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Building a Stronger Bond with the Community and Each Other

CEO Guest Speakers

Egyptian Stationers Tour

Mr. Kevin Baltz and Mr. Brett Baltz

Mr. Kevin Baltz, President & Chief Executive Officer
Mr. Brett Baltz, Chief Financial Officer
Egyptian Stationers 

Egyptian Stationers is a family owned business featuring 2nd and 3rd generation owners. Egyptian Stationers sells products aimed for offices and businesses, including office furniture, office supplies, and janitorial equipment. Mr. Kevin Baltz and Mr. Brett Baltz explained to the class how they had to relook at all of their processes and increase efficiency with new technologies in today's world. They explained how they are always looking for new products to sell with more companies going paperless. They showed us some really interesting furniture, height-adjustable desks and all kinds of chairs. They also explained how all of their furniture is completely customizable, which stresses the idea that the company is all about creating solutions for their customers and making everything easier for them. Belleville CEO thanks Kevin and Brett Baltz for taking time to show us around their office.               

Written by Tim Donaho

Kaskaskia Engineering Tour

Mrs. Geri Boyer

President & Founder
Kaskaskia Engineering Group LLC 

The CEO students visited Kaskaskia Engineering Group LLC on Wednesday where the owner, Geri Boyer, spoke to the students. Kaskaskia Engineering was founded in 2006 by Geri Boyer and has seven offices in the Midwest. Mrs. Boyer emphasized being dependable, respectful, utilizing your strengths, and staying confident to the students. She also expressed the key values that she upholds with her company such as, faith, service, partnership, trust, respect, and gratitude. Her key points that really stuck out to the students were that “If you don't pay attention to what is happening in the world, the world will surprise you, and you cannot be surprised as a business owner,” and her quote from former President JFK, “The rising tide raises all boats.” After her presentation, she graciously gave the students a tour of her modish business. The students were very impressed with the style of her business’ workspace.                    

Written by Epiphany Smith

Clifton Larson Allen LLP

Mr. Ed Hoering

CliftonLarsonAllen LLP

Mr. Ed Hoering is currently a partner at Clifton Larson Allen.  Clifton Larson Allen, CLA for short, is a certified public accounting firm that was founded in 2012.  It is currently the tenth largest accounting firm in the United States.

Mr. Ed Hoering of Clifton Larson Allen came to Allsup and discussed many aspects of business and accounting. He briefly described the differences between public and private accounting. He also went over his very intriguing story of his rise in the business world leading all the way back to his college years.  The Belleville CEO class is very thankful for Mr. Ed Hoering for taking the time out of his day to provide some of his insight and knowledge to our class.

Written by Cole Maul

Holiday World Visit

Belleville CEO was privileged to join together with 130 other students from six CEO programs for a day of learning and fun at Holiday World & Splashing Safari.  Four staff members presented the history of the park, what makes it different from other parks, the many awards received, and the different rides available at the park.  After a question and answer time and a quick lunch, the students were allowed unlimited number of times to ride the Thunderbird, a new roller coaster that opened last year. Thank you Holiday Word for hosting us on Friday and Bill Turner from Daviess County for inviting us to share in this awesome experience.

Student Journal Highlights for this week

During this week I learned the importance of customers and community. We heard from Brett and Kevin Baltz at Egyptian Stationers and from Geri Boyer at Kaskaskia Engineering. Both businesses showed me how important the community that your company is surrounded by can be. We also heard from Ed Hoering from Clifton/Larson Allen LLP.

 Geri Boyer from Kaskaskia Engineering told us how they connect with the community and why it’s important. They gave us a tour of the whole place and showed us all of their products. They told us how their business works and how they sell. Brett and Kevin helped me understand the importance of being in a community and the benefits of giving back to the community. Both of these businesses are located in Downtown Belleville so they share the same ideas and concepts of giving back to the community. Both of these businesses help with the festivals or celebrations that Belleville have like October Fest. Helping these festivals or events is basically advertising their company’s name.

