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A Successful Trade Show


Belleville Chick Fil-A

Mr. Matt Gilreath, General Manager

Mr. Matt Gilreath from the Belleville Chick Fil-A came in to talk to us on Monday. He shared with us the history of Chick Fil-A and commented on how the Belleville Chick Fil-A has received the three highest awards, Increased Sales, Increased Profit and Decreased Costs. He talked about how Chick Fil-A is about service over volume. Mr. Gilreath talked about how sales can fix most problems like labor and profit.  During his discussion about labor, he said there are two reasons that companies will hire employees.  There is a need that needs to be filled or the person is such an all star that the company will find a position for them. He also discussed the concept of lost leader.  Thank you, Mr. Gilreath, for spending the morning with us and sharing your knowledge about the  Chick Fil-A franchise business.  

Written By Alayna Wells


Trade Show Set Up

On Wednesday, the class spent the day preparing for their trade show and running last minute errands. Everyone worked on setting up their booths and laying out their products. Some of us even practiced running through with mock customers. Whether it was stressful or fun for us, everyone really learned something from this experience.

Written By Alayna Wells


Mentors Giving their Support Before the Trade Show


Students and Their Businesses


More Students and Their Businesses


Students Making the Pitch about Their Product

“I was really impressed with the fact that all the businesses seemed liked things that will continue beyond the school year! The entrepreneurs really went for it.”     ~Wendy Witte, St. Louis Community Foundation

“Great show.  The kids really put their passion behind it this year which was very clear as I spoke to each of them.  I witnessed a lot of growth in these kids from the beginning of the year opening ceremony to the trade show in confidence and manners really exciting to see.”  ~Brett Baltz, Egyptian Stationers 

“I was so impressed by the caliber of the businesses. These young entrepreneurs already understand the dedication and hard work it takes to create and grow a business.”  ~Geri Boyer, Kaskaskia Engineering 

“I thought every single student was well prepared and set up their booths perfectly to suit their business and personalities. I was so impressed by each and every student but what I was most impressed with was how much talent and innovation there was in this class. Each student had a viable business and I think they all have the ability to sustain and maintain their businesses.  I wish them much deserved success and cannot wait until I see them again to see what they’ve accomplished.”  ~Renae Eichholz, Precision Practice Management 

“The Trade Show was such a fantastic ending to a wonderful program.  The students work all year to prepare for that day and everything came together in a really impressive way!  These students are extremely creative and already ahead of most individuals in their age group.  I have no doubt they will be successful entrepreneurs!”  ~Alexa Callahan, Greensfelder, Hemker & Gale PC

“The trade show went well. It was nice to see that the students, and some staff who were interested in our event, and booths.”   ~Epiphany Smith, Co-CEO of MadReps 

“It was just so eye-opening and it showed me that even as high school kids, we really can do anything we put our mind to. I also want to thank my partner, classmates, and great facilitator for all the hard work and time they've put into this program and I'm proud of how far we all have came”   ~Royce Payne, Co-CEO of MadReps

“Connections are extremely important in business so I appreciate the opportunity to get better at connecting with other people.”   ~Michael Lassman, CEO of Shrat Shirts

“It was definitely a fun experience that taught me a lot about the business world. I was even fortunate enough to sell some of my first products!”   ~Tim Donaho, CEO of Donaho Vinyls

“Of course the profit made me happy, but seeing my classmate’s ideas all come to fruition from the brainstorming at the beginning of the year was almost surreal.”   ~Alayna Wells, CEO of The Art of Roots

“While showcasing our businesses, our investors were in the crowd and it was nice seeing their friendly faces again. Until experiencing this, I have a whole new respect for folks that showcase their businesses at fairs and events.”    ~Austin Thurman, CEO of Classy Trailer Resurrections 

 “Honestly, I was dreading this day. All I could see was that only a few of our investors would show up but I was truly surprised.”  ~Carson Gamboe. CEO of The Watch List


Alayna Wells Wins at NAACP Competition

CEO student Alayna Wells wins two gold medals at the NAACP ACT-SO Competition.  She will be advancing to Nationals in two categories- vocal contemporary and drawing. The drawing she won with is her most award winning art piece “decendent”.  Alayna Wells’ business is selling prints of her artwork online.  You can find this piece available on her facebook page “The Art of Roots” and see her other works available for sale.  


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The manner in which the CEO program is funded is critical to its success and sustainability. All funds raised are used exclusively for the Belleville CEO program. To participate, a 3-year $1000 per year commitment is required. Business Partner Investors commitments of time and energy are also critical to the program's success. Contributions may be tax deductible, as our organization is a 501(c)(3) not for profit organization.

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Ian Hass - Belleville CEO

Ian Hass

About Me

I am a senior at Belleville West High School.  I began my interest in CEO after a good friend suggested it to me, who was well aware of my interest in becoming an entrepreneur. To further my business career, I joined the Belleville CEO program.

Outside of school, I work at the local Farmers Market. I also help manage an apparel company that a good friend started up a year ago, which started my entrepreneurial interest. In my free time, I enjoy capturing life behind a lens, as I spend time with photography and videography. In between that, I skateboard, which I have been doing for last 15 years.

I have a strong drive for success, and plan to continue my entrepreneurship interests after high school. Still undecided on a college, but I have a high interest in pursuing a degree in business at Arizona State University.


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