M I D CE N T R A L
I L L I N O I S
Dec em b er 20 1 6
Man with a Mission Howard Buffett travels the world to make it better place
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2 | BUSINESS JOURNAL | December 2016
YOU R C A L E N DA R
Thursday, Dec. 1
Early Bird Kiwanis, 6:45 a.m., Scovill Banquet Facility, 3909 W. Main St. Decatur Metropolitan Rotary, noon, Decatur Club, 158 W. Prairie Ave. Human Services Agency Consortium, noon, Central Christian Church, 650 W. William St.
Friday, Dec. 2
Decatur Breakfast Sertoma, 7 a.m., Scovill Banquet Facility.
Saturday, Dec. 3
Decatur Frontiers Club, 10:30 a.m., Decatur Club.
Monday, Dec. 5
Decatur Noon Lions, Diamonds Family Restaurant, 2959 N. Oakland Ave. Decatur Rotary 180, noon, Decatur Club. Women’s Progressive Club, 6 p.m., Greater Northside Baptist Church, 929 N. Lowber St.
Tuesday, Dec. 6
Kiwanianne Club of Decatur, 9:30 a.m., Scovill Banquet Facility. Lincolnland Decatur AMBUCS, noon, Decatur Club. Noon Kiwanis, Decatur Club. Noon Sertoma, Decatur Club.
Wednesday, Dec. 7
Greater Decatur Chamber of Commerce Breakfast, 7 a.m., Decatur Club. Decatur Leadership Institute members share their class projects. Decatur Building Construction Trades Decatur Golden K Kiwanis, 9:30 a.m., Scovill Council, 10 a.m., IBEW Local 146 Hall, 3390 N. Banquet Facility. Woodford St. Decatur Area Society for Human Resource Early Bird Kiwanis, 6:45 a.m., Scovill Ban- Management, 11 a.m., location varies. Decatur Chamber Toastmasters Club, quet Facility. GFWC Decatur Woman’s Club, 11:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 101 S. Main St., basement meeting Scovill Banquet Facility. room. Senior Resources Network, noon, Keystone Noon Kiwanis, Decatur Club. Meadows, 1455 W. Mound Road. Noon Sertoma, Decatur Club. Decatur Metropolitan Rotary, noon, Decatur Club. Lincolnland Decatur AMBUCS, 6:30 p.m., Decatur Golden K Kiwanis, 9:30 a.m., Scovill Independence Pointe Building, 2715 N. 27th St. Banquet Facility. Decatur Area Women’s Network (DAWN), Mount Zion Chamber of Commerce Lun5:30 p.m., Decatur Club. Mount Zion Lions, 6:30 p.m., Four Star Fam- cheon, 11:30 a.m., Mount Zion Convention Cenily Restaurant, 1100 Illinois 121. ter, 1400 Mt Zion Parkway. Decatur Camera Club, 7 p.m., Rock Springs Decatur Shrine Club, 6 p.m., Pop’s Place, Environmental Center, 3939 Nearing Lane. 4335 W. Main St. Decatur Real Estate Investors Association, 6:30 p.m., Perkins Family Restaurant, 2999 N. Decatur Breakfast Sertoma, 7 a.m., Scovill Monroe St. Banquet Facility.
Thursday, Dec. 8
Wednesday, Dec. 14
Friday, Dec. 9
Saturday, Dec. 10
Thursday, Dec. 15
Monday, Dec. 19
Friday, Dec. 30
Decatur Breakfast Sertoma, 7 a.m., Scovill Decatur Noon Lions, Diamonds Family Banquet Facility. Restaurant. Decatur Rotary 180, noon, Decatur Club. Women’s Progressive Club, 6 p.m., Greater Northside Baptist Church. Kiwanianne Club of Decatur, 9:30 a.m., Scovill Banquet Facility. Noon Kiwanis, Decatur Club. Noon Sertoma, Decatur Club. Kiwanianne Club of Decatur, 9:30 a.m., Scovill Banquet Facility. Noon Kiwanis, Decatur Club. Greater Decatur Chamber of Commerce Noon Sertoma, Decatur Club. Breakfast, 7 a.m., Decatur Club. Decatur Landlords Association, 6 p.m., Decatur Golden K Kiwanis, 9:30 a.m., Scovill Doherty’s Pub, 242 E. William St. Banquet Facility.
Tuesday, Jan. 3
Tuesday, Dec. 20
Wednesday, Jan. 4
Wednesday, Dec. 21
Decatur Golden K Kiwanis, 9:30 a.m., Scovill Banquet Facility.
Thursday, Jan. 5
Early Bird Kiwanis, 6:45 a.m., Scovill Banquet Facility. Decatur Metropolitan Rotary, noon, Decatur Club. Early Bird Kiwanis, 6:45 a.m., Scovill BanHuman Service Agency Consortium, noon, quet Facility. Central Christian Church, 650 W. William St. Mount Zion Lions, 6:30 p.m., Four Star FamMetro Decatur Home Builders Association, ily Restaurant. 6:30 p.m., Beach House.
Thursday, Dec. 22
Early Bird Kiwanis, 6:45 a.m., Scovill Banquet Facility. Decatur Breakfast Sertoma, 7 a.m., Scovill Decatur Metropolitan Rotary, noon, DecaBreakfast Sertoma, 7 a.m., Scovill Banquet Banquet Facility. tur Club. Facility. Decatur Noon Lions, Diamonds Family Restaurant. Decatur Rotary 180, noon, Decatur Club. Decatur Golden K Kiwanis, 9:30 a.m., Scovill Decatur Breakfast Sertoma, 7 a.m., Scovill Altrusa International of Decatur, 6 p.m., Decatur Frontiers Club, 10:30 a.m., Decatur Club. Banquet Facility. location varies Banquet Facility. To submit items for Your Calendar, contact Scott Perry at (217) 421-7976, at sperry@herEarly Bird Kiwanis, 6:45 a.m., Scovill Ban- ald-review.com, or click the “Submit an Event” Kiwanianne Club of Decatur, 9:30 a.m., ScoDecatur Frontiers Club, 10:30 a.m., Decatur link at www.thebusiness-journal.com vill Banquet Facility. Club. quet Facility.
Friday, Dec. 23
Friday, Jan. 6
Friday, Dec. 16
Wednesday, Dec. 28
Saturday, Jan. 7
Saturday, Dec. 17
Thursday, Dec. 29
Decatur Frontiers Club, 10:30 a.m., Decatur Club.
Monday, Dec. 12
Tuesday, Dec. 13
December 2016 | BUSINESS JOURNAL | 3
FROM THE EDITOR
y the time many of you read this, I will have survived my 50th birthday. If, at the end of the day, I was able to navigate my house in the middle of the night, the new year already got off to a better start than my 40th year on this planet. Don’t ask. Considering what turning 40 did to me – the need for glasses and destroying my awesome beach body (that’s the way I remember it) – I’m prepared for what 50 brings. I’m comforted by the fact that many of my friends already have surpassed the big 5-0, and figure the experience of getting older won’t be too overwhelming, Lord willing. So, while it’s very likely the years will bring thicker glasses, the TV will need to be louder, the numbers on the scale will rise and it will take a couple days to recover from a night of playing volleyball, it’s all good. Age is just a number. I can still have fun. My roommate and I came to this realization back in our 20s, before we were married, had kids and our careers had really gotten started. The words on the picture frame she gave me on her wedding day still hold true. “You have to grow old. You don’t have to grow up.”
601 E. William St. Decatur, IL 62523 217.421.7976 217.421.7965 (fax) Publisher: Julie Bechtel General Manager: Joel Fletcher Editor: Scott Perry
Scott Perry, editor Business Journal of Midcentral Illinois
Advertising: AnnaMarie Hanes Cover photo: Jim Bowling
December 2016 Contents STANDING FEATURES Biz Bites
Free Time calendar
ADVERTISING: The deadline for ad and ad copy for the January issue is Dec. 12. Call 217.421.7953 for rate information.
A recap of key national, state and local races.
SUBSCRIPTIONS: To order additional copies, call 217.421.7931
15 Last word
9 Election 2016
All about relationships A job at Archer Daniels Midland Co. and extensive involvement with the Macon County Sheriff’s Department prompts Howard Buffett to call Decatur home.
Fred Spannaus pens his final column.
STORY IDEAS: Email email@example.com or call 217.421.7976
The Business Journal of MidCentral Illinois is printed monthly and is a publication of Lee Enterprises, Inc. Information published is the responsibility of the author and does not reflect the opinions of The Business Journal of MidCentral Illinois. To submit articles, mail typewritten and 500 words or less to: The Business Journal, 601 E. William St., Decatur, IL 62523. Articles will not be returned. Any editorial content or advertising published is the property of Lee Enterprises, Inc., DBA The Business Journal of MidCentral Illinois. Herald & Review All rights reserved for entire content.
