Archived News

A Big Thank You to our 3rd Qtr. Host, Mathis, Marifian & Richter

CEO Business Visits

Save the Date - Trade Show Coming Soon!

The Belleville CEO students would like to invite you to their Trade Show on April 19 from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the Southwestern Illinois College PSOP Center (210 North Church Street, Belleville).  There will be 20 businesses showcased that evening such as:

  • Acts of Assistance
  • Belleville Sport Support
  • Design by Pallet
  • DSK Designs
  • Emilie's On-the-Go Studio
  • GameFlesh
  • Graphogo
  • HoneyTees
  • J&E Detailing
  • JR's Lawncare and Landscaping
  • Mechanic on the Move
  • Noteify   
  • Fat Food
  • Purple Diamond
  • Rettro
  • Stickers for Sustainability
  • These Special Hands

Belleville Sport Support

CEO Jacob Gall

CEO Jacob Gall launched his business called Belleville Sport Support in early November 2017. Jacob designed an Althoff volleyball postseason T-Shirt with the image of one of the team’s players, and another design with a volleyball. Both designs also included the slogan “YOU JUST GOT GALL’D.”   Belleville Sport Support is designing t-shirts that will be sold to Belleville’s high school students who support their sports teams. Check out his designs at the upcoming Trade Show on April 19!

Mentoring Monday

The Belleville CEO class would like to thank Matt Warren, Josh Lane and Josh McDermott for stopping by Mentoring Monday. While Mr. Lane was meeting with his mentee, Teonna Davis and Mr. McDermott was meeting with his mentee, Kaleb Leatherman, the remainder of the class talked about pricing and how to determine the price points on their products and services with their class mentor, Matt Warren.  We also discussed what factors into their cost per unit.

Mathis, Marifian & Richter

Pat Mathis, Kevin Richter & Amy Randazzo

This Tuesday, the class met with the owners of our home base, Mathis, Marifian, and Richter. We had the pleasure of meeting two of the partners, Mr. Pat Mathis and Mr. Kevin Richter as well as one of their associates, Ms. Amy Randazzo. Initially, Mr. Mathis and Mr. Richter talked about their business and what kind of cases they handle. They told us all about what it is like to work in a firm that is focused on business law. After a period of question and answer time, Mr. Richter and Ms. Randazzo gave us a scenario.  The class was presented with a fake person and their business and we got to walk through all the steps and find the potential problems with what that person was doing and what they should do to avoid breaking the law and possibly losing their business or product.  We would like to thank Mr. Mathis, Mr. Richter and Ms. Randazzo for not only spending the morning with us but for hosting us this third quarter.  This was our last week using their 2nd floor conference room at Mathis, Marifian and Richter.

 Written by Tristen Missey


Joann DiMaggio-May and Adrine Krikorian

Mrs. Jo Ann DiMaggio-May joined the class again on Wednesday as well as her grad assistant, Ms. Adrine Krikorian, to help us work on our business plans. Mrs. DiMaggio-May discussed the importance of having a good personal business plan to reach success. She collected information for each of us to utilize in the marketing and competition sections of our plans. They sat down with each student and went over their business concepts, and what their target markets are, and reviewed the student’s draft business plan. Mrs. DiMaggio-May had previously helped us with our class business plan, and so we have a better idea of how to complete our own plans.   

Written by Josie Proffitt

BreakThru Beverage Belleville, LLC

Hamilton Callison, Director of Finance and Operations

On Friday, the Belleville CEO class met with Hamilton Callison with BreakThru Beverage. BreakThru Beverage is the one of the world’s top luxury and premium wine and beverage distributors. This business is a family-owned business that was started by Mr. Callison’s grandfather in 1933. Mr. Callison said that he did not want to jump straight into the family business.  His father actually encouraged him to work at another company in the business before coming to work for the family business. He wanted to make himself knowledgeable about the business before going into it in order to make the family business better overall. Mr. Callison stressed to the CEO class that people do business with people who they have formed relationships with. Mr. Callison gave away some very useful tips that are definitely going to help the Belleville CEO class with their current and future businesses. The Belleville CEO would gratefully like to thank Mr. Callison for coming to meet with us and sharing your knowledge with us.

