Archived News

First Week at our New Host Businesss, Artigem

Professional Therapy Services, Inc.

Mike Riley, President

On our first day at Artigem, we talked to Mike Riley, president of Professional Therapy Services. Mr. Riley talked about how physical therapy is regulated today in Illinois and how they're trying to change some of the stricter and confusing laws for physical therapy. Mr. Riley really showed us some of the inner workings that a service company has to deal with regarding regulations. Mr. Riley also talked about how his industry has changed since he has gotten into it and how he has continued to keep up with the changing industry.  We wanted to thank Mr. Riley for spending the morning with us.


Written by Brett Rowe

Save the Date - Trade Showing 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
  • Awali Tee's
  • Belleville Sport Support
  • Design by Pallet
  • DSK Designs
  • Emilie's On-the-Go Studio
  • Fat Food
  • GameFlesh
  • Graphogo
  • HoneyTees
  • J&E Detailing
  • JR's Lawncare and Landscaping
  • Mechanic on the Move
  • Noteify   
  • Purple Diamond
  • Rettro
  • Senior Craft Masters
  • Stickers for Sustainability
  • These Special Hands

How to Deliver a Great Elevator Pitch

Patrick McKeehan, O'Fallon, MO Economic Development Director

On Tuesday we met with Patrick McKeehan, who is the Economic Development Director for the City Of O'Fallon, Missouri and the former director at Small Business Development Center at SIUE. He gave us a lot of information on how to successfully deliver an elevator pitch. He also gave us some tips on how to find data for our business plan and other business materials. Thank you, Mr. McKeehan, for sharing your expertise with us and showing us an example of a great elevator pitch.

 Written by Antwan Stith


Kurt Artinger, Founder and CEO

This week we were introduced to our new class site, Artigem Replacement Services. Kurt Artinger welcomed us and provided us with a wonderful room with a refrigerator and walls that match our theme colors of Belleville CEO.  On Wednesday, Mr. Artinger showed us around his facility and told us about its interesting history. He told us very inspiring stories that are very helpful for now and later on in our business careers. Mr. Artinger really made Artigem feel like a “home” to us and we are very thankful. We had a great talk about our businesses and he even gave us an opportunity to play a role in his business. Overall a great experience and we are happy to call Artigem home for this last quarter.

 Written by Cam Wicks

Brent Emmerich, Owner & Developer

On Thursday, the class had the pleasure of meeting with Mr. Brent Emmerich, Owner/Developer of and is Midland’s web designer. Ewebdzine is a web design and development company that provides different types of assistance programs for many different aspects of a business. Mr. Emmerich talked about what it is like to design websites for all different types of business fields, products to help start and run a business, and great organization tools. Mr. Emmerich showed the class many great websites for small businesses like the ones we’ll be starting. He showed us products like Square, which is a credit card processor for small businesses that can’t afford all the costs of traditional credit card processors. He also showed us web programs that help design websites for businesses, like Weebly.  Thank you, Mr. Emmerich, for sharing your knowledge with us.

Written by James Wiegers

Providence Bank

Matt Warren, Commercial Loan Officer

This week the Belleville CEO class visited their class mentor, Matt Warren, at his workplace, Providence Bank. He talked about the history of Providence Bank and how it has changed over the years. He gave some advice to us about good and bad credit and what we can do to affect our credit score. He also talked about the importance of credit scores and how it could help us in the future. The Belleville CEO class would like to thank our class mentor, Mr. Warren, for spending the morning with us and showing us around Providence Bank.


Written by Emmie Huynh

Student Journal Highlights for this week

This week when Mr. Mike Riley visited us I found his point on the importance of communication between employers and employees intriguing. It is important for employees to voice their needs and concerns to their employer because otherwise the company cannot be the correct fit for the employee. Sometimes, though, the employee just cannot fit the values of the company and therefore cannot remain there, but if the employee never speaks up then their boss will never have the opportunity to help them in the way they need.