4 | BUSINESS JOURNAL | December 2016
YOU R C OM M U N I T Y
Howard Buffett happy to call Decatur home ADM brought him here; community kept him here HUEY FREEMAN Business Journal Writer
DECATUR – Howard G. Buffett was riding in a helicopter 1,800 feet above Virunga National Park during a recent visit to the war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo. Buffett heard an explosion, like a firecracker going off right next to his ear, despite the fact he was wearing a headset. “I couldn’t believe how loud it was,” said Buffett, 61, who is best known in Decatur for his efforts to support social services, law enforcement and other local causes. The park ranger’s helicopter was hit by a large-caliber round from a Kalishnikov machine gun. It dented the fuselage right beneath where Buffett was sitting but did not penetrate because of the altitude. “We went right back to base, located the hit. It hadn’t done any real damage, so we fueled up and went right back out,” said Buffett, matter of factly, during an interview at the Howard G. Buffett Foundation office building in downtown Decatur. The organization supports efforts to protect the habitat of the endangered mountain gorilla. Park rangers are in conflict with about 40 rebel groups, which have taken the lives of 134 rangers. Buffett, who launched his foundation in 1999, is known worldwide as a philanthropist. He specializes in helping the poorest of the poor, especially those who live in dangerous areas, including combat zones. While there are other organizations that aid people in high-risk areas, it is unusual for a philanthropist of Buffett’s stature to continually put himself in harm’s way. “I don’t think much about it,” he said. “I’m going to go where I need to go. I do feel it is something I have to do to understand their conditions.”
Coming to Decatur
Buffett, son of Warren Buffett, one of the world’s wealthiest men, has made his home in Decatur for nearly 25 years, since moving from Omaha, Neb., to accept a position at Archer Daniels Midland Co. Buffett, who worked as a farmer and served on a county board in his native state, was asked to join the ADM board in 1991 by Chairman Dwayne Andreas. Andreas, who died Wednesday at the age of 98, invited him to accept a full-time executive position the following year. “Dwayne was the reason I moved to Decatur,” said Buffett, who served as vice president and assistant to the chairman. “He was a great teacher, and he gave me some amazing opportunities.” It was a tough decision to move away from his extended family. “I loved Omaha and really didn’t want to move,” Buffett said. But he saw it as an adventure, an opportunity to earn a better living for his family, which included his wife, Devon,
JIM BOWLING, BUSINESS JOURNAL
Philanthropist Howard G. Buffett, who has called Decatur home since moving here to work at Archer Daniels Midland Co., has been an auxiliary deputy at the Macon County Sheriff’s Department since August 2012. four girls and a boy. “Decatur has been great to me because I don’t want recognition. I just want anonymity,” Buffett said, adding that when he patrols as an auxiliary sheriff’s deputy he sometimes is recognized. “A big part of why I stay here is the sheriff’s office, and the sheriff himself. I’ve got this whole new interest in the sheriff’s office, which is a huge part of what I do now. “And the sheriff is such a phenomenal guy, I just can’t bring myself to move. You could not have a better sheriff in this country than Tom Schneider. As long as he is there, I want to be involved. That has really kept me here.”
Farmer on patrol
Buffett works on farmland near Pana, as well as in Nebraska and South Africa. The foundation has research farms near Elwin, Moweaqua and Dalton City, as well as southern Arizona. Tom Sloan, a co-owner of Sloan Implement Co., has been his neighbor and friend since the 1990s. Buffett served on the company board for two decades. Sloan said Buffett is a hands-on farmer, who is as knowledgeable about the business as anyone he knows. “He’s very passionate when he gets into a project, whether it’s in farming or law enforcement,” He said. “He’s a real common, down-to-earth guy. He has common sense; he’s street smart.”
“For many people, life will not change — that is always the most difficult part for me to accept. Poverty, hunger and suffering have no boundaries, and that is what compels me to push forward.” Howard G. Buffett Buffett is a unique individual who was raised in a great family, Sloan said. “He’s given back a lot more than he’s been given,” he added. Buffett began serving as an auxiliary deputy for the Macon County Sheriff’s Office in 2012. He has become the most active volunteer officer, racking up about 1,800 hours of street patrol and training, equivalent of 45 weeks of full-time service. He also has performed 1,000 hours of volunteer service for sheriff’s offices in Shelby and Christian counties, and Cochise
County, Ariz. He also serves as Macon County’s undersheriff, an administrative role to work on special projects such as the Macon County K-9 facility, which opened in 2015 to train statewide police dog units. It is funded by a $188,000 grant from his foundation. The charitable group, established by gifts from his parents, Warren and Susan Buffett, has funded public safety projects totaling more than $57 million, mostly to assist police and fire departments in Central Illinois. In addition, a $15 million grant recently was announced to build a police training facility on the south edge of Decatur that will serve departments throughout Illinois. Buffett’s philanthropy is unique in matching his passion for the most impoverished and endangered with a drive to help officers enforce the rule of law. Buffett became a law enforcement officer as the result of a discussion he had with Schneider following an incident in Arizona, in which he was stopped and detained without probable cause. “In the places where we work in the world, what is missing is the rule of law,” Buffett said. “I thought this would be a good thing for me to understand. This has been the greatest Please see Buffett, Page A5
December 2016 | BUSINESS JOURNAL | 5
A female mountain gorilla gives Howard Buffett a hug. Buffett has provided funding for keeping gorillas safe. SUBMITTED PHOTO LISA MORRISON, BUSINESS JOURNAL
Macon County Sheriff’s Office personnel receive information on a new program designed to help addicts quit from Mike Miller and Howard Buffett in this Sept. 3, 2016, file photo.
Buffett From A4
education of my life. It’s a difficult job, because you see the worst in people.” He sees young people, who are “not bad kids,” who are heading to prison because of bad choices. “I don’t like that part of the job because it is very depressing,” Buffett said. He enjoys solving problems and helping people. Opportunities arise while responding to calls for service. “Even in a domestic abuse situation, you can get someone out of harm’s way; you can get kids away from parents that are mistreating them. You are really rescuing people, and that’s what you feel good about,” he said. One of the main benefits of being an officer is the many good friends he has made. “I enjoy being with them, and I learn from them,” Buffett said. “It’s actually the part that keeps drawing me in.” Schneider said whenever Buffett is on patrol, he is looking for ways to turn a bad situation into a good one, to make a positive connection with someone who might be having a terrible day. “Howard is not only an ambassador for the United Nations, he’s an ambassador for the Macon County Sheriff’s Office and the community that we serve,” Schneider said. Chad Larner, a detective with the Decatur Police Street Crimes Unit, which includes sheriff’s deputies, has spent many hours working alongside Buffett. Larner said Buffett is hard-working, with an exceptional ability to defuse potentially explosive situations through his compassionate approach. “I’ve never had an auxiliary or reserve ride with me that could touch his dedication,” Larner said.“He is truly one in a million. He has a relentless approach to police work but is so compassionate and is so caring as a person.” On July 4, they were riding in the inner city, when they saw young people playing basketball in the street. Larner told a teen girl he would give her $20 if she could make a shot that he couldn’t make. “Howard, being as competitive as he is, had
to double that. So naturally I missed the shot and she made the shot. So I gave her $20 and Howard gave her $20. Later, he looked at me and said, ‘We didn’t arrest anyone today, but that was better. That made the day worthwhile.’” Larner, a 14-year police veteran, said he is always glad when Buffett rides with him. “He has been with me in high-profile criminal arrests,” Larner said. He added that Buffett brings many life skills to his police position, including the times he has faced death in Africa. “He has the heart of a lion but is as as soft as they come as to his heart.”
Buffett, an accomplished wildlife photographer and author, realized that endangered species are threatened partly because people are starving, and people are starving partly because they lack protection from criminals, warlords or soldiers. He has had AK-47 assault rifles pointed at him in Ethiwww.theopia and been detained by howardgbufauthorities during the war in fettfoundathe Democratic Republic of tion.org Congo. He has visited areas controlled by gangs and cartels in Central America and Mexico. When Buffett worked at ADM, he began traveling frequently to Mexico to purchase corn and flour plants, as well as to Central America. Buffett witnessed the stark wealth disparity among the Mexican people, with 50 percent living in extreme poverty. “There is that contrast in a lot of the countries south of us,” he said. “That’s a hard gap to overcome; that’s a challenge.” Some of the worst conditions Buffett observed were in the 54 nations in Africa he has seen. Some of them he first visited out of a passion for endangered animals, including cheetahs and other big cats. After his mother died in 2004, his foundation received a large financial gift from his father. Buffett donated more than $200 million to fund agricultural projects to alleviate hunger, with the majority going to Africa.
On the ‘Net
“My compassion comes from my Mom,” Buffett said. “She was always helping other people. She always had my sister, brother and I involved in something. My dad was the same way, but he was also building a business empire.” Ann Kelly Bolten is Howard G. Buffet Foundation president and has traveled widely with Buffett during the past decade. She said the attack on the helicopter in the Congolese park was an excellent illustration of the risks they face in many places. Bolten said Buffett sees his commitments through, despite the fact that places he works often descend into chaos.
