Craig Bouchard is co-founder and President of Esmark, Inc. He received his B.S. in Social Sciences in 1975 and M.S. in Economics in 1977 at Illinois State University and subsequently earned an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago. After leaving ISU, Craig joined the First National Bank of Chicago, where he worked for 19 years. At age 32, he was the second-youngest person ever to be awarded the title of Senior Vice President in the 150 year history of the bank. During his two decades at First Chicago (now J.P. Morgan/Chase/Bank One), he was the global head of derivatives trading, securities sales, quantitative research, and also headed the bank’s Asia Pacific operations. He was also the Managing Director of a Merchant Banking partnership with the Bank of China in Beijing, China. During his years as a banker he lived in Chicago, Hong Kong and Tokyo. Craig retired from First National in the late 1990s, spending three years at home with his sons as they finished high school. He then spent 5 years as the Chief Executive Officer of Numerix, Inc., the leading risk management company specializing in software that provides high-level calculus to the Wall Street investment banks and hedge funds. In 2003, with his brother Jim, he formed Esmark, a steel services company that subsequently acquired 12 companies, leading the wave of consolidation in the US steel industry. In the process Esmark has become the 6th largest steel company in the United States. Esmark began with 22 employees and achieved revenues of $4 million in 2003. In 2007 the firm had 3000 employees and revenues of $2.5 billion. In 2007 Esmark completed the first ever “hostile reverse tender” takeover in Wall Street History while becoming public on the Nasdaq. Craig is a former trustee of both Boston University and the University of Montana Foundation. He is an alumnus of Leadership Greater Chicago. He founded a charity, “Girls are Best,” in Naples, Florida, which nurtures high-potential teenage girls who have family problems. He is also a charitable sponsor of the Imani Christian Academy in Pittsburgh, a privately-funded high school for disadvantaged African American students. While a student at ISU, Craig was a member of the intercollegiate varsity baseball team. He currently serves as a member of the Advisory Board of the ISU Department of Economics. Craig is the proud father of 6 children. The youngest of his kids live with him and his wife Melissa in Chicago and Naples, Florida.
Willie Brown, CPCU, CLU, FLMI, is executive vice president of State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company in Bloomington, Illinois. Brown is a member of the Chairman’s Council and has executive oversight responsibilities for Administrative Services, Enterprise Services and Creative Services. Brown began his State Farm career in 1971 in the data processing department at corporate headquarters. He joined the life company in 1974 and, after several promotions, was named life specialist in 1977 and personnel services representative later that year. After several promotions in personnel, he was named assistant division manager in the Frederick, Maryland office in 1985, where he was promoted to division manager that same year. He returned to corporate headquarters in 1989 as director of home office personnel relations. Brown became an executive assistant in 1991, was promoted to deputy regional vice president in the Illinois Regional Office in Bloomington in 1992 and vice president of operations there in 1995. He was named vice president for administrative services at corporate headquarters in 1999, senior vice president of State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company in 2002, and assumed his current position in 2004. He earned the Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) designation in 1981, the Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) designation in 1976, and the Fellow, Life Management Institute (FLMI) designation in 1976. He is an NAACP Roy Wilkens Award winner for lifetime achievement, lifetime member of the NAACP, and an Urban League member. He is a member of the boards of State Farm Guaranty and Indemnity and the State Farm Foundation. He served on the United Way of McLean County Board of Directors and is a Trustee of Illinois Wesleyan University and President of the Illinois Wesleyan University’s Associates Board. He received a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Illinois State University in 1973 and was elected to the ISU College of Business Hall of Fame in 2005. He is a member of ISU’s College of Business Advisory Board and the College of Arts and Sciences Community Advisory Board. Brown was elected to the Bloomington High School Hall of Fame in 2007. He is the father of three children and has seven grandchildren.