 On Friday our class visited Santa Claus, Indiana where we went to the very popular theme park Holiday World. There were 135 students from all different schools at holiday world that were all a part of the CEO program. We had a presentation from some of the workers basically telling us how the business started and how they continue to strive. Holiday world is owned and operated by the Koch family and was opened in 1946. Holiday World continues to compete with other major theme parks like Universal and Disneyland because of the differences they have. Holiday world is the cleanest theme park in America. They also have free fountain soda unlike the other major theme parks which makes them different from any other park. This is one way how the park attracts people which is very important for a business to survive. Being the cleanest theme park in America proves that the staff and operators really do care about the business which really attracts business and customers.

 As the week came to an end and we were on the way home from Holiday World I got to thinking about what the future has in store for me. Then I started to think that I have the opportunity to make my own future and by listening to these operators of these major businesses I know I can strive even when I fail.

Devin  Alexander

Devin Alexander
Friday, September 2, 2016Learn More About Devin

This second week of the Belleville CEO program was absolutely great, and we had the opportunity to meet many new people who thrive in the business world.

We began the week with a visit to Egyptian Stationers in downtown Belleville, owned and operated by Kevin and Brett Baltz.  This visit was very informative as it is the first business we visited that sells a physical product. In this instance many different prices of office furniture and supplies.  I was amazed when we were told about all the big names that they have done business with, and they are just a family owned local store!

The next day we paid a visit to Kaskaskia Engineering Group, which is just down the road from Egyptian Stationers.  Kaskaskia Engineering was a great visit and the atmosphere felt very fresh upon entering, this was later explained that the rooms are colored differently to provoke different emotions within your brain.  It was really interesting to find out there are special services to assist minorities within the business world.  I loved hearing about all of the different projects in the area that they have helped working on the construction of.

On Thursday we had Ed Hoering from Clifton Larson Allen come to Allsup to talk about accounting and business as a whole.  It was crazy to think someone who didn't really know what they wanted to do out of college, could climb their way up to such a thriving profession.  It was really cool to hear about the differences between private and public accountants and how their jobs vary.

On Friday we drove all the way to Indiana to visit a family owned and operated theme park, known as Holiday World.  I was really interested in learning the infrastructure of how the park operates on a day to day basis and how it has thrived over the many years it has been open.

Cole Maul

Cole Maul
Friday, September 2, 2016Learn More About Cole

Week two was definitely more productive than week one. I must say, we as a team needed the first week of breaking the ice. The environment within our class has became slightly less tense, I find myself talking to more of my fellow CEO classmates and I guess you could say socializing. It seems to me that everyone in our class is getting used to everyone’s behavior and quirks. We as a group have not gotten our badge project completed and I feel like no one is willing to step up and take charge. I have several ideas that I will share will our group next time we meet at Allsup for a personal day.

To begin the week, we stopped at Egyptian Stationers, I felt very comfortable there because I have already had experience working with the industry. As they drilled into us, innovation and creativity can bring your business to the next level and help you surpass all of your competitors. I really think it’s a good idea to only market and do a hundred mile radius when handling a furniture business like theirs. As the week went on it was clear that you can’t have a dog participating in the powerpoint, or nonetheless wear your work boots to work. The big puppy tried licking my boots the entire time. While at Kaskaskia Engineering, it was interesting obtain more knowledge on the DEB’s and other ways of going about setting up your own business. Geri was a perfect example of an entrepreneur, she runs several different businesses which correlates with the others to save money. As we keeping working through our week, it was neat to see the big operation which is held as Holiday world Splash and Safari. There is a ton of discipline and time that goes into all businesses that the public doesn't know about. ...While Mr. Hoering was with us, I was comfortable with his presentation because I understood all of the terms which he was talking about.