“Howard is a very hands-on guy,” Bolten said. “He meets with farmers where they’re farming and meets with the people living in poverty facing homelessness, food insecurity, water insecurity and conflict. He hears from them what works and what doesn’t work.” Buffett brings aid to people living in dismal conditions, in refugee camps and conflict zones. “It is hugely commendable,” Bolten said. “How quick aid agencies pack up to leave when bullets fly. If Howard comes and makes a commitment, they know he’s going to see it through.”
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6 | BUSINESS JOURNAL | December 2016
Dog lovers, especially the owners of a special needs canine, have a new grooming option at the Paw Spaw at 1370 N. Oakland Ave. in Decatur. Owner Christie Moody, who formerly worked at Do It For The Biscuit in Oreana, said she offers full grooming services by appointment. She also does pet sitting and will provide one- on -one services or house calls for dogs with special needs. Call (217) 791-0138 or find the business on Facebook.
Under construction A new Aramark Distribution Services facility is under construction at 3718 E. Mound Road. The Decatur City Council rezoned the property to intense commercial/light industrial from single family residential. The 20-acre site was located outside city limits and needed to be annexed into the city. The 105,000-square-foot facility is located near other recent development in the area, including buildings for Union Iron and Parke Warehouses. Aramark has been located at 2394 Hubbard Ave. for about 34 years. Construction of the new facility is expected to allow the company to retain 68 jobs with the possibility of creating new ones.
New owner The Wharf has reopened at 201 W. 1st Drive in Decatur under new ownership. Corinne Ross and her daughter, Cori Ross, now own and operate the popular bar and grill in South Shores. They worked to give it a fresh look before reopening, but didn’t want to make too many changes. The restaurant had been closed since the spring. At that time, previous owner Matt Sites opened Locals 101 Bar & Grille at 101 S. Main St. Customers who have returned to The Wharf so far have enjoyed having the business back open, Corinne Ross said. “They just love it,” she said. “They all missed it.” Renovations included painting, installing new flooring and adding new appliances, Ross said. The new menu, which still includes the Wharf burger, as well as Krave frozen yogurt for dessert, is posted on Facebook. Kitchen hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday-Wednesday and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday-Saturday. Call (217) 423-5450.
Closed The Pizza Hut at 910 Illinois 121 in Mount Zion has closed. Biz Bites highlight businesses that are opening, closing, expanding … you get the picture. If you have information for our Biz Bites column, contact Tony Reid at firstname.lastname@example.org, Chris Lusvardi at clusvardi@herald-review. com, Theresa Churchill at email@example.com or call them at (217) 421-6979.
Andreas, Walker join Decatur Hall of Fame CHRIS LUSVARDI Business Jorunal Writer
ECATUR — Two honorees entered into D the Decatur Hall of Fame as the community gathered last month to give thanks. The two inductees, former Macon County Sheriff Roger Walker Jr. and longtime Archer Daniels Midland Co. Chairman Dwayne Andreas, helped to shape the community into what it is today. Plaques will be placed in their memory on a wall with 24 other inductees in the lobby of the Decatur Civic Center. The Greater Decatur Chamber of Commerce led the selection process this year, gathering applications before the two individuals Andreas were chosen. The last selections were made in 2014. Andreas, who served as ADM’s CEO from 1970 to 1997 and its chairman from 1972 to 1999, was proud to call Decatur home as he strived to meet a goal to feed the world, said Ben Andreas, one of his grandsons. Walker Dwayne Andreas died Nov. 16 at the age of 98. His legacy has been described as global in nature, a man who influenced the world’s rich, famous and powerful. “All he wanted to do was feed the world,” Ben Andreas said. “He was a one-of-a-kind man.” Mayor Julie Moore Wolfe worked with both of the inductees and is grateful their leadership made a difference in the lives of so many in Decatur. With Dwayne Andreas leading the way, ADM evolved from a regional grain processor with sales of $425 million to an agribusiness giant with revenues in 1997 of $13.9 billion. Andreas, and his late wife, Inez, who died in 2012, contributed generously to charities, colleges, the American Red Cross and countless other causes. “Dwayne Andreas absolutely changed the face of our community,” Moore Wolfe said. “He was an amazing man. If anything, he was larger than life.” Walker was the first black sheriff elected in Illinois history and director of the Illinois Department of Corrections from 2003 to 2009. When he died in 2012 at the age of 63, Walker was widely remembered as someone who worked hard to make his community safer and touched many lives along the way. “With things we didn’t think could get done, he got done,” Moore Wolfe said. “Roger said it and we did it. He was truly a Decatur treasure.” Members of Walker’s family were appreciative of the recognition. “He was blessed to be part of this city and community,” said the Rev. Thomas Walker, one of Roger’s brothers. “This is a great city, so this honor makes us feel wonderful.” Roger Walker loved his family and
friends, which spread into what he did for the community, said his sister, Hilda Walker. “He was a visionary whose sacrifice has paid off,” said his brother, Arthur Lee Walker. “He became a great leader for the city of Decatur.” The induction announcement was made prior to the Community Thanksgiving Luncheon during which Ben Andreas and Thomas Walker were seated at the head table along with about 30 others who Chamber President Mirinda Rothrock said give generously to make the community better. The luncheon was the most well-attended in the event’s 64 year history with more than 800 people in attendance, including community leaders, business representatives, organization members and volunteers. All of them are united in their commitment to making Decatur great, said Joel Fletcher, the Herald & Review general manager who delivered the traditional “For This We Give Thanks” message. The event included Marah Kittleson of Millikin University singing the national anthem, a Millikin Choir performance and food items for decorations from the Garden Club of Decatur that will be donated to the Northeast Community Fund and Good Samaritan Inn. “It’s easy to be thankful when things are
HALL OF FAME The latest Hall of Fame inductees join Paul Osborne, Bill Eichenauer, Eva Kirkland, James B. Millikin, A.E. Staley, Hieronymus Mueller, Robert L. Shade, Dr. William Barnes, Thomas W. Samuels, Sister Jane Like, Charles M. Borchers, Frank M. Lindsay, Robert Faries, Sue Hagaman, Purvis F. Tabor, Warren E. Myers, Anna Waters, Richard J. Oglesby, Howard C. Schaub, Guy N. Scovill, Rose Warnecke Scovill, F. Merrill Lindsay, Gary K. Anderson and Norman Russell.
going our way,” Fletcher said. “Sometimes life throws us a curveball. That’s why we need this gathering.” Fletcher said one of his favorite things to do is be able to give tours of Decatur and surrounding communities. More is being done to improve the quality of life in Decatur including plans for an amphitheater and aquatics center in Nelson Park in addition to the potential economic benefits from the Midwest Inland Port and rejuvenated downtown, Fletcher said. “It only gets better,” Fletcher said. “Decatur is on the move. It’s awesome.”
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December 2016 | BUSINESS JOURNAL | 7
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8 | BUSINESS JOURNAL | December 2016
The Arts Anne Lloyd Gallery/Blue Connection: Xmas ARTicles. The gallery is transformed into a holiday shop featuring an array of original arts and crafts. Opening event from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 2. Call (217) 423-3189. www.decaturarts.org Gallery 510: Metal sculptures by Darren Miller. Opening reception from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 2. Call (217) 422-1509. Decatur Airport: Oil stick paintings by Carol Kessler. Decatur Public Library: Paintings by Judy Kimmons. Perkinson Art Gallery in Kirkland Fine Arts Center: Paintings by David Linneweh and senior thesis exhibitions. Rock Springs Nature Center: Barn Colony Artists
Vespers, Dec. 3 and 4, Kirkland Fine Arts Center. For tickets, go to www.kirklandfinearts.com or call (217) 424-6318. Millikin University Faculty Jazz Sextet performs Holiday Jazz, 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 10, in Kirkland Fines Arts Center. For tickets, go to www.kirklandfinearts.com or call (217) 424-6318. Millikin-Decatur Symphony Orchestra Advent Services, 8 and 10:30 a.m.
Sunday, Dec. 11, at Central Christian Church. Greater Decatur Chorale presents “A Little Dinner Music,” Jan. 6-8, at Scovill Banquet Facility. For tickets,call (217) 4225911. Lincoln Square Theatre: MOTOWN Christmas,” 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3, and Asleep at the Wheel, 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 11. For tickets or more information, visit www. lincolnsquaretheatre.com or call (217) 9728606. Little Theatre-On the Square: “A Swingin’ Little Christmas,” Dec. 9-18. For tickets, call (217) 728-7375. www.thelittletheatre.org.
