Every year CAST recognizes some of its most successful younger alumni. This year the Academy of Achievement Induction Ceremony will take place on April 15, 2016 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.
Dustin L. Pendell
2000 BS, Department of Agriculture
Dustin Pendell '00 graduated with a degree in Agribusiness from the Department of Agriculture. He joined the Department of Agricultural Economics at Kansas State University in August 2015 as an Associate Professor. In his role at K-State, Dustin teaches an undergraduate course in Data Analysis and Optimization and conducts research on economic issues related to livestock and animal health that span from the producer through the meat supply chain to the final consumer. Additionally, Dustin disseminates this knowledge to producers and other relevant stakeholders.
Prior to joining Kansas State University, Dustin was on faculty at Colorado State University where he conducted research on various livestock issues and taught courses in farm management, agricultural marketing and production economics at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.
He holds a B.S. in Agribusiness from Illinois State University (2000), a M.S. in Agribusiness Economics from Southern Illinois University – Carbondale (2002) and a Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics from Kansas State University (2006).
Dustin and his wife, Kim, live in St. George, Kansas with their two boys, Dreyton and Jaxon. Dustin is originally from Colchester, Illinois and grew up on a small cow-calf operation.
2006 BS, Department of Criminal Justice Sciences
Rebecca Larson '06 graduated with a degree in Criminal Justice Sciences. Following graduation from Illinois State University, Larson graduated from New England School of Law in Boston, where she was an Executive Technical Editor of the New England Journal on Criminal and Civil Confinement.
Larson was hired as an attorney with Redmon, Peyton, & Braswell LLP in 2011 and became partner in 2014. Her law practice focuses on the areas of real estate, commercial litigation, eDiscovery, and criminal defense. Ms. Larson is licensed to practice in the Commonwealth of Virginia and the District of Columbia and is admitted to practice in the Eastern and Western Federal District Courts of Virginia. Ms. Larson clerked with the Cook County State's Attorney's Office in Markham, Illinois for three years during college and law school and with the Massachusetts Attorney General's Office in Boston.
Ms. Larson is also a licensed title insurance agent and an owner of RPB Title, LLC and is a licensed real estate agent with Keller Williams.
Outside of the office, Rebecca is an avid runner. She has competed in several marathons including the Marine Corps Marathon and the Honolulu Marathon. She lives in Alexandria, Virginia with her husband, Josh ('06 History), their daughter, and their beagle, Jack.
Jennifer and Kimberly Gennace
2005 BS, Department of Family and Consumer Sciences
Jennifer and Kimberly Gennace, '05, received their degrees in Fashion Design & Merchandising. They were members of AMDA and studied abroad in Paris, London & Italy. Jennifer has a background in Product Development and Buying at Claire's Accessories. Kimberly has a background in Visual Merchandising at Nordstrom and J.Crew.
At Claire's Accessories, Jennifer worked alongside her Product Development team, designing products for novelty accessories, jewelry, home decor, and hairgoods. Jennifer then moved to Buying, after working closely with the buyers. This experience led her to have both the creative and analytical mindset to launch her own business.
At J.Crew, Kimberly worked with seasonal planograms & learned the essence of storytelling through visual merchandising. Kimberly then moved onto visual merchandising at Nordstrom and in turn, brought her to the Nordstrom Corporate Office to work with the Fashion Office in Fashion Trend Forecasting where Kimberly analyzed fashion trends for the accessories market.
Jennifer & Kimberly currently live in Chicago, Illinois, where they design and produce IANNECI Jewelry, their jewelry brand.
1999 BS, Department of Health Sciences
Brent DeMichael, a 1999 Illinois State University graduate, earned a Bachelor of Health Science in Community Health Education.
After completing his community health education internship with the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH); he was hired as a Contractual Health Educator for the Department.
