allowing the organization to respond quickly and effectively to nearly 66,000 disasters annually, most of which are home fires. SERVPRO is entering their third year of partnership with the Red Cross; their donations to the organization to date exceed one million dollars.

    Clark Dietz, Inc. - The Illinois Municipal League (IML) appointed five new board of director members to the Risk Management Association (RMA) in a special meeting held May 26, 2016. The RMA provides a cooperative self-insurance and risk management program for Illinois municipalities that aims to reduce costs of coverage through effective loss control practices and combined purchasing power. Sean Widener, PE, of Clark Dietz, Inc. was among the appointees named at the meeting.

    Sean Widener is a transportation engineer with Clark Dietz, Inc., where he serves as a Department Manager in the firm’s Champaign office. Mr. Widener is a licensed Professional Engineer in the State of Illinois and Indiana as well as a registered Professional Traffic Operations Engineer. He is a proud graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a veteran of the Illinois Army National Guard. He was elected to the Mahomet Village Board as a Trustee in 2009 and currently serves as the Acting Village President. Sean and his wife Darcy have two sons and have lived in Mahomet since 2003.

    Regency Apartments won "Best in the Industry" recognition for customer service excellence in its apartment communities in Illinois, Indiana and Michigan for the ninth consecutive year. The award is based in results for Regency owned and managed apartment communities. Regency Apartments has participated in the resident satidfaction survey for 12 years.

    Presence Covenant Medical Center  has been awarded $30,000 in grants to implement sodium-reduction strategies from the Illinois Health and Hospital Association.

    To learn more about the hospital, CLICK HERE.

    Farnsworth Group’s design on the Urbana Boneyard Creek Improvement project was named the 2016 Project of the Year by the American Public Works Association (APWA). In addition, APWA honored the project with a Project Award in the Environmental Category, recognizing projects in the $5 million to $25 million range. The APWA presented the awards to the project owner, the City of Urbana, Farnsworth Group and the contractor, O’Neil Brothers, during the agency’s annual conference where it recognizes the top engineering projects in the state.

    The City of Urbana hired Farnsworth Group to lead a project team, which included Wenk Associates and artist Jack Mackie, to provide civil, structural, transportation, electrical engineering, landscape architecture, and construction administration services on the Urbana Boneyard Creek Improvement project. The Boneyard Creek is an urban waterway that runs through the Champaign, Urbana, and the University of Illinois campus, eventually feeding into the Saline Branch drainage ditch north of downtown Urbana. As part of a larger effort to energize the downtown Urbana area, the City Council wanted to create and implement improvements to the Boneyard Creek between Griggs Street and Broadway Avenue.

    Originally, the creek channel was comprised of a concrete bottom with sheet pile sections surrounded by a barbed-wire chain link fence; the balance of the channel was overgrown with invasive species. The channel section was strictly for stormwater conveyance and was inaccessible to the public.

    Project goals to revitalize the area were established following comprehensive public input to enhance the local community, create a network of paths, protect and enhance wildlife, improve flood control and water quality, and provide spaces for active and passive recreation. The completed improvements transformed the downtown area, creating a central park bringing value to the community.

    Illinois American Water - For generations, Illinois American Water employees have relied on a book of printed maps and some institutional knowledge to know the precise locations of the system's hydrants, valves, and water main.  An investment in Global Positioning System (GPS) technology is changing this and, as a result, enhancing customer service.  


    Beginning this week, with the help of temporary employees, Illinois American Water’s Champaign County District is using GPS to collect data and modernize its mapping system.  The statewide program, which launched in 2014 and will continue across the state for the next two years, is a $1.5 million investment.  This work is expected to continue in Champaign County through the summer.


    According to Shawn Simpson, GIS Project Manager, “This technology helps us capture knowledge, improve customer service, and we’re doing it cost effectively.  It will also support all business units across our company so they have needed resources at their fingertips.”

    She explains that with the completion of this project, Illinois American Water employees will be able to use in-vehicle computers or handheld GPS locators to locate assets in the field.  This will help decrease response time for main breaks and customer service requests.   In addition to increasing efficiencies, the project also supports goals for workforce replenishment.  

    David Farrar, Sr. Manager of Operations and Production for the Champaign County District said, “Like many companies, Illinois American Water has an aging workforce - over half of our employees will be at retirement age within the next decade.  Capturing knowledge now is important to ensuring the high customer service our team prides itself in delivering.”

    To map the local infrastructure, the temporary employees will be traveling throughout communities to locate and record the location of valves, hydrants and customer connections using GPS equipment. These temporary employees will not need access inside customers’ homes to complete this work, but customers may see them working in their neighborhood.


