Meet the Foundation Board Volunteers 2014-2015
Jim Curtis- West Hollywood, California
James B. (Jim) Curtis is a 1979 High Honors graduate of EIU, earning a B.A. in Policitcal Science. Jim earned his J.D. degree in 1982 from the University of Southern California Law School. At EIU, Jim served as president of Sigma Chi fraternity, chief justice of the Student Supreme Court, and qualified for the National Debate Tournament three times. Jim was one of three finalists for Sigma Chi's 1979 International Balfour Award, recognizing the fraternity's graduate of the year. Jim is vice president and senior counsel at Bank of the West in Los Angeles. In 2006, the California Bankers Association, the nation's largest banking trade association, presented Jim with the Compliance Professional Award. The award is presented annually to an individual for "dedication to excellence, leadership, and advancement of the compliance profession and service to the banking industry." Jim also teaches the course in banking law at USC Law School. Jim is serving his second term as a Volunteer on the Foundation's Finance/Audit Committee.
Kelsey Swing- Lerna, Illinois
Kelsey graduated from EIU, Summa Cum Laude with University Honors in 2003. She went on to complete her Master's in Business Administration with an Accountancy Concentration in 2005. She began her career with Gilbert Metzger & Madigan as a staff accountant while a student in 2002 and performed her graduate assistantship with the firm while obtaining her M.B.A. She currently holds the position as Partner/CPA with Gilbert Metzger & Madigan. Her experience in bookkeeping and tax preparations for individual and small businesses is considerable and she also has extensive experience in audits of governmental entities and not-for-profit organizations. She is also a member of the American Institute of CPA's and Illinois CPA Society.
Her professional appointments include serving over nine years on the Eastern Illinois University Accountancy Advisory Board. She currently serves as President of Mid-Illinois Big Brothers Big Sisters Board of Directors. She also volunteers for the Mid-Illinois Big Brothers Big Sisters community based mentoring program. This is Kelsey's first year serving as a Volunteer on the Foundation Finance Committee.
Donald L. Gher - Bellevue Washington
Don, a 1973 Eastern graduate, holds a B.S. in Business with Marketing major. He was named the EIU School of Business Distinguished Alumnus in 2003 and Distinguished Alumnus in 2007 by the EIU Alumni Association. He has held several positions, including head of a multi-billion dollar trust/investment department for the Marine Bank of Springfield, portfolio manager/analyst for the Public Employees Retirement Association of Colorado and Kingsley, Jennison, McNult and Morse in San Francisco. He served as General Manager, Wertheim Schroder, Tokyo and as fund manager/analyst for Bank of America Investment Management in Seattle. His economic and investment views have been cited in numerous national and international publications and he was a frequent guest on Bloomberg TV, BloombergRadio, CNBC, KIRO Radio, and Northwest Cable News.
Don retired in 2007 as Managing Director and Chief Investment Officer of Coldstream Capital Management in Bellevue WA, which he co-founded in 1996. Coldstream, at that time a $1.2 billion firm, caters to high net worth private clients and their families. Don became a Chartered Financial Analyst Charterholder in 1981 and in 2006 was one of only 20 CFAs worldwide to be awarded the first 20-Year Certificate of Continuing Education. He is a former member of the EIU Business Advisory Board and a former member of the EIU Alumni Association Board of Directors. He is Chair of the St. Louise Catholic Church Finance Council, a board member for Blood Cell Storage, Inc., an advisory board member for Lifecodex Media. After serving over six years on the Board, Don has served over six years on the Board and continues to serve as a Volunteer on the Investment Committee. He has formerly served as the Board President, Vice President, Treasurer, Chair of the Investment and the Nominating Committees.
Gary Kling - Champaign, Illinois
Gary graduated from EIU in 1976 with a B.S. in Finance and in 1980 with an M.B.A. He currently holds the position of vice president with Morgan Stanley Wealth Management. He served as president of the EIU Alumni Association and as a member of the board of directors of the Boys and Girls Club, Champaign Illinois, as well as as president of the EIU Panther Club from 2003-2005. Gary is currently serving his second term as a volunteer on the Foundation's Investment Committee. He has formerly served as ex-officio member of the Foundation Board.
James Schnorf - Longwood Florida
Jim is a 1976 graduate of EIU with a BS in Business/Accounting and a graduate of the University of Illinois Executive MBA program. Jim is the founder and president of Wall Street Management & Capital, Inc., a strategic financial advisory firm that arranges capital for clients through a large variety of institutional funding sources. His company also facilitates revenue opportunities for clients through introductions to government agencies and Fortune 1000 firms. He previously served as the general manager and chief financial officer of Florida’s largest independently owned investor relations company where he oversaw the entity’s financing, initial public offering, and investment portfolio management functions.