An environment where the boss and workers communicate clearly is essential to the flow of a business. That is why Mr. Kurt Artinger has built Artigem the way he has. He took an old building and used a lot of creativity to turn it into a space where his employees have everything they need. He included a spacious break room, workout room, and other spaces for the his workers so they stay innovative throughout the day. Staying active throughout the day can improve productivity, so promoting it in a work place is essential for better results and happy workers.

Another one of our guests this week was Mr. Patrick McKeehan. He introduced us to elevator pitches, and gave us each good advice for how to approach our ways of advertising. The most important thing is to know who the customer is going to be so you can really focus in on them. Once you know specifics on who you are going after, it is easier to sell your product or service to those individuals. It is also very necessary to practice the business pitch before you deliver it to a panel or anyone because the more direct you can be, the better it will go. The audience will sense that you know the information better when you present yourself in a more confident manner.

This week we were introduced to our new class site, Artigem Replacement Services. Kurt Atrigem seemed very happy to have our class reside there for our last quarter. He provided us with a fridge and even the walls are our CEO colors, which I thought was very cool. Also the fact that he would like our input in naming his new ring made me feel that we are important. Overall, I think that being at Artigem makes the class seem more vibrant visually and mentally.

Our talk with Patrick McKeegan was a very important lecture because he really made us think about how we are going to present our businesses. At the end of the year I want to be able to present my business in front of Midland to the best of my abilities. I think that Mr. McKeegan will be very beneficial to my success in presenting by business. Other than just having us think about how we are going to present it, he made us think more critically about what our business will provide and how we will provide it. It is easy to say what your business is going to do but actually doing it is another thing. Many factors will come in to play that can benefit or hinder your performance. Mr. Keegan really made me think more about these factors regarding my business.

Mike Riley, President of Professional Therapy Services, helped me think more about the college aspect of the business. He spoke more specifically about the route he took in college — physical therapy— and how that applied to him becoming a business owner. I took what he said as an example of how things could happen in any field of study you take. He spoke about how after he graduated many things updated and continued to change. Mr. Riley was a great example of what to do during change. Things will always update and change in every field. This is why I need to continually stay updated and learn to be able to change with the environment of my business.

Cam Wicks

Cam Wicks
Friday, March 16, 2018Learn More About Cam

Last week was our last week at MM&R and this week we started in our new location the Artigem. Monday we had guest speaker, Mike Riley the president of professional therapy services. He talked to the class about what physical therapist do, where they work, and types of treatments they handle such as: strengthening, stretching specialization, pediatrics, aquatics, etc. He also talked about the difference between a physical therapist and a sports therapist, and gave us some good advice on characteristics of being an entrepreneur.

Tuesday we met Patrick McKeehan and he talked the elevator pitch and he had everyone talked about their personal business and gave us some advice on what we should say in our elevator pitch. He also gave us an example of an elevator pitch, what he talked to us was very helpful. He told us it shouldn’t be that bad if you come prepared and know your product, you can answer any questions anyone tries to ask you, also just because you make your pitch longer does not mean it was good. It could mean that you were unprepared and don’t much about your product, practice makes perfect.

Wednesday we met the owner of Artigem, Kurt Artinger; he gave us a tour of the business. It’s actually bigger than what I thought, he talked about the history of the business and how it was the old YMCA and how it was going to torn down but he bought the building for a $1! He did an amazing job fixing the place and still keeping some of the history of the building in his decorating.

Thursday Brent Emmerich, Midland’s web designer also owner & developer of He told us about different apps we can use to help better our business, connecting with other business people, and task management. A few of the websites were, Freshbook, Intuit Payroll, Weebly, Squarespace, etc.  He told us about the keys to success is find your passion, help others, network, dream big, and plan for success.

Friday we went to Providence bank with Matt Warren, he gave us tour of the building and told us about asking for loans, and how to start building your credit score.

This week we switched to a new location, Artigem, and we has a speaker each day. A packed week, but a very informative one.