    Midland States Bancorp, Inc. announced today that it has commenced an initial public offering of 3,865,000 shares of its common stock pursuant to a registration statement on Form S-1 filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Midland is offering 3,077,252 shares and selling shareholders are offering 787,748 shares. It is expected that the underwriters will have a 30-day option to purchase up to an additional 579,750 shares from Midland. The initial public offering price is expected to be between $25.00 and $27.00 per share, and the common stock is expected to trade on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the symbol "MSBI."

    Midland expects to receive net proceeds of approximately $72.7 million from the offering, after deducting underwriting discounts and estimated offering expenses. Of this amount, Midland intends to contribute $25.0 million to its bank subsidiary, and to use the remainder for general corporate purposes, which could include future acquisitions and other growth initiatives. Midland also intends to use approximately $4.8 million to complete the pending acquisition of wealth management assets from Sterling National Bank. Midland will not receive any proceeds from the sale of shares by the selling shareholders.

    Sandler O’Neill + Partners, L.P. and Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, Inc. are acting as lead book-running managers and D.A. Davidson & Co. and Stephens, Inc. are acting as co-managers for the offering.

    The offering will be made solely by means of a prospectus. Copies of the preliminary prospectus related to the offering can be obtained by writing Sandler O’Neill & Partners, L.P., Attention: Syndicate, 1251 Avenue of the Americas, 6th Floor, New York, NY 10020, by emailing or by calling (866) 805-4128; or by writing Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, Inc., 787 Seventh Ave., 4th Floor, New York, NY 10019, Attention: Equity Capital Markets or by calling (800) 966-1559.

    A registration statement relating to these securities has been filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission but has not yet become effective. These securities may not be sold nor may offers to buy be accepted prior to the time that the registration statement becomes effective. This press release shall not constitute an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy, nor shall there be any sale of the securities in any jurisdiction in which such offer, solicitation or sale would.

    Spherion Staffing Services - The Savoy office of Spherion Staffing Services, a local recruiting and staffing solutions provider backed by the resources of a $2 billion global workforce leader, recently celebrated its 35th anniversary, marking more than three successful decades of connecting job seekers and businesses in Champaign, Coles and Macon counties.

    Founded in 1981 by local entrepreneur Penn Nelson, the father of current franchise owner Cindy Somers, Spherion’s Savoy office fills hundreds of temporary, direct hire and temp-to-hire positions each year. Featuring a team of six staffing industry veterans with more than 75 years of combined experience and deep-rooted community connections, the Savoy office specializes in assisting area call center, customer service, clerical, professional services and industrial businesses with meeting their workforce goals.

    The milestone is especially noteworthy for Somers, who has witnessed the growth of both the Savoy office and the local business community during her tenure. After joining her father’s staffing services team in 1992, Somers progressively ascended to higher-responsibility roles before becoming a partial owner in 1999 and ultimately assuming sole office ownership in 2011. Somers additionally has expanded Spherion’s staffing services to a wider range of Illinois businesses and job seekers, opening new branches in Charleston and Decatur in recent years.

    Fehr Graham, a leading Midwest engineering and environmental firm with offices in 10 locations, including Champaign and Springfield, today announced that Matthew Johnson, P.E., S.E., and branch manager, has been recognized as one of the 2016 Rising Stars in Civil Engineering by Civil + Structural Engineer magazine, a national publication dedicated to serving the needs of civil and structural engineering firms, in addition to state, city and county engineers.

    According to the publication, the fifth annual Rising Stars in Civil and Structural Engineering recognizes 25 professionals, 40 years old or younger working in the United States, who have shown exceptional technical capability, leadership ability, effective teaching or research, or public service benefiting the civil engineering profession, their employers, project owners, and society.

    Johnson has been involved in numerous high-profile transportation and water projects throughout the Midwest, including municipal and private developments. He has both a civil and structural background and has excelled at design for both bridges and wastewater treatment plants. As branch manager, he is a leader and coaches the firm’s young talents, as well as working alongside established experts.

    Krannert Center - The new season at Krannert Center will burst forth with an Opening Night Party on Friday, September 9 featuring The Pedrito Martinez Group, Davina and The Vagabonds, and Red Baraat as well as food vendors, community partners, and activities throughout the lobby and terraces. As the opening wave of activity continues, exceptional artistry from across the spectrum awaits audiences. Victor Quijada’s RUBBERBANDance Group, jazz phenomenons Joshua Redman and Brad Meldhau, kids’ favorite The Laurie Berkner Band, a cine-concert version of The Triplets of Belleville, and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra are just a few of the exceptional offerings that will grace the Center’s diverse stages in the first months of the season.