His prior experience also includes serving as the co-founder and president of a Midwest based boutique mezzanine venture fund; as treasurer and chief financial officer of Stevens Industries, Inc. (a major woodworking firm based in Central Illinois); and as group controller for Sequa Corporation (a Fortune 1000 aerospace concern). He held a variety of managerial positions with Caterpillar, Inc., during his ten years of service at the firm upon graduation from Eastern Illinois University. Jim is a past member of the EIU Alumni Association Board of Directors, and the School of Business and Accountancy advisory boards. Jim is serving his fourth year as a Volunteer on the Investment Committee. Previously he served on the Foundation Board of Directors and also as chair of the Scholarships & Grants Committee. In addition he served on the Investment, Nominating, Finance, Oversight & Outreach (formerly the Mission & Policy) Committees, and serves as the Board’s representative to the Council of Institutional Investors.
Christopher Swing - Lerna, Illinois
Christopher holds a Bachelor of Science in Accounting 03' and a Masters in Business Administration 04' from EIU. Currently he holds the position of CFO for Vantage Outsourcing, Effingham Illinois. He is also the owner of Swing Insurance Center which offers auto, home, life and health insurance to individuals. He began his career as an Accountant Administrator for United Graphics in 2003 and from there moved up to Commercial Sales Director in 2006.
In 2008 he served as Adjunct Professor for EIU where he taught students how to successfully manage a dynamic and functioning manufacturing environment and helped students to develop continuous improvement models. He joined Pinnacle Foods Corporation in 2007 and held the positions of Senior Financial Analyst Plant Controller and finally Senior Cost Manager where he prioritized capital investments and continuous improvement projects, developed and directed financial teams in four plant locations and integrated newly acquired companies into the financial structure and systems of the parent company while creating sound fiscal policy. Christopher currently serves as a member of the EIU Alumni Association Board. He is serving his first years as a Volunteer on the Foundation Investment Committee.
Randy Taylor, Champaign, Illinois
Randy a 1972 graduate of the University of Illinois, attended graduate school at Illinois State University. He spent his career in the financial services industry, including V.P. and corporate officer at State Street Corporations's State Street Bank and Trust, State Street Global Advisors (the asset management division), and as S.V.P. at the State Street/CitiGroup joint venture company, CitiStreet. Randy developed and led the firm's Institutional Retirement Plan Services business for the public sector as well as the Not-for-Profit and Taft-Hartley sectors. The public sector business included providing asset management, custody and administration services for cities and counties along with twenty-two state government pension systems. Since retirement he has provided consulting services to ING Institutional Plan Services and Aon Hewitt in their public markets outsourcing and consulting businesses. Randy is serving his first year as a Volunteer on the Foundation's Investment Committee.
Ryan Tracy, Batavia, Illinois
Ryan a graduate of EIU completed his BSB in Finance with a minor in accounting in 2011. He is currently the Managing Partner and one of several financial advisors with 360 Financial Group. Ryan is the lead retirement income strategy and plan designer for the team where he monitors clients account daily and executes all trades for the office. His success began while he was attending EIU, where he was named the Outstanding Finance Member of the Lumpkin School of Business from 2009-2011 and served on many of the university executive boards: Executives in Residency Board, the EIU Accreditation Review Board, the School of Business Student Leaders Board, and the EIU Foundation Review Committee. Ryan also participated in the University of Dayton's Financial R.I.S.E (Redefining Investment Strategy Education) and was awarded 1st place for "Core Investment Strategy."
Ryan's success and achievements continued when he served as the Student Investment Society President where he was recognized for the award-winning success of his portfolio style and investment approach by appropriately allocating university foundation dollars into the financial markets with his team. This is Ryan's first year serving as a Volunteer on the Investment Committee.