On Stage The Millikin University School of Theatre and Dance hosts “Solstice: A Concert of Dance,” Dec. 8-10, in Albert Taylor Theatre. For tickets, go to www.kirklandfinearts. com or call (217) 424-6318. Mid Summer Moon Productions presents “A Christmas Carol,” Dec. 9-11, in the Decatur Civic Center Theater. Tickets at www.decaturciviccenter.org Theatre 7 presents “It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play,” Dec. 9 and 10, at the Decatur Club. For tickets, call (217) 429-4200. www.theatre7.net Richland Community College presents
“The Nutcracker,” Dec. 9-11, in Shilling Au- on the Programs and Activities tab for a ditorium. For tickets, call (217) 875-7211, Ext. complete listing. 6170. Ice Skating at the Decatur Civic Center. Go to www.decaturciviccenter.org or call (217) 422-7300. Mount Zion Christmas Parade, 9 a.m. Symphony Holiday Gala, to support Saturday, Dec. 3, downtown Mount Zion. music programs funded by the Symphony Downtown Decatur Christmas Walk, Guild of Decatur, 6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 2, at 5-8 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 7. Visit downthe Decatur Club. Event includes a buffet town merchants for an evening of shopping dinner, music by Michael Scherer, Zach and other festive activities, including carGarrett and Kristin Moore, and a live and riage rides and a hot cocoa bar. silent auction. For tickets, call (217) 4233189. One Light to Remember lighting ceremony, 5:30 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 6, Cafe DMH. Children’s Museum of Illinois is host Remember a loved one this holiday season to a variety of activities, including Cocoa by purchasing a light for $10 that will shine and Cookies with Santa at 6 p.m. Friday, outside Cafe DMH. Call (217) 876-2105. Dec. 2. For information, go to www.chilThe HSHS St. Mary’s Foundation is host- drensmuseumofil.com or call (217) 423ing a Star Light Service at 6 p.m. Thursday, 5437. Santa Shuffle, a non-competitive fun Dec. 8, at the hospital. Remember loved ones by purchasing a light for a $50 suggested do- run with Santa, 3:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 4, nation on the Christmas star perched atop at the Decatur Indoor Sports Complex. For the hospital. Call (217) 464-5590. more information, call (217) 429-3472. Scovill Zoo: Pajama party with Santa, 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 10. Call (217) 4217435 for more information. The Rock Springs Nature Center hosts a long list of mini camps, family Got an item you’d like listed in the Your Free adventures and classes. So many, in fact, Time calendar? Send the information to that there are too many to list. Go to www. Scott Perry at firstname.lastname@example.org or maconcountyconservation.org and click 601 E. William St., Decatur, IL 62523.
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December 2016 | BUSINESS JOURNAL | 9
Voters make their voices heard President
Donald Trump claimed his place as America’s 45th president, an astonishing victory for the celebrity businessman and political novice who capitalized on voters’ economic anxieties, took advantage of racial tensions and overcame a string of sexual assault allegations on his way to the White House. His triumph over Hillary Clinton will end eight years of Democratic dominance of the White House and threatens to undo major achievements of President Barack Obama. Trump has pledged to act quickly to repeal Obama’s landmark health care law, revoke America’s nuclear agreement with Iran and rewrite important trade deals with other countries, particularly Mexico and Canada. As he claimed victory, Trump urged Americans to “come together as one united people” after a deeply divisive campaign. Trump will take office with Congress fully under Republican control. Senate control means Trump will have great leeway in appointing Supreme Court justices, which could mean a shift President-elect Donald Trump speaks during an election night rally in New York. to the right that would last for decades.
U.S. Senate Democratic U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth unseated Republican U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk. The two-term congresswoman from Hoffman Estates entered the race a heavy favorite, as Illinois has long backed Democrats for statewide office, especially in presidential election years. Duckworth will be the second woman to serve Illinois in the U.S. Senate. Carol Moseley Braun, elected in 1992, was the first. Duckworth campaigned on a pledge to help middle- and working-class families, often sharing her own compelling personal story. The daughter of an immigrant, she said her family struggled to get by and had to use food stamps after her father lost his job. In 2004 she lost both legs when the helicopter she was co-piloting was shot down in Iraq while she was deployed with the Illinois National Guard. She served as director of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs after losing her first bid for Congress in 2006. In 2009, Obama appointed her to a leadership post at the federal VA.
Congress U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis won another term representing the 13th Congressional District. The Taylorville Republican coasted to victory over Democrat Mark Wicklund of Decatur, who didn’t benefit from an influx of party money like past challengers. The race was characterized by a lack of negative advertising and personal attacks, both of which had been hallmarks of heated races in the past two elections. Davis said he was humbled by the opportunity and excited about the possibility of working with a Republican-controlled House and Senate under a Republican president. That could open the door to goals that
defeated challenger Marty Watkins to retain his District 7 seat. Six incumbent board members seeking re-election in District 2, 3, 4 and 6 were unopposed.
Public safety tax
couldn’t be accomplished before, such as re- for a special prosecutor to investigate Scott’s pealing the Affordable Care Act. office for official misconduct, which was filed by Republican Macon County board member Greg Mattingley in mid-September. No special prosecutor has been appointed at this time. Scott has repeatedly denied the allegations, Macon County residents will see no change in their representation in Springfield. accusing Hassinger and those who filed the State Rep. Bill Mitchell, R-Forsyth, secured petition of engaging in “gutter politics” in an another term in the Illinois House with a wide effort to swing the election. victory over challenger Christine Law, a DemAnother incumbent, Lois Durbin won reocrat from Forsyth. election as circuit clerk. Durbin, who was unLaw had not actively campaigned for the po- opposed in 2012, defeated Bryan Hott, a former sition in the 101st House District. employee of the office, who was making his first Mitchell, who has served in the House since bid to win the office his mother, Kathy Hott, 1999, is hoping the state can turn around from formerly held. its current situation as he continues in office. State Rep. Sue Scherer, D- Decatur, was uncontested in her bid for a third term representing the 96th House District. Democrats regained control of the Macon County Board by picking up one seat in the election. Challenger Rachel Joy defeated incumbent Once again, the voters of Macon County have Republican Linda Little in District 1, which gone for experience in their state’s attorney. shifted the balance of power on the board to 11 Democrat Jay Scott won a second term as the Democrats and 10 Republicans. Joy is a political county’s chief law enforcement officer, defeat- newcomer who has never held an elected office. ing Republican Dan Hassinger. Joy is looking forward to being part of what “I look forward to serving the people of Ma- she sees as positive changes ahead. con County for the next four years,” Scott said Joy works as the community relations manminutes after learning of his win. “We’ve im- ager and compliance officer for the city of proved the office greatly the past four years, Champaign and previously worked in leaderand I hope to improve it greatly over the next ship and volunteer roles for groups, including the Decatur Housing Authority. four years.” It’s the second straight election in which In other contested races, incumbent RepubScott defeated Hassinger. licans kept their seats on the board. In District Scott kept the focus during the campaign on 5, Republicans Patty Cox and Debra Kraft each his long experience as a prosecutor, comparing won with two seats open with Democrat Jeffrey his 29 years in the profession against Hassinger, Doyle coming in third. Kraft was appointed in who has been a lawyer for six years and has May to fill a vacancy left by Keith Ashby’s departure. never prosecuted a case. Competing for a two-year seat in District 5, Hassinger ran his campaign on the need for change in the state’s attorney office, citing what Republican Grant Noland defeated Sue Clark. he saw as a ‘toxic’ environment during Scott’s Noland was appointed to the board in 2015. tenure. His comments alluded to a petition filed Current Board Chairman Kevin Greenfield
Macon County Board
The quarter-cent sales tax increase which was proposed to help the Macon County Sheriff’s Office retain law enforcement officers was defeated by voters. It was hoped that the passage of the sales tax resolution would bring in about $2.5 million per year to pay for the operations of the sheriff’s office and the county jail. That would have cost consumers 25 cents for each $100 spent. The additional funding was requested in an effort to prevent the elimination of positions and possible layoffs of officers, including correctional officers, a school resource officer, narcotics officers and a special deputy U.S. Marshal. While the positions will be eliminated Jan. 1, the officers who held them will be re-assigend to the patrol division. Layoffs were avoided through several retirements and staff departures. “We have to make sure our basic services are functioning, and that we have people on patrol,” Macon County Sheriff Thomas Schneider said during a special meeting to approve the new budget. ”The effect of eliminating these positions will have a direct impact on public safety initiatives we have provided for several years.”
Lockbox Voters approved an amendment to the Illinois Constitution requiring that gas taxes, license plate fees and other transportation-related revenue be spent only on transportation expenses. The amendment, which creates a so-called “lockbox” for transportation funds, had broad support from labor unions, construction and business interests, and members of both political parties. Supporters said the measure was necessary because the Illinois General Assembly has too often diverted money meant for roads, bridges and other infrastructure to pay for unrelated expenses, resulting in a deteriorating transportation system. There was some dispute over exactly how much money has been diverted away from transportation. Supporters said the total was $6.8 billion since 2002. But the Civic Federation, a Chicago-based budget watchdog, said supporters defined diversions too broadly, and it argued that the total was actually less than $520 million. Opponents, including other public policy organizations such as the bipartisan Center for Tax and Budget Accountability, also argued that the amendment will tie the hands of local governments.