    In the classical realm, the Center will welcome pianist Lang Lang, Ensemble Basiani, the Venice Baroque Orchestra, the National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine, Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, the St. Louis Symphony, Jupiter String Quartet, and a series of winners from preeminent competitions for emerging young classical artistry. The spring semester will also feature an innovative look at “new” music, honoring the University of Illinois’ long-standing presentation of classical music from the 20th century. The month-long celebration, to be called Sonic Illinois, will feature the ensemble TWO, Jupiter String Quartet with clarinetist Todd Palmer, Pulitzer Prize winner Julia Wolfe’s Anthracite Fields as performed by Bang on a Can All-Stars with the UI Chamber Singers, Stephen Burns and Kahil El’Zabar in The Black Composer Speaks, and numerous ensembles and faculty members from the University of Illinois School of Music.

    Music, dance, and acrobatics will also be featured in the new season with the return of the Shanghai Acrobats of the People’s Republic of China, a new work by Lucky Plush Productions entitled Trip the Light Fantastic: The Making of SuperStrip, Aida Cuevas and Mariachi Reyna de Los Angeles, singer/songwriter Susan Werner, The Havana Cuba All-Stars, Mark Morris Dance Group and Music Ensemble, Red Sky, Russian National Ballet Theatre, Step Afrika!, the show Cuisine & Confessions from the Quebec-based cirque performers of Les 7 doights de la main, and the moving theatrical piece WILDERNESS by En Garde Arts, among many others.

    Dynamic performances by Dance at Illinois, Illinois Theatre, and Lyric Theatre @ Illinois, as well as from Sinfonia da Camera and the Champaign-Urbana Symphony Orchestra, are also featured in the new season and can be found in the lists that follow.

    University of Illinois - Urbana/Champaign - Congratulations to Rebecca Nash for receiving the 2016 Office Professional of the Year Award from the Secretariat at the University of Illinois. Nash is an administrative assistant to and was nominated by Kathleen Harleman, interim dean of applied and fine arts.

    Coldwell Banker Commercial, Devonshire Realty - Larry Kuchefski, Jay Sikorski and Curtis Tillett have received the Thomas E. Harrington Sr. Circle of Distinction Award which is bestowed upon the top ranking producers.

    Congratulations to Rachel of Curtis Orchard who received the ribbon for best tasting honey in the Midwest! The Black Jar International Honey Contest also placed her among the ten best IN THE WORLD. For more information

    Illinois American Water - Illinois American Water announced today that five watershed initiatives across the state will receive funding through the company’s 2016 Environmental Grant Program. The recipients will receive a share of grant funds totaling $15,000 for community projects that improve, restore or protect watersheds. Illinois American Water awarded the 2016 Environmental Grants to the following: Alton Community School District #11, City of South Beloit, Urbana Park District, Peoria Park District andPekin Park District.




    First Mid-Illinois Bancshares, Inc. announced today the execution of a definitive agreement under which First Mid will acquire all of the outstanding shares of First Clover Leaf Financial Corp. in a cash and stock transaction valued at $12.87 per share, or a total of approximately $90 million.

    Under the terms of the agreement, First Clover Leaf’s stockholders may elect to exchange each share of First Clover Leaf common stock for either $12.87 in cash or .495 of a share of First Mid common stock, subject to certain potential adjustments. Overall elections are subject to proration such that 25 percent of the First Clover Leaf shares will be exchanged for cash and 75 percent for First Mid stock. The stock portion of the transaction is intended to be tax-free to stockholders. The consideration represents a 34% premium to First Clover Leaf’s stock price as of the close of business on April 25, 2016.

    With nearly $655 million in total assets, First Clover Leaf is the holding company for First Clover Leaf Bank and headquartered in Edwardsville, Illinois. First Clover Leaf Bank currently operates seven full-service banking centers in Illinois and Missouri, with total deposits of approximately $533 million and $427 million in loans as of December 31, 2015.

    Meyer Capel®, the largest, most diversified law firm headquartered in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois proudly announces the addition of Champaign attorney Marc J. Ansel as a shareholder of the firm and attorneys Alyx J. Parker and Dane C. Amundson as associates with the law firm. Attorneys Ansel, Parker and Amundson practiced law together as Ansel Law, Ltd. prior to joining Meyer Capel's litigation department.
    The firm also proudly announces the addition of Bloomington-Normal attorney Scott Kording as a shareholder of the firm in its Bloomington office located at 202 North Center Street in downtown Bloomington, Illinois. Kording has practiced law continuously in Mclean County for over 10 years and graduated summa cum Jaude from Illinois State University and magna cum Jaudefrom University of Illinois College of Law.

    Marine Bank - Angie Zindars has been promoted to Branch Manager for the Marine Bank location at 1001 Neil Street.

    Ms. Zindars has been with Marine Bank since it opened its first branch in the Champaign market in 2007. In total, she has more than a dozen years of local banking experience. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Eastern Illinois University.

    CUMTD - Multimodal Corridor Enhancement (MCORE) Project transportation improvements are on schedule to begin this fall. The scale of this infrastructure work on key corridors will have significant traffic impacts including detours and street closures during construction. Updated project timelines and associated information will be provided beginning in late summer 2016.