Oversight & Outreach Committee
Ken Baker - Charleston, Illinois
Ken a 1972 EIU graduate, holds a B.S. in Education. He went on to earn his M.S. in Education from EIU in 1973. In 1977 he became a Certified Optician. Ken served the NFL as a replay official for eleven years, only recently just retiring. His service as an official brought positive attention to EIU and helped support existing relationships with EIU alumni working and playing in the NFL. Ken has served EIU as an employee since 1994 and currently serves as the Director of Campus Recreation. He began as an instructor in Physical Education for Charleston Jr. and Sr. High before beginning his service with EIU. From 2007-2008 he served as Interim Athletic Director. Most recently, Ken has been a key part of a group of alumni and friends of EIU who worked to establish the Baker/Warmoth Hall of Champions at Lantz. Ken also served as one of the first tri-chairs for the inaugural faculty/staff giving campaign at EIU. Ken has served the Charleston community in a variety of ways, including serving on the school board (president 87-88), various athletic organizations including Panther Club. He was appointed to the Governor's Council of Physical Fitness and Sports. In 1999 Ken was awarded the EIU Distinguished Honors Faculty Award and in 2012 named as an EIU Foundation Honorary Lifetime Member. Ken is serving his second year as a Volunteer on the Foundation's Oversight & Outreach Committee.
William Hill - Charleston, Illinois
Bill began his education with a B.A. in Education from the Kentucky Wesleyan College. He then went on to earn his M.S. in School Administration from Indiana State University and his Ph.D. in Education from Southern Illinois University. His professional career in School administration spans over 40 years. In his capacity Bill served 27 years as a School District Superintendent, 18 of which were with the Charleston School District. He dedicated 31 years to school administration within the public schools of Illinois, 13 years as Adjunct Professor at Eastern and 4 years as a State of Illinois Regional Vocational Director.
Bill’s professional memberships include the Illinois Association School Administrators, Retired Teachers Association of Illinois and the State Universities Annuitants Association. He has also held professional appointments with the Illinois State Board of Education. He served as a President on the Charleston Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and devoted 11 years to the Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center Board of Directors. He also received an appointment with CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) for children, was a member of the Wesley Foundation Board for five years and for three years served as Board of Director for the Lake Land Community College Foundation. This is Bill’s third year serving as a Volunteer on the Board’s Oversight & Outreach Committee.
Real Estate Committee
Rick Ingram - Chicago, Illinois
Rick graduated with honors from Eastern in 1978 with a BA in Political Science. He went on to receive his Juris of Doctorate from the University of Tennessee in 1981. Rick recently joined the AMI Group in Chicago as General Counsel and Chief Legal Officer. He formerly was a partner at Shefsky & Froelich Ltd. He has experience in a broad range of real estate matters, including acquisition and disposition of large commercial properties, negotiation of governmental incentives, and facilitation of multi-level public/private initiatives. He successfully secured tax increment financing and other benefits for numerous projects, and has represented clients in a variety of other public/private partnerships.
In addition Rick has extensive experience counseling clients on issues relating to the management of large commercial properties. He also has significant experience working with diverse community groups and stakeholders. He has numerous charitable, public service, and community activities which have included President of the Lakeview Action Coalition, Director of the Edgewater Community Council, Member of the Coles County Board, Member of the Coles County Regional Planning Commission, Member of the Hawthorne Academy Local School Council. Rick was also named a Leading Lawyer, which consists of the top 5% of Illinois Lawyers, as selected by his peers. Rick has given numerous seminars and presentations on office leasing and other real estate-related topics. He has extensive experience speaking before community groups. Rick is serving his third year as a Volunteer on the Foundation’s Real Estate Committee.
Scholarships & Grants Committee
Alison Maley - Springfield, Illinois
Alison earned her BA in Political Science from Eastern in 2002 and her MA in Political Science from Eastern in 2010. In February 2011, Alison became the Governmental Relations/Public Relations Director for the Illinois Principals Association in Springfield, IL. Alison works with lobbyists within the Illinois Statewide School Management Alliance to research and lobby issues important to school principals, superintendents, school boards, and school business officials. Upon graduation from EIU in 2002, Alison began her career as a legislative aide with State Representatives Brandon Phelps, a Democrat from Harrisburg, IL, and Bob Flider, a Democrat from Mt. Zion, IL. After helping to manage Representative Flider’s successful re-election campaign in 2006, she returned to Charleston, IL and began work at Eastern Illinois University as a Philanthropy Director for the College of Arts & Humanities and the Honors College. Alison completed her graduate work in Political Science simultaneously.
As an undergraduate student at Eastern, Alison was active in Weller Hall Council, Residence Hall Association, National Residence Hall Honorary, intramural sports, and Student Government. She served as a student senator for two years prior to being elected Student Body President for the 2002-2003 school year. During her tenure as president, Alison began a campus-wide community service project, now called Panther Service Day. Alison was also active in volunteer efforts with Big Brothers Big Sisters and Rotary International. She has also volunteered as a Practice Partner for the Girls on the Run of Central Illinois in the Springfield Public School District. Alison is serving her third year as a Volunteer on the Board’s Scholarships & Grants Committee.