Every year CAST recognizes some of its most successful younger alumni.
1994 BS, Department of Agriculture
Aimee Wertz-Lutz was raised on a grain and livestock farm near Heyworth, IL. She received a B.S. degree in Agriculture from Illinois State University in 1994, and earned her M. S. degree (1996) and Ph.D. (2001) in Ruminant Nutrition from the University of Illinois. As a Burroughs post-doctoral research fellow at Iowa State University from 2001-2003, her research focused on evaluating the influence of nutrition on the composition of gain and meat quality of beef cattle.
From 2003 - 2011, Aimee served as Assistant/Associate Professor of Ruminant Nutrition in the Animal and Range Sciences Department at South Dakota State University with a 50% research and 50% teaching appointment. She taught undergraduate and graduate nutrition courses, and her research emphasized the regulation of feed intake and composition of gain in beef cattle, and co-product utilization by ruminants.
She is the author or co-author of 11 peer-reviewed journal articles and 31 abstracts. Dr. Aimee Wertz-Lutz joined ADM Alliance Nutrition, Inc. as Manager of Ruminant Nutrition Research in September, 2011. Her responsibilities will focus on research projects related to the nutrition of beef cattle, dairy cattle, lambs and goats. Aimee has served on the Ruminant Nutrition committees for both the National and Midwest section of American Society of Animal Science.
Aimee, her husband Trevor, and their daughter, Karagin reside in Quincy, IL. Her parents are Wilbur and Christine Wertz of Heyworth, IL.
1993 MS, Department of Criminal Justice Sciences
Alexander (Alex) Holsinger received his Ph.D. in Criminal Justice from the University of Cincinnati in 1999. Throughout his graduate work and in the 13 years since he has assisted local, state, and Federal agencies implement several aspects of Evidence-Based correctional practice. Specifically, Alex has overseen the implementation of several different risk and need assessment procedures, improving correctional agencies’ capacity to build case plans for offenders driving rehabilitative intervention.
He has also developed several original psychometric assessment procedures that are currently in use with several correctional agencies in Kansas and Missouri. Most notably in the area of assessment has been the development of an original instrument designed to assess both the readiness to engage in treatment services, as well as anti-social cognitions. This dual treatment readiness/anti-social cognitions instrument allows agencies to determine whether or not an offender is ready to engage in treatment services generally, as well as the extent to which they possess anti-social cognitions, further facilitating the streamlining of scarce resources, and making existing treatment programming more effective.
In addition to building his career within offender assessment procedures, Alex has also overseen the assessment, development and implementation of effective rehabilitation treatment programming for the offender population. There has been and remains a tremendous need for more effective programs that address the disadvantages and deficiencies that are often at work in the offender population keeping them mired in the criminal justice system. Much of Alex’s work appears in his field’s top peer-reviewed journals, as well as periodicals for practitioners bridging the gap between theory and practice.
Alex has been on faculty in the Department of Criminal Justice & Criminology at University of Missouri – Kansas City since 1999. During his tenure at UMKC, Alex has continued an active publication and research agenda. His teaching areas include the undergraduate and graduate statistics sequences, research methods (specifically methods of program evaluation), correctional rehabilitation and treatment (graduate), community corrections, and criminal justice in the popular media. He works actively with graduate students, supervising several theses and dissertations, and assisting with the development of future scholars’ research agendas.
2002 BS, Department of Family and Consumer Sciences
Christina (Chrissy) VanDeVelde serves as Director of Farnsworth Group’s Interior Design Department and is a certified Interior Design and Facilities Management specialist. She earned a Bachelor of Applied Science & Technology degree in Interior Design also earned a Masters Degree in Project Management from Illinois State University. She was also a recipient of the Technology Department Outstanding Graduate Student of the Year Award in 2004. With 8 years of experience and a drive to enhance her personal goals, Chrissy has earned her NCIDQ (National Council for Interior Design Qualification) and LEED Accredited Professional certifications. Her in-depth work on the “Architects' Perceptions of LEED Indoor Environmental Quality Checklist Items on Employee Productivity” was published in the International Journal of Construction Education and Research.
Mrs. VanDeVelde was Farnsworth Group’s first interior design professional in the Company’s 100-year history. She joined the Company in 2005 and quickly established herself as a leader. One of Chrissy’s primary tasks was educating and promoting her profession to internal Farnsworth Group staff about the importance of interior design and the impact it could have to make a project successful. Successful projects weren’t just about ‘bricks and mortar.’ She knew that every element of interior design—from wall coverings and color palettes to furniture and floor choices—could work together to create an atmosphere that would influence a facility’s tone, as well as the mood and productivity of those who spend time inside.
