Every year CAST recognizes some of its most successful younger alumni. This year the Academy of Achievement Induction Ceremony will take place on April 10, 2015 from 9:30-10:30 am in the Hancock Stadium Club Room. There will also be a coffee hour from 8:30-9:30 am. The public is invited to attend.
1999 BS, Department of Agriculture
Mac Condill is a farmer from Central Illinois who has taken a childhood fascination with cucurbits and parlayed it into a lifestyle of educating others in the beauty and value of pumpkins, squash, and gourds.
Condill makes every effort to promote and support sustainable farming and business practices world-wide while procuring rare and heirloom seeds. His travels to do so have included trips to South Africa, Kenya, and India.
Condill speaks at countless workshops and trade shows throughout the United States every year. He has made several appearances on the Martha Stewart TV show and the DIY-Network. He has also been featured in numerous magazine articles including Martha Stewart's Living and Country Living.
Condill's annual decorating commitments include the Chicago Botanic Gardens; the Museum of Science & Industry; Country Living Fairs in Columbus and Atlanta; and the annual National Heirloom Exposition in Santa Rosa, California. Additionally, in 2010, he constructed a Halloween display on the North Lawn of the White House in Washington, D.C.
Condill's education began with practical gardening training in Scotland. He received his Bachelor's Degree in Agribusiness and Horticulture from Illinois State University and interned at Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania and Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden in Cape Town, South Africa.
He is the owner and operator of The Great Pumpkin Patch (TGPP) in Arthur, Illinois where thousands of visitors every fall experience the harvest season along-side the Condill family. Condill is also the owner and operator of The Homestead Seeds, a cucurbit seed business whose mission is to grow, sell, and share the stories of rare cucurbit varieties while providing the highest quality seeds to everyday vegetable gardeners. Condill and his wife Ginny operate The Homestead Bakery on the TGPP grounds, providing made from scratch baked goods to the surrounding communities and at farmers markets nationwide.
2005 MS, Department of Criminal Justice SciencesBrad Lauer, M.S. '05, graduated from Illinois State University with a master's degree in criminal justice. He also graduated from Northern Illinois University with an M.B.A. in 2012. Additionally, Lauer served 22 years in the United States Marine Corps, retiring at the rank of First Sergeant on January 1, 2011. His career was a combination of both active duty and reserve time, and he was awarded two Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals. He completed his thesis and graduated from ISU while on deployment, after being called back to active duty for all of 2004 and 2005.
While on active duty in the mid 1990's, Lauer served as a security guard for the United States Embassies in Brussels, Belgium and Kingston, Jamaica. These assignments sparked his interest in criminal justice. Lauer has continued working in the law enforcement and security industry ever since and has held several positions over the years including, Federal Police Officer at the Department of Veterans Affairs, security account manager, branch manager, general manager and area vice president. Today, Lauer serves as the Area Vice President of Northwest Operations for U.S. Security Associates and oversees a portfolio of business with annual revenue of approximately $75 million.
Lauer, his wife, Susan, and their children, Spencer and Kyle, live in Novato, California.
Molly McGuigan Polk
2005 BS, Department of Family and Consumer Sciences
Molly McGuigan, RD, LDN '05, graduated from Illinois State University with a B.S. in food, nutrition and dietetics. Food and nutrition proved to be the perfect avenue for McGuigan to leverage her passion for food and cooking as well as her facility for science, technology and interpersonal skills.
Upon completing her dietetic internship at Loyola University Chicago in 2007, McGuigan's first position as a registered dietitian for Morrison Healthcare in Kentucky cemented her knowledge as a dietitian and provided excellent experience working with others to encourage health and behavior changes.
In 2008, McGuigan returned to Bloomington to take the position of Heartland Regional Wellness Director for Eurest Dining Services, a sector of Compass Group, the world's largest contract foodservice company. In this position, she collaborated with business and industry clients to create promotions, training, and nutrition labeling signage to assist customers in making better food choices. In 2010, Compass Group awarded McGuigan the 'Above and Beyond the Call of Duty' award.
In 2011, McGuigan was promoted to the Compass Group corporate Business Excellence Team as a senior project manager to deploy Webtrition, a proprietary menu-management and nutrition analysis recipe database to various Compass Group sectors. During this time, McGuigan reconnected with Illinois State University and has made presentations to students in the Leadership Development for Family and Consumer Sciences Professionals course based on her nutrition and dietetic internship experience. She has since been a preceptor for the professional practice rotation, with students turning their internship experience into part-time employment as Webtrition interns. With the recent release of the Food and Drug Administration Final Rules on Nutrition Labeling Requirements for Foodservice Establishments, McGuigan will be extremely busy deploying Webtrition to ensure nutritional labeling compliance in Compass Group cafes.
2003, Department of Health Sciences
Sara Griesemer, '03, received her B.S. in clinical laboratory science. Soon after graduation, she was accepted into the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and Association of Public Health Laboratories Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratory Fellowship and moved to Albany, New York to train at the Wadsworth Center; New York State's Public Health Laboratory. She has been a research scientist with Wadsworth's Laboratory of Viral Diseases ever since.