Tuesday we met with Patrick Mckeehan, who introduced our elevator pitches, and describes to us the best way to explain your business and get a customer in only 2 minutes. I found this to be one of the most vital to my own business, due to my idea and plans for customer attraction. I want my company to be about personal connection, to where the customer will never feel like how most people do at a dobbs or a valvoline; like they’re just handing over their car and knowing the price will be high. I want to able to cover the most critical points of my business in a short time, while also being able to gain them as a customer, or at least a person of interest. Definitely a skill I plan to build on and keep.

We also met with Kurt Artinger, CEO of Artigem. Mr. Artinger showed us around Artigem, and also gave a quick background on himself and the company. The main thing I picked up from Kurt was aggression in the business world. Kurt was and is constantly on the move, always on top and having the next three steps planned.

Brent Emmerich, another speaker who came to our class, showed us some vital websites and key tools online that will help for an organized business. Being in the age of technology and everything being available at the touch of our fingers, I think this was a speech that was also very vital to keep in mind in our futures.

Overall, this week was packed but provided a lot of information. The day of presenting ourselves and setting up our shops is getting near. I’m excited, yet nervous and curious to see how everything I have learned and the advice I have taken into my own account pays off.

Ian Hass

Ian Hass
Friday, March 16, 2018Learn More About Ian

This week in Belleville CEO was very busy compared to some of our past weeks. Though it was full of different speakers and presentations, it was an informative week for the whole class. This week was also our first week of our last quarter, and we are stationed at Artigem, right here in Belleville. We have a lovely space for our class to stay in every day and it is a very welcoming business to be at. We enjoyed our time at MM&R and hopefully Artigem will be just as good if not better for the class.

I mentioned that we had a lot of speakers this week, but instead of listing them all, I’d like to mentioned some of my favorites. Though I enjoyed each speaker, some stood out more than others. I would have to say that my favorite one would be Kurt Artinger, the CEO of Artigem. It was really fascinating to get the full tour of the building (I never knew it was that big of a place!) and to learn the history behind it. I really liked hearing about how he treats his coworkers and employees and hearing about how his business is still growing to this day. He gave the class some really good insight into the business world, and it was a unique talk for the class, I’m sure most of us didn’t expect that to go as well as it did.

It’s been a busy week, with five days full of five speakers we sure got a lot of information to retain for the future. In fact, I’m running out of notebook paper in my portfolio. Anyways, for next week I know that we will be able to meet with our mentors, and should be expecting a few more class speakers. Hopefully this coming week keeps us busy and even more prepared for our personal businesses.

John Lewis

John Lewis
Friday, March 16, 2018Learn More About John

 “I was willing to take a risk in 1980.” Mike Riley said this phrase, he compared entrepreneurship to gambling. Mr. Riley said that gamblers take risk all the time. This means that if you want to be an entrepreneur you’re going to have to take a couple of risks. Mr. Riley also said that you have to have a passion for your product and knowledge of your industry. If you have those two concepts then you will be very successful in the business world. Mr. Riley proposed this question to me and my CEO class, “what are you willing to lose, whose money are you willing to lose”? That is a really tough question to think about, because when you are trying to become an entrepreneur you could lose relationships with people, friendships with people, and you can lose money. Entrepreneurs do not have guaranteed paychecks, funded retirement and a set schedule. It is a lot to take in when you’re dealing with entrepreneurship, but this goes back to Mike Riley’s comparison between entrepreneurs and gamblers, you have to be willing to take risks. That risk that you may take entrepreneur may be brighter for you in the future. You can be the boss of your business, flexibility, better benefits, and personal fulfillment.