10 | BUSINESS JOURNAL | December 2016
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Cardiology & Heart Health Issue If you're on the team from Wellness & Fitness to Surgery to Rehab you belong in our next issue! Now accepting reservations for branded content, articles, guest columns and advertising. Contact Phil Zeni, at 217.421.6931 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Deadline rapidly approaching -reserve your space now.
December 2016 | BUSINESS JOURNAL | 11
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12 | BUSINESS JOURNAL | December 2016
YOU R H E A LT H
‘He’s fought and fought’ Mt. Zion family focuses on recovery of boy, 9, after suffering major stroke
Kaskaskia College. His older brother, Alex, was a senior leader for this year’s Mount Zion football team. His sister, Abby, is a seventh-grader already known for her prowess on the basketball court and softball diamond. JUSTIN CONN “We’re a sports family,” Sandy said. H&R Staff Writer On Friday, Sept. 2, Jackson — always MOUNT ZION — The day after her son a healthy kid — woke up his parents at almost died, Sandy Scharf took a picture 5:30 a.m. with a headache. of him. “He’s not a complainer, but he was crying Scharf has taken a picture of 9-year- and saying his head hurt bad,” Sandy said. old Jackson Scharf every day since a Sept. Thinking maybe it was his sinuses, Sandy 2 brain stem hemorrhage caused by a rare had him jump in the shower, hoping the disease briefly made Jackson’s heart stop steam would help clear it up. But as soon beating. as Jackson got in the shower, she heard At first, Sandy didn’t share the photos: something hit the door hard. “He’s not a morning person — I figured it was too difficult. But she made a Facebook page called #scharfystrong on Sept. he just nodded off,” Sandy said. 4 that now has more than 1,600 followers. She went to check on him and he was On Sept. 22, she began sharing the photos passed out. Sandy got Greg out of bed and and videos on #scharfystrong. told him to dress Jackson while she got “I don’t even know 1,600 people,” Sandy dressed. said. “But part of dealing with this has been “I went into bathroom and he just looked letting people follow our journey, and the like he wasn’t feeling well,” Greg said. “He people on there — whether was leaning against her, they know us or not — have but he was conscious. But been incredible.” she said, ‘Something’s not Recovery and rehabilitaright. I need to get him to tion from a stroke is a long the ER,’ then handed him and difficult process for to me. To get a closer look at the time“He just went limp in my anyone, let alone a 9-yearline of Jackson Scharf’s journey, old. Just a few months from arms. I took him over to a like the #scharfystrong page on near death, and a process chair, sat him down and felt Facebook. Scroll to the beginof having to relearn to talk, his head. He didn’t have a ning of the timeline to see the eat and walk, Jackson confever. I tapped his face to support that has been shown tinues to fight. He recently see if he was alert and he from the community and the wasn’t responsive at all. I had his tracheotomy and updates as Jackson’s condition threw a pair of shorts on feeding tube removed, and has steadily improved, but not is walking and talking bethim and took him out to the without a lot of difficult nights. ter every day. van. The next thing I knew, Also tons of photos and videos. “It’s impressive to see she was in the van and gone. him — the therapists and I didn’t even know where doctors are in awe of him,” Sandy Scharf they went for sure.” said. “He’s fought and fought and fought. Sandy headed straight for HSHS St. “That’s why I kept taking the pictures. I Mary’s Hospital — the closest hospital. wanted to chronicle his journey.” “His heart was thumping so hard it felt like it was coming out of his chest, and he Harrowing ride was gurgling,” Sandy said. “I had one hand On Aug. 31, Jackson, a third-grader this on his heart and one hand on the wheel. I year, scored the game-winning touchdown was just driving frantically. I had so many in a flag football game. Being good at sports things going through my head; mainly, is part of being a Scharf. Sandy (then Don- what I would do if his heart stopped.” nelly) played college volleyball at Trevecca Sandy arrived at St. Mary’s, got out of the Nazarene in Nashville, Tenn. While there, car and began screaming that she needed she met Greg Scharf, a basketball player assistance. Two men helped Sandy get who had been a three-sport star at Mount Jackson into the hospital, where he was Zion in the late 1980s. taken to the trauma room. The Scharfs passed their athletic genes Meanwhile, Greg drove to St. Mary’s and on to their children. Jackson’s oldest spotted Sandy’s van in the parking lot. brother, Ryan, played baseball at Mount “Honestly, I expected to walk in the ER Zion and is currently playing baseball for and they’d have an IV in him and there
For more on Jackson
Jackson Scharf, comforted by his bear and other Cubs gear. would be a nurse or doctor checking him out,” Greg said. “When they took me to the room he was in, there was full-blown activity. I can’t tell you how many nurses and doctors were in there, but it was a lot. “I asked Sandy what was going on, and she said, ‘It’s not good.’ ” Jackson’s heart had stopped beating. Hospital staff escorted an emotional Sandy out of the trauma room into a hallway where she could still see her son. “I kept saying, ‘Please tell me this is a nightmare,’ ” Sandy said. “I remember looking at Greg and saying, ‘I don’t think Jackson is with us anymore.’ ” Jackson’s heart was stopped for only a short time, but it was terrifying. “That was the one time I thought to myself, ‘Did I lose my son?’” Greg said. “Thank God it was such a brief moment. It was really scary.”
Though Jackson was stabilized, his life was still in danger. A CAT scan showed bleeding on his brain, and the Scharfs were told it appeared their son had suffered a massive stroke. “It made no sense; he was a perfectly healthy child,” Sandy said. Then the Scharfs were told Jackson needed to be airlifted from St. Mary’s to HSHS St. John’s in Springfield. There wasn’t room for Sandy or Greg in the helicopter. “Sandy would have went, tied to the bottom of the helicopter if they’d let her,” Greg said. Greg, Sandy and Ryan watched as a helicopter took off for Springfield, not knowing if when it landed Jackson would still be Please see Scharf, Page 13
December 2016 | BUSINESS JOURNAL | 13
Scharf From 12
alive or not. They drove to St. John’s. “I don’t remember a whole lot about that drive,” Greg said. “I was just trying to make all the phone calls I needed to make. And I received a call from a pediatric neurosurgeon at St. John’s asking for verbal consent to perform surgery, which we gave.” When the helicopter left Decatur, it was 8:15 a.m. The Scharfs didn’t see Jackson again until 4 p.m. When the pediatric neurosurgeon emerged, he told the Scharfs sections of Jackson’s skull had to be removed to relieve pressure on his brain. “He said that he didn’t know if Jackson was going to make it or not, but that the next 72 hours would be crucial,” Sandy said. The doctor also told the Scharfs what happened to Jackson. He was born with arteriovenous malformation (AVM), a tangle of abnormal blood vessels connecting arteries and veins in the brain. It’s rare, unpreventable and usually goes undetected until the blood vessels rupture, which is what happened to Jackson. With any ruptured blood vessel in the brain, quick treatment is essential. The neurosurgeon told Sandy her actions in immediately driving Jackson to the emergency room saved his life. “He told us, ‘If you would have waited five more minutes, he wouldn’t be here,’ ”
Sandy said. “He said, ‘You saved his life.’ only give a thumbs up or thumbs down as a It was an overwhelming feeling. I’ll never response, he began speaking in the second forget that.” week of October, though it was slow and measured. Progress “He’s still not speaking like he did on The neurosurgeon said the next 72 hours Sept. 1, but it’s coming quickly,” Greg said. would be long, and they were. It’s also been exciting for the Scharfs to Greg and Sandy sat close to Jackson the see progress. When Jackson was first diwhole time, with no assurances their son agnosed with AVM, the Scharfs researched was going to live. the disease and found that the ability to re“That was definitely high stress,” Greg cover varied. said. “At that point, we were processing “Each case is different,” Sandy said. “We time minute by minute, hour by hour.” just held out hope and did what we could But Jackson fought through. Three days to help him work every day.” after the initial incident, Jackson was still Greg said watching Jackson’s determinain a medically induced coma, but he began tion is inspirational. moving his hands and feet and squeezed a “He just keeps getting a little stronger nurse’s hand in response to a question. and a little more aware every day,” Greg Jackson spent several agitated nights as said. “Anytime he’s worked with nurses or doctors slowly moved him out of a medi- therapists, he’s tried to give them everycally induced coma. He showed the abil- thing they want and more. Everybody is ity to move on the left side, but not much always proud of their kids, but I can’t imagon the right. He got off the ventilator, but ine having been what he’s been through. needed a tracheotomy to breathe on his “If I did, I hope I would have his attitude, own and a feeding tube to eat. his outlook and his disposition. As bad as On Sept. 22, Jackson was moved to St. this has been, I hope that attitude and deLouis Children’s Hospital, where he began termination he’s shown stay with him the rehabilitation. On Oct. 19, Jackson had sur- rest of his life.” gery to remove the AVM. The next two weeks were difficult. A 14- Still ornery hour surgery was followed by three more While his speech, breathing, movement operations. He’s had six surgeries in all, and and ability to swallow were affected by the stroke, his cognitive ability is intact. also a bout of pneumonia. But since getting past the last round of Even before he could talk, Greg noticed him surgeries, Jackson’s recovery has been more switching his attention from the TV to lean rapid. After a long period where he could in closer when the doctor was in the room.