Austin Thurman

Austin Thurman
Friday, September 2, 2016Learn More About Austin

In football, the most improvement a team can see is from week 1 to week 2. I think the same holds true for a lot of things in life. I could definitely see some improvement in myself and my CEOmates this previous week. When listening to the different lectures I feel we were more alert, attentive, and in tune with exactly what the speakers were talking about. We asked a lot more questions, displayed better body language and really just overall showed that we were paying attention to the presenters. We started our week by going to Egyptian Stationers and having their owner and his son speak to us about how they are a supply store and they build customizable office spaces. The process and tools in which they use to build the offices is quite complex yet simplistic and really offers consumers the ability to create a work from home feeling with great ease. They are definitely a company worth investing in if you want to have a productive work office. Having Mr. Hoering speak to us showed us the more business, in office, suit and tie type of setting and the major amount of money that can be obtained by being able to handle a job like that. I personally couldn't see my self sitting and typing spreadsheets and doing audits all day but for people that could do that, there's hundreds of thousands of dollars to be made in that profession. When we visited Kaskaskia Engineering, it was the best presentation, in my opinion, yet. The way Mrs. Boyer spoke about her company, their core values and overall life lessons just really hit home and sparked a true inquisitive interest in me that I had not had yet. She simply spoke volumes in a matter of less than an hour, so who knows what all she could've done given more time. The way she seemed so accepting yet stern, motherly yet able to give tough love, just made her seem like the perfect boss. 1 Friday, we took the awaited trip to Indiana to visit Holiday World, and it was all I expected and more. The presentation the leaders of the various parts of the company aspect of Holiday World all seemed to thoroughly enjoy their jobs and answered each of our questions with relative ease which showed the actually took time to prepare for us coming. Meeting various other CEO classes was also quite enjoyable. They all seemed to have joined CEO for the same reasons as us and aspire to do great things in the program. It would be cool if we could collaborate on a project with them one day.

Royce Payne

Royce Payne
Friday, September 2, 2016Learn More About Royce

Week 2 was very eventful for CEO class. We went to 3 different businesses, one of them being holiday world! On Monday we worked on the badge project, and we put to use some of the skills that we learned last week. We still have a lot of things to do, but we know the cost for the badge, and the design. Our priority is to get enough businesses to put on our badge so we can have money for the class business.

Tuesday we met at Egyptian Stationers with Kevin and Brett Baltz and they showed us around their business. I personally learned a lot from those two. I learned that 95% of third generation companies fail, and that is because they get too comfortable and do not change to fit the economy. You must always be innovating and getting better to compete with everyone else. I also learned that people are the most expensive cost in running a business. If you can keep your people count down, and make connections with other businesses to use their people, you can save a lot of money.

On Wednesday we went to Kaskaskia Engineering and listened to Geri Boyer speak. Geri was so nice and obviously has a passion for what she does. She talked about a quote from JFK that said “the rising tide raises all boats”, meaning if one person is having success then they can also help other people succeed. This is part of her business motto because it really creates a friendly culture and everyone wants everyone to do good.

Thursday Ed Hoering from CliftonLarsonAllen came in to Allsup. He taught us that building relationships often times come into play down the road, which is why I’m in this class. The people we are meeting now could be future partners in business so we have to make sure we make a good impression and establish ourselves as professional. He also said that most successful business people do not turn their light off after they go home. They are always trying to think of ideas to do something better and innovate.

Finally, Friday came and we all loaded on the bus to go to Holiday World! There were other CEO classes from places far away and it was awesome to be able to mingle with people from different classes. We all sat down and listened to a presentation about Holiday World and there were many good questions asked. I feel like I could open an amusement park with all the information I gathered. It was a great week and I can't wait to start back up on Tuesday!

Michael Lassman

Michael Lassman
Friday, September 2, 2016Learn More About Michael

Some people never think how much work goes into designing the new library at school or the new office building they work in. The amount of chairs alone that people can choose to sit in is astonishing. Day to day basic office supplies and furniture is what Egyptian Stationary does. They are a unique business because even though the giants like Staples are putting smaller office supplies businesses out of business, Egyptian Stationary has been able to adapt and provide a better service then the giants can. Being able to adapt seems to be an important skill to have when running a business.

