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John Heakin honored by SIU Alumni Association

September 16, 2009, Adam Casper

${image-alt} John Heakin

The SIU Alumni Association recently honored College of Business alumnus John Heakin with the 2009 Distinguished Alumni Award. The Award recognizes SIU alumni who have achieved extraordinary success and respect within a given industry, post-graduation. Former recipients include leaders in a multitude of fields including business and industry, performance arts, and professional athletics, among others.

Commenting on what the award means for him, Heakin stated, “I can’t tell you how honored I am to be recognized by the Alumni Association. It’s a very humbling moment to realize that not many alumni have been honored with this award throughout the Association's and SIU’s history.”

Heakin, a 1971 Marketing graduate, spent 27 years as vice-president of Heakin Research, Inc. Heakin Research was the second largest interviewing service in America with locations in 70 malls from coast to coast. Impressively, the company was named as one of Chicago’s Best Small Businesses from 1984 to 1988 and again in 1990 by the University of Illinois-Chicago. Following his 27-year career as vice-president, Heakin founded North American insights, a marketing research consumer interviewing service.

No stranger to success, Heakin is still humbled by his blessings, “It’s still amazing to me that I’ve been able to accomplish so much. It’s very gratifying to have people appreciate what you’ve been able to achieve.”

Heakin has an extensive history serving the SIU College of Business. He volunteered as an Executive in Residence, which assigned him the duty of speaking to College of Business students in his area of expertise. In 2000, Heakin was inducted into the College of Business Hall of Fame in honor of his already stellar successes in his career. After his induction, Heakin then became a member of the Dean’s External Advisory Board. In 2005, Heakin was elected as chairman of the Marketing Department’s External Advisory Board, and was involved in planning the College’s first Saluki Expo and Brunch at the Missouri Valley Conference Basketball Tournement in St. Louis. He also worked to begin a mentoring program known as the Marketing Leadership Program, and a junior advisory board of more recent graduates, known as the Saluki Marketing Network.

Some of Heakin’s most fond memories of SIU, as a student, revolve around his making the dean’s honor roll and being elected President of the student chapter of the American Marketing Association. His extensive work with the College and the University has generated many more fond memories.

Of all his stellar accomplishments, the Distinguished Alumni Award is something he takes very seriously, “This was really a big, big deal for me. I take this award, really, as a new responsibility to keep setting a positive example. You never want to be resting on your laurels.” Perhaps it was this attitude that helped develop John Heakin into the inspiring, successful alumnus he is, and continues to be.