Archived News

A Time to Disconnect

CEO Guest Speakers

Mr. Tom Farquhar

Coming from a foundation who works with foundries, Mr. Tom Farquhar came and spoke with us about entrepreneurship. He shared his background of a failing foundry that he started with his father.  Mr. Farquhar then acquired a job that you don’t hear about every day. He is a manufacturer's representative.  By doing so, he can build his own schedule and work as he pleases. It was interesting how he can work both sides of the fence with his manufacturers and his customers. Mr. Farquhar stressed that you need to know the technicalities of your products so you can be the best rounded salesman. With tons of benefits such as no cap on your income and flexibe schedule, there are also downfalls by being a manufacturer's representative.  Unfortunately, you are paid solely on commissions.  Mr. Farquhar believes that good businesses are full of people who are “Well organized over brilliance.”  Thank you, Mr. Farquhar, for being one of our investors and spending the morning with us on Monday.  

Written by Austin Thurman

King's House

Deacon Doug & Mrs. Geri Boyer

On Tuesday, our class took a visit to the King’s House, which is a peaceful retreat to get away from the community and technology. We spoke with the Director, Deacon Doug Boyer about how taking a break from your busy life and setting some time aside to find yourself is really important. We also heard from Mrs. Geri Boyer about the importance of meditation and how to cope with stress. We took some time to meditate and found it to be very beneficial and relieving; hence the reason for our very casual attire that day. Doug and Geri both stressed the importance of a good balance between physical, mental, and spiritual health, and they believe the King’s House is a great place to work on mental and spiritual aspects.

Written by Devin Alexander

Around the Fountain: A Belleville CEO Experience

Conference & Trade Show

Belleville CEO’s purpose is to encourage a closer community and to inspire the success of small businesses. Although our class consists of high school seniors, we are driven entrepreneurs that see the untapped potential of this city- potential that we wish to bring out in our second annual class business by giving you a chance to network and market your business. This year we are hosting a business conference with our inspirational keynote speaker, the artist and entrepreneur Ben Glenn. Around the Fountain is the experience we are offering to unite the business community while creating lifelong connections that will benefit Belleville as a whole. We offer a plethora of options to be involved, so don’t miss a chance to be successful and buy your tickets today!

The Students of Belleville CEO, Class of 2017

Thank You to our Current Sponsors

We would like to thank our current GOLD Sponsors:  HomeBrite Ace Hardware (Downtown Belleville), CliftonLarsonAllen, Sonoma Capital, LLC, Precision Practice Management and Greensfelder, Hemker & Gale, PC.

Belleville CEO would like to thank our current SILVER Sponsors:  Kaskaskia Engineering, FKG Oil/Moto, Neptunes Ocean World and Memorial Hospital.

Neptunes Ocean World

Next, we would like to thank our current six BRONZE Sponsors:  Holland Construction, Empire Comfort Systems, LeChien and LeChien, J.T. McDermott Remodeling Contractors, Lisa Safarian and Egyptian Stationers.

Lisa Safarian

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

Several companies who have already donated items to the Silent Auction:

HomeBrite Ace Hardware (Downtown Belleville)
Botantical Gardens
The Abbey
Ace Hardware (West Belleville)
Family Video
Hilton Hotel

Buy Your Tickets Early

Eventbrite snapshot

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 be a time to network with other business people in the community.  The keynote speaker for the evening will be Ben Glenn, the Chalk Guy. Mr. Glenn is a motivational speaker who uses his artwork to inspire communities.   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.

We are also pleased to announce that Mrs. Geri Boyer will be speaking at our business conference.  Mrs. Boyer is the co-founder and managing partner of Kaskaskia Engineering Group LLC.   Throughout her career, she has been very active in the Belleville community through her involvement in the Memorial Hospital Foundation Board, Belleville Chamber of Commerce, Government Affairs Committee, Belleville Main Street, and Catholic Urban Programs.  One of our favorites, of course, is her continued support as an investor as well as a CEO Board Member. 

Mrs. Boyer was named one of St. Louis' Most Influential Business Women in 2011, an award recognizing remarkable women in business. She was also awarded the 2011 Faith in the Marketplace Award by the Catholic Diocese of Belleville, the 2010 Phenomenal Women Award by the Center for Racial Harmony, the 2010 Women Influencing Now Regional Economic Development Award, presented by Winning Women, in conjunction with St. Louis County, the City of St. Louis, the Leadership Council Southwestern Illinois, the City of St. Charles and ClearChannel Radio. The Winning Women organization recognized Mrs. Boyer for her ongoing commitment to the development and prosperity of the City of Belleville, the Metro East, and the St. Louis Region. Mrs. Boyer, along with her business partner, also received the 2010 Smart Women, Smart Money Award from the Illinois State Treasurer’s office.