    The $42M MCORE Project, a partnership between the Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District (MTD), City of Champaign, City of Urbana, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign will improve access for all modes of transportation in critical campus and near-campus areas including Green Street, Armory Avenue, White Street, and Wright Street. The MCORE Project is funded in part by a $15.7M Federal Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) Grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation.

    Girl Scout’s of Central Illinois honored six Women of Distincton on April 21, 2016 - four of which are fellow Chamber Members. Congratulations to all those honored.

    Congratulations to John Bambenek of Bambenek Consulting for being appointed to the Illinois Board of Higher Education by Govenor Bruce Rauner. 
    CLICK HERE to read the full story.

    Coldwell Banker Commercial Devonshire Realty has been acknowledged as being the number one office in total transactions in the nation. This is the first year that the award has been given and signifies Coldwell Banker Commercial Devonshire Realty as having more transactions completed than any other Coldwell Banker Commercial affiliated company.


    Midland States Bank has recently hired Cristina Ciorna, a Learning and Development professional with over 9 years experience in designing and executing programs that elevate employee knowledge, productivity and engagement, to the position of Training Director.

    Since 2006, Ciorna had worked for a large Southern California utility company with her most recent responsibility as Employee Development Manager, where she worked to develop learning solutions for its 13,000 employees. In her role with Midland, Ciorna will oversee the development, implementation and measurement of an employee learning and development strategy that focuses on enabling Midland teams to support and sustain the company’s strategic direction and mission.



    Eichenauer Services, Inc. (ESI) is celebrating their 70th year in business. President Lee Eichenauer states on behalf of the entire organization, "Our Company is thrilled beyond words to be entering our 70th year in business. Obviously, we would not be able to celebrate these 70 years in business without the
    trust and loyalty of our Customers and Manufacturers, as well as, the tireless efforts exhibited by our ESI Team Members on a daily basis.”

    ESI is the largest downstate-Illinois factory certified full-service repair/installation company specializing in
    commercial grade cooking, refrigeration, sanitation, holding, and HVAC equipment for the food service industry.

    For more information about ESI,

    Congratulations to Soccer Planet for expanding their facility. To keep up with demand, owners Graham and Liz Berry decided to add over 18,000 square foot of space which doubled the amount of turf space that they previously had. 

    Click here for more information.

    Coldwell Banker Commercial Devonshire Realty - Josh Markiewicz of Coldwell Banker Commercial Devonshire Realty has been named to the Bronze level of the Coldwell Banker Commercial® (CBC) Circle of Distinction. This honor is bestowed upon the top ranking producers among all CBC-affiliated sales professionals* based on their transaction revenue for 2015.

    Zach Wetherell of Coldwell Banker Commercial Devonshire Realty has earned the 2015 #1 Sales Professional* Award in the state of Illinois for Coldwell Banker Commercial®. He has also been named to the Silver level of the Coldwell Banker Commercial® (CBC) Circle of Distinction. This honor is bestowed upon the top ranking producers among all CBC-affiliated sales professionals* based on their transaction revenue for 2015.

    Sperry Van Ness - Alex Ruggieri was recently awarded the Partnership Circle’s Award and recognized as a top advisor. Sperry Van Ness is one of the nation’s largest commercial real estate investment brokerage firms.

    He was presented with the prestigious award during the company’s National Conference in San Diego, CA. on Feb. 25. The conference was attended by over 400 Sperry Van Ness advisors from across the country. The company has 1300 advisors nationwide and only the top 5% receive the award. Ruggieri was then honored with the Ambassador Award, which is awarded to only one advisor in the country who embodies the Sperry Van Ness culture and best contributes to the success of the company. Only one person has received this award two times, Alex Ruggieri.

    Ruggieri specializes in the sale of commercial real estate in east central Illinois. In 2015, Ruggieri’s sale volume was valued in the excess of $35 million.

    “Winning this award was a great honor for me and another accolade for the community of Champaign, Illinois,” said Ruggieri. “This signifies the businesses we are attracting and the tremendous growth our area is experiencing.”

    Congratulations to Coldwell Banker Commercial Devonshire Realty for earning the 2015 Commercial Elite award which is bestowed upon the top 15 Coldwell Banker Commercial® affiliated companies globally. This marks the 12th time in 13 years the office has earned this distinguished award.

    For more information about Coldwell Banker Commercial Devonshire Realty

    Robeson's Inc. - Phyllis and Kyle Robeson have spent their lives making a difference in Champaign County. Through their continued support of the arts, youth organizations, healthcare, parks and recreation, and more, they have impacted the lives of countless young people. Prairielands Council is proud to honor their contribution to the community with the 2nd Annual Distinguished Citizen Award. Please join us for the evening to congratulate Phyllis and Kyle, celebrate with other members of the community, and see Scouting in action.

