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Success Sometimes Takes Many Years of Sacrifice

CEO Business Visits

St. Louis Community Foundation

Mrs. Wendy Witte, Donor Services Manager

On Tuesday, our class was visited by Mrs. Wendy Witte from the Greater St. Louis Community Foundation. She taught us all about the foundation and what it does. She helped us tremendously with our class business by teaching us about taxes and charitable donations. Our class is considered tax exempt, so she helped us figure out how much money can be considered a charitable donation for those companies who sponsor our class business. She also explained the benefits of charitable donations and how it could be an extra incentive to potential sponsors. We sincerely want to thank Mrs. Witte for all her help that she has given to us.

Written by Timothy Donaho

Barcom Security

Mr. Mark Bartle, Owner

On Thursday, we met with Mark Bartle of Barcom Security.  Barcom is Belleville CEO's home base for the second quarter.  It was exciting to get the background of Barcom.  Mr. Bartle stresses the importance of a good, positive attitude around the workplace.  Having a positive mental attitude is very important.  He also taught us that communication and customer satisfaction are essential.  Mr. Bartle also gave us a tour of the main Barcom building.  Thank you, Mr. Bartle, for letting us use Barcom as a home base and for speaking to us about your business.

Written by Stephen Waltrip

Around the Fountain: A Belleville CEO Experience

Business Conference & Trade Show

The students have all been busy working on their class business.  Austin, Carson, and Kaitlynn were able to meet with the director of the Scottish Rite to finalize the price and work out some miscellaneous issues. Cole created an informative flyer that will hopefully be approved and distributed to various companies on Thursday.  We went live with Eventbrite for ordering tickets to the conference with the help of Jaylen and Austin.  Everyone have been busy emailing friends and various business contacts informing them about the conference.

Thank You to our Current Sponsors

We would like to thank our Gold sponsors:  HomeBrite Ace Hardware (Downtown Belleville), CliftonLarsonAllen, and Sonoma Capital, LLC.

Sonoma Capital, LLC

Belleville CEO would like to thank our Silver Sponsor:  Kaskaskia Engineering

Next, we would like to thank our Bronze Sponsors:  Holland Construction, Empire Comfort Systems, and LeChien and LeChien

Belleville CEO would also like to thank our current booth sponsor:  Papa Murphy's

Several companies have already donated items to the Silent Auction:

HomeBrite Ace Hardware
Botantical Gardens

Sponsorships Available


Logo will appear in slideshow
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Logo on a chocolate fountain
Name announced
2 tickets

 Investing in your community

*Slide show will play during the event
*Banners will be displayed around the wall of the room
*Free tickets allow you to come and enjoy the event
*Names will be announced at the beginning of the event to thank the businesses for their investment


Logo will appear in slideshow
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1 ticket

Growing your community


Logo will appear in slideshow
Logo will be in program
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Supporting your community

BOOTHS - $300

Come to the event and listen to the speakers while being able to advertise for your business! Hand out samples and information while networking with potential business customers or partners.  

The booth includes:

 *Admission for two
*6 foot table included in price


 You can also contribute to the event by donating a basket to the silent auction. Donations are appreciated and the donor's name or logo will be on the bid sheet.

 **Please do not include alcohol in a donated basket**

If You Are Interested In Any Sponsorships, Booths, Or Contributing To The Silent Auctions, Please Contact Carson Gamboe At (618) 604-8211 Or Cgamboe@Gmail.Com.

How Can I Purchase a Ticket?

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Tickets are NOW available through with search words, Around the Fountain.  

Ticket Price:  $40 

Student Price:  $15  (email to get Promotional code)

The conference and trade show will also be a time to network with other business people in the community.  The keynote speaker will be Ben Glenn, the Chalk Guy.  If you have never seen Mr. Glenn speak, then be ready to be energized and uplifted by his stories about obstacles that he has overcome during his life.  At the end, you will be in awe of his creative ability to turn an empty black canvas into a beautiful masterpiece within a few minutes.  Perfect theme for the Belleville CEO's first business conference, Around the Fountain.  So buy your tickets now!

Student Journal Highlights for this week

This week we stayed at Barcom and heard a few presentations. We met him Mark Bartle, the head of BARCOM security. We also met with Wendy Witte from the St. Louis Community Foundation. Along with these presentations we worked on our class business.

Mark Bartle talked to us about the struggles of starting a business. Starting a business can be extremely difficult especially without any money. Mark Bartle’s father started his business with a two hundred dollar loan. His business originally failed however because his idea was before his time. This really surprised me. I never thought till now how important timing is when starting a business. For instance if I'm selling a Christmas product it would not be good timing to sell it in the summer.

Mr. Bartle also talked about his future growth of his company. He hopes that after the current election his company will grow extremely. He talked about the different possible outcomes if the election would have gone another way. This made me realize how outside forces will always affect your business. Sometimes there is nothing you can do about it but adapt and make the best of what you can.