His personality also hasn’t changed. “He’s still ornery. He still makes jokes,” Sandy said. “He’s there. He’s just had to relearn all the things we take for granted — things you learn in the first year of life, like how to to walk, how to talk and how to eat.” What’s not known is how much of his ability to move will come back — whether or not he’ll ever score another game-winning touchdown. It’s not something Jackson has asked about, and it’s not something Sandy and Greg dwell on. But both remain optimistic, and doctors haven’t given them any reason not to be. “They won’t give us a complete prognosis: They want to wait until it’s been a year before they know what it might be,” Greg said. “But the neurosurgeon was definitely optimistic about the progress he thought Jackson could make.” Sometimes Sandy will look at a picture of Jackson before Sept. 2 and think: This doesn’t make any sense. But then she looks back at the pictures from the first couple days, then sees Jackson now. “I looked at pictures last night and cried. It’s been such a long journey,” Sandy said. “There’s going to be something more that comes out of this. I don’t know what the answer is yet, but I know it’s there. ‘He’s a unique kid. Maybe he’s going to affect someone’s life in a positive way. Maybe he already has.” email@example.com|(217) 421-7971
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14 | BUSINESS JOURNAL | December 2016
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December 2016 | BUSINESS JOURNAL | 15
All good things must come to an end
his the caboose on the train of 149 essays carrying a cargo of a 100,000 words. It’s my final column in the Business Journal. I started with the August 2004 issue and have been in this spot since. In case you’re wondering, I’m not retiring. Instead, I am refining my independent consulting practice, and removing engagements that have nonnegotiable deadlines to the extent possible. This assignment, with its monthly cutoff dates, has to go. Human Resources As I scanned the 12 years of columns, I found six common themes that have become central to my philosophy of human resources. These six themes consumed a lot of column inches, but they bear repetition. The first is this: Trust is the bedrock. Any organization that wants a productive
workplace needs to start with trust. Trust is a place where words matter, where no one plays “gotcha games,” and where people can count on one another to be pulling in one direction. Trust is the one thing that absolutely defines the best places to work. It’s the most important recruitment and retention tool anyone can have. Trust alone is not enough, but without it nothing else matters – not compensation, not promotions, not glitzy offices, not a thing. The second is this: Trust starts at the top and flows down. It is totally up to those at the very top – the CEO, the board, the ownership. If they earn trust, trustworthiness will filter down to every level. But if they dissemble, if they play one side against another, if they allow their egos to take over, then they will see the same behavior imitated throughout the entire organization. People at the top have to earn the trust of others, and they have to do it first. The third is this: The most important level in any organization is front-line supervision. You want to build a strong company? Focus on putting good people one level up from the basic production
possible. Say thanks to those who give you encouragement. Say thanks to your boss. Say thanks to your coworkers. Say thanks to those whose work you supervise. Now it’s my turn to do exactly that. Thanks to the boss of these pages, Scott Perry, who has skillfully edited these 149 essays, sent notes of encouragement (along with one well-deserved warning when my musings wandered far from the assigned path of HR advice). Scott’s happy spirits and his good cheer are reflected in every issue of this award-winning publication. And thanks to the readers of the Business Journal. Your feedback has not been merely terrific. It’s been terrifically helpful – whether delivered via email, phone calls or by stopping me on the street. You’ve contributed story ideas, you’ve given your own workplace experiences, and you’ve said thanks for something that helped you negotiate your own working life. Been fun. Thanks! Fred W. Spannaus, principal of Spannaus Consulting, is a senior professional in human resources.
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New staffers Thomas R. Bowman has joined the law firm of Samuels, Miller, Schroeder, Jackson & Sly, LLP as an associate attorney. Mike England has joined National Foodworks Services as operations manager. Stifel Financial Corp. has announced Benton that William “Bill” Krueger has joined the Decatur Private Client Group office, its broker-dealer subsidiary, Stifel, Nicolaus & Company, as first vice president/investments.
level. They might be sales managers, line foremen, school principals or unit directors. You know who I’m talking about. These people exert enormous influence. They control the approach to customer relations. They control the largest numbers of employees. They ultimately control who the company is and how it is perceived. The fourth is this: Accountability and authority go hand-in-hand. Of course, any boss has to deal with people who can’t or won’t do the job. But here’s the thing: Employees can be held accountable only when they have real authority. If their superiors micromanage and make decisions for them (or persuade them of the decisions they want them to make), the bosses have no right to hold them accountable for the outcomes. The fifth is this: Have fun. Be as happy as you can possibly be. You spend an enormous amount of your life at work. If it’s not fun for you, you are squandering of your most precious resources: your minutes, your hours, your days and your years. Work is not what you have to do until you retire. It’s your life. Now. The sixth and final one: Be grateful. Say thanks to those who make your work
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Attract Online Shoppers to Store Q A
Estefano Martinez, Daniel Rivera and Aric Hopp are aspiring entrepreneurs making global contacts in the field of solar energy.
Expanding their comfort zones International trip challenges Millikin students
ntrepreneurship is indeed an adventure. Lately I’ve had the privilege of sharing this journey with a number of students that are changing the trajectory of their world, and hopefully ours as well. As I’m penning this article, I am traveling in Denmark with six business students. Why Denmark? One of Millikin University’s international partners, Business Academy Aarhus, has an educational program designed to help cross-disciplinary students come together to learn how to innovate and solve problems in teams. While our students are generally pretty good in teams, and they even have experience working with international students who come to Millikin, the experience of being a cultural minority in an international team is entirely different and not one they get Entrepreneurship in the U.S. There are 400 students – mostly European – at the program, and our six students are divided up among them. It is a humbling experience being a single individual from a different cultural context on a fastpaced team that speaks English as a second language. So far, the experience in Denmark has highlighted two particular hallmarks of the Danish entrepreneurial culture: forward-thinking civility and innovation for sustainability. Ironically, those two hallmarks from the land of Viking raiders make our own U.S. entrepreneurial culture seem economically crude and barbaric. The adventure began a couple days earlier than the program since three students submitted a project to a business competition in Copenhagen. Unfortunately, the competition organizers let them know too late that their submission was not accepted, so we had a couple days in Copenhagen to “chill,”
Cayla Hittmeier Digital Advertising Manager Herald & Review
KEY TO HAPPINESS When asked, Riis Arndt, CEO of DanSolar, answered the question of why the Danish are the happiest people in the world. It’s because they practice hygge. Google it! right?Wrong. These three Millikin students — Aric Hopp, Estefano Martinez, and Daniel Rivera — went to work making contacts with multiple researchers at various Danish universities and even the CEO of a local solar innovation company. Of the five people they contacted – absolutely cold-contacts – all of them responded. All of them! We’ve met with one CEO, have a meeting today with a researcher at a local university, and arranged to meet another researcher when he visits the U.S. later this month. The other two aren’t available to meet now, but at least they responded. The swift meeting with the CEO of DanSolar, Paul Riis Arndt, was intense. We had 10 minutes to get ready after traveling three hours by train to the city of Aarhus. DanSolar is working on,among other things, an initiative to take solar to remote African villages that currently rely on kerosene. The journey is not yet over – we have a couple days left – but the excitement so far has left some impressions on the students: Daniel: “We’ve been thinking too small. The U.S. is not the primary market for solar. And, I really wish we had done more research to ask him more in depth questions.” Aric: “The opportunities are so much larger than we imagined. There are a lot of relatable issues in other countries, but we don’t know that until we put ourselves out there.” Estefano: “The response to the simple inquiries we sent out. Who would have thought we’d have all of them respond? We’re getting so much information just by asking.” As for me, the best part is seeing the guys realize that while Google is great, nothing takes the place of reaching out to the human beings that are making things happen. True entrepreneurial adventurers are hungry for collaborators, so pick up that phone or hit send on that email. Julie Shields is the director of Millikin University’s Center for Entrepreneurship.