Many of the guest speakers talked about how they did things differently and how they made sure to be more attractive to the consumer than their competitors were. I’ve noticed in all the speakers we have heard from there seemed to be one reason why their business was extremely successful. It was either because their business did something different than anybody else and provided and unique service or product or it was because they ran their business the best way it could be run, making sure that all of their competitors looked worse then them.

One guest speaker in particular, Ed Hoering, gave some sound advice on what to do to help anybody on the path to success in the business world. He told us to make sure to take an accounting class at some point during our education. His reason behind this was that you have to know how to fill out business forms, tax forms and how to make a business plan. To run a successful business, you need to be a well rounded individual who knows the basics of a business plan to being able to get the product or service out to the consumer, you need to know how to adapt to any change in the market, and you need to make sure to run your business as efficient as possible.

Joe  Beussink

Joe Beussink
Friday, September 2, 2016Learn More About Joe

The businesses we went to this week had a lot of amazing lessons to learn from. We met with Kevin and Brett Baltz of Egyptian Stationers earlier this week, and learned the ins and outs of producing and distributing your own furniture. One of the most important things we learned on our trip to that office was that you don't need to invent the next lightbulb to be a successful business owner, you have to be smart and know how to do what your company needs to stay on top and in business. In the shop we saw many kinds of different models for furniture, including revolutionary desks that can raise up and be in use when the worker is standing or sitting comfortably. The fact that Egyptian Stationers realizes that a lot of employees need to be more comfortable at their work desk to be more productive shows why they are successful, they put in the work and research that other companies wouldn't. This is exactly why they are so relevant in the business of Belleville-they are flexible, reasonable, and modern.

Speaking of modern business, a great example of a an up to date business is one that has an unconventional office style, like the one at Kaskaskia Engineering. Mrs.Geri Boyer runs an efficient but still fun office space, highlighting the key points of this kind of “Strength Based” business in a PowerPoint she presented to us. Many huge parts of having a successful office, according to Mrs.Geri, didn't have anything to do with the business aspect at all. More so with the attitudes and feelings of the workers involved. She taught us the importance of being kind to the people you work with, and that communication is an essential part of any office. That, and the fact that this exceptional business never misses a deadline, is why Kaskaskia engineering is not only a fantastic group of people to do business with, but a place where you can feel as though your business will be handled where you will be updated and kept in the loop, not notified last second that you will not get the results you initially expected in time. This is what customers value about working with this company, and keeps them coming back.

Being updated is another point that had its significance stressed by Mr. Ed Hoering of Clifton Larson Allen, his company owes success to being able to adapt with the times and keeping up with community events and functions, this not only lets them help build the community they love but shows Belleville that Clifton Larson Allen cares, and in turn brings in business. He came to enlighten us on how “important it is to be well rounded in business” and any field you go into will require accounting skills to stay relevant. A great presentation by a well informed man, I learned many things that I could factor into my business that I hadn’t thought of before, like the ever-essential resource of history in business. “If it worked once it can work again”.

Belleville CEO ended the week with an informal and exciting trip to Holiday World. This trip was not only exciting for the obvious reasons (free drinks, free rides, friendly people), but I got to experience the effects of successful IT engineering- and chat with Matt Taylor- the IT Director- about it as well. We had a significant conversation about expanding on one of my business ideas that would need knowledge of IT to become successful, the problem with that is I'm going to school for the artistic and musical half that this particular idea would need. He referred me to some companies that mix technological work and artistry to a degree, and I found that the many business connections I've already made in Belleville CEO will be of great use to me as well in a collaborative project like I have in mind. Besides the actual Holiday World information, I also had the privilege of speaking to many different CEO students and sharing ideas of future projects with them. I’m incredibly excited to see what the next week holds, as this program has already exceeded my expectations, and it's only the second week.

