Blake is a Mattoon native who received his Bachelors in Finance and MBA at Eastern Illinois University in 2011 and 2012 respectively, and then joined Rural King in the Finance Department. Since that time, he has advanced through many roles and responsibilities assisting the company quadruple in revenue and double its number of locations to the national retailer they have become today. Currently Blake serves as the Director of Real Estate and Economic Development, where he is responsible for all aspects of the company real estate division and new store selection; along with enhancing the communities in which Rural King calls home. Blake also serves on a number of local boards and committees, and particularly enjoys assisting small businesses and promoting the local economy in his free time.
Angela Griffin is President and CEO of Coles Together, the economic development organization for Coles County charged with industrial recruitment and retention. Griffin has a BA in Economics from the University of Illinois at Springfield (formerly Sangamon State University) and 29 years of experience in economic development, including working at for the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity before joining Coles Together in 2004. At DCEO Griffin held various positions including Assistant to the Director, Manager.
Sandra Graven graduated from Eastern Illinois University, Charleston, IL in May 2001, obtaining a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting. She passed the CPA exam in 2003 and became a Licensed Certified Public Accountant in the State of Illinois in August, 2003. Sandra began employment with Kemper CPA Group LLP in December 2008 as a result of a merger with Jones & Greathouse CPA’s. Prior to the merger, Sandra had been with Jones & Greathouse for over 25 years working in various capacities from computer programming to secretary to bookkeeper, then to CPA. She later became a partner with Jones & Greathouse. Sandra’s concentration is in tax. She has experience in individual, partnership, corporate, fiduciary and estate taxes. She became a Certified Specialist in Estate Planning (CSEP) in August, 2010, a QuickBooks ProAdvisor in September, 2014.
Professional Associations: American Institute of Certified Public Accountants Certified Specialists in Estate Planning
President of Dau Consulting, Jeanne has more than 25 years of experience working with community collaborations and economic development initiatives while working for universities in Georgia, Missouri and Illinois. She has trained thousands in leadership, management, sales and entrepreneurship training and gained her management experience by working in the hotel industry, providing business development and outreach training for universities, chairing three nonprofitt boards, (Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Systems, Charleston Charitable Foundation and Grand River Area Visitor’s Bureau) and running her own businesses. She currently teaches ClassE, the experiential learning high school entrepreneurship class. She holds a BA degree from the University of Illinois and a MBA from William Woods University. She was awarded the Dreamers and Doers Award from Oklahoma State University’s Experiential Classroom.
Born in Port Arthur, Texas and also lived in Lake Charles, Louisiana, Norwalk, Connecticut and multiple locations in Northern Illinois. Graduated from Northern Illinois University in 1984. Worked as a Legal Assistant in Downtown Chicago, a Plant Manager for an Environmental Pollution Control Company in Palatine, IL and as the Store Manager at Wal-Mart in Pontiac, IL. Relocated to Coles County in 2000 with my wife and four children. Was the General Manager for Staples, Inc in Mattoon from 2000 to 2015. Became the Executive Director of the Mattoon Chamber of Commerce in January of 2016. Very involved in community organizations and working toward the betterment of Mattoon and Coles County
Professional Associations: City of Mattoon Tax Incremental Business Board Member, City of Mattoon Planning Commission Board Member, City of Mattoon Revolving Loan Fund Board Member, Life Links Coles County Mental Health Board Member, Mattoon Area Industrial Development Board Secretary, Chairman of Mattoon In Motion Workforce Development Committee, Elevate, CCIC, Inc. Board Member, Member Mattoon Knights of Columbus, Member Downtown Mattoon Planning Group, Member Mattoon Tourism Advisory Board, Former Board Member Big Brothers/Big Sisters of East Central Illinois, Former Board Member Mattoon Kiwanis Club, Former Board President Mattoon Chamber of Commerce
Rex Barnes is a Shift Captain with the Mattoon Fire Department, and has over 20 years of leadership experience as a professional firefighter. Barnes is also a Multi-Township Assessor, currently in his fifth term. He is a member of Mattoon Kiwanis club, and volunteers with the Mattoon Firefighters Thanksgiving Basket program and the Mattoon in Motion Robust Economy committee. Past entrepreneurial activities include real estate investing. He has a BA in Psychology and a Master’s Degree in Political Science, both from Eastern Illinois University. In addition, he is a graduate of the University of Illinois Fire Academy, Lake Land College Paramedical Services program, and is a Certified Illinois Assessing Officer.