Two great speakers as well as our very own CEO students in a panel style forum.  So don't your tickets now and be part of this remarkable conference!

Sponsorships Still Available


Logo will appear in slideshow
Logo will be in program
Logo in weekly newsletter
Logo on website
Logo on gold banner
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
Logo in program
Logo in weekly newsletter
Logo on website
Logo on silver banner
1 ticket

Growing your community


Logo will appear in slideshow
Logo will be in program
Logo will appear in weekly newsletter
Logo on website 

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.

Student Journal Highlights for this week

As the first semester of CEO came and went I have learned many things from basic financial advice to how use a credit card. These ideas may seem like basic knowledge to most adults but to us kids currently becoming adults in this world it is very easy to make a mistake and end up with mountains of debt and a low credit score. These mistakes will follow you for years and have to learn the lesson the hard way. I will never have these worries because I have learned more useful in helpful info in my CEO class then I have in past classes at school.

This class can be stressful for the CEO students since we have to create a class business and pull it off without failing. We can’t fail because we have put our names on it and this would show that the CEO business class can’t succeed in Belleville and I want students years after I left the class to have the opportunity to be in this once in a lifetime experience. To relax and work on ways to get rid off our stress, the CEO class visited the King's House in Belleville with Geri Boyer to learn ways to meditate and relieve some of the stress in our life. I have never been one to get stressed out, most things do not determine how our life turns out. I have noticed that big monumental changes seem to happen in the ways we least expect it. College and my future do not stress me out since it does not determine exactly what  happens to us. I just make the most of everything and try not to stress out too much over something. The only thing that worries me right now is if we will be able to get enough booths.

Joe  Beussink

Joe Beussink
Friday, December 16, 2016Learn More About Joe

We have come to Christmas break and what a semester it has been. We have had many ups and downs, trials and tribulations, and we have overcome them all by sticking together and working as one well-oiled machine. Our class has excelled, in my opinion, at every challenge placed in front of us. From the badge project to representing ourselves to our upmost ability at every outing we've gone on, we've knocked the ball out of the park every time. Overall I couldn't have wished for a better group of peers to go through this experience with. Where someone is lacking, someone else is packing and we compliment each other beautifully.

It's kind of like how Mr. and Mrs. Boyer are. They may not have all the same strengths, but as a unit they are a force to be reckoned with. They both lead wonderful careers but just as the saying goes, Life isn’t no laser beam. They have gone through many difference opportunities to get where they are today, from going on 500 mile pilgrimages, to simply changing the direction of their life by switching careers. They truly have done it all, and are successful from being such persistent people. Our class is almost like a shortened version of their lives and just like them, in the end we should be successful.

Royce Payne

Royce Payne
Friday, December 16, 2016Learn More About Royce

Overall, the past semester was a very interesting experience. I have learned a lot about myself, others, and the business world.  I have learned more than I have in any other class this year.  CEO can be very time consuming as well as frustrating, but it is worth it in my opinion.  The class business is still very iffy.  We are a little over two months away, and we are not where we should be.  We just need to stay motivated and work hard, and we will be okay.

On Monday, we learned the ins and outs of being a manufacturing representative.  I have never heard of that before Monday.  It is pretty interesting.  I like how it is risky, and you make what you put into it.  If you work had you can make a lot of money, but if you are lazy you won't make much.  He taught a valuable lesson that only 5 percent of people took his calls, but he never gave up. He kept calling, and became successful.  We need to do that in search of sponsorships. He was another example of someone who learned from a failure, but it pushed him to be more successful.

On Tuesday, we went to the Kings House. It is a secluded retreat center in Belleville. I have been there once before, and I was glad to go back because it is a very neat facility.  We met with Geri Boyer again, and talked about meditation and self awareness. We also talked about what we want, and how we view our personal missions.  Why were we put on earth?  That is for us to decide. I believe my mission is to make people happy.

Stephen Waltrip

Stephen Waltrip
Friday, December 16, 2016Learn More About Stephen

This week at CEO we met with Thomas Farquhar who is a manufacturer’s rep. We also met with Geri Boyer and her husband at the King’s House. Both visits were interesting and had valuable information to be learned.

Mr. Farquhar told us about his life as a manufacturer's rep. It sounded like a really interesting job. He explained the difference between his job and a sales associate. Basically, he is his own boss and works of commission. Sales reps are hired employees who make a salary. Each has their benefits and downsides. The biggest down side I saw with being a manufacturer’s rep is the flow of income. You might make a deal but not get paid for it for 2 years.