Alayna  Wells

Alayna Wells
Friday, September 2, 2016Learn More About Alayna

This week our class visited a lot of businesses instead of them coming to our home base. I really liked this experience. I found it really interesting how each business utilized their office. For instance Mrs. Boyer showed us her conference room and explained why the walls were painted a certain shade of blue. She told us that the color encourages conversation psychological which is important when you are having a meeting and need ideas to flow.

One big thing I learned from this week was how important it is too plan ahead and dealing with competition. On Tuesday the Baltz taught us how important it is to progress and revamp when needed. They told us we need to stay ahead of the competition or else we’ll lose business to them.

Ed Hoering also taught us about planning ahead. At first he told us about his accounting career but then he wanted to help us with our own businesses. He asked what was the major thing stopping us from starting our businesses. He told us you always need a business plan as a guideline and will help you solve issues blocking your path.

Geri Boyer told us she had a 5 year business plan, but she ended up finishing that plan in 6 months. What I took from her story is that your plan will always change, but it will still keep you on track to your goals. I may not get to my goal exactly how I planned but I can still get there.

Lastly, representatives from Holiday World gave us a presentation on their business. In it they explained what sets them apart from their competitors. They also talked about how long they plan ahead. Building a roller coaster takes years of preparation and careful planning.

In conclusion, I really enjoyed this week. I learned a lot about planning ahead and competition with other businesses. I thought it was really fun, from sitting in comfy chairs to riding roller coasters. I also got to pet a huge dog at Kaskaskia Engineering which was hilarious!

Tim Donaho

Tim Donaho
Friday, September 2, 2016Learn More About Tim

Ambition, Ambition is a strong desire to do or to achieve something, typically requiring determination and hard work. That was the main lesson that I have picked up this week in the CEO class. I met some amazing people this week from Geri Boyer from, Kaskaskia Engineering, Brett Baltz from Egyptian Stationers and Ed Hoering from Clifton Larson LLP. One thing that I picked up from all of them is that they did not have an ambition to open up a business at all until something went off in their heads to tell them we can do this.

 Geri Boyer is the Founder and CEO of Kaskaskia Engineering. I connected with Geri a lot, because I see my mother in her she is a very confident and upbeat independent woman. She let us into her headquarters this week and showed us some core values about being a great boss. She told us that if you don’t respect yourself first people will not respect you as a leader. I strongly believe in that because you have to be the boss of your staff and that also means you have to be the boss of yourself. Mrs. Boyer stated to always be the boss that makes people want to come into work but at the same time you have to be a stern leader when necessary. She also taught me to find people that know people. It is very rare that you can make a business empire on your own; you will always need some sort of help from someone. The last thing that Geri told us and what stuck with me the most is to always have faith, trust, build a partnership, strive to be great, do good service, respect yourself and your staff, and always be appreciative and show gratitude.

 Ed Hoering is a partner of Clifton Larson Allen LLP. He is also like me and Roger Lowery, he did not know what he wanted to do coming out of high school. Mr. Hoering fed me a lot of information at his visit to see us almost enough to make this journal 5 pages long. He is a very intelligent person who knows business like it’s his child. One point that stuck with me the most however is, when you go home and you're with your family you're business mind is still on the clock your ideas will always flow through your head no matter what and if this is not happening when you go home, you're not an entrepreneur.

 Brett Baltz is the CEO of Egyptian Stationers. He taught me about the way to get the most production out of your staff. Keeping your employees comfortable will raise our production, and it all starts with the furniture that you put your staff in. From this, when you start to buy furniture for your office or store you want to look at the ergonomics in the furniture, the way the body relaxes and receives comfort. Mr. Baltz told me that efficiency is key and you want to have the happiest most efficient staff to have the best results for our business.

The second week of the CEO program has already come to a close I have already soaked in so many information like a sponge and met some amazing people, I am so grateful for the opportunity I have received in this class, it's amazing how lucky I was to be accepted into this class my adventure to becoming a business leader continues this week.