Mike Canney has been a successful entrepreneur over the past 25 years, having started eight successful companies. He graduated from Illinois State University in 1984 with a B.S. in Physics. During his college years, he started a house painting business and a carpentry business making furniture for student residence halls, employing over 30 ISU students. After college, he worked as an electrical engineer developing underwater acoustics systems for the United States Navy in Florida and later in New Orleans. In 1992, he received his MBA in Finance from Tulane, leaving soon after for Virginia. Mike worked for a large defense contractor until 1995, designing reconnaissance satellites. In 1995, he left TASC, creating a startup company with two other partners and continuing to do classified work for the government. Just 18 months later, the three partners agreed to be bought out. One month later, Mike founded Intelligence Data Systems, where he remained until 2005 as the CEO. Under his leadership, the company grew to become the fastest growing technology company in Virginia, and the 3rd fastest growing defense contractor in the United States. In 2005, Mike sold IDS to the Titan Corporation for $42.5 million, staying on as the Senior VP for Intelligence Programs until 2006. While leading IDS, Mike founded Sunset Hills Vineyard with his wife Diane in 1999, expanding their acreage twice and in 2007 becoming one of Virginia’s newest wineries. They recently received two bronze medals for first vintage, a 2006 Chardonnay. In 2001 he started Mike Canney Motorsports, competing in professional motorsports events across the US and Canada, adding their second team in 2007. In 2003, he started Vintage Technical Services of Loudoun, developing commercial Internet applications. Currently, Mike and Diane are making award-winning wines from their 45-acre winery in Virginia (www.sunsethillsvineyard.com), compete in 15 sports car races a year (www.mcanney.com) and enjoy managing their charitable trust, which provides scholarships to students and grants to worthwhile causes.
Since retirement from teaching and state government, John McClarey has pursued his interest in art. He specializes in the form and thought of Abraham Lincoln. His life-size sculptured works of Lincoln, at times with another figure, can be found in seven Illinois cities. Two new works are underway. His most prized works include the heroic size Lincoln for the centerpiece of the Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum complex in Springfield and a sculptured bust of Lincoln for the Russian State Library for Foreign Literature in Moscow. Acting as a “Lincoln Ambassador” in Russia, he conducted workshops and made presentations on Lincoln under grant provisions from the United States State Department. Other Lincoln works can be found in Havana, Cuba and Ashikaga, Japan. His collected works of Lincoln are in the Henry Horner Collection in Springfield, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, the Library of Congress in Washington, DC and at the Eastern National Park Service site in Springfield, as well as in many private collections. The artist was the 2005 recipient of the Richard Nelson Current Award of Achievement at the Lincoln Forum in Gettysburg, the first “visual historian” to receive this award. For the past eleven years, his statuette “Freedom River” has been given by the Lincoln Forum to recipients of the Current Award. His most recent piece, the Abraham Lincoln National Agricultural Award, was presented this year to five persons with distinguished accomplishments in agriculture. Recently, the artist received word of his nomination by the Lincoln Academy of Illinois as a potential recipient of the Order of Lincoln, the state’s highest award. McClarey’s works have appeared in the Journal of the Abraham Lincoln Association, in Illinois Issues, and in books and film documentaries on Lincoln, including PBS’ “Illinois Stories.” Major non-Lincoln sculpture commissions include the founders of Methodism for the Bicentennial of American Methodism, the Bicentennial of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, and for the founder and first President of Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois. In 2002, he presented a series of six lectures on Lincoln at Lincoln Land College in Springfield and was a participant in a Lincoln Leadership Seminar at the University of Illinois. He has served as a consultant to educators working under a Library of Congress grant to develop a learning website for children. McClarey holds a B.A. from Millikin University and an M.S. from Illinois State University. He is a member of Phi Alpha Theta.