 Written by Martrell Robinson

Student Journal Highlights for this week

I learned a lot from this week of Belleville CEO. The talks from Pat Mathis and Kevin Richter of MM&R and Hamilton Callison of BreakThru Beverage taught me many things that I. should know in the future.

Pat Mathis and Kevin Richter explained how they came up as a small business, which I feel is very important information to me because they gave me a better perspective on how to look at things and people to better your success. They taught me that there are people that will be dishonest and try to take from you. I will plan on watching for this behavior when I have my own business. I learned that I cannot overly trust people as well because they can turn their back on you when you least expect it.

Hamilton Callison was one of the most informative speakers we have had so far in my opinion. He touched on many things that are going on in the business world today and what I need to know to make a better profit. He talked about how businesses can branch from one another which taught me that networking is very important. Also his talks on profit margins was something that really will help me down the road. I learned that I should not be lazy and start depending on one type of customer. I need to keep my options diversified. If not, that one customer can control my whole business. Selling product is about the profits margins. I could be selling a lot of products but if my profit margins are not high enough, I could be losing money and that is not good.

What I learned from these two talks will surely go along way for me in the future. There are many things to look at when creating and running a business. I will make sure that I am keen on what I want and not take the lazy route because it is easy.

Cam Wicks

Cam Wicks
Friday, March 9, 2018Learn More About Cam

This week was what felt like the first full/ normal week in a while. CEO’s coming to talk to us, work days, and visiting business’s. Always a refresher to get back to the basics instead of the constant rush and chaos over our class business, having off days, or meetings at other locations. This week we met with Pat Mathis and Kevin Richter, Hamilton Callison, and we were also visited by JoAnn DiMaggio-May.

JoAnn visited to discuss and help with our individual business plans, which is always much appreciated. I think that we have learned so much from CEOs about how to actually run a business, and keep a business, but the start up paperwork has commonly been overlooked.

Knowing my business and thinking everything out months ago definitely helped with this process. Bringing it up/ talking with my mentor about it also helped immensely. Now that we have paperwork templates, it has become fairly easy to fill in the blanks; and I think that is where most of my classmates are struggling, for they haven’t put as much thought into it.

Regardless, the banker days are what has most excited me in the upcoming events. From this class, I have really learned how to public speak, and most times on topics or subjects that is either just repeated or explain. Being able to actually promote my own business drives my interest the highest. I’m curious to see how I, asking as my peers, do on those days.

Ian Hass

Ian Hass
Friday, March 9, 2018Learn More About Ian

When we met with Pat Mathis and Kevin Richter, I especially enjoyed the part in our conference where we had a scenario to work through. I like that they engaged us in a real life instance because it forced us to think outside the box. Lots of the areas were relatable because we each have to go through a similar process for our personal businesses. I realized that when working in the business field, one constantly has to consider all the different possible things that could happen. I never really thought about how a law firm is handled like a business, though. My father is a lawyer, and I have been exposed to his job duties, but I guess I never thought about how the rest of the practice is run. It was interesting to hear the ways in which their business had to adapt and the other changes it has made throughout the years.

For my personal business, doing the financials is the hardest part for me because I feel like I am overlooking stuff. Personally, I do not think I have a whole lot of costs involved, so the fact that it seems simple makes me uneasy. I would have liked to meet with Jo Ann Di Maggio May once again this week, but unfortunately our class ran out of time. I feel as though I have a good sense of how I am going to start up my business, but getting it on paper properly is pretty stressful, especially because I have never done this before. I have asked my mentor for guidance, and she has been super helpful in the process so far. I hope we can meet to discuss things further, such as ideas for the trade show. Also, since I am going through a manufacturer for my product, figuring out what to actually order has been more difficult than I imagined. I am not familiar with the different ways things can be done, so articulating what I want stresses me out a little because I want to make sure we are on the same page.