    Champaign Urbana Schools Foundation will honor Mary Coash, Kindergarten Teacher at Westview Elementary, Champaign Unit 4 and Jessica Wilson, Special Education High School teacher at Gerber School, Urbana District 116 with 2016 Cupcake Awards. Selected teachers are nominated by their peers and exhibit exemplary service, extra efforts, enthusiastic attitude and innovative ideas that noticeably benefit their students.

    To read the full article,

    MSA Professional Services - Mike Buzicky, PE, brings 16 years of experience in Central Illinois to his role as a project engineer at the Champaign office of MSA Professional Services. He will help expand the firm’s offering of comprehensive municipal services, including water and wastewater consulting. As a project engineer, Buzicky has designed a wide variety of municipal infrastructure projects, including water, wastewater and stormwater improvements. He also provides planning and funding assistance for municipalities. Buzicky earned a B.S. degree in Water Resources from the University of Tennessee and is a licensed professional engineer in Illinois. He also serves as a board member on the Champaign Chapter of the Illinois Society of Professional Engineers and is a member of the American Water Works Association.

    MSA Professional Services - Jay Bullock, senior engineering technician, joined the Champaign office of MSA Professional Services. He has more than 25 years of experience in design, drafting, inspection, public relations, planning and cost estimation.

    MSA’s workforce of more than 300 professionals consists of engineers, architects, planners, land surveyors, funding specialists, GIS experts and environmental scientists who serve public and private clients from 14 offices throughout the Upper Midwest For more information, see

    Illinois American Water - Dave Farrar has been named Senior Operations Manager of Field Services and Production for Illinois American Water’s Champaign County District. He will lead and oversee the field operations, production and maintenance in the Champaign County service area, ensuring high-quality customer service and operational integrity.

    Farrar began his career with Illinois American Water in 2007 as a plant operator and since that time has held several positions of increasing responsibility. Past positions held across both production and field services include plant mechanic, maintenance supervisor, production superintendent and field operations superintendent.

    He has 12 years of experience in the water and waste water treatment industry, including his time with Illinois American Water. Farrar earned his bachelor’s degree from Eastern Illinois University. He also holds a Class A, Public Water Supply Operator’s Certificate of Competency for Illinois, Class 3 Wastewater Treatment Operator’s Certificate of Competency for Illinois and received his Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt Certification.

    “I look forward to the leadership and contributions Dave will make in this new role. The experience he brings will help ensure continued high-quality water service to our customers,” said Mike Smyth, Vice President of Operations for Illinois American Water.

    Farrar is an active member of the American Water Works Association, Illinois Section American Water Works Association and a member of the 15 County Water Supply Operator Association. He also serves on the board of directors for the Champaign County Chamber of Commerce.

    RSM US LLP the leading provider of audit, tax and consulting services focused on the middle market, is pleased to welcome Kaitlyn Bradd, assurance associate, to its Champaign office. Bradd graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science in Accounting from Millikin University and is currently pursuing her certified public accountant license.

    RSM US LLP, the leading provider of audit, tax and consulting services focused on the middle market, is pleased to welcome Matt Hazel, assurance associate, to its Champaign office. Hazel graduated with a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Accounting from Southern Illinois University and is currently pursuing his certified public accountant license.

    RSM US LLP, the leading provider of audit, tax and consulting services focused on the middle market, is pleased to welcome Stephanie Berkey, consulting senior associate, to its Champaign office. Berkey graduated with a Bachelor’s degree from Eureka College and focuses on the health care industry.

    RSM US LLP, the leading provider of audit, tax and consulting services focused on the middle market, is pleased to welcome Rob Sutter, assurance senior associate, to its Champaign office. Sutter graduated with a Master’s degree in accountancy from Illinois State University. He is a certified public accountant and a member of the Illinois CPA society.

    RSM US LLP, the leading provider of audit, tax and consulting services focused on the middle market, is pleased to welcome Blake Doornbos, tax associate, to its Champaign office. Doornbos graduated with a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Accounting from Illinois State University and is currently pursuing her certified public accountant license.

    Clark Dietz Engineering - Jim Edenburn has been awarded the prestigious President’s Award at Clark Dietz. The annual award is a firm-wide, peer nominated recognition for exemplary leadership, contributions to community, demonstration of creativity and high performance, and support of the company’s core values. The President’s Award is the firm’s highest level of employee recognition.

    Mr. Edenburn is a project manager and lead design technician for the firm’s civil/environmental group. Over his 29 years in the firm, Jim has consistently exhibited integrity, team leadership, technical expertise, innovating thinking, and a strong respect for client relationships. He serves on his local school board and has coordinated several community events to promote local business growth.

    "We strongly value the role that our people play in our success. It takes dedication and a strong commitment to earn the respect of your peers, clients, and the community. It is with great pride that we honor Jim with this award,” said John Boldt, CEO/President.

