Champion Community Investments is overseen by a Board of Directors that is representative of each of the five core counties that constitute the organization’s service area. The Board meets monthly, with the activities of the board governed by a comprehensive set of bylaws. Following is the CCI Board of Directors and Officers (effective Sept.2017):
Ms. Brenda Malone, President
Mt. Vernon, Illinois
Brenda Malone is a Branch Manager for Manpower- a global employment solutions provider -managing 3 business units- Mount Vernon, Carbondale and Salem for 10 years plus. Brenda specializes in leadership, management, fiscal accountability, professional recruiting, customer service and sales. She has also worked as Territory Manager for Wholesale Building Materials covering 3 states – Illinois, Kentucky and Missouri, Executive Director at the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce and several roles in her family business -East Side Lumber.
Ms. Malone is a graduate of SIU Carbondale holding a Master of Science in Education- Workforce Education and Development –Cum Laude -2009. She earned SPHR (Senior Professional Human Resource) certification in 2013, CTE (Career Technical Educator) Certification in 2008 and is a member of the National Honor Society. Ms. Malone is a SHR/PHR certification class facilitator.
Ms. Malone takes pride in community service having been a Champion Community Investment Board member since 2015. She also serves on the CCI Loan Committee and Nominating Committee. She is a board member for Youth Build, Southern Illinois Workforce Development Board (SIWDB), Past President of the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce and participates in Rotary Strive, Future Business Leaders of America as a mentor and event judge. Brenda is helping establish a local SHRM Chapter serving on the Program Committee.
Ms. Malone is a lifelong resident of southern Illinois, born and living in Mt. Vernon, IL. Her parents, David and Phyllis Edmison, live in Mt. Vernon as does her brother Architect Brian Edmison. Her son Architect Jason Pierce, wife Crystal and twin daughters Cora and Alex reside in Houston, TX. Her other son, Jeremy Pierce, is an electrician by trade who lives in Mt. Vernon. Ms. Malone believes with all of her heart that southern Illinois is a naturally beautiful place to live where opportunities for happiness and success abound.
Ms. Kathy Lively, Vice-President
Management, Training, and Consulting Corp.
Kathy Lively holds a Master’s Degree in Workforce Education and Development. She began her work in Adult Basic Education culminating as Associate Dean of Adult Basic and Secondary Education at John A. Logan College. Ms. Lively is CEO of MAN-TRA-CON Corporation, Past President of the Illinois Workforce partnership (IWP), Executive Director of Connect SI, and participates on the Regional Economic Development Corporation, Greater Egypt Planning and Development Commission and Jefferson County Development Corporation boards. As a CCI Director, Ms. Lively also serves on the CCI Loan Committee and chairs the Nominating Committee.
Ms. Lively serves as staff to the Southern Illinois Workforce Development Board collaborating with multiple state agencies and economic development partners. Recent recognitions include: the Southern Business Journal’s “Women in the Know” in June 2017; Southern Illinois University’s “Inspiring Women of Achievement Award” in 2008; the Southern Business Journal’s “Leader Among Us” in 2006; and the 2007 Governor’s Workforce Conference Individual Leadership Award for her contributions to workforce/economic development. Lively recently served as the Illinois delegate to the Delta Regional Authority Leadership Network. A resident of Herrin, she is a Williamson County representative on the Board.
Mr. Jonathon Hallberg, Secretary
Jefferson County Development Corporation
Mt. Vernon, Illinois
Jonathon Hallberg is the Executive Director for the Jefferson County Development Corporation in Mount Vernon, Illinois and has served in that role since September of 2014. He has practiced economic development professionally for 15 years in urban and rural communities and also in a regional capacity. Jonathon is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners, and is a Professional Community & Economic Developer through the Community Development Institute. As a CCI Director and Officer, he also serves on the Loan Committee and Executive Committee.
He holds a Masters Degree in Urban Planning and a Graduate Certificate in Economic Development from Wayne State University in Detroit Michigan. Jonathon lives in Mount Vernon with his wife, Christina and stepdaughter, Morgan Robinson.
Mr. Jeffrey D. Ashauer, Treasurer
Economic Development Coordinator
City of Du Quoin, Illinois
Jeff Ashauer is one of two Perry County representatives to the Board of Directors. He recently retired from his role as Economic Development Coordinator for Perry County. His work now involves developing and underwriting loan applications for Champion Community Investments and a part-time role as Economic Development Coordinator for the City of Du Quoin. He also represents Perry County on the South Central Illinois Mass Transit District Board of Directors, where he serves as the organization’s treasurer.
Mr. Ashauer holds a Master of Science Degree in Public Administration from his beloved University of Southern California, a Master of Science Degree in City and Regional Planning from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Government from Southern Illinois University Carbondale.