This last week was the end to being at Mathis, Marifian, and Richter, but it was a great experience being able to be at such a great business and learn from them. On Tuesday we met with Mr. Mathis and Mr. Richter to talk to them about their business and how it came to be. They showed us how successful people become by starting your own company. It takes work, dedication, and effort to become successful and to make a name for yourself. Their company started from the bottom, in just a single room that was half the size of their now conference room. They started from nothing and now own firms in multiple states and cities. That is what becoming an entrepreneur is all about, knowing your worth and working harder than anyone else because you know and believe you can and will be successful.

We also met and talked with Hamilton Callison from BreakThru Beverage, the oldest and biggest distributor in Illinois. His business started off from almost nothing as well, and he, his father, and grandfather built it up to become what it is today. With the help of merging the business they are now a million dollar company. It doesn't matter where your company starts off from, but it is how you create it and build it up to become successful that matters. This week we looked at two companies with very successful owners and backgrounds that showed us is doesn’t matter as long as you create it to become what you dream of. It also showed us to never change your business because of someone else. Create your business and brand, and we can never give up on that idea.

Every week these are the things and ideals young entrepreneurs like ourselves have to learn, and these are skills one day we will come to know for ourselves as we create our personal businesses. I look forward to the weeks to come in the final semester of this CEO program. We have a lot to learn and understand.

Week 27 was our final week at MMR, and it was the best week in a while. We had Mentoring Monday, MMR on Tuesday, JoAnn DiMaggio-May came, and we had to complete our business plans.

Mentoring Monday was a great idea, but didn’t go exactly as planned. Only two personal mentors came and our class mentor came. We talked a lot about our personal businesses, marketing techniques, and other aspects of our business. I learned a lot of little inside details I didn’t know about on Monday just by talking with the class. Monday also taught me to always have a backup plan.

On Tuesday we went up to the 3rd floor to visit with Mathis, Marifian and Richter, Ltd. this was without a doubt my favorite visit so far. All my life I have grown up knowing that my uncle, George Marifian, was a lawyer, but I never knew anything more than that. On Tuesday I got to see how successful my uncle actually is, and what exactly he did. I got to meet his partners too who you could tell we’re very good at what they do just from the way they spoke and answered questions. I also really enjoyed hearing the history of MMR and what they did to set themselves apart from their competition.  

Wednesday JoAnn DiMaggio-May came and helped us with our business plans. That was my first time meeting with her and I am so thankful that she came again. She helped me set better price points, figure out how to set myself apart from the competition, who my target market was, and better marketing strategies. Since I’m starting an auto detailing company I thought my prices shouldn’t be very expensive since it’s just washing a car; however, I learned that I was completely underselling myself because car detailing is nowhere near cheap.

“If you have a business gets involved with your employees.” This is a very helpful tip that Kevin Richter from MM&R said to me and my CEO class. If you are not involved with your employees your business will probably not be that successful. The reason is because if you are not involved in with your employees life on a personal level then it will be a disconnect from you and your employees. Your employees should know that you as a boss should always have their back with anything that they are going through mentally and physically. MM&R was started in 1984 by Pat Mathis and Kevin Richter. These two men still enjoy what they do at a high intensity level. Their business is steadily getting better and better by each year and it will continue to be a great business. People do business with people they trust and people that they form relationships with. Those two points are very key tips in running a business. Because if a person does not trust you then they are not going to invest in your business. You have to form trust with every customer or person that you encounter. Forming relationships with people is still one of the biggest aspects of running a business. In business it is about who you know. So if you are always forming relationships with people on a business level or even on a more personal level it will better help your business proceed.

