CEO Class Part of Growth Conference

“Growing your own: an entrepreneurial look at economic development” is the topic of Craig Lindvahl’s keynote address at the 6th annual Grundy County Growth Conference on Friday, October 14th.


Lindvahl is a nationally-recognized filmmaker and educator.  His television work is regularly seen on PBS stations across the country, and has been seen on NBC, CNN, and The Learning Channel.  He was recently named the Illinois “teacher-preneur” of the year, and was also recently honored with a “Leaders in Learning” Award from the cable television industry.


He is also co-creator of the “CEO” (Creating Entrepreneurial Opportunities) classes in the Effingham schools.  His presentation in Morris will highlight the CEO program and highlight the accomplishments of his students.  Below is an excerpt:


It’s hard to imagine.  A high school class that starts at 7:30 AM, where students dress up, some of them drive 20-30 minutes to get to class, a class where we almost always start 10-15 minutes early?


A class where the word “assignment” is never used, a class where “homework” is never assigned, because it needn’t be?  A class where students want to know, need  to know, as opposed to a class where students ask, “What do I have to know?”


CEO (Creating Entrepreneurial Opportunities) is just such a class.  It’s a transformational experience that changes everyone who comes in contact with it.


Vince Higgs was in our second class.  He just told me last night that when he came into the class he was convinced he’d just get through high school and go straight to work.  As he moved through the class he realized he would need some college to accomplish what he wants to do, so he committed to a junior college experience.  Just in the last few weeks, after going through the CEO class, after starting his own business, after staying in touch with the program, that he not only wants to finish a four year degree, but wants an MBA as well!  Vince is a partner in a business called VISTO, a business that converts vehicles to run on compressed natural gas.  He works with another CEO alum and two of our business investors in that business.


Jessica Carey started a business called “Nothing But Fabulous”.  She buys purses wholesale and then sells them.  I just saw her last week at a Corvette Festival that attracts 45,000 people.  She sold out in just a few hours!  She also shared with me an experience she had this past summer.  She went to Charleston (where she attends EIU) and went shopping with a friend.  In a clothing store she “did what we always do in CEO”, and talked with the manager about the business and how they do what they do.  The manager offered her a job on the spot.


Megan Zumbahlen came into the CEO class as one of the shyest students I’ve had.  Her growth through the year was remarkable, and was capped by her experience last summer.  She was playing tennis and ran into one of our partners, who runs a very successful business called Vantage Outsourcing.  She offered Megan a job for the summer, which involved Megan calling hospitals and other institutions across the country to talk about the company and their services.  She called me one day to say, “Mr. L, can you believe what I’m doing? I’m calling people all over the country initiating conversations, and I’m loving it!”  Quite a remarkable transformation for that young lady.


Our goal is to convince some of these young people to return to our area for their professional lives.  It’s the most cost effective, long term economic development we can undertake, and the potential payoff for everyone involved in tremendous.


The Grundy County Growth Conference is open to the public and students and teachers from the region are encouraged to attend.  Admission is $15 in advance and student admission pricing can be arranged by contacting Julie Buck at 941-0852.





Place in a separate box:


What:              6th annual Grundy County Growth Conference (use attached logo)

Where            :           First Christian Church

455 W. Southmor Road, Morris

When:                        Friday, October 14, 2011

8:00 am to 12:30 pm

RSVP:            Community Foundation of Grundy County


[email protected]