As CCI’s Loan Funds Manager, Mr. Ashauer has been instrumental in closing approximately 120 commercial and non-profit loans throughout the region. He has done so with intelligence, insightfulness, an eye for potential success and potential problems, and a consummate deal-maker. As an officer, he also serves on the Executive Committee. An avid golfer, Mr. Ashauer and his wife reside in Pinckneyville, Illinois.
Mr. Kyle Harfst, Director
Office of Economic & Regional Development
Southern Illinois University Carbondale
Kyle L. Harfst is Executive Director of the Office of Economic & Regional Development (OERD at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. He has served as Executive Director since 2012. Located in SIU Research Park, OERD administers the Illinois Small Business Development Center at SIU, International Trade Center, Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center at SIU, The Small Business Incubator Programs, Center for Delta Studies, Center for Innovation, and SIU Research Park.
Dr. Harfst holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business from the University of Northern Iowa and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Southern Illinois University Carbondale. He is a Ph.D graduate in the College of Education at SIU. Prior to his 23 years with SIU, Dr. Harfst was a banker in the state of Iowa. As a Champion Community Investments director, Dr. Harfst serves on the Marketing Committee and provided valuable service on the ad hoc Equity Investing Committee. Dr. Harfst and his family are Williamson County residents who live in Carterville, Illinois.
Ms. Peggy Sims, Director
First National Insurance
With more than 35 years of experience in the insurance industry, Peggy Sims began her career as a licensed Independent Insurance Agent in Pinckneyville, IL. In 1997, she joined with the First National Bank in Pinckneyville to begin First National Insurance Services and holds the position of Vice President. This new business would complement the list of services already provided by the First National Bank in Pinckneyville.
In January of 2010 Ms. Sims joined the Board of Directors of the First National Bank in Pinckneyville and continues to be a member of the Board. She is very active in her community and is currently an officer for the Pinckneyville Chamber of Commerce. Ms. Sims is an active member of her Church where she works in the children’s department. She was a member of the Strategic Planning Committee for Pinckneyville and voted Citizen of the Year in 2001. She is a member of the Board of Directors of Champion Community Investments, representing Perry County, Illinois. She also serves on the CCI Nominating and Marketing Committees.
Mr. Dennis White, Director
Center for Business and Industry
John A. Logan College
Dennis White is the Director of the Center for Business and Industry for John A Logan College, Carterville, IL. He joined the Center in 1995. He is responsible for marketing and coordinating customized training for businesses and organization in the College/s district and managing the Highway Construction Careers Training (HCCTP) grant for the Illinois Department of Transportation. He sits on the boards of the Champion Community Investments (CCI), serves on the CCI Marketing Committee, and Regional Economic Development Corp. (REDCO) as well as other economic development groups in the area. He holds a B.S. Degree in Workforce Development from Southern Illinois University and a M.A. in Human Resource Development from Webster University.
Mr. George Stavroulakis, Director
Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund
George Stavroulakis is retired since 2000. During retirement was elected, served one term as Supervisor of Six Mile Township, Franklin County, Illinois. Before retirement Mr. Stavroulakis was a Field Representative for the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund in the southern 30 counties of Illinois. Prior employment was as a Local Government Fiscal Advisor for the Department of Commerce and Community Affairs, State of Illinois.
Mr. Stavroulakis has a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting from Southern Illinois University and an Associates in Business from Vocational Tech. Institute. One of two representatives for Franklin County, he and his wife reside in Zeigler, Illinois. As a CCI Board member, Mr. Stavroulakis serves on the Executive Committee.
Mr. Rick Linton, Director
Franklin County Economic Development Corporation
Rick Linton is a graduate of Southern Illinois University with degrees in marketing and commercial graphic design. He was founder and president of a St. Louis-based advertising agency, Imagery Marketing Consultants from which he retired in 2010. In his retirement he currently serves as executive director of both Franklin County Regional Economic Development Corporation and Rend Lake Area Tourism Council and serves on the boards of Greater Egypt Planning Commission, Champion Community Investments Corporation, Southern Illinois Workforce Development Board and Benton – West City EDC. Mr. Linton chairs the CCI Marketing Committee.
Mr. Steven Mitchell, Director
Economic Development Director
City of Carbondale
Steven Mitchell is the Economic Development Director for the City of Carbondale, where he directs, supervises and coordinates the economic development activities of the City. In his role as the Economic Development Director, Steve oversees a central office for economic development; serves as the City’s liaison with state, federal, and local economic development agencies; and initiates activities to attract and retain new and existing businesses to Carbondale.
Before accepting his new role with the City, Steve served as the Technology & Communications Manager for the Management, Training & Consulting Corporation in Marion, IL, a position he had held since 1997. Starting in 2007, he also coordinated the activities of broadband Internet providers affiliated with Connnect SI, a regional economic development agency serving 20 counties in Southern Illinois.
Steve earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Management and a Master’s of Business Administration from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, and is a 2016 graduate of the Delta Regional Authority’s Delta Leadership Institute Executive Academy. As a CCI Board member, Mr. Mitchell serves on the Marketing Committee.