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How can I compete with people who shop online for items that I sell in my store here locally? As we approach the holiday shopping season, this is the million dollar question. How can I attract people to shop in my store as opposed to shopping online. In my opinion, there are three things that HAVE to happen in order for you to convert the online shopper to a check-out at your register: 1) You simply MUST advertise this season. And it won’t cut it to just put a small print ad in the newspaper or run a few ads on radio. If you want to steal from the online shoppers, you have to be seen WHERE they are shopping… ONLINE! Run your digital ads promoting the personal touch of your customer service, your breadth and depth of product lines. Add targeting and search re-targeting to the mix and serve your ads with purpose, directly to the person who was specifically shopping online for the products you have here LOCALLY. 2) Give them a REASON to come in to see you. Toot your horn about your stellar customer service, brag about being able to help them shop for that hard-to-buy-for person and give them REAL-LIFE EXAMPLES. Remind them that shopping locally means keeping your dollars HERE in our community. Finally, give them a little extra incentive that actually pays off…like discounts on certain days (creating a sense of urgency) or create an event that drives traffic like an Open House with refreshments, holiday entertainment, etc. 3) Finally, the last element is FOLLOW-THRU. Above, I mentioned that you have to toot your horn about customer service or an ability to get them that custom gift. If you promise it…make sure you deliver it. Prepare your staff to go ABOVE AND BEYOND this holiday season for your customers. Ensure a pleasant experience and they will never shop online for something you offer again. If you follow these three rules…your business will end up on the NICE LIST this season and you’ll enter 2016 with momentum. By the way, while 2 & 3 are basically up to you…I thought I should mention that I can help you with #1. Call me today and we’ll have your ads online TOMORROW.
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YOU R MON E Y
December 2016 | BUSINESS JOURNAL | 17
Resist holiday overspending with tips from experts DEBBIE CARLSON Tribune News Service Writer
Overspending at this time of year can be a serious problem, leading to a holiday hangover in January, when credit card bills are due. To prevent a buildup of shopping anxiety and binge buying during the season, shopping and finance experts offered some tips to help shoppers navigate stores. Make a realistic budget. Courtney Jespersen, retail and shopping expert at NerdWallet, said the prime reason many people bust their budgets is they don’t think of the total cost. Holiday spending is not just about buying presents. “You have to remember travel, the cost of food, wrapping paper, bows, greeting cards, all of it, so you don’t end up being surprised when you need to buy something,” she said. Jespersen recommended taking advantage of online and mobile app budgeting tools. Two of her favorites are You Need A Budget, good for year-round budgeting, and Santa’s Bag, which focuses just on Christmas lists and holiday spending. These apps allow users to set budgets and log when they make purchases, allowing them to see their spending in real time. Watch for retail subterfuge. Make a list of products to buy, and research prices ahead of time to limit last-minute shopping and impulse buying, say Jespersen and Brad Klontz, educational partner with Chase Bank and associate professor of financial psychology at Creighton University. “The bottom line is that the retail outlets are set up in such a way to separate you from your
JEROME LEE, FOR THE BUSINESS JOURNAL
Kohl’s cashier Takiah Dennis fills out a transaction for Jan Wise of Forsyth, who was buying gifts for her grandchildren during Black Friday in Hickory Point Mall in Forsyth. money,” Klontz said. Finding current prices from different retailers is as easy as entering a product name into an internet search engine. For shoppers looking for price trends, the website Camel Camel Camel is a historical price tracker for goods sold on Amazon, Jespersen said. It shows how much an item sold for over the course of a year and can be a reference to see how current prices compare
with the past. Retailers strategically place items in stores or target online shoppers with certain goods to encourage impulse buying. Don’t fall for it. Klontz recommends putting some time between when you select a product and when you purchase it, whether it’s walking around the store or putting items in an online cart but waiting to buy. “Asking yourself questions about whether
you need it stimulates the prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain that is responsible for impulse control and judgment,” Klontz said. Using cash instead of credit cards curbs overspending. Pretend your credit card is a debit card to prevent racking up bills online, Jespersen said. Reframe holiday giving. Talking to family or friends about gifts may also reduce anxiety and the pressure to overspend, they said. “It’s a good idea to talk early. That way, everyone can set a price limit, so no one person shows off and spends way more than you can afford,” Jespersen said. Beating yourself up about overspending is counterproductive, said Klontz and Michael Liersch, head of behavioral finance at Merrill Lynch Wealth Management. Instead, step back from the idea of how much to spend, and think about why you’re giving a gift. That changes giving from being about how much money is spent to the intent of the gift, regardless of cost. And tell the person why you chose it. “If you’re giving a gift to someone, make sure it’s accompanied with a narrative. … Even if it’s as simple as, I know it’s something you might not normally spend money on; I want you to enjoy yourself. The narrative makes it more important to the person giving it and the person receiving it. It creates an alignment and connection,” Liersch said.
Tips for finding that perfect gift DANIELLE BRAFF Tribune News Service Writer
he average person spent upward of $800 T on holiday gifts last year, according to the National Retail Federation. And if you shell out that much cash, you want the recipients of your gifts to be happy. We grilled the experts on how you can score big. (Hint: You might want to go with a gift card rather than something super personal). Before you even think about shopping, check out some do’s and don’ts, which will guide you in the right direction.
SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE Gift cards. To you, it may sound impersonal. To the receiver, it’s the perfect present. According to an NRF survey, 59 percent of people say they’d love to receive a gift card as a present – and this is the ninth year in a row that gift cards have topped the list of most requested items. Make sure, however, that the value of the gift card is in line with the prices on items in the store, says Lizzie Post, co-president of the Emily Post Institute. For example, don’t give a $25 gift card to a store where the
majority of items cost significantly more. Clothing and accessories. Just behind gift cards come clothing or clothing accessories as the most requested holiday gifts, according to the NRF survey, at 52 percent. But be careful with this one, said Sue Fox, author of “Etiquette for Dummies,” and founder of Etiquette Survival in California. “Unless you’re absolutely sure of the person’s tastes and size, purchase gift certificates or gift cards in lieu of clothing,” Fox said. “You may have perfectly good taste, but everyone’s preferences differ, and a gift card to a favorite shop may save the recipient from having to return the gift.” Experience gifts. If you know what the person likes to do, these are better than material gifts, according to a study at the San Francisco State University, which found that those who receive experience gifts were satisfied with them longer than material gifts. These could be anything from manicures to tickets to a local play, sporting event, concert or movie, Fox said.
skip the ties, said Jacqueline Whitmore, etiquette expert at The Protocol School of Palm Beach. Same goes for socks. “I went to Japan and found one-toe socks,” Whitmore said. “I gave a pair to my dog groomer, and she thought it was great because they don’t sell them over here and because they came from Japan.” Perfume. You may love the scent, but it doesn’t mean that your friend will, Whitmore said, suggesting that you veer away from this category unless you know the bottle that your recipient wears. Scents are tricky and also a little too personal, which is why she also doesn’t recommend giving candles, body lotion or anything else that gives off a strong odor. Vacuum cleaner. Your loved one may need a new one and may even be lusting after a specific model. But the holidays aren’t a time to wrap it up with a bow unless specifically requested, Whitmore said. “If my husband gave me a vacuum, I would have felt insulted,” she said. We all have to do chores, and these chores usually feel a tiny bit better if you’re doing them with nicer tools. But these would be best Ties and socks. Unless they are really gifted another day or bought as random acts unique, like a fantastic bow tie (and in this of kindness. The holidays are a time to splurge case, he should be a fan of bow ties already), on something you might not necessarily need.
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18 | BUSINESS JOURNAL | December 2016
A Trump presidency and your wallet GAIL MARKSJARVIS Tribune News Service
Look in your wallet. Do you see IOUs signed by Donald Trump, or did you merely imagine that he plopped them there? Most of the Trump promises made during the campaign were big but vague. He promised to help all Americans prosper and to renew the American Dream. But what does that mean for your wallet? Often, ideas that sound good on the campaign trail dissipate or morph once they’ve made it through Congress. And though Trump gets to work with a House and Senate controlled by Republicans, the ideas he trumpeted on the campaign trail are a political blend: His tax plan seems to come from the Republican playbook. His student loan relief plan sounds a lot like Obama’s, and his pledge to keep Social Security completely intact differs from Republicans itching to make cuts. Here are some key issues for your wallet: · Tax cuts. One of the clearest plans described by Trump during the campaign was his tax plan. Reviews by independent think tanks say his plan would cut taxes for all income levels, but it’s bound to be controversial because most savings would go to the highest-income people and 20 percent of moderate-income people would face higher taxes. In one example, a single parent earning $75,000 would face a tax increase of $2,440. Trump would reduce the number of tax brackets, increase the standard deduction, hold the maximum rate for dividend and capital gains taxes at 20 percent, and get rid of federal estate taxes and the alternative minimum tax. He would limit deductions other than for charitable contributions and mortgage interest and cut the corporate tax rate to 15 percent. Making this happen will be a challenge. The Tax Policy Center says the plan would cost the government $6 trillion over a decade as people pay less in taxes. Unless the government makes huge spending cuts, the tax break would end up increasing the national debt by nearly 80 percent of gross domestic product by 2036. Yet, Trump argues that tax cuts will spur businesses and individuals to spend more and spark the
economy so more money would flow into the tax coffers. · Student loans. Trump hasn’t spelled out his student loan plan as concretely as his tax plan, but in a speech he said that people with student loans that, as mentioned earlier, come gested reducing benefits for future retirees shouldn’t have to pay more with a $6 trillion price tag. earning $80,000 or more without Social than 12.5 percent of their income While Trump has promised no cuts in Security. He also proposed eliminating Sotoward student loan payments. And they entitlements, the position is at odds with his cial Security for individuals making more shouldn’t have to make payments for more campaign trail comment that government than $200,000. House Speaker Paul Ryan than 15 years. needs to get rid of its $19 trillion in debt. wants to raise the retirement age and use Presumably that would mean that after New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has sug- vouchers to control Medicare costs. 15 years — even if their loans weren’t paid off — the remainder would be forgiven. That sounds a lot like Obama’s current program of reducing student loan payments if the regular payments would be too high for the income a person earned. It’s called income-based repayment. Trump also says he’s going to put pressure on colleges to reduce costs. Colleges get tax breaks from the government and Trump implied he could use them as a carrot or a stick. A popular study around college costs shows that many colleges could reduce prices for students if the institutions would devote more money from their endowments. We wish you the very happiest of holidays! · Obamacare. Trump, like other Republicans, has vowed to repeal the Affordable Care Act, get rid of the requirement that everyone buy health insurance and start to build a new health insurance system. The current system, he said, has led to runaway costs, rationing care, high premiums and few choices. With about 20 million now covered by Obamacare, however, creating an alternative or getting the support needed from Congress won’t be immediate or easy. Ultimately, Trump says he will retain requirements like making insurers cover pre-existing conditions, and he plans to bring health insurance costs down by generating more competition between insurance companies. · Social Security and Medicare. Even though Trump said he wouldn’t make cuts in Social Security or Medicare, he will be pressured by Republicans pushing for *Annual Percentage Rate. The 4.90% annual percentage rate will be in effect for those purchases until change. The pressure could intensify as June 1, 2017. Any unpaid balance remaining in June will begin accruing interest at your regular annual Trump and Congress try to make tax cuts percentage rate.
