Every year CAST recognizes some of its most successful alumni. This year's Hall of Fame induction ceremony will be held on Friday, October 2 at the Marriott Hotel and Conference Center with a cocktail hour at 4:00 pm followed by the induction ceremony at 5:00 pm. Both are open to the public.
The Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) is a statewide organization with a mission to ensure Illinois soy is the highest quality, most dependable, sustainable, and competitive in the global marketplace. ISA represents more than 43,000 soybean farmers in Illinois through the state soybean membership association and through soybean checkoff-funded efforts.
Membership and advocacy support Illinois soybean farmers' interests in local areas, Springfield, and Washington, D.C. The checkoff funds market