“Do not ever let anyone tell you no” Mr. Kurt Artinger said this.” This was a very good lesson that Mr. Artinger said to me and my CEO class. You have to keep trying with whatever you are pursuing, just because someone tells you “no” does not mean you stop trying. You use that “no” as fuel for you to work harder in whatever you are doing. Mr. Artinger has a very successful business called Artigem. He said that he saw how the building he is currently in was in poor condition and he did not want to see it go to waste. So he bought the building and made it his own. Even though it took a lot to repair it from a gym to a building it is now, it looks very beautiful on the inside of the building. Inside the building it has old art still in it from the 1900’s which is really fascinating. I really applaud Mr. Artinger for seeing a future in a broken doing building. The key to success is to find your passion, help others, network, dream big, and plan for success.

Mr. Brent Emmerich said those very motivating things about becoming successful. When you look at success the way Mr. Emmerich laid it out it really makes you happy. It definitely makes me have something to look forward to. Because I know I found my passion, I love helping others, I love networking, I dream big all the time, and I constantly plan for success. Everything that Mr. Emmerich said I am doing right know and if you go by those tips you will be successful in the future.

I really enjoyed listening to Mr. Artinger. He had a cool story, and seemed like one of the most creative speakers we've had all year. One thing I enjoyed hearing from him over some of our speakers was the history of the building his business is in. Artigem's headquarters in downtown Belleville may be one of the area's most historic buildings. I also liked his theme of repurposing some of the old items from its previous uses. It was also interesting how he was honest about not doing too well in school, as his mind was focusing on something else. I feel like his personality type has the best entrepreneurial potential, as his mind works outside our norm and thinks more imaginatively than most. Just one example of him doing this was his pitch for $500 to a great product title. If he didn't have our attention before he said that, he certainly didn't have that problem after!

It was very nice of Matt Warren to show us around Providence Bank. I liked how they explained the "U" concept, which I hadn't really thought of until it was pointed out. It was also cool that he hit on credit scores and loans with us. I had already taken several business courses, so I already had a good idea about what we talked about, but it was good he covered it so people while never learned about it before understand the concept.

I think my concepts for the trade show are coming along well. I have decided to do a shirt specifically for the event, and will hopefully meet with my vendor from last time to discuss designs and prices. There are also some things I'd like to ask my classmates about eventually also regarding design. Since I'm hoping each of them will buy one since it will be affordable, I'd like them to greatly enjoy whatever design I go with. My plan is to sell those on tables in my both with my logo displayed along with a board describing the idea and where the "You Just Got GALL'D" idea came from.

Jacob Gall

Jacob Gall
Friday, March 16, 2018Learn More About Jacob

Another week of CEO has passed; this week was full amazing guest speakers. This week was also the start of being at Artigem. I'm really liking it so far. At the beginning of the week we met with Mike Riley the president of Professional Therapy Services. Mr. Riley talked to us about the different kinds of physical therapy and the importance of it.

This week we also met with Patrick McKeehan who is the economic development director of the city of O’Fallon. Mr. McKeehan also helped each one of us with our class business and gave us a start of our personal business pitch.

My favorite speaker this week was definitely Kurt Artinger. Kurt's life story was really inspiring and I felt that it was relatable to my own life because we both have family business and he didn't know if he really wanted to do that. Then he decided to go off on his own to come up with his own company. I also thought the way he started off buying houses was super cool. You can tell he is a very intelligent person with his money and investments.

We also got to tour Providence Bank in Fairview from our class mentor Matt Warren. It’s crazy I have driven past that bank so many times and never really noticed it. Matt talked to us about the importance of our credit scores. He gave us a few ways that we can check it and explained how the whole system works. Hopefully I can establish my credit score soon and start building it up.

This last week of CEO has been a blur. We were fortunate enough to meet with many successful businessmen and women. We have started the new quarter at the business, Artigem, a successful downtown Belleville company ran by CEO, Kurt Artigem. Unfortunately, I was gone for half of the week due to soccer, but I was able to sit in and listen with Mike Riley, president of Professional Therapy Services, Patrick McKeehan, economic development director at city of O’Fallon, MO, and Brent Emmerich, owner and developer of Through these successful businessmen I thought I was able to gain and understand a lot of knowledge they were able to bestow upon me and the class.

