Marketing Advisory Board | College of Business | SIU

Southern Illinois University

CONTACT

SIU.EDU

Marketing Advisory Board

John Benner (Emeritus)

First Midwest Bank

Vice President
Marketing Product & Project Manager
First Midwest Bank
Itasca, Illinois

John Benner is a retail banking executive with diverse and extensive experience. Benner earned his bachelor's degree in 1979 and his master’s in 1982, both from SIU. As a Marketing department graduate assistant in SIU’s MBA program, he published a research paper outlining differences between single-bank and multi-bank customer preferences. His graduate banking school thesis examined the viability of service quality as a successful business strategy. He started his banking career with Wells Fargo in Des Moines, Iowa. Since that time, he has held both line management and staff management positions in community banks, regional banks, and super-regional banks. While spending most of his career in the Midwest, he gained an appreciation for sweet tea after his years in North Carolina working for Bank of America. He is a customer advocate who identifies and acts on opportunities to increase business performance in varied settings. He is currently the Vice President and Marketing Product & Project Manager of First Midwest Bank. While his business interests vary widely, his family in the Southern Illinois area keeps him coming back to Carbondale on a regular basis. Mr. Benner became a board member in March 2013 and is currently serving as Board Secretary for 2015. He  is now an Emeritus board member.


Richard "Jim" Cashmore

ISK Industries, Inc.

Richard Cashmore

President
ISK Industries, Inc.

Rolling Meadows, Illinois

Mr. Cashmore is the President of his family business, ISK Industries. ISK is a 85 year old manufactures representative company marketing to local and national consumer and industrial distributors nationwide. While at SIU, Jim was a member of the diving team with his two brothers following him to SIU as divers. Jim has been past President of the Twinbrook YMCA, Central States Hardware association and currently is on the board of Merchants and Manufactures Bank in Joliet, Illinois.


Cody Dees

Visit Champaign County

photo of Cody Dees

Visitor Services Manager
Visit Champaign County
Champaign, Illinois

Mr. Dees received his BS degree in Marketing from SIU in May of 2015. He has since then returned to his hometown and is serving as the Visitor Services Manager for Visit Champaign County, a certified Destination Marketing Organization. Mr. Dees focuses on website and social media marketing, business development and servicing, along with event coordination for the county in which he resides. His main reason for joining the External Advisory is to share his SIU passion and to give back to his alma mater. Mr. Dees would also like to point out that he may be working in Illini Country, but his heart will forever be a Saluki.


Justin Glass

Kum and Go, LLC

Sales Service Representative
Cintas Corporation
Jonesboro, Arkansas

Mr. Glass received his BS degree in Marketing from SIU in 2014. He is now a sales representative for Cintas in Jonesboro, Arkansas and is responsible for introducing new products . His precision in delivering quality product and passionate service has brought him to work for Cintas Corporation as a sales representative in Jonesboro, Arkansas. Mr. Glass was formerly employed by the SIU Alumni Association for 2 years while obtaining his marketing degree. Justin created the College Experience Program at SIU, was President of Phi Rho Eta Fraternity, Inc. and participated in the Marketing Leadership Program at SIUC. Mr. Glass joined the Marketing External Advisory Board as a way to give back to SIU and be able to stay involved with SIU.


Austin Goins

FCB Global

Austin Goins

Account Supervisor
FCB Global

Chicago, Illinois

Ms. Goins received her BS degree in Advertising from SIU in May of 2008 and her MBA from SIU in May of 2010. During her time at SIU, she was a graduate assistant at the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute and served as the Vice President of the Graduate Business Association. Austin is currently an Account Supervisor at FCB Global in Chicago, Illinois. Her interests include yoga, cooking and wine. Ms. Goins joined the Marketing board in Spring 2010.