Bobbi Kingery moved to Mattoon in 1974 and after living in Nashville, TN and Champaign, IL returned to her hometown. She currently serves as the Director of Career Services at Eastern Illinois University, and has been in the office since 1996. In this role she helps students research and plan career options, builds relationships with local and national employers to recruit on campus, and partners with campus departments to support student career development. She holds a Bachelor of Music degree and a Master of Science in Education degree from Eastern Illinois University.
Mike Rudibaugh, is a Lake College Faculty Member, in Geography/Geographic Information Systems for the past 26years. Rudibaugh has both master and doctorate degrees from Indiana State University focusing on economic development. Rudibaugh has served on a number of grant teams researching workforce development training and curriculum models to support STEM programs in technology areas like Geographic Information Systems (GIS), precision agriculture and unmanned aerial technologies (UAS). His primary grant work has been done on a national level with the National Science Foundation to address worker shortages in high skilled and high growth STEM occupations. Rudibaugh has served as a state elected board member for the Illinois GIS Association (ILGISA) from 2013-2015. Goals of his term on the board were to target and diversify regional training events with academic partners in downstate Illinois to broaden and expand ILGISA’s membership in historically underserved areas. Past entrepreneur work has targeted his consulting services as a GIS analyst to support state and national initiatives to expand and identify dead zones with the lack of adequate broadband Internet speeds to support educational, healthcare, and emergency responder applications critical to local economic development.
Born and raised in Waterloo, Iowa, Scott Eggleston attended the University of Northern Iowa before accepting a sales position with a Des Moines-based mattress company. Scott quickly familiarized himself with the industry and advanced into a managerial position in Topeka, Kansas, later moving back to Des Moines, and then on to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida as a store owner. Two years later, Scott joined the Slumber land Furniture sales team in DeSimone’s. He quickly advanced into management and was transferred to Wichita, Kansas where he opened two stores while serving as General Manager. In June 2012, Scott moved with his wife, Samantha and their sons, Blake and Brenton, to Mattoon. Scott and Samantha saw the opportunity to raise their sons in a tight-knit community while also filling a void in the local furniture market. The Eggleston’s opened their Slumber land store in Mattoon in 2012. They are passionate about helping to improve the world around them- both in their community and around the country- and enjoy traveling and participating in mission trips across the globe. Scott currently serves as Chair of the Sara Bush Lincoln Health Foundation, and also served as Past President of the Mattoon Rotary Club, Mattoon Chamber of Commerce, and Slumber land Franchise Advisory Council. He also serves on the boards of the Mattoon Area Family YMCA, and Elevate.
Andrea Applegate graduated from Eastern Illinois University in 2001 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Studies and obtained her Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Indiana State University in 2010. She has over 15 years’ experience in workforce development, human resources, social media marketing and management.
She is actively involved in her community and has chaired and been a member of a number of non-prot boards over the years. Her passion is helping her community wherever possible. She is originally from Mattoon, IL and currently resides in Charleston, IL.
Carl Walworth is in his fourth year as director of the Mattoon Public Library. In 2019, the library received the Small Business of the Year award from the Mattoon Chamber of Commerce. From 2002-2014, he was Publisher of the Journal Gazette/Times-Courier, the daily newspaper based in Coles County. During his tenure, the newspaper received a BESI (Business Ethics and Social Involvement) award from the East Central Illinois Development Corporation for its role in initiating multiple community projects. Walworth is author of The Mayor of Moultrie Avenue, a contributing writer/researcher on Lake Sara, The Hidden Jewel in America’s Heartland, and author of several articles and short family books including a business history of S & K Air Power. Walworth has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Illinois in Urbana, an MBA from Nova Southeastern University and 15 hours of master’s level coursework in economics at Eastern Illinois University.