We also met with Geri Boyer and her husband at King’s House. It was really cool to see the facilities because I had no idea it even existed and I drive past it almost everyday. King’s House is a retreat center for groups or individuals to clear their minds. It sounded like a really great place for clearing your mind and thinking of ideas. I still haven't thought of my class business, yet I now know to think in quiet places to clear my mind. We also meditated while there which helped us focus and relieve stress. This was particularly helpful do to amount of stress last week.

Tim Donaho

Tim Donaho
Friday, December 16, 2016Learn More About Tim

This week in CEO was important to me as I learned about meditation and stress mainly. We also had a meeting at The Abbey and we had Tom Farquhar come in to talk to us about what he does.

On Tuesday we went to the King’s House with Geri Boyer and her husband Deacon Doug Boyer to learn about the importance of meditation and stress. Meditating helps us to control “our mind and thoughts and turn off our mind when we do not need it anymore. Mrs. Boyer said Meditation reduces stress better than anything else I know of. Not only does the practice of meditation give you some down time to rest physically and mentally, it also has a very direct effect on your entire nervous system by reducing your body’s production of stress related chemicals like cortisol, and increasing the production of mood enhancing chemicals like serotonin.” Mr. Boyer also said that stress is not always a bad thing. Stress with consume the type of work you do good or bad and that’s not being a good leader. He told us a quote that "Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it, the components of anxiety, stress, fear, and anger do not exist independently of you in the world. They simply do not exist in the physical world, even though we talk about them as if they do and stress happens when your mind resists what is...The only problem in your life is your mind's resistance to life as it unfolds.” This quote basically is saying no matter how hard life is and how dark your days may be you can never let the stress get over you and, you will overcome it all.

On Monday when Tom Farquhar came in he told us “Don't aim at success. The more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side effect of one's personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one's surrender to a person other than oneself. Happiness must happen, and the same holds for success: you have to let it happen by not caring about it. I want you to listen to what your conscience commands you to do and go on to carry it out to the best of your knowledge. Then you will live to see that in the long-run success will follow you precisely because you had forgotten to think about it.” which is a quote that I know I have heard before but a quote that really stuck with me.

 The last days were workdays as we worked on our class businesses and got to meet at the Abbey on Friday. We got to switch our jobs and we will meet at Precision Practice Management for the beginning of the second semester I can’t wait to get started.

Jaylen Davis

Jaylen Davis
Friday, December 16, 2016Learn More About Jaylen

On Monday, Thomas Farquhar visited our CEO class at Barcom.   Mr. Farquhar told us a lot of tips about business and what it is like being a manufacturer representative.  I learned that in business, you should take some risks, but it should also be fun.  The most successful and happiest people are passionate about what they do.  I also learned that when starting a business, you may not get paid the first few weeks or months, depending on how your business starts out.  It is important to spread risk to avoid bankruptcy as well as preparing ahead for the future. 

Owning your own business can provide flexibility.  Mr. Farquhar had the option of working at home.  Mr. Farquhar talked about how important family is to him.  He also advised that we keep our family in mind when starting a business.  We want them to support us through our journey and be there to celebrate success with us.  Mr. Farquhar manipulated his schedule to be able to go to his children’s sports games and activities.  I believe that family is very important in life.  Family is there for your lowest lows and your highest highs.  It is crucial to continue spending time with family and avoid getting too absorbed into your business.

On Tuesday, our class went to the King’s House where we met Geri Boyer and her husband.  Mr. and Mrs. Boyer are adamant about the importance of taking time to relax.  In today’s world, many people work too hard for too long and it impacts their health.  Mr. and Mrs. Boyer suggest taking a weekend to go somewhere to relax. 

The King’s House was very beautiful and had an amazing church.  The goal of King’s House is to give clients a relaxing retreat to meditate and relax.  We got to experience meditation, and it was very calming.  We discussed stress and how to handle it, which was very helpful with exams coming up.  As I start my own business, I think meditation will help me clarify my goals.  I also learned that stress can impact your health, so it is important to step back sometimes and practice time management.

Kaitlynn Borik

Kaitlynn Borik
Friday, December 16, 2016Learn More About Kaitlynn

Coming from a foundation that works with foundries, Tom Farquhar came and spoke with us about entrepreneurship. Like most businessmen, he failed in his first attempt of going big. Tom acquires a job that doesn't appear every day. He is a Manufactures Rep, by doing so he can build his own schedule and work as he pleases. It was interesting how he can work both sides of the fence with his manufacturers and his customers. Tom stressed that you need to know the technicalities of your products so you can be the best rounded salesman. With tons of benefits, there are downfalls by being a manufactures rep. Being a manufactures rep, you are paid solely on commissions. There is no cap on your income! Once Tom made more from his commissions than the VP of the company.  Tom believes that good businesses are full of people that are “well organized over brilliance.”