All these businesses talked about the importance of what their service provides and inclined to their customers. Mike Riley taught on the foundations of the struggles and attitude you must have to run and develop your company into what you want it to become. He showed us that no matter the bumps and hiccups along the way, everything will turn out as planned. You have to put hard work to achieve success, but through your success you will be happy with the service you provide.

Patrick McKeehan, I thought, taught us a very valuable lesson on how we should go about advertising our businesses and how we should develop and produce an elevator pitch. With any business its takes practice and lots of it. That’s what Mr. McKeehan taught us. An elevator pitch becomes a very valuable asset to an entrepreneur to gain business and investments in his/her company. Mr. McKeehan was a very good speaker, who taught us the value of what practice and dedication can turn a business into.

Mr. Emmerich taught us the value of finding what you love and enjoy, and creating it into a business you enjoy doing every single day. He preached on the objective to find something you wake up wanting to do every single day. He found his goal and his love in website design and development, and he has encouraged each of us as young entrepreneurs to do the same. Business people like them will help shape the future for young entrepreneurs like ourselves.

James Monken

James Monken
Friday, March 16, 2018Learn More About James

As the weeks continue to advance in Belleville CEO we are learning more and more. This week we met with Patrick McKeehan, Economic Development Director at City of O’Fallon. Mr. McKeehan taught us about producing an elevator pitch for each of our individual businesses. With my business speed was on of the aspects that would set me aside from other businesses. Through the process of heat transfers and vinyl cutting I produce T-shirts in about 15-45 mins depending on the designs wanted. We will all have to present our own elevator pitch, making our businesses sound worthy, unique and competitive.

 In addition, we got the chance to meet with Kurt Artinger, the CEO of Artigem. Artigem is a jewelry replacement service. According to Artigem Replacement Services leads the Jewelry Claim Industry with innovation, world class service and an exceptional selection of jewelry replacements. When meeting with the CEO we learned how he bought out his business with just one dollar! We took a tour of the building. There is rental space for businesses to rent out when they need it. This is good for small businesses running through home who don’t have the correct space. It’s also beneficial to get advice and network with other businesses in the facility as well. The environment at the Artigem space was great! From the unique rooms and offices to the colorful floor in one of the spaces. The building was close to being torn down so to see the amazing renovations made was incredible. It should be fun spending the rest of our semester at this place.

Artigem has many great things in store, as they are launching a new product that will be a great hit when it is officially released! We are working towards a unique name for this piece as well.

On Monday, we had our first day at Artigem and met with the President of Professional Therapy Services, Mike Riley. I thought that his presentation was really good, and if I had any interest in science I might consider a career in physical therapy. It was really interesting to hear about the legal side of physical therapy. I didn’t know that in some places people didn’t have to be referred by a doctor to go see a physical therapist.

On Tuesday, we met with Patrick McKeehan who introduced the elevator pitch to us. I thought it was pretty helpful how he gave us advice on how to make our companies stand out and told us what aspects of it to focus on during our presentations.

On Wednesday, we met with the CEO of Artigem, Kurt Artinger. He gave us a tour of the whole building and I had no idea that it was that big or that it used to be the old YMCA. The old backdrop on the stage from the 1920s was super interesting and the whole design of the building was really cool. It was funny that he ended up buying the building for $1. Kurt Artinger seems like he has a lot of really cool ideas and his new business with the engagement rings with the initials on them was a really good idea. He giving our class the opportunity to suggest names for the business was really nice and I hope someone from our class will be able to think of one that he will like.

Meeting with Brent Emmerich from ewebdzine was really interesting and I really liked hearing about the young entrepreneurs that he’s worked with. I think it gave our class a little more confidence when it came to our individual businesses. I also really liked hearing about the websites online that we could all use to grow our businesses and the examples he gave of what to do and what not to do when it comes to our future websites was really helpful.

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