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Final Presentations & Celebrations

You are invited to our 3rd Annual Belleville CEO Come & Go Celebration.  Pick a day and stop by to listen to the Belleville CEO's final presentation and network with the students one more time.  It will be Wednesday through Friday, May 9-11 from 7:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. at Artigem.  It will be a time for the students to thank you for making this program possible either through your financial support and/or your time.  Refreshments will be served on Friday, May 11 so please stop by and wish them good luck as they get ready to graduate and begin the next chapter of their life.  

Their final presentations will give you some feedback on their experience in CEO, what they have accomplished during the year, and a finanical update on their business.  

Hopefully we will see you at one of those days!

MidWest Cyber Center

Tony Bryan, Executive Director

On Monday, we met with Tony Bryan who was with Midwest Cyber Center. Mr. Bryan explain to us the dangers of the Internet and how we can protect our company's and ourselves from being hacked. He told us about devices that would allow us to prevent ourselves from being hacked and told us that company should always have a good IT team.  I would like to thank Mr. Bryan for coming to talk with us.   It was very informational!

 Written by Jake Roche

Don Rodgers Ltd.

Roger Wigginton, Owner

On Tuesday we met with Roger Wigginton, from Don Rodgers Ltd. This year, Don Rodgers will be celebrating their 42nd year in business.  Mr. Wigginton shared with us about his marketing strategy.  His radio commercials on KMOX help bring him clients from all over Illinois and Missouri.  Don Rodgers is also one of the last independent men and women’s clothing stores in this area and even in the U.S. This is due to the multiple malls, discount stores, and on-line companies that have expanded nationwide. Mr. Wigginton also voiced how important it is to be a member of local chair positions and politics; because your business is a part of the community and so should you.

Written by Brett Rowe

Lindenwood University

Dr. Brett Barger, President

Dr. Renee Porter, Provost
Mr. Christopher Dussold, Business Professor
Mr. Alan Glass, Accounting Professor
Ms. Amy Determann, Business Professor

On Wednesday, we met at Lindenwood Belleville and discussed the school’s history. We met with Lindenwood’s president, Dr. Barger, the provost, Dr. Porter, business department professors, and current business Lindenwood students. They set up a scenario where an existing university wanted to acquire some buildings in a small town to set up another location for that university. Students from our class paired up with current Lindenwood students and played different members of a community, such as the mayor, the university council, and community members. We discussed items like how the area would be cleaned up, bring more young people to the area, and bring a large amount of profits to the community. The goal of the activity was to see the benefit of bringing Lindenwood University to Belleville. It was interesting to see how students and their professors engaged with each other, which was similar to how we are in CEO, versus a high school teacher and their students.


Written by Josie Proffitt

Chick Fil-A in Fairview Heights

Matt Gilreath, Business Development Director

Last Thursday, we visited the Chick Fil-A in Fairview Heights, with Matt Gilreath, Business Development Director. He gave us very useful information about the Chick Fil-A franchise and his business experience in general. Mr. Gilreath explained to aim for success in our passions. He was a great example of the happiness that comes from choosing your passion. Mr. Gilreath also informed us about how important a business reputation is. Being a business development director at Chick Fil-A, America’s favorite fast food restaurant, he is very knowledgeable in knowing how to keep a positive business reputation and was very generous to share that information with us. We thank Chick Fil-A for the delicious breakfast sandwiches and Mr. Gilreath for sharing his time with us.

 Written by Cam Wicks

Super League Gaming

Ann Hand, CEO

On Friday, we had a Skype session with Ann Hand who is the CEO of Super League Gaming in Santa Monica, CA. This meeting was set up by Mr. Monken, who is a mentor of the CEO class.  During our hour skype session, Ms. Hand shared her background which started in the oil and gas industry and how she ended up at Super League Gaming.  She talked about how the company started, the successes and misconceptions, and the future for the company.   We would like to thank Ms. Hand for talking to us and giving us some great advice as young entrepreneurs.

Student Journal Highlights for this week

This week out of our many, has been my favorite by far. We had some great speakers with some amazing presentations. My favorite guest speaker would have to be Ann Hand; who we skyped in order to talk. I actually liked skyping more than when some people come in to present, or maybe it was because her job was more appealing. Ann Hand is the CEO of Super League Gaming, which is a gaming community that has spread country wide. The league consists of multiple teams from some of the largest cities in the United States. It is so awesome that we have the opportunity to meet and talk with business owners that we do.