    Midland States Bank and Sterling National Bank announced today that they have entered into a definitive agreement for Midland States Bank to acquire approximately $400 million in wealth management assets from Sterling National Bank of Yonkers, New York, with an expected transaction closing date in the second or third quarter of 2016.

    The wealth management assets to be acquired were from Hudson Valley Bank, which merged with Sterling National Bank in 2015. The majority of these assets are held within Special Needs and Settlement Trusts. Midland has experience in this specialized field through its 2013 acquisition of a Milwaukee-based settlement trust group. In connection with the transaction, Midland expects to retain all 10 members of Sterling’s trust department, bringing Midland’s Wealth Management Group to 45 professionals. The transaction is subject to regulatory approval and other customary closing conditions.

    Midland’s Wealth Management Group currently offers trust & estate services, investment management, and retirement planning, in addition to its settlement trust services. Since 2007, Midland has grown its wealth management assets under administration from $90 million to $1.2 billion as of December 31, 2015.

    “Sterling National’s trust team gives us additional expertise and critical mass in the court-appointed settlement trust business,” stated Eric Chojnicki, President of Midland’s Wealth Management Group. “Their team is client driven through the creation of customized strategies, which is a cultural fit to the way we work with our clients. We are excited to have them join our team.”

    “We are pleased that our trust clients will benefit from Midland States Bank’s expertise and focus in this specialized business, which allows us to remain focused on our strategy of serving middle market commercial clients,” said Jim Peoples, Sterling’s Chief Banking Officer.

    “We are always looking for opportunities to grow our company in ways that fit within our expertise,” commented Jeff Ludwig, President and Chief Financial Officer of Midland States Bank. “This opportunity is a nice fit and allows us to expand our expertise in this specialized trust space. This acquisition continues our strategy, both for our Bank and Wealth Management Group, of identifying leading professionals in specific areas and bringing them into Midland. We look forward to growing and servicing our new clients.”

    Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, Inc. is serving as financial advisor to Sterling and Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz is serving as Sterling’s legal counsel in connection with the transaction. Barack Ferrazzano Kirschbaum & Nagelberg LLP is serving as legal counsel to Midland.

    To learn more about Midland States Bank,



    Illinois American Water and Missouri American Water have been honored as finalists for  the St. Louis Regional Chamber’s Ameren Corporate Citizenship Arcus Award for demonstrating exceptional commitment to enhancing the quality of life in the St. Louis region.

    Illinois American Water and Missouri American Water were honored for establishing pharmaceutical drop boxes at police stations, city halls and health departments.  The program’s goal is to give residents a safe and responsible way to dispose of unneeded medicines without flushing – keeping the drugs out of local rivers and off the streets.  Working in cooperation with local law enforcement agencies, the companies established more than 50 drop-off sites that dispose of several tons of medicines each year through incineration.  

    The program started in 2008 in Illinois American Water’s Pontiac District through a partnership with high school students to stop flushing of medications and the resulting impact to local water sources.  The students created the model used by American Water.  To date, Illinois American Water has helped to implement more than 35 permanent pharmaceutical disposal programs. To find an Illinois program visit

    In St. Louis County, the program is managed by Missouri P2D2, a nonprofit organization established by Missouri American Water, the St. Louis College of Pharmacy, the St. Louis County Police Department and the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District. With collection boxes in 14 locations, serving more than one million people, the program is the largest of its kind in the U.S.   Information and collection box locations are available at

    Midland States Bank announced today that Jeffrey G. Ludwig has been promoted to President of Midland States Bank, and Jeffrey S. Mefford has been promoted to Executive Vice President of Community Banking.

    Holschbach, who will retain the positions of Vice-Chair and CEO of the bank and Vice-Chair, President and CEO of Midland States Bancorp, Inc., the parent company of the bank, commented, “These two promotions are well deserved and are an important part of ensuring leadership continuity for our company as we continue to grow.”

    Ludwig, who remains Chief Financial Officer of the bank and Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of the company, has been with Midland since 2006. He will continue to have executive leadership for Finance, Treasury, Operations, Information Technology and Wealth Management, while also assuming the position of bank President.

    “Jeff Ludwig’s promotion to President will allow me to step aside from the day-to-day running of the bank to focus on the strategic growth of our company,” commented Holschbach. “I have had the pleasure of working closely with Jeff for the past 8 years and have come to rely on his financial acumen and business insight. His experience and leadership in the financial industry has greatly benefitted the company, and I am confident that he will provide the leadership to continue to drive the bank forward.”

    Mefford, who held the position of Senior Vice President of Community Banking prior to this promotion, has been with Midland since 2003. He will continue to be responsible for Retail, Commercial and Treasury sales, as well as Community Development and CRA. In addition, he will oversee Marketing in his new position.