In 2004, Griesemer took the opportunity to work on a new influenza genome sequencing project, a National Institutes of Health-funded collaborative venture that has provided the complete genetic blueprints of over 16,000 global human and avian influenza viruses. She worked with scientists at J. Craig Venter Institute and National Center for Biotechnology Information to propel the project forward in its initial stages. This public sequence information is extremely important in providing researchers the infrastructure they need to improve vaccines, develop novel diagnostics, and give insight into the secrets of influenza evolution.
In 2007, Griesemer's interest and experience brought her to another collaborative project with Dr. Ian W. Lipkin's laboratory at Columbia University. It involved the evaluation of a high-density respiratory pathogen microarray with the ability to detect all known human respiratory viruses.
Since 2010, Sara has been working in collaboration with scientists at a private molecular diagnostics company on the development of integrated, low-density microarrays for the detection of viral agents in clinical samples.
In April 2014, she received her M.S. in biomedical sciences at the University at Albany's School of Public Health, with an emphasis in infectious disease and immunology. Her master's thesis focused on the genetic and phenotypic consequences of ribavirin-resistance in the St. Louis encephalitis virus, a mosquito-borne virus.
She has published one first-authored manuscript and co-authored 12 peer-reviewed manuscripts.
2002 BS, School of Information Technology
Upon graduating from Illinois State University in December of 2002 with a B.S. in telecommunications management, Cory Douglas took a full-time position with Busey Bank. This role provided Douglass with insight into how technical teams within an enterprise communicate and operate. After spending a couple of months as a member of the technical team handling level 1 and level 2 tasks, Douglas became hungry for more challenging technical problems to solve.
In February of 2003, Douglas accepted a position with Area-Wide Technologies. The company was relatively young–having just been formed in 1999. Initially, the major appeal to working for an information technology consulting firm was the exposure to a diverse set of technical problems. Every single day Douglas was able to work with a different client requesting assistance with different technical issues. His technical skill set grew quickly out of necessity and was able to obtain high level vendor certifications with the increased exposure to technology running in production environments.
In March of 2004, Douglas recognized that their customers were not the only ones that needed assistance. Area-Wide Technologies was encountering great success and with success brought organizational structure needs to address. He was able to leverage the business knowledge acquired through his studies at Illinois State University in conjunction with real world experience to restructure the company and embrace the growth they had experienced over the years.
In October of 2009, Douglas was promoted to President of Area-Wide Technologies. In this role he is responsible for developing the company mission. This entails defining goals and the means to accomplish them. The progression from focusing on his goals to now helping all team members set and accomplish their goals has been a rewarding experience for Douglas. He looks forward to many more years of working with fellow staff members, clients, and vendors to solve business problems leveraging the latest technologies.
1997 BS, School of Kinesiology and Recreation
David Perry graduated manga cum laude in 1997 with his bachelor's degree in physical education and was named "Outstanding Major of the Year". His dream was to lead a best-practice physical education department at a suburban high school, while serving as a defensive coordinator for the football team. It did not take long for that dream to be realized.
In 1998, Perry was hired to teach and coach at Neuqua Valley High School in Naperville. After two years of serving as Head Freshman Football Coach, he was named as the Varsity Defensive Coordinator. The following year, he was named Department Chair of Physical Education, Health, and Driver Education. During the next eight years, he had the great fortune to work with and hire a number of incredible educators. Together, they built what is widely considered to be one of the best physical education programs in the country. His servant style of leadership empowers those he works with and brings out their best. The department has earned four consecutive Blue Ribbon Awards given by the state professional organization.
Perry was named as an assistant principal in 2011 and is currently leading at Neuqua Valley's Kathryn J. Birkett Freshman Center. He looks forward to welcoming nearly 1,000 freshmen as the class of 2019 arrives on campus this fall.
Perry's dedication and commitment to Illinois State University is ongoing. He makes time each semester to come back on campus and meet with student teachers about resume writing and interviewing. It is a small way that he feels he can give back to the university that prepared him to excel in the field of education.
1999 BS, Department of Technology
Kyra Tillman graduated from Illinois State University Department of Technology with a B.S. in industrial technology with an emphasis on construction management in 1999. Although she was only one of two female students in the construction sequence, she was not deterred from being involved. While at ISU, Tillman was very active with the National Association of Home Builders and Associated General Contractors student organizations and was always encouraging other students to become involved. She also served as the department assistant for the construction management teaching staff.
Immediately upon graduation, Tillman began working at FCL Builders, an industrial and commercial general contractor, as an assistant project manager. After only two years as an assistant project manager, Tillman was promoted to project manager and given the task of over-seeing a 60-acre industrial development at O'Hare International Airport. Over the next five years, Tillman successfully managed construction projects ranging from $100,000 to $30,000,000. In 2006, Tillman was promoted to senior project manager and began overseeing teams of project managers on large developments. As a senior project manager, Tillman also served as a mentor to younger project managers within the company.
In December of 2012, Tillman decided to leave the construction industry to pursue a lifelong dream of being her own boss. Drawing on her educational background in industrial technology and her years of experience as a manager, Tillman joined her family's manufacturing business in Woodstock, Illinois as vice president. Tillman is working closely with her father to transition into an ownership role as he prepares for retirement. With her husband, daughter, and son at her side, Tillman is proud to be the third generation to lead BTM Industries. She also takes great pride in once again breaking gender stereotypes as a female executive in the manufacturing industry and hopes to serve as a role model for young women.
CAST Academy of Achievement Nomination
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.