Before starting CEO, I really didn’t know what a lot of the businesses around town truly did; I also didn’t know the people who ran them. That’s what I like about CEO, we really get to know and learn about the ins and outs of our local businesses. My favorite and only visit this week was going to the Chick-Fil-A in Fairview Heights. We met with mentor Matt Gilreath, we talked about his family business and how great of an organization Chick-Fil-A is. Matt was telling our class how he was able to go to Chick-Fil-A’s corporate office and met the owners of the company. Not only that, the owners and CEO knew who he was. That’s what I like about Chick-Fil-A, they are a very personal business; they truly care about their employees and their customers’ needs. I think many businesses should model after their business model, in the public eye, they are known as having the best service. All in all, week 34 was a lot of fun and I felt like I learned quite a bit. Let’s see what week 35 can bring Belleville CEO!

Brett Rowe

Brett Rowe
Friday, April 27, 2018Learn More About Brett

The weeks of CEO are coming to a close it’s been great, and I’m going to miss all the new friends that I’ve made through this class because they’ve become like a second 7:30 AM family. I’ve enjoyed almost every minute of being around these people and everything that we’ve gone through together has really made me a better person. But anyway, this week and CEO we were full of speakers. I had two favorites this week.

My first favorite was the clothing store and I just thought how it was really neat that Belleville still had an independent retail clothing store. I thought it was really interesting how the owner wouldn’t care so much about the customers’ needs and wants and what really focus on the seasons and what was in style and will also attend as fashion shows multiple times a year just to make sure that you got what the customers would want. I actually want to go check out his store and see how it operates and runs. I think it would be a really cool thing to see.

My next favorite which is actually my most favorite was the Skype session with the Super League Gaming CEO. I just thought it was really cool because I myself am a gamer I’m not a super hard-core gamer, but I am a gamer and I just really thought that I could connect with this presentation on a more personal level. I’ve been playing games since I was little, and I had PSP and my brother had a PlayStation 2. And then we got a Wii and me and my brother would play Wii sports, then we would play college duty on the Wii and then he got an Xbox and we started playing on that and then I got an Xbox and then I got another Xbox so video games have really always been a presence in my house and there really wasn’t a point in time in my life where me and my brother did not have some kind of console in the house with us. I really liked how she had created something for people who weren’t as great at the game as the pros, I had always watched MLG videos and watch their tournaments and watch them play the games and they were great and you know people want to be like them but they just they don’t have that kind of skin the game I guess. This business really gives them a chance to show people how good they are at a game and get a chance to be recognized by the pros.

Now that we have done our major events for the Belleville CEO class and are about to graduate, the class seems more relaxed. It feels very relieving that we have done all of the events such as Belleville’s Got Talent and the Trade Show. We have now have the rest of the semester to listen to speakers and get more information about the business world. Also, we have more free time to proceed in starting our personal businesses that we have been working very hard to create over this year.

Our first talk this week about cybersecurity with Tony Brian related to me because I would love to learn more about this field. I thought it was amusing that we were scheduled to talk about cybersecurity but then changed the topic to hacking. The fact that Mr. Brian told us about hacking rather than just cybersecurity made the conversation more interesting but also indirectly influenced the importance of cybersecurity. Learning about all the different types of ways people hack and what is used to hack taught me to be more careful when I am online. Learning about the other side of the spectrum of Mr. Brian’s business was a very interesting way to talk about his topic and was a great technique to learn. Teaching the more interesting part of something this transitioning to your main point is a style of teaching I could use for business. Incorporating it in advertisement or employee training are some of the ways that my business can benefit from the technique.

Our talk with Roger Wigginton, owner of Don Rodgers Clothing Store emphasized the importance of independently owned and local businesses. Being an owner of an independently owned business or a local business has many advantages and disadvantages. I think I can greatly relate to Mr. Wigginton because I value the advantages well enough to settle with the disadvantages. Being able to run your business the way you want to and also have the support of a local community is a component of what I believe the perfect business should have and I will aspire to reach goals similar of Mr. Wigginton.