Suzanne M. Michalek is a Professor in the Department of Microbiology in the Schools of Medicine and Dentistry at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She is also a Senior Scientist in the Center for AIDS Research, the Multipurpose Arthritis Center, the Comprehensive Cancer Center, and the Center for Metabolic Bone Disease at UAB. She obtained her B.S. and M.S. degrees in Biological Sciences (genetics) from Illinois State University and her Ph.D. in Mucosal immunology from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. After completing postdoctoral training in the Laboratory of Microbiology and Immunology at the NIDCR-NIH, she joined the faculty of the Department of Microbiology at UAB. Michalek has served as the Interim Chair of the Department of Microbiology at UAB, the Director of the Research Center in Oral Biology at UAB, President of the Association for Gnotobiotics, Chair of the UAB Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee, Secretary-Treasurer of the Society of Mucosal Immunology, and member of various other committees and editorial boards. She is currently the Chair of the UAB Institutional Biosafety Committee and a member of the UAB Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee. She is an ad hoc reviewer for various NIH Special Emphasis Panels and for various scientific journals. Michalek’s research focuses on the mucosal immune system, induction and regulation of the IgA immune response, mucosal vaccine development, T cell regulatory networks in the mucosal immune system and in inflammatory responses, microbial-host interactions in pathogenesis/immunity, and innate immune mechanisms. She has authored or coauthored more than 300 research papers, reviews, and book chapters. She has received funding for her research from grants and contracts awarded from the NIH, DAMD, WHO and private companies. Michalek continues to teach and mentor students and has served as the major professor of over 40 research doctoral students and postdoctoral fellows. She is the recipient of a number of awards, including a USPHS Postdoctoral Research Fellowship and Research Career Development Award, and the IADR Distinguished Scientist Award for Dental Caries Research. In 2006, Michalek received the Illinois State University Alumni Achievement Award.
After completing his Ph.D. at Illinois State University, Tong-man Ong received a prestigious Damon Runyon Cancer Research Fellowship to work as a postdoctoral fellow at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. In 1972, he was appointed as a Staff Fellow and later as a Geneticist by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. He joined the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) in 1978 as the Chief of the Microbiology Section and in 1996 as the Leader of the Molecular Epidemiology Team. He retired from NIOSH in 2003 but continues to work as a consultant at the Institute. While at NIOSH, he was also an Adjunct Professor of Genetics at West Virginia University. Ong is internationally known for his research in the areas of genetic toxicology and occupational cancer. He has directed the research of two masters and ten Ph.D. students; trained 38 postdoctoral and visiting fellows from the United States and several foreign countries; and published approximately 200 peer-reviewed research papers, book chapters, and review articles. In 1987, he was named the Outstanding Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Employee of the Year in Research. Ong is the only employee to be so honored from NIOSH, which is an organization under the CDC. In 1999, he received the prestigious Alexander Hollaender Award from the American Environmental Mutagen Society in recognition of his outstanding contributions in the area of occupational genetic toxicology research. He is the recipient of many additional honors and awards, including the Illinois State University Alumni Achievement Award (1988) and Distinguished Alumni Award (2006).
Vernon C. Pohlmann is Professor Emeritus of Sociology at Illinois State University and a member of the College of Arts and Sciences Emeritus Faculty Advisory Board. A native of St. Louis, Missouri, he attained the rank of captain in the Army Air Corp during World War II. After the war, he taught in the St. Louis public school system. Being in charge of the budget for the district put him in an ideal position to co-research and publish data on the cost of segregated education—data subsequently cited by the plaintiffs before the United States Supreme Court in Brown v. The Board of Education. Pohlmann, who holds a PhD from Washington University, joined the ISU faculty in 1955. He regularly involved students in and out of class in a blend of theory and practice to solve social issues in many community agency studies, including topics such a long-range planning and promoting inter-governmental cooperation. He served as a Town of Normal Councilman (1960-64), during which time the town created the position of city manager. He has been an active thirty-year member of the United Way, serving as both Vice-President and as a delegate to the State Board or Directors. He was the leading researcher for the McLean County position papers for White House Conferences on Aging (1960) and on Youth (1970), serving as a delegate for the 1960 conference. He also consulted with College of Education faculty for more than twenty school and community college district studies. He chaired many ISU committees, including (jointly with Dr. Charles Morris) one on inter-racial issues and development of the High Potential Student Program (1968-69). He was an organizer of the state of Illinois Data Center, which was recognized and partially funded by the Census Bureau, and his students participated in this work by correcting census data, thereby bringing added funds to low-income school districts. He has presented over thirty papers, including the College of Arts and Sciences Lecture in 1973, and is the author of twenty-seven articles and monographs. During his tenure at ISU, he served as Chair of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology (1966-69), President of the Illinois Sociological Association (1966-67), Secretary of the Midwest Sociological Society (1967-71), and Vice-President and President of the American Association of University Professors (1964-67). He is currently in his twenty-third year as a volunteer at the Home Sweet Home Ministries homeless shelter, where his wife Elsie and he were named Volunteers of the Year in 1995.