    Holschbach added, “As head of our sales divisions, Jeff Mefford’s teams have continued an upward sales trajectory with record results in many areas, and have done this through his development of strong management teams. He has guided us to improved sales results while retaining the culture that is at the core of our success, one that shows ‘more heart’ and puts our customers’ interest first.”

    To learn more about Midland States Bank,

    Farnsworth Group has announced the addition of Matt Davidson to its Champaign, IL, office to serve as Business Development Director covering the Company’s Central Eastern and Southern Illinois territories.

    Matt brings extensive knowledge to the position with more than 27 years of experience working with government and state agencies. Before joining Farnsworth Group, Matt spent nearly nine years as the Legislative Director at the Illinois Municipal League after spending more than seven years as the Director of Governmental Affairs at the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT). Most recently, he acted as a Business Development Manager for ESI Consultants, Ltd., based in Charleston, IL, and also worked as an independent consultant assisting various companies with their public relations and government affairs.

    Matt has served as President of the Eastern Illinois University (EIU) Alumni Association and as the Chairman of the Village of Sherman Zoning Board of Appeals. He is currently a member of the University of Illinois Rebounder Club, the EIU School of Technology Advisory Board, and the EIU Panther Club. He is also on the University of Illinois Quarterback Club Board Of Directors and the Champaign County Chamber of Commerce Policy Committee. Matt received IDOT’s outstanding Service Award for protecting the department’s Road Fund and was honored by the Southern Illinois Mayors Association for his dedication and service.

    To learn more about Farnsworth Group,

    The Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District (MTD)
    was recognized with a Silver Bicycle Friendly Business (BFBSM) award by the League of American Bicyclists, joining more than 1,100 visionary businesses from across the country. With the announcement of 73 new and renewing BFBs today, MTD joins a cutting-edge group of 1,132 local businesses, government agencies and Fortune 500 companies in 49 states and Washington, D.C., that are transforming the American workplace. “The business community’s investment in bicycling is playing a central role in making the country a safer, happier, and more sustainable place to live and work,” said Amelia Neptune, League Bicycle Friendly Business Program Manager. “We applaud this new round of businesses, including MTD, for leading the charge in creating a bicycle-friendly America for everyone.”

    Being bicycle friendly saves local businesses and communities money as research shows that people who bicycle save money not only on transportation but also in health care costs. MTD encourages bicycling as an easy option for transportation and provides amenities such as bicycle racks on all its buses and bicycle parking at major transit hubs, and has been a leader in supporting bicycling as a mode of transportation. MTD’s efforts to create a bicycle friendly community helped secure the $16.7 million dollar TIGER grant for the MCORE project that is rebuilding core transit routes to improve safety for all roadway users, including bicyclists.

    "I welcome the news that the League of American Bicyclists is recognizing MTD as a Silver Level Bicycle Friendly Business,” says Jeff Yockey, Executive Director of Champaign County Bikes. "This award recognizes MTD not for their work in the community, but their work and commitment to their employees! MTD practices what it encourages: an active transportation lifestyle.”

    Moving forward, MTD will have access to a variety of tools and technical assistance from the League to become even more bicycle-friendly. When our employees bike, great things happen: decreased carbon footprint, reduced health care costs, connections to the community, and a fun and healthy work culture.

    For more information about MTD,
    To apply or learn more about the BFB program, visit the League online at

    Farnsworth Group/Village of Mahomet Honored for Wastewater Treatment Plant:
    The Village of Mahomet, IL, and Farnsworth Group, a national full-service engineering and architecture firm, were honored today at the American Council of Engineering Companies – Illinois Chapter (ACEC-IL) Annual Awards Luncheon. Specifically, the ACEC-IL honored Farnsworth Group with a Special Achievement Award in the Engineering Excellence category for its engineering design on the Mahomet Wastewater Treatment Plant expansion project.

    Due to the Village’s rapid growth over the past decade, the Mahomet Treatment Plant received influent flows in excess of its design capacity. In order to allow for continued population growth, the Village undertook expansion of its treatment plant. The designed solution was the conversion of existing activated sludge tankage to a Biological Nutrient Removal (BNR) facility that utilizes Integrated Fixed Film Activated Sludge (IFAS) technology. By utilizing advanced BNR processes coupled with IFAS technology, the plant is able to achieve all treatment goals without the construction of new aeration tanks.

    “We are very happy that the Village was able to work cooperatively with Farnsworth Group to find a less costly solution to this issue,” Village Administrator Patrick Brown said. “Our taxpayers are well-served to realize cost savings associated with re-using existing aeration tanks.”
    Each year ACEC-IL holds its Engineering Excellence Awards Competition recognizing projects of engineering achievement by Illinois engineering firms. Entries are judged on the basis of engineering excellence, the degree to which the client’s needs are met, and the benefits to the public welfare and private practice of engineering.