Wendy Witte talked to us about tax. It sounds boring at first but it was actually really interesting. She helped us figure out what is considered a charitable donation for anyone spending money on our event. She gave us a few possible options and explained what he had to do. She also explained what she does at the foundation. She explained different ways of cutting your taxes down. I liked the idea of putting your money away to donate later. Your money will grow while still giving out donations.

Lastly, we worked on our class business. A lot of our event details are set in stone. Now we just have to work on sponsorships and ticket sales. We are having a little hiccup with our flyer but we should fix it on our next work day. Then we will be able to go out to the community, which is what CEO is really about.

Tim Donaho

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

This week we focused a lot on the class business. We finally have our class business location secured and have our down payment paid for. We got the Scottish Rite for a great price thanks to Austin, Carson, and Kaitlynn. Next week we are going to all the different businesses around Belleville asking for sponsorships, booths, and silent auction donations. We will also be hanging up flyers for the class business. …I think the amount of money we spent on Ben Glenn is a lot, but it will be worth it. We are also allowed to auction his chalk painting off, as long as we donate used or new Legos. So if you have Legos please bring them to us so we can donate them!!

The speaker on Wednesday was Wendy Witte she spoke to us about donations and putting your money in the Greater St. Louis Community Foundation really helps so many people and businesses. One person named, Lucille Papendick helped a whole group of band students go to Carnegie Hall and perform. She has helped many other kids through music and education. It is very inspiring how many people one foundation has helped.

On Wednesday we had a presentation with Mark Bartle from Barcom. Looking at him and the business you would never expect him to have gone through what he did. He spent ten years with his family having nothing. Now he owns a huge business making tons of money. It shows you can't judge a book by its cover. It also shows you can do anything you put your mind too.

Claire Randle

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

As always this was yet another really exciting and productive week for the Belleville class this week, even though we never left Barcom to visit anywhere.  Our week began with just two work days on Monday and Tuesday.  While on Wednesday we had Wendy Witte come in to speak to our class. Then on Thursday we got the opportunity to speak with Mark Bartle at his establishment, Barcom.  On Friday we ended the week productively with yet another work day.  So now let's get more into detail on this past week’s activities, and how everything went.

Like I said we began the week with two very productive work days where we discussed things such as how we could get the word out to gain sponsorships and sales.  Here I came up with a flyer that we could hand out to businesses.  I showed it to a professional, Mike Crotty and he was very impressed with the flyer, and went as far as saying I could have a future in something of the nature.  But some of the class didn't understand that flyers can't have too much on them because minimalism and and center-focus is what captures attention and inclines the viewer to read it in full.  So they insisted that I add secondary info, and complained that it looked cluttered afterwards, which makes little to no sense considering it was their suggestion. I have learned a lot about this sort of thing because I have had to make advertisements for many things throughout my life, and my father has mentored me as he creates and organizes the advertisements for Fox News.

On Wednesday we had the opportunity to have Wendy Witte of The Greater St. Louis Community Foundation speak to our class at Barcom.  Here she discussed many of the aspects that are entailed within her job, which is handling donations to the city of St. Louis .  Here she explained to us about how the CEO class is a fund and receives charitable revenue. 

On Thursday we met at Barcom and met the owner of the business. Mark Bartle, who is actually a very good family friend.  He blew the class away when he described the scale of his business and described the growth over the years.  This was really interesting, because it's crazy to think that a business in the small town of Belleville can have such a worldwide presence.  I also enjoyed hearing about how the business sort of runs off of the morality of the employees and himself alike. To keep this heightened morality they remember two things, those being; Positive mental attitude and Good effort Good attitude and loyalty.  Another resonating topic he went over was the importance of communication, which is debatably one of the most crucial assets of running a business in today's world.

Cole Maul

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

On Monday, Austin, Carson, and I visited Scottish Rites to negotiate a price for holding our class event, Around the Fountain: A Belleville CEO Experience.  I learned a lot from first hand experience negotiating.  We told a leader of the Scottish Rites about our event and all that we would offer to get a lower price.  He was very kind and allowed us to take another look at the space.  I learned that negotiating can be made easier if you come in with a solid plan and questions written down beforehand.

On Tuesday and Friday, our class met to work on our class project.  Right now, we are focusing on gaining sponsorships.  During the end of our class, we discussed some chapters in Craig Lindvahl’s book.  Reading about his experiences has really impacted me and taught me valuable life lessons.  I learned that life is not always a straight path to success.  There are numerous detours that change your path and can lead to different outcomes.  Sometimes these outcomes were not what you were planning for, but were what you were meant to do.  Mr. Lindvahl includes inspiring stories about people he has met with a few details about how their detours led them to success in a way they had never imagined.