John F. Rooney, Jr. is an author, professor, and sports consultant. He is currently Regents Professor Emeritus of Geography at Oklahoma State University, Executive Director of the North American Culture Society, President of Rooney and Associates, Inc, CEO of Longitudes Group LLC, and the President of Rooney Golf Group LLC and Rooney Development Group LLC. Rooney earned his B.S. in Geography with a minor in economics and his M.S. in Geography from Illinois State University. He also holds a Ph.D. in Geography from Clark University. He pioneered the geographic analysis of sport and wrote the first book on the subject: The Geography of American Sport (Addison Wesley, 1974). He authored The Recruiting Game (1980, 1987), based on intercollegiate football and basketball recruiting during the past three decades. Rooney also edited This Remarkable Continent: An Atlas of U.S. and Canadian Society and Culture, in 1982. His most recent book, An Atlas of American Sport, examined the regional consciousness of sports in America. He has written numerous articles dealing with the cultural and economic geography of the United States. He was the publisher of Sport Place International, a quarterly sports research magazine, from 1987-2002. He is a consultant to Golf Digest/Tennis, Business Week, and a variety of sports organizations. Much of Rooney’s recent work has focused on golf. He has analyzed the evolution of golf facility development, real estate golf, contemporary supply and demand patterns, and future golf target marketing strategies. Rooney is a noted public speaker and has given lectures at over one hundred universities in the U.S., Europe, and Asia. He has been interviewed on CNN, ESPN, NPR, and a host of television and radio programs throughout the United States. Rooney has worked, since 1989, with the Golf Digest Companies on the development of the Data Base of Golf in America. The DBGA combines golf supply and demand variables at all geographic levels from five-digit zip codes, counties, and MSAs. He is also working on the development and application of a U.S. geo-demographic data base focusing on the socio-economic behavior of American consumers. As President of the Rooney Golf Group LLC he has been involved in the construction of eight golf facilities located in Michigan, Virginia, and Oklahoma. He is currently working with his son, Captain Daniel Rooney, on the construction of The Patriot Golf Club in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Sharon (Ommen) Tarvin, CPCU, CLU, CTP, is Vice President and Chief Operations Officer, State Farm Bank®, Bloomington, Illinois. She received a B.S. in Mathematics from Illinois State University and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Illinois. She has continued her lifelong learning through the Certified Treasury Professional (CTP) designation in 1997, the Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) designation in 2001, and the Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) designation in 2003. Tarvin began her career in 1971 with Peoples Bank of Bloomington as a Trust Accountant. After several promotions, she assumed the role of Senior Vice President in 1988. In addition to her leadership within the bank, she served on the Illinois Electronic Funds Transfer Board, the Governor’s EFT Advisory Council, regional ATM network boards, and the United Way Allocations Board. She chaired the McLean County American Institute of Banking and Women’s Division of the Chamber of Commerce. Tarvin joined State Farm in 1995 as manager of banking services in the Finance Department. She assumed her current position with State Farm Bank in March, 2007. Tarvin was elected to the Founding Board of Trustees for Heartland Community College in 1990 and served as its founding Chair from 1990-2001, helping it develop into a valuable educational resource in the community. In addition she chaired the Eastern Illinois Regional Trustee Association and served on several Illinois Community College Trustee Association committees. Her leadership was recognized early with a Young Career Woman designation from the Business and Professional Women organization at the local and district level in 1976. In 1991 she was named the YWCA Woman of Distinction in Business and was named 1991 Banker of the Year for McLean County by the American Institute of Banking. She has served on the ISU College of Business Advisory Council, the University of Illinois Executive MBA Alumni Board, and is currently a member of the ISU College of Arts and Sciences Community Advisory Board.