    For more information about the Farnsworth Group,

    Homebuilders Association of East Central Illinois welcomes new Executive Director Renee Pride. Pride's extensive background in real estate and work as an interim solution to the previous Director Terry Greene made her an ideal candidate for this position. She plans to use her marketing background to bring the HBAECI closer to the community and move forward the mission of the Association. Pride also brings a personal connection to this role - she, herself, has been a member of HBAECI for several years and her great-grandfather was a builder in Champagin County. Pride is looking forward to using her skills and background to make an impact with this opportunity. For more information, visit their website.

    When local starts to go viral. Congratulations to the Mahomet-Seymour High School dance team for an inspiring message to young women. It's now popping up all over Facebook. See the video here.

    Have you experienced your own success? Are you looking for a way to give back? Are you an expert in business? Then we need you. The local chapter of SCORE is seeking volunteers to help counsel entrepreneurs who want to start their own businesses. Find out about becoming a volunteer counselor or you can volunteer to help teach "Starting Your Own Business" or "How to Finance a Business" (don't worry, all materials are provided). Contact SCORE today. Put your knowledge and skills to use. For more information, visit their

    RSM US LLP (RSM) — the nation’s leading provider of audit, tax and consulting services focused on the middle market — recently announced John Kaiser, assurance senior manager in the Chicago office, has been promoted to partner and has accepted a position in the firm’s Peoria office of the Central Illinois practice. Kaiser brings more than 14 years of client service experience to the role. "I'm very happy to have John join the Central Illinois practice," says Dave Seiler, Central Illinois office managing partner. "He's done a great job in Chicago in our manufacturing and distribution practice. John brings new perspectives and experiences to Central Illinois, which will complement our current team very well." Kaiser specializes in assurance services and works with a variety of businesses, including manufacturers, distributors, food processors, private equity, benefit plans, international companies, service companies and real estate companies. Outside of RSM, Kaiser lends his time and expertise as a member of the board of directors of the American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association. Kaiser holds a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is a certified public accountant and a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and Illinois Society of Certified Public Accountants.

    Richard and Lynn Yoerk, owners of Express Employment Professionals, recently expressed their appreciation to their Champaign Team with a trip to Cancun. Express Employment Professionals rose to the Top 5 percent among over 750 offices worldwide. These accomplishments have brought them to Gold status among the Express Employment Professionals offices.

    WeddingWire, the leading global online wedding marketplace, named Michelle's Bridal and Tuxedo as a winner of the prestigious WeddingWire Couples’ Choice Awards® 2016 for Bridal Attire in Champaign/Urbana.The WeddingWire Couples’ Choice Awards® 2016 recognizes the top five percent of wedding professionals in the WeddingWire Network who demonstrate excellence in quality, service, responsiveness and professionalism. While many industry award winners are selected by the host organization, the WeddingWire Couples’ Choice Awards® winners are determined solely based on reviews from real newlyweds and their experiences working with Michelle's Bridal and Tuxedo. Award-winning vendors are distinguished for the quality, quantity, consistency and timeliness of the reviews they have received from their past clients. As a Couples’ Choice Awards® winner, Michelle's Bridal and Tuxedo is highlighted within the WeddingWire Network, which is comprised of more than 400,000 wedding professionals globally.

    Bard Optical is excited to announce it is donating eyeglasses to in-need public school students in each of the communities the company serves. Too often in-need students do not receive the eyeglasses they need to succeed in school and at home. Bard Optical’s 75 Pairs for 75 Years program ties to the company’s celebration of its 75th Anniversary in 2016. The program will start on January 1, 2016 and end on December 31, 2016. The program provides up to 75 pairs of glasses per community. Public school districts will be provided vouchers for students to use to obtain the free eyeglasses. Questions about the program can be directed to Jane Scott at 309.693.9540, ext. 245. Additional details found

    Homewood Suites is pleased to announce Angel Contreras has won the 2015 IHLA Stars of the Industry as Food and Beverage Employee of the Year for all of Illinois. Contreras exemplifies their "Be At Home" atmosphere at Homewood Suites by Hilton Champaign-Urbana. Congratulations and keep up the great work.

    -For 15 years, Lisa and Rick, owners of Great Harvest Bread Co., have been handcrafting hot, fresh from the oven, made from scratch breads and goodies. They are looking forward to the next chapter of their lives as they approach retirement and are looking for the right “breadhead” who will not only continue their tradition of great products, superior customer service, and giving back to the community, but also take this bakery to the next level. The Champaign Great Harvest is located conveniently in the Shoppes of Knollwood, in SW Champaign. There is ample parking, an attentive landlord and a negotiable lease. This location is in close proximity to major intersections and the University of Illinois. The bay next to the bakery is currently open, providing an opportunity to expand the bakery into whatever direction the new owner might imagine. For more information about this opportunity, visit their website.


    Does your business have news you'd like to share? If you'd like to have it featured in the Membership News section of the e-Connection, contact Lindsay Quick at or 217.359.1791.

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