On Wednesday, Wendy Witte visited our class at Barcom.  Ms. Witte taught me everything I know about charitable deductions.  She discussed what our class could claim as a charitable deduction in our class business.  I thought it was really cool that you can get money back from your taxes if you donate to charity.  The St. Louis Community Foundation has an inspirational goal of donating to charity, and Ms. Witte shared a story about a donator, Lucille.  The foundation used her money very responsibly, allowing it to go further to more charities.

On Thursday, our class met Mark Bartle, the owner of Barcom.  Mr. Bartle’s background has led him to become the driven man he is today.  He maintains the culture of his business by promoting a positive mental attitude.  This is very important because a positive attitude improves your work ethic as well as the work ethic of others around you.  Mr. Bartle cares a lot about his employees and customers.  He answers phone calls from concerned clients personally and encourages his employees to get comfortable talking to customers on the phone.  Communication is what can make or break a business.  Mr. Bartle has done an excellent job growing his business and has great plans for Barcom in the future.

...I also somewhat learned to use lightroom.  And for those who do not know what lightroom is it is a program related to Photoshop that edits the lighting in a photo it is able to make a cloudy day photo look like a sunny day photo it is a really unique program that I am yet to master. I hope to be able to use it for my personal business. And for those who don’t really know what my personal business is I am doing a nature/city photography business. And my mentor is helping a lot by the fact he is really inspiring. He’s also agreed to let me use his printer for my photos. And hopefully I am able to write out a business plan this weekend.    

And Wednesday we got to here from Wendy Witte. She's a Donor Services Manager at St. Louis Community Foundation. She talked about what makes an organization eligible to receive a tax deductible which was quite fascinating. She also taught us about how to determining the available charitable deduction amount. You take the event ticket price or sponsorship price minus the net tangible benefit (also known as fair market value) which gives you the available charitable deduction. She also explained the how to find the fair market value.

Thursday we got to meet the amazing Mark Bartle. He gave us a talk and tour about Barcom. He told us how his father gave so much for this company. And how when Mark was a kid looking for couch change for food. It was horrible and it made him more protective of his money as an adult. Later in his talk he told us about his company's culture. He looks for employees who have good attitudes and good work ethic. He avoids people that cause drama. And he also told us the importance of boss to employee relations which I completely agree with.      

Kelly Rowden

Kelly Rowden
Friday, December 2, 2016Learn More About Kelly

Week 15 of CEO featured one visit, one guest speaker, and three work days. It has been greatly beneficial as we are making huge strides to our class business.

Wednesday we hosted Wendy Witte at Barcom, and she spoke to us about her job as Donor Services Manager at St. Louis Community Foundation. She mainly talked about charitable deductions and how they can be beneficial to somebody or a business. Charitable donations are pretty outlandish to a teenager, but it is something we have to consider with our class business. If we gave people the option to write it off as a donation it could give more incentive for them to sponsor or buy a booth. The St. Louis Community Foundation is also a model of how to deal with money. Whenever they receive a donation their job is to fulfill the wishes of the donor, but they also invest money to make their money grow. A perfect example of this is how they received a donation of around $340,000 from Lucille Papendick in the 1990’s. From that donation, they have already given back $400,000, and still have $400,000 left. That is a beautiful example of how beneficial investing can be, and like Mrs. Witte said, “Time is always on your side with investments.”

Thursday we finally ‘visited’ the business we have been calling home for the second quarter. Barcom is owned by Mark Bartle, and it is another example of a new, generational business in Belleville. Mr. Bartle’s father started Barcom with a loan of $200 and only a 7th grade education. At first the business completely failed, but he changed up the business plan and turned it around into a success. That story is rather inspirational because I am sure not many people would have the courage to start a business by themselves with that type of money and education, much less keep climbing through failure after failure and fighting till it was successful. Mr. Bartle shared his thoughts on how he carries himself. He said everyday when he wakes up he thinks about PMA, positive mental attitude. Showing up every day to work or school with a positive attitude is essential to being successful because if you don’t people will not think very highly of you. He also reminded us not to cause any drama. Drama digs into a business and it can easily ruin the culture of a business if everybody is talking down on others. Barcom Security, Holland Construction, and Kaskaskia Engineering all seem to have these same no drama codes, and they all are extremely successful.

…Wendy Witte from Greater St. Louis Community Foundation was the speaker on Wednesday. She talked about tax deductibility, and planning a charitable event. Ms. Witte manages donor services. She explained that to be eligible to be a charitable organization means that an organization has been determined by the IRS to meet criteria that allow it to receive tax deductible contributions. Belleville CEO is a 501 c(3), comparable to churches and schools that are also tax deductible. She also explained fair market value. Fair market value is the value of benefit the donor or attendee receives such as, Food, beverage, gifts, and entertainment. Basically anything that is tangible. …

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