Cam Wicks

Cam Wicks
Friday, April 27, 2018Learn More About Cam

I really enjoyed visiting Chick-Fil-A with Matt Gilreath because he gave us lots of insight about the company’s culture. At Chick-Fil-A, they really prioritize the people above the business, which is why they are so successful. Whether it is their own workers, customers, or community, Chick-Fil-A focuses on the needs of the people. They like to support the people who help build them up. One of the ways they do this is by always furthering their experience and knowledge by passing on information and skills to coworkers so that they are suitable to fulfill their jobs. This is a key concept because they promote unity in their business rather than competition. By doing so, employees are more willing to fill their roles to the best of their ability, instead of just clocking in to clock out. When executives take the time to know their staff, it creates a innovative work environment.

It was also super interesting to hear from Tony Bryan from Midwest Cyber Center because he knows a lot about technology and we have not had anyone in that field speak to us before. He gave us a good reminder to be extremely cautious when using technology and other devices because there are many products that allow hacking so all it takes is someone who know how to use them to access your information. He mentioned that to work in that field, one’s education is constant because it changes and develops so rapidly. I think it would be an interesting career path because of all the advances, but personally I would not like to be stationary on a computer all day.

This week was packed with meeting multiple CEO’s and visiting businesses. It’s crazy to think how far we’ve come in this class as a whole. Joining this class, I didn’t truly know what it entailed, besides the small bit of it Devin Alexander told me about last year. Going in, i just had the idea that it would help me start a business and give me experience in the entrepreneurial world; which it has, but I’ve gained so many more skills than i thought. Networking, being formal with others, public speaking, and much more skills have become a part of my everyday life. Whether it’s interviewing for a job, talking to my teachers, or just communicating with other people, I’ve noticed how many more intelligent people enjoy having conversations with me.

Besides that, this week was eventful. Meeting Matt Gilreath from Chick-Fil-A was probably one of my favorites. Nonetheless, the others were very informational. But meeting Mr. Gilreath was neat because I was able to see a side of the food industry that isn’t talked about much. When someone says, “I work for _______ fast food”, the first thought is a cashier or cook. But Mr. Gilreath travels often, meets quality people, and enjoys what he does- which i think is a big aspect in being truly successful.

Ian Hass

Ian Hass
Friday, April 27, 2018Learn More About Ian

This week we spoke with all different types of individuals with great personalities! To begin the week we spoke with Mr. Tony Bryan, a representative for Midwest Cyber Center. We heard if the unique things that could be purchased to be able to hack into networks. These items could be purchased by anyone. It’s scary to know that someone that could buy a device called a “pineapple” could have access to all of your personal data in a matter of seconds just by being on the same public WIFI as you. It’s important to try to protect your networks as well as we can. Virus on computers are a big thing! As well as social media, that’s a big problem and that’s an easy way for people to be able to find out things about you. When talking about cyber security in if the things I thought about is Facebook. I’m be noticed that one day I’d be in a website shopping for clothes and then all of a sudden I go in Facebook and the same exact clothing item from the same website shows up on an advertisement! It’s extremely creepy. It’s like we give social media so much access over our personal lives and our cell phones without even realizing it.

 One of the unique things I found out about the Midwest Cyber center besides their motives to ensure protected networks is their youth program called “cyberpatriot.” This program offers young individuals a chance to be able to able to protect ourselves from hackers in the future as technology continues to advance. They offer scholarships and apprenticeships and have over 209,000 cyber security jobs available.

 Also, we visited Lindenwood University with the school president and many others. We role played a game in which made us as future businesspersons be able to speak on our feet and be able to problem solve as well. It was an inspiration watching the college business professionals think so quickly and be able to respond and ask many questions right off the back.

This week was filled with many visits and speakers. We started off the week speaking with Tony Brian of Midwest Cyber Center. This visit allowed me to learn a good amount about cyber security and the importance of it. My favorite part was when he talked about Steve, an expert hacker of sorts who shut down a marketing company simply because they upset him and basically has the ability to spy on everyone. Though I’m confident that I don’t know how to hack or cyberly attack a person or businesses and wouldn’t have much need to, after this I’m sure I wouldn’t want to since there are people like Steve out there.