In her profession, Chrissy has performed and led every possible task while designing and managing projects and design teams, ranging from small renovations and upgrades, to multi-million dollar projects. She is a proven leader, and is often selected to provide leadership and oversight for significant long-term and complex projects. Her design and leadership skills were recognized by Ultron with a National DOC Award. The Doc Competition has become one of the architecture and design community’s premier benchmarks of success, attained by only the top professionals.
Chrissy’s design expertise includes support for educational, healthcare, long-term care, commercial and government facilities. As a design professional, she focuses her efforts on applying creative, practical and sustainable interiors that influence the overall tone, mood and productivity of an environment. She is able to apply her creative interior design skills to meet clients’ needs while taking into account the realities of time, appropriate materials, project scheduling and budget requirements.
Understanding the importance of volunteer service to her community, Chrissy has a passion for serving others. As a graduate of the 2009 Peoria Chamber of Commerce Community Leadership School, she believes in giving back to her community and helping central Illinois become a better place to live. She is always the first to volunteer in leading a cause, and the first to roll up her sleeves to help someone else in need. Her contributions to the community have not only been recognized by her peers at Farnsworth Group, but in her nomination and selection as one of the 2010 40 Leaders Under 40 by Central Illinois Business Publishers Inc. Chrissy is currently serving as a board member for The Center for Prevention of Abuse.
1995 BS, Department of Health Sciences
Todd Macumber has sixteen years of experience in the safety and risk management field and currently serves as President of the Risk Services Division for HUB International Limited.
Based in Chicago, HUB International is a $1 billion, Top 10 global insurance brokerage firm with over 250 offices and 5000 employees in three countries and the ability to address client needs in over 75 countries. Todd and his team of over 100 consultants serve as a resource for the insurance brokerage operations, providing risk management, safety, and claims management guidance to HUB's clients in multiple industry segments. Todd has been the recipient of numerous honors and awards at HUB, including "Rookie of the Year," four "Gladiator" awards, one "Gold" award, and most recently a "Legend."
To date, Todd’s career has been equally balanced between internal safety leadership and consultant positions. Prior to his role at HUB, Todd was a Vice President and regional risk consultant for a global insurance brokerage firm; before this he spent eight years in industry: six years as a Regional Safety, Security, and Environmental Manager for a $2.5 billion region of a $30 billion global food manufacturing company, and two years as a Corporate Safety Director for a $400 million construction company with 300+ crews, 110+ offices, and six manufacturing sites.
During his time in industry, Todd had been recognized by his employers for driving significant improvement in their operations. Mr. Macumber is a Board Certified Safety Professional (CSP), a Certified Industrial Ergonomist (CIE), and achieved his Associate in Risk Management (ARM) designation. He holds a Bachelors of Science degree in Occupational Safety from Illinois State University and a Masters in Business Administration from Lake Forest Graduate School.
Todd is a Professional Member of the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) and is an active member of the Risk and Insurance Management Society (RIMS).
Todd has been married to his wife, Amy, for six years. They currently reside just outside of Chicago.
1994 BS, School of Information Technology
Antonio Amorin graduated from Illinois State University with a major in applied computer science and a minor in economics in 1994. Since graduation, he has worked and consulted as an IT professional to over thirty enterprise-level organizations, including two of the largest software companies in the world and several Fortune 100 companies. As an entrepreneur, Antonio has founded three successful corporations, including his current company Data Innovations, Inc. which he founded in 2002.
As the president of Data Innovations, he has formed partnerships with several of the largest software vendors to combine industry leading technology with expert consulting services to provide clients with long-term solutions to data intensive initiatives such as data governance, data warehousing and master data management projects. As an industry expert, Antonio has been quoted in press releases and industry articles, and has presented at international and national conferences, chapter meetings, user groups, and webcasts about data profiling and data modeling.
1989 BS, 1992 MS, School of Kinesiology and Recreation
Laura Payne joined the faculty at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2001 and she is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Recreation, Sport and Tourism, an Extension Specialist, and a member of the Office of Recreation and Park Resources (ORPR) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC).
She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Communications (1989) and a Master of Science degree in Recreation Administration (1992) from Illinois State University. Laura earned a Doctorate in Leisure Studies with a minor in Gerontology from The Pennsylvania State University in 1998. She also has extensive work experience in several areas of the field such as community recreation, tourism and non-profit association management.