I think that my business is coming along quite well. The person the JoAnn DiMaggio-May brought with her helped me with my business plan so that it could be really good. I am still thinking of the possible prices that I want to charge for my business to better my business in general overall. I am thinking about having surveys to give to all my customers every time I get done with my job so I can see if it is anything I need to do better or work at. Because I want my business to ran on customer satisfaction. If your customers are not happy then they will not ask for your services anymore. I want all of my customers to be well satisfied with any of the work that I do. Because without customers then you will not have a business.

I think I'm in pretty good shape on the business documents we're doing in class. My mentor only recommended a few minor changes to my business plan, which I would count as a good sign. Sometimes I just find it hard to be motivated to work on those. I enjoy shirt designing and actually selling the product much more than the financial considering that lies behind it, even though it is very important. I think I will also enjoy setting up my booth to emulate an actual store!

MMR was a nice refresh from most of our speakers. It was nice to hear from lawyers again instead of the consistent business people, especially since I don't think we have since the first quarter of the school year. I liked how they shared details of their most interesting cases with us, and how they felt about representing certain clients. It was interesting to hear about how they started small, and later expanded. I also enjoyed how they went into what aspects of the business they consider in order to compete with the other firms in the area.

Hamilton Callison was nice to listen to. I knew little to nothing about the wine and spirits industry, so his was a cool perspective to learn from about it. I had no idea it was constantly filled with emerging companies. I also liked that we heard his perspective on yet another person who had a choice on whether or not to continue with the family business. The software information he shared was also cool. I never thought to consider that corporate America's companies would use a lot do the same computing programs to function. His philosophy about how knowledge is the one thing that can't be taken away is also one I have heard many times, but is also a really cool concept.

Jacob Gall

Jacob Gall
Friday, March 9, 2018Learn More About Jacob

This week during CEO it was very interesting and we were able to use a lot of the time to spend quality working time on our personal businesses. We were also able to meet with Pat Mathis and Kevin Richter of MM&R, JoAnne DiMaggio-May, who helped us with our personal business plans, and Hamilton Callison of BreakThru Beverage.

When we met with Mr. Mathis and Mr. Richter, they gave us a lot of great information on what to look out for legally when we are starting our own businesses. They also told us that we should always show confidence when we're going to any kind of interview. the reason for that is because it shows the person who's interviewing you that you are confident and are willing to do whatever it takes. Another thing that was mentioned while we talked to them was the commencement address that Barbara Bush gave at Wellesley College. The reason why it stood out to me was because in the speech it said to cherish the relationships you make over your life and I think that it is really important that we as a class do this because we are all right now working on our networking skills and we need to remember the connections we have made from this class years from now.

When we talked to Hamilton Callison this week two things that stood out to me that he's talked about were that people will do business with people and that we should learn how to use Excel because it'll be very handy when we are hired by a company.  I think the first point is very important because people really do like to do business with genuinely caring and nice people because they know that if they're ever in need of something that someone they can rely on I think that's something we as a class need to remember as we're making our personal business as we need to know who's going to be there to help us when we are hitting a rough patch with the business.

Jake Roche

Jake Roche
Friday, March 9, 2018Learn More About Jake

Alumni Spotlight Entries for this week

Cassandra Amorado

Update on Sandy Amorado:

Sandy is currently studying abroad in Madrid.  She sent Mrs. Siebers a note this week saying, “ I just want to inform you that I recently accepted an internship at Northwestern Mutual Group in Fairview Heights with Roger and Chris Lowery. This would not be possible if I did not use my CEO connections, so I would just like to say thank you to you and the program for helping me get to where I am today. Thank you. Madrid is beautiful and I still remember that I got voted "Most Likely to Go the Farthest...Literally" and here I am. So, thank you.

Sandy has been makings videos for each month. You can watch these videos of her journey in Madrid and exploring the world! She said that she is having a wonderful time and she wishes this class lots of luck from Madrid!



Cassandra Amorado
- Class of 2016

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