Jaylen Davis

Jaylen Davis
Friday, September 2, 2016Learn More About Jaylen

This week we were at Egyptian Stationers, Kaskaskia Engineering, and Holiday world. Each one of these places had a common theme/statement that solidifies what everyone else has said and that I had never thought to be true until I started this class: you don’t need a new Idea, just make the existing ones better. Also that you shouldn’t be afraid to try something, you never know if it will work until you try it. Probably one of my favorite take-aways from this week was from Kaskaskia Engineering. Her company’s core values were faith, trust, partnership, service, respect, striving for your ultimate potential, and gratitude. I think the reason I liked it so much was because that’s always what I have lived by. Her keys to success were another favorite of mine from the week, though it is a long list, a lot of these points agreed with what the majority of other businesses have said: have faith, be optimistic, make decisions based on the highest good, be impeccable with your word, keep everything in perspective don't make assumptions work hard, learn how you handle stress and act on it, and finally don't take things personally, separate fact from emotion.

One thing I noticed that these people have said but we have yet to make is a business plan. I know that we are not a business but I do feel like we need to get a goal set and our priorities straightened out. Which is slowly happening with this badge project.

Carson Gamboe

Carson Gamboe
Friday, September 2, 2016Learn More About Carson

Our class started off this week by continuing to work on our badges.  We all discussed many great ideas, but I do not think we were organized enough.  Alayna and Jaylen did a fantastic job of gathering information about the badges, but our class did not really decide on anything definite.  I feel like we need to decide what we are going to do faster and write more ideas down on paper or take notes.  We also need to figure out what amounts we are asking for per tier so that we can start asking sponsors.

On Tuesday, we went to Egyptian Stationers.  I learned how a simple idea can have a complicated process behind it.  I thought selling chairs and office supplies sounded like a simple job, but I was very wrong.  I did not know that they custom design furniture for customers.  This stuck out to me because it shows that they truly care about the customers.  They go to a great length to make sure they give great service.  They also taught me that it is helpful to have a partner or someone to help you when starting a business.

On our visit to Kaskaskia Engineering, I discovered the importance of working on people’s strengths.  Ms. Boyer taught me that people work more efficient if they do what they love.  I also learned that my business idea should be something I am passionate about and that I will need to work hard to be able to succeed.  Ms. Boyer stressed the importance of hard work and gave an example of how it can make or break a business.  I admire how she made her business unique, and I can really tell how hard she has worked to make it grow.

Mr. Hoering taught me that it is important to have a budget when starting a business.  I knew it was a good idea to have a business plan, but I did not think about setting a budget.  He also said that we should keep track of all of our expenses and income.  I think this is a great idea, and it will help me be more organized when I start my business.

Kaitlynn Borik

Kaitlynn Borik
Friday, September 2, 2016Learn More About Kaitlynn

This week was a wonderful week again. I keep learning more and more. Although we are having a very hard time with our badge project, this is really showing us that you really do fail and always have to get up again. Since there are 16 of us in this class, it is really hard to agree on everything. We all have so many different personalities, some clash and some connect very well. In the end we will all compromise with our ideas and become a team. To my thinking this is testing our team skills.

Mrs. Geri Boyer with Kaskaskia Engineering is a great person to look up to. She went into a career field being one of the only woman and she is doing incredibly well with it.  She said how they use the “Cardinal Way” which means you need to have trust in each other and work together. In a business and team setting, this is how it should always be. Also she talked about the secret to success and what she thought they were. How faith, living from abundance, and decisions based on “the highest good” were her top three.

Tthe Baltz’s talked on how they have to change their items for what their customers wants and needs are. How they have to change their showroom on what the customer is coming in to buy. That just shows us an example on how businesses really do work around their customers.

Holiday World was a fun trip. Learning on how much history it has and how it started from nothing and now is a huge park that has around a million people a year visit is incredible. They are also in their fourth generation of owning the park. Most business don't make it past the second. ... I am very excited for this coming week of CEO and cannot wait learn more about business and to meet new presidents and CEOs.

Claire Randle

Claire Randle
Friday, September 2, 2016Learn More About Claire

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