We also went to Lindenwood University and talked with the President, Dr. Brett Barker, and the vice-president, along with students that are in the various business departments. Though I wasn’t personally, we were grouped up with a student who represented a certain aspect of the community, such as a citizen for or against the problem, or an alderman. The problem we went over was whether implementing a college into a community would be beneficial for it, or whether it should be done in the first place. I think that we reached the conclusion that adding a college into community would be beneficial since they would bring in more younger people, creating revenue for the surrounding business and a potentially larger workforce. Other than the exercise, I thought it was interesting how they had foreign students present, such as the guy from Germany or the girl from Egypt. I think it’s always cool to find people of different origins perusing similar things.

Our visit to Chick-fil-A made me realized how well acclaimed the business really is and how sought out it is in regards to ownership. According to Matt Gilreath, a national advisor of sorts, there are about 300,000 people who try to gain ownership of the limited 2,000 Chick-fil-A stores. This is mainly because renting the building only costs about $10,000 and I’m sure because of the bragging rights. Mr. Gilreath’s story about how he came to get his position and how he described the headquarters and origins of the chain were all interesting parts of the visit. In addition, I was grateful for the delicious, free chicken biscuit sandwich we all received.

On Monday, we met at Artigem with Tony Bryan from Midwest Cyber Center. I liked how he started off by telling us about his college and military experiences. It was nice to hear how even though he wasn’t able to find a college major that he was interested in enough to get a degree, he was still able to have a successful career in the military and eventually find a job he loves at Midwest Cyber Center. The programs that he told us about sounded really cool and if I had more time and a little more of an interest in coding I would definitely want to look into that. All the stuff he taught us about hacking was really interesting and helpful because now that more and more things are becoming digitalized, our class knows a little bit more about how to protect our information.

On Tuesday, we met at Artigem with Roger Wigginton who owns Don Rogers on Main St. It was interesting to meet the person who owns Don Rogers because I’ve lived down the street from it my whole life, but never actually gone in to the store. It was cool to learn about how he goes to a convention type thing to buy all the clothes for the store and how he has to guess what will be in style for that season.

On Wednesday, we met at Lindenwood University with the president, Dr. Brett Barger. I had a pretty good time during this class and I liked how we got to hear how Lindenwood has helped our community by taking over the old building that used to be Belleville West. It was fun getting to talk to some of the students that go there but I feel like the activity would have been better if we had had more time to plan out what we were going to say and if the CEO students would have done most of the talking.

On Thursday, we met at ChickfilA with the business director, Matt Gilreath. It was cool getting to hear about his job scouting places to put new franchises because I didn’t know that was a task that required an entire position. From what he said about how your employer cares more about their staff then they do about the business, Chickfila sounds like a really nice place to work.

Monday there was guest speaker Tony Bryan from Midwest Cyber Center. He gave us valuable information the different kinds of devices that someone even us can purchase to hack into accounts and hack other people as well. How talked about how you should be careful what you put on the internet and he also wanted talk to us about our own personal project/businesses that we had for the tradeshow and what we decide to do for college. The information that he had given us was very informative and he was kind enough to give us t-shirts.

Tuesday Roger Wigginton owner of Don Rodgers Clothing Store. He talked about how he never thought that he would be in the clothing business, and he also told us how different the trends changed since he’s been the business for 40 years. There’s some competition because of online shopping and most people are shopping online instead of going inside the store.

Wednesday we went to Lindenwood and met in the Welcome Center where we had our orientation at the beginning of the year. Coming into Lindenwood with the realization that this year is almost over, and it seems like just yesterday we were new to class and that it was only the beginning, it went by so fast. We met the President Dr. Brett Barger, and there were also students from Lindenwood that came in. He had us play a game as if one of us was trying to get a school built on some abandon property, and we had to convince the mayor and the community that it was a good investment and it’s going to help the community in a way.

Thursday went to Chick Fil-A and talked to Matt Gilreath. He told about the locations and that they are already chosen, and they can’t just create a Chick Fil-A anywhere all because of they choose wisely who the owners and employees are. They want to keep a good reputation. He gave breakfast sandwiches which they were great and was my first ever having one, he also explained how he picks the employees and their position at the job. It all depends if you are an introvert, extrovert, and what are your hobbies!