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December 2016 | BUSINESS JOURNAL | 19
Build support, share the workload Q: I have a job with a lot of responsibility and I just went through a family crisis. Looking back, I realized that I have not done enough to build support around me, especially with my team at work. What can I do to take action on this realization? A: You, your team, and your organization will benefit when you share the wealth of responsibility more fully. First, consider barriers that may have prevented you from delegating more in the past. It’s important to understand your underlying drivers so you can put the right steps in place. One of
the common culprits is lack of organization. If you are typically juggling a lot of disparate tasks, bouncing from one thing to another, it’s hard to bring others in to help carry the load. Another is fear of not being needed. If you keep a tight hand on everything, it’s easier to imagine that you’re indispensable. But the style of manager who relies on this level of control is not as valuable to a company as a more empowering leader, so you’re actually hurting yourself at a deeper level. You also need clarity about your actual job — the tasks you do and the outcomes you and your team are focused on. Using some categories that make sense for you, map out your responsibilities: technical, communication, staff development, etc. Then think about the people on your team. What would fit for each in terms of ways to take some of the load? For example, if you have a lot of folks new to the workforce, are there people better at (and more interested
in) training or mentoring? Rather than leaving that to chance, consider making it part of their job. Or set up liaison responsibilities with other departments to help your team build connections while reducing dependency on you. You then become the conductor, guiding the movements of the team rather than executing on your own. In this higher level of leadership, you help people find solutions to problems instead of solving them. You inspire pursuit of a shared outcome instead of dictating the approach. And you provide a safety net for people to take risks and develop their capabilities. This takes a lot of mutual trust. If you’ve been a “command and control” manager, it may be hard for you to trust the team. You’ll need to accept that they may do things differently than you did, and that it can get the right outcome. Likewise, they’ll need to trust your sincerity and believe that they’re not being set up to fail.
WEEKLY TIPS Get weekly tips form Liz Reyer and the Office Coach at www.thebusiness-journal.com The key will be a new, deeper level of communication. Have regular team meetings, and keep the agenda light with focus on talking to each other. Practice your active listening so that you don’t shut people down. Also be committed to regular one-on-ones to build connection and prevent small issues from getting out of control. Once you have the new dynamic in place — and it won’t happen overnight — you have a team that can operate smoothly even when external situations are challenging. Liz Reyer is a credentialed coach. Submit questions or comments at www.deliverchange.com/ coachscorner.
Document deadbeat manager’s flaws before complaining Q: Our district sales manager is a complete disaster. “Carl” is never in the office for more than a few hours, and on some days he doesn’t show up at all. He claims to be spending time with our outside salespeople, but they say this never happens, so he’s obviously lying. In addition to running the office, Carl is supposed to make monthly visits to our customers and the manufacturers of our products. However, most of them have never even seen him. We’ve been told that he has a horrible reputation in our industry. Carl cares nothing about the business and provides absolutely no leadership. Morale is so awful that people are actively seeking other jobs. The entire staff feels that management should be told Office Coach about this situation, but we’re not sure where to go. Any suggestions? A: Employees often spot problematic managers long before their bosses do. Since the people above Carl may be blissfully unaware of his deficiencies, you need to make the case for his incompetence very clearly and carefully. Remember that complaining about the boss is never without risk. First, you must focus on facts. Statements like “his reputation is horrible” or “he’s a terrible leader” only describe general perceptions. But for specific evidence, detailed documentation is required. For example, how many
hours is Carl in the office each week? On what dates did he misrepresent his whereabouts? Which customers say they’ve never seen him? Next, you need to demonstrate exactly how Carl’s misconduct is hurting the business. Collect examples of lost sales, canceled orders, unhappy customers, departed employees and other undesirable consequences. After organizing all this information into a concise presentation, your group should be ready to meet with the higher-ups. Since anyone in Carl’s management chain might be biased in his favor, a neutral third party would be a better choice. If your human resources group has a positive reputation, consider talking with the head of that department. Starting at the top is important, because low-level HR staffers may not have enough influence to be helpful. Finally, keep your expectations realistic. Although the problem seems obvious to you, management needs time to investigate. And since that process will be confidential, your group may never know what happens next. Having done everything you can, you must bide your time and hope that Carl eventually disappears. nnn Q: I work in a customer service center where we answer phones all day long. However, two of my co-workers spend a lot of their time on the phone just talking to each other. Although our supervisor is supposed to be monitoring calls, she hasn’t done anything to stop them. What should I do about this? A: Unfortunately, you seem to have a supervisor who doesn’t want to supervise. If she did, these slackers wouldn’t be allowed to tie up customer lines with their personal chatter. So you seem to have three options. You could call out the freeloaders yourself,
choose to ignore their babbling, or try to find a manager who actually cares. But whatever you decide, thanks for explaining why it always takes so long to get through to customer service. nnn Q: Every month, I publish an internal newsletter containing articles submitted by 10 employees from different parts of the company. This information is always due on the first of the month, but two of my “reporters” never meet the deadline. Sending them reminders doesn’t help at all. As a result, I have to delay publication of the newsletter until their material finally arrives. This not only creates issues with printing and delivery, but it also makes me look bad. How can I make my reminders more effective? A: People who ignore deadlines drive their more-organized colleagues absolutely nuts. Unfortunately, new and improved reminders are not likely to be the solution. As long as you continue accepting late material, these inconsiderate co-workers will continue ignoring your pleas. Instead, you must take your power back by refusing to let the stragglers dictate your schedule. Inform all reporters that the publication deadline will now be strictly enforced, even if some articles are missing. If you stick to your guns, either the procrastinators will learn to be more prompt, or you will learn that they need to be replaced. Previously, you may have rejected this approach because you fear having empty pages. However, the key is to create a workable back-up plan. Locate substitute material to use as a replacement. Simplify layout adjustments by putting the tardy people at the end. If these are regular features, insert a note in-
dicating they were not available. If you lack the authority to make these decisions, explain the problem to your boss and ask for support. To regain control, you must stop coddling these laggards. So, if they remain unreliable, the ultimate solution is to find some new reporters. nnn Q: One of my co-workers is a total slacker. “Melanie” has been here long enough to know exactly what’s expected, but she avoids extra work by saying no one told her what to do. If Melanie dislikes certain tasks, she will complain to our supervisor that they are too complicated for her. Then those unpleasant duties are given to the rest of us. People say Melanie gets special treatment because she has friends in management. She is even allowed to wear inappropriate attire, a blatant violation of our dress code. This obvious favoritism has everyone upset. I’m ready to go to human resources but would like to get your advice. A: Since you’re looking for advice, here are three suggestions. First, pick your battles wisely. Instead of unleashing a torrent of accusations about favoritism, friendships and dress code violations, stay focused on the unequal distribution of tasks. Second, talk about issues that matter to management. If you can show how Melanie’s refusal to do her job is adversely affecting quality, costs, schedules or customers, you are more likely to get their attention. Finally, don’t become the messenger. If you are the sole complainer, your HR manager may view this as a personality conflict, so take some concerned colleagues along. Otherwise, you might discover why “killing the messenger” became such a popular phrase.
20 | BUSINESS JOURNAL | December 2016
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