John Heakin

North American Insights

John Heakin

Retired President
North American Insights

River Forest, Illinois

John Heakin received his B.S. in marketing in 1971. Heakin founded North American Insights, a consumer interviewing service, in 2001 after a twenty-seven year career as vice president of Heakin Research, Inc., America’s second largest marketing research interviewing service. While at Heakin Research Inc., Heakin won the Marketing Research Association's President's Award for Service to the Industry in 1981, the MRA's highest honor at the time. Heakin Research was selected as a winner of the Chicago Best Small Business Award presented by the University of Illinois-Chicago from 1984-1988 and 1990. Heakin remains active with the College of Business Dean’s External Advisory Board and is a member of the College of Business Hall of Fame as well as the Henry J. Rehn Society. Heakin is one of just four Marketing Alumni selected as Distinguished Alumni by the Alumni Association, its highest honor. He has been a board member since fall 2004 and served as the inaugural Chair 2004-2005, and was instrumental in forming the Marketing Leadership Program. Mr. Heakin served as Chair of the Marketing Leadership Program in 2009.


James Karayiannis

Pinch Penny Pub and Copper Dragon Brewing Company

James Karayiannis

President
Pinch Penny Pub and Copper Dragon Brewing Company
Carbondale, Illinois

Mr. Karayiannis is the President of Pinch Penny Pub and Copper Dragon Brewing Company, both of which are located in Carbondale, Illinois. Mr. Karayiannis held the position of General Manager prior to receiving his marketing degree from SIU, and resumed after graduation. He is a life-long resident of Carbondale and is one of the youngest members of the External Advisory Board. For this reason, Mr. Karayiannis feels that he brings a student-minded perspective to the position. He has been an EAB Member since Fall 2004 and was on the Saluki Expo Committee. Mr. Karayiannis was Board Secretary in 2014 and is currently serving as Vice-Chair for 2015.


Richard Klassen

Delta Dental of Missouri

Richard Klassen

Chief Marketing & Sales Officer - Retired
Delta Dental of Missouri

St. Louis, Missouri

Richard W. Klassen earned a B.S. in marketing in 1975 from SIU. He is the retired chief marketing and sales officer of Delta Dental of Missouri where he was responsible for all of Delta’s sales and marketing Initiatives. Klassen’s focus has been on the strategic alignment of the corporation within the employee benefits market dealing with companies of 10 employees up to Fortune 500 companies including the St Louis Cardinals, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Boeing, and Anheuser-Busch. Klassen is a member of the College of Business Hall of Fame. Klassen is a member of the Better Business Bureau Board, the College of Business External Advisory Board and the personnel committee for Ladue Chapel. He also participates in the St Louis Ambassadors and Regional Commerce and Growth Association. Mr. Klassen completed SIU’s Flight School and became a licensed Flight Instructor in 1972. He has been a Marketing EAB member since fall 2004, and served as Board Chair in 2009, Vice Chair in 2008, Board Secretary in 2007 and was a Saluki Expo Committee member.


Michael Lechwar

Caterpillar - Retired

Michael J. Lechwar is a retired Senior Executive from Caterpillar Inc. His last position at Caterpillar was to hire, educate and place personnel into marketing positions on a global basis. Prior to that he had numerous positions including, Hydraulic Parts Products Manager for Caterpillar, managing Caterpillar’s parts inventory as Logistics Manager and that of Logistics Director at Perkins Engines in the United Kingdom, a wholly owned subsidiary of Caterpillar Inc.

Mike joined Caterpillar in 1976 as a Management Trainee after completing his MBA at Eastern Illinois University. He also holds a B.S. in Communications from Southern Illinois University. In addition to his degrees, he has completed several advanced Management programs at The Pennsylvania State University, University of Chicago, Cranfield University (UK) and the University of Tennessee. He has lived and worked for Caterpillar serving in Europe, Asia as well as the United States.

Mr Lechwar has been an Executive in Residence for the School of Business and has been active with the External Marketing Board since 2009, having taken a leave of absence from 2013 to 2015 while his son completed an on line MBA from SIU. Mike also serves on the External Advisory Board for the Automotive Technology Program at SIU and he travels and lectures extensively at Universities across the US on Global Corporate topics.