In November of 1999, Brent was hired by IDPH's Directors Office, to serve as an Executive for the Division of Health Communications. During this time, he was also a member of both the American and Illinois Public Health Associations. Brent served IDPH in this capacity until November of 2005; at which time he was hired as a Marketing Analyst for Christian County Mental Health Association.
Brent was later promoted to serve as Christian County Mental Health Association's President and CEO in February, 2010; a role he continues to serve in today. As the Association's Chief Executive, he is charged with overseeing all aspects of the Community Mental Health Association; comprised of programs that include: Mental Health Clinical Services, Developmentally Disabled Services, Residential Services and Community Work Services.
Away from the office; he serves on the Board of Directors of both the Taylorville Developmental Association and CCMHA Foundation Inc. He also enjoys coaching middle school boys' basketball and spending time with his wife Stacey and their triplets; Hudson, Hayden and Peyton.
2005 BS, School of Information Technology
Brandon Dewitt '05 graduated with a major in Computer Science from the School of Information Technology.
Passionate about building and creating technology and music, Dewitt has worked in software engineering at Nike, BakerHill, and Experian. At Experian, he served as director of web services, where he spent his career building and managing complex, web-based software applications for banks and credit unions across the country. Dewitt then co-founded and sold MyJibe, a personal finance software company.
Currently, Dewitt serves as chief technology officer at MX in Lehi, Utah. Founded in 2010, MX's main goal is to offer digital money management solutions that amplify user loyalty and drive an increase in profitable revenue.MX partners with digital banking providers and financial institutions to enhance the account holder experience and position banking partners as true advocates for end users.
2008 BS, School of Kinesiology and Recreation
A native of Chicago, Delores Balogun graduated Illinois State University in 2008, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Recreation Management from the School of Kinesiology and Recreation.
Through a series of professional mentorships, she garnered proficiencies in managing full life cycles of events for audiences ranging from ten to over twenty thousand participants. Balogun has worked as an event planner for the National Parent Teacher Association (PTA), The Grammy Awards, and most notably, The White House on The Advance Team for First Lady Michelle Obama. She currently oversees multimillion dollar annual event budgets for multiple corporate & non-profit clients throughout the United States. Her role includes planning and implementing event logistics, facilitating event management, overseeing volunteers, and serving as the direct contact for press coverage, among other responsibilities. With under ten years of experience, Balogun has already become a reputable name in the event planning industry.
Aside from her business pursuits, Balogun is also the founder of iGlow (Inspiring Girls to Lead our World), a philanthropic and empowerment nonprofit organization supporting inner city young women. iGlow is the conduit through which Balogun fulfills her passion – to equip young women with the necessary tools to achieve interpersonal well-being, financial literacy, and career goals. The goal is to inspire girls to believe in themselves and their power to change the world.
1999 BS, Department of Technology
Bobby Pillot graduated in 1999 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Systems Technology from the Department of Technology and a minor in Business Administration.
In 2000, Bobby was hired by ABB, Inc. as a field service robotics engineer and relocated to Auburn Hills, Michigan. During his time as a field service robotics engineer, Pillot's duties included programming, electrical and mechanical troubleshooting, robot repair, project management, and program and project support. Pillot's customers included Harley Davidson, Martinrea, Kraft Foods, USPS, Ford, GM, Chrysler, Honda, BMW, and many others.
In 2006, Pillot received his MBA in Industrial Management from Baker College. In 2007, Pillot was promoted to become the Midwest field service manager for the ABB Robotics Customer Service Division. Later that year, Pillot also assumed the role of technical support manager. In 2009, Pillot's role expanded to also become the technical support manager of the ABB Mexico Robotics Team, and he was tasked with the responsibility of developing and growing a technical support team located in San Luis Potosi, Mexico.
In 2010, Bobby was promoted to his current role of director of field service and technical support. Bobby manages a team of 84 employees, which consist of robotic engineers, project managers, service operation managers and technical support specialists. Pillot, his wife, Courtney, and their two boys, Sanai and Anais currently reside in the Auburn Hills, Michigan area.
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.