As an Extension Specialist, Laura's overall goal is to improve the health and well-being of rural Illinois residents through education and training in local park and recreation planning that results in the delivery of quality and sustainable (i.e., financial, operations) recreation, parks and wellness programs/services. As such, she has directed several statewide outreach and research programs such as the Illinois Rural Recreation Development Project, Illinois Senior Wellness Initiative, and Take Charge of Your Health: Live Well be Well. Her work has been supported by the State of Illinois Division of Human Services, Illinois Department of Public Health, United States Department of Agriculture, National Institutes of Health, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
In terms of research, she examines the effects of leisure behavior on aspects health and well-being (e.g., psychosocial, physiological) among older adults. She also examines the role of recreation, parks and leisure services in community development. More specifically, she examines the relationship between leisure style and health of older adults with chronic conditions; the role of local parks and recreation agencies in the promotion and maintenance of health; and the relationship between nature-based leisure experiences and health. She is the lead editor of the first book on leisure, health and wellness, which was published in 2010 and included 41 chapters written by pairs of authors bridging the fields of recreation and public health.
Dr. Payne has taught courses at both undergraduate and graduate levels in areas such as leadership/group dynamics, recreation programming, leisure service administration, leisure and aging, leisure and health, critical issues in recreation, sport and tourism, and leisure and human development. Laura is also involved in academic affairs in a variety of ways such as membership on the undergraduate sub-committee for student discipline; she serves as a senator for the UIUC Academic Senate, and is a mentor in the I-Promise program
1995 MS, Department of Technology
After graduating from high school in 1988, Steve pursued his interest in Industrial Technology at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale. Upon his graduation, Steve began his professional career as an Industrial Engineer for Maytag Refrigeration in Galesburg, IL primarily working on cost savings and time management techniques. Steve spent a year and a half with Maytag before deciding to go back to school to pursue his dream of becoming an educator.
In the spring of 1994, Steve applied to and was accepted into Illinois State University’s Department of Technology’s Technical Training program. Steve wanted to blend industry and education by becoming a technical trainer. As a graduate assistant, Steve was able to document standard operating procedures on the Mitsubishi’s bumper assembly line in Normal, IL. It was in Steve’s final semester (May 1995) that he decided instead of training adults, that Steve would go into teaching young adults at the secondary level.
In the fall of 1995, Steve started his teaching career at Lincolnland Technical Education Center (LTEC) and Lincoln Community High School. His primary teaching responsibilities were, welding and machining courses. After a few years of teaching, Steve’s professional growth really started to take off. Steve took on leadership responsibilities by becoming a Regional Director for his professional association (Technology Education Association of Illinois). Then in 2001, Steve became the LTEC Department Chair for Career and Technical Education department.
In 2005, Steve was encouraged by his TEAI members to apply for the Technology Education Principal Consultant position at the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE). Steve always likes to keep his options open, so he decided to apply. Steve was offered the position in the spring of 2005. Before deciding to take the position, Steve asked one of his mentors for advice. Steve was asked, “Where do you think you can have the greatest impact on students.” Steve knew then that he would take the position at ISBE and started his employment in June of 2005, two days after his last day of teaching.
Currently, Steve serves as the Technology and Engineering Education Principal Consultant for the Illinois State Board of Education. Steve’s major responsibilities include grant management of Career and Technical Education state funding as well as federal Perkins funding. In additional to his grant management duties, Steve serves as the Corporate Member for two Career and Technical Student Organizations: Illinois Technology Student Association and SkillsUSA of Illinois. Steve also leads two premier Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) curriculum programs: Illinois Project Lead the Way and Illinois Engineering by Design.
Steve has also has been assigned to be on Illinois’ team to review the Next Generation Science Standards as well as to a lead in the STEM portion to ISBE’s Race to the Top grant.
Just as in Steve’s teaching career, Steve has taken on other leadership roles. Steve served as president of the State Supervisors for Technology and Engineering Education in 2010. Also in 2010, Steve was elected to the national Technology Student Association and currently serves as the Treasurer/Secretary. Steve was then elected as the President of the International Technology and Engineering Educators Association Council for Leadership and Supervision (CSL) in 2011. Steve will become Past President of the CSL after ITEEA’s 2012 conference and then becomes the ITEEA\CSL Representative to serve on the ITEEA’s Board of Directors.
When asked about leadership, Steve says he believes in servant leadership and plans to continue to move Technology and Engineering Education forward.
CAST is always looking for its next Academy of Achievement honorees. If you know of anyone, or would like to nominate yourself for this distinguished honor, please fill out the CAST Academy of Achievement Application.