Our next stop for the week was King’s House, a retreat center hidden away in West Belleville. There we went and talked with Geri Boyer and her husband about the financials of Kings house but also the importance to be a well-rounded person. It is important as a person to be both physically and mentally fit. I find this true, too often I find myself too stressed and let other parts of my life lapse and it sometimes has a turmoil effect. It wasn’t until this visit that I had fully understood why being balanced is so important to my health and social life. With the things that I have learned through this visit I intend to use the skills for my life and add them to my business one day.

Austin Thurman

Austin Thurman
Friday, December 16, 2016Learn More About Austin

This past week in CEO has been an extremely eventful one for me. Not simply due to our CEO activities, but on Thursday during class I was involved in my first car accident.

Physically I am completely fine, however the accident was extremely jarring in many other ways. Most notably, the expenses that resulted in the collision. Because of the accident we lost our family van and now have to get a new one. I've also become more cautious when entering and leaving vehicles. My CEO class has been preparing me for months for a financial situation like this, yet it did not fully sink in until a crashing realization occurred- I have to prepare myself for real life.

What I appreciate about CEO is that it takes me out into the real world so I won't have extreme surprises when starting my own business. Although nothing else could have completely prepared me for a sudden car accident, I can't say that my teaching in CEO were not helpful while I was calculating the expenses and how soon I would have to start my business to pay my family back.

My mentor Geri Boyer is 100% supportive of trying to boost my business a bit before we officially get started. It's people like her that I am extremely grateful for; driven and dedicated people that I would have never met if I had not been enrolled in this program.

My next steps are still a bit of a mystery, as I have to plan a lot of things about my business before I truly get started. I know small things like that won't be a hinderance for me, because I have CEO on my side to push me to a successful future.

Alayna  Wells

Alayna Wells
Friday, December 16, 2016Learn More About Alayna

CEO Week 17 marked the halfway point for the class and is the end of our time at Barcom. I would like to thank Barcom and Mr. Bartle for letting us have our meetings there for half of a semester, This week featured one guest speaker, one class visit to a familiar face, and three quality work days.

Monday we were visited by Mr. Thomas Farquhar. He is now retired, but just a couple years ago he was an extremely successful business representative for many companies. He made money solely on commission, and he was so good that one year he made more money than the vice president of the company he was representing. How he went about his business and his mentality really reminded of Roger Lowery. Both of them thought they knew what they wanted to do coming out a college, spent some time doing it, and decided that they didn’t want to do it after all. They both realized they wanted a job where they could be their own boss, and make as much money that they can work for. They also wanted flexibility within their jobs because they were true entrepreneurs who enjoyed adventure over security. I believe there is something to learn from these two extremely successful individuals seeing how similar they are. So every piece of advice from one of them should be written down and never forgot, luckily this is CEO class where we take key notes from our speakers so we can’t forget. Mr. Farquhar reminded us that if we want to be entrepreneurs we have to be self-motivated.

Tuesday we visited The King's House on the west end of Belleville and met with Geri and Doug Boyer. The King’s House is kind of a retreat for people who just want to get away from everything and really look into their hearts and discover who they are. We took some time out of discussion to meditate and let go of all our stresses for a couple of minutes. I could definitely see how that would be beneficial for some people, but I’m already stress free so I didn’t feel anything. The coolest part of the visit was just walking through this massive building I had absolutely no idea existed. It’s so exclusive it’s almost a shame not that many people know about it.

Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday were all work days. The class business is slowly creeping up and we’re getting closer and closer to finalizing some of the smaller details. I’m really excited about this conference and I think it’s going to be phenomenal.

Michael Lassman

Michael Lassman
Friday, December 16, 2016Learn More About Michael

This week in CEO was a nice way to end the semester. On Monday we had a presentation from Thomas Farquhar, and a day of meditation with Geri Boyer, and her husband Doug Boyer.

The presentation from Thomas Farquhar was very informative, and consisted of a lot of information about life, and managing yourself. Thomas Farquhar is a manufacturer’s representative for companies that sell metal moldings. He talked about how your connections help Start Your Career and keep you growing in the field you work in. He emphasized being organized, and having self-control.

Tuesday we had meditation with Geri Boyer and was very relaxing, it helped start my week of finals. The day of meditation was a great way to begin my tests. This week of class was short but nice.

Epiphany Smith

Epiphany Smith
Friday, December 16, 2016Learn More About Epiphany

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