Elevate CCIC, Inc. Board Of Directors

Blake Pierce


Blake Pierce 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 as well.

Angela Griffin

Vice President

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 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 of Government Relations, Financial Analyst, and Marketing Specialist. 

Sandra L. Graven


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

Jeanne Dau

Elevate Board Member

Jeanne Dau, President of Dau Consulting, 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 nonprofit 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.

Executive Director Mattoon Chamber of Commerce

Ed Dowd

Elevate Board Member

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 Mattoonand Coles County

Affiliations: City of Mattoon Tax Incremental Business Board Member, City of Mattoon Planning Commission Board Member,City of Mattoon Revolving Loan Fund Board Member,LifeLinks 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

Elevate Board Member

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.