Friday the class was at Artigem were we Skyped Ann Hand, CEO of Super League Gaming. Even though there were only seven students in class that day we made it work and asked plenty of questions. She explained to us the games that people play, and how it started.  

It was cool to hear more about cyber security and the internet and how to be safe on it. Mr. Bryan had some cool stories to tell, especially the ones involving Steve, and how he could so easily access seemingly difficult information to acquire. I find it interesting that such as new and innovative field is as significantly low in demand as it is.

I enjoyed listening to Mr. Wigginton. I liked the energy he has about everything he does. I particularly paid attention to his speech in the beginning about how small business has been decreasing due to massive chains and online shopping. This is because my semester-long English project is based around that concept. I actually approached him after about doing an interview for my video, and we met on Friday. I really appreciated his time dedication to help me out.

Lindenwood was interesting and mind-opening. Even though colleges are everywhere, I don't often consider the perspective of how it helps businesses in the area. The activity they set up was pretty cool too. I just couldn't think of any questions to ask. The participants quickly covered a wide array of topics in regards to the mock meeting. I also thought it was cool how they themselves at the university conducted a study to determine their economic effect on the area.

I had fun at Chick-fil-A when we visited. Mr. Gilreath. It was clear he knew a lot about the chain and its history, and enjoys and believes in what he does. He really does a good job at sharing his opinion that they are the best and wholesome in the fast food industry. I liked how he also emphasized about how the company takes care of its workers, even if it gets in the way of profit.

Jacob Gall

Jacob Gall
Friday, April 27, 2018Learn More About Jacob

This week was full of business visits. Wednesday, we met at Lindenwood belleville and discussed the school’s history. We met with the business department chairs as well as the Lindenwood higher ups, and current Lindenwood students. They set up a scenario of building a new university in a small town, meant to clean the area up, bring more young people to the area, and bring a large amount of profits to the community. Students from our class paired up with current Lindenwood students and played different members of a community, such as the mayor, the university council, and community members. The goal of the activity was to see the benefit that bringing Lindenwood to Belleville has truly brought. It was interesting to see how students and their professors engaged with each other, which was similar to how we are in CEO , versus a high school teacher and their students.

Thursday we went to Chick-fil-a and learned the history behind the company, their values, and what the company stands for.

Friday, we had a skype conversation with Ann Hand, the CEO of Super League Gaming. Although I was initially skeptical of how the conversation would go, it ended up being a really cool skype call. Ann started off with working at a gas station then moving up to running them far before she ended up being part of a startup business. She told us how straight out of high school, she and her fellow graduates thought they struck gold with the job opportunity of what turned out to be running a gas station. Ann expressed the importance of finding a good team to start your company from the beginning, as it’s one of the most crucial parts of a company.

This last week of CEO was very different. With it being the week after our big trade show, it was very relaxing and stress-free. As a class, we were all able to now focus in on the speakers and enjoy the class and lessons we are learning a little more. We had many great, successful businessmen and women speak to us in class and gave us the insight to a successful business.

This week one of my favorite speakers was Tony Bryan with Midwest Cyber Center. He was very intuitive and focused on his craft and skill, and this business was unlike any we have had previously. He showed us how his skill was turned into a business and is now very successful in making a difference. His unique passion for cyber security was very intriguing, and also very persuasive in that field of interest. By bringing in businesses such as Mr. Bryan’s, the Belleville CEO class is able to then expand our horizons to other ideas and businesses out in the real world.

Lindenwood University also set up a great morning for the Belleville CEO class, putting on a demonstration to hook our attention and get us active early in the morning. They were able to allow us to interact with other business majors of the university and giving us the chance to role play in a business scenario that may happen in the real world. It required quick thinking, knowledge, persuasiveness, and a lot of questions and answers trying to outsmart others. I believed it was a very well brought up scenario for the class to be prepared on to be able to ask questions and on top of that be quick on your feet to answer the questions given.

These next couple weeks will be relaxing and insightful, especially as the year to CEO comes to an end. We will be able to take in the information, enjoy the classes, connect for the last time through this class, and then take what we have learned this whole year and bring it to the real world to become successful businessmen and women.

James Monken

James Monken
Friday, April 27, 2018Learn More About James

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