Mary Mechler

Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center, SIU

Mary Mechler

Top Line Growth Coach, IMEC
Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center 
Southern Illinois University 
Carbondale, Illinois

Ms. Mechler is a Top Line Growth Coach at the Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center at SIU, providing marketing and growth consulting services to manufacturers throughout the state of Illinois. Previously, she was an Entrepreneurship Counselor at the Small Business Development Center at SIU. Mary was President of SIETC Solutions, Inc., an internet based e-commerce company, formed in 2009 until 2012. She was V.P. of Marketing at SchoolCenter, a software development company in Carbondale, from 2006-2009. Mary worked for The Southern Illinoisan Newspaper from 1986 to 2006, holding various positions, including Advertising Manager, Direct Marketing Manager, and Human Resources Manager. She is a past president of the Carbondale Chamber of Commerce, and has served on the Carbondale Community Arts Board and the Carbondale Convention and Tourism Board. Ms. Mechler served as Board Chair for 2014/2015 and 2015/2016, Vice-Chair in 2013, and Board Secretary in 2012.  Mary has been an EAB Member since fall 2004.


Katherine Moore

College of Business, SIU

Teaching Assistant
Department of Marketing
College of Business
Southern Illinois University
Carbondale, Illinois

Katherine Moore is currently a Teaching Assistant at SIU in the Department of Marketing who is pursuing her MBA, with concentrations in both Marketing and International Business. Moore earned her bachelor’s degree in 2013 from SIU and was awarded the Most Outstanding Marketing Graduate for the 2013-2014 school year. Throughout her collegiate career, she was very active in organizations and extracurricular activities. While maintaining dean’s list status, Moore also volunteered much of her time to organizations such as serving as President for Pi Sigma Epsilon and serving on the executive board for St Jude’s Up ‘Til Dawn. Upon graduation, she went on to work for a local marketing firm as an Account Manager and Copywriter, until she decided to return to school full-time to earn her Master’s degree. Katherine enjoys spending her spare time with her son and traveling.


Sigmund Saltz

Comiskey Research

Sigmund Saltz

Vice-Chairman
Comiskey Research

Chicago, Illinois

Sigmund Saltz, President of Comiskey Research, has over thirty years of marketing and research experience. Shortly after graduating from SIUC in 1970, Mr. Saltz joined the marketing department of Norwich-Eaton Products where he worked as an Assistant Product Manager. Since Norwich-Eaton, he has held increasingly more responsible marketing positions with Armour-Swift-Eckrich, Land-O-Frost, and Booth Seafood. Mr. Saltz has taught marketing research at Oakton Community College in Des Plaines, IL, lectured on marketing and research at Columbia College-Chicago, and is a past President of the Chicago Chapter of the Marketing Research Association. He has been an board member since fall 2006, serving as Past Board Secretary in 2009, Vice Chair in 2010 and Board Chair in 2011. He is also a member of the New Member Orientation Programs Committee.


Kathleen Kendrick Tinajero

Silicus Technologies

Kathleen Tinajero

Director of Marketing
Silicus Technologies
Houston, Texas

Kathleen is the Director of Marketing at Silicus Technologies, a leading provider of software & information technology consulting, development, testing and management services. As Director of Marketing, she helps execute company-wide initiatives including brand identity management, digital and print marketing, content marketing, event planning, and SEO.

Kathleen began her marketing career as Account Manager for Barking Dawg Productions. She further developed her skills as a marketing project coordinator in the insurance industry and later as Director of Marketing for a start-up social collaboration company.

Kathleen has a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing, Bachelor of Arts degree in Spanish, and a Master of Business Administration degree, all from Southern Illinois University Carbondale. She has been an EAB Member since spring 2012 and served as a former Junior Mentor for the Marketing Leadership Program.


Steven R. (Rudy) Vonachen (Emeritus)

Vonachen Consulting

Steven R. (Rudy) Vonachen

Owner
Vonachen Consulting

Peoria, Illinois

Steven R. (Rudy) Vonachen is a 1965 graduate from the SIU School of Business. After graduation from SIU, he joined his family business, Vonachen Service and Supply, where he held positions in sales, sales management, and was the Vice-President of Sales/Marketing. Vonachen Service and Supply grew from one location in Peoria, Illinois to five distribution centers in the Midwest. In 1999, his company was acquired by a national distribution network, AmSan, in the paper and janitorial supply industry. Since that time, Rudy held positions as Midwest Regional Sales/Marketing Director followed by Vice President of National Accounts. He is a 1999 recipient of the SIU College of Business Hall of Fame. In 2004, Rudy retired and became a consultant for AmSan. He has been an board member since fall 2006 and was a member of the Marketing Leadership Committee in 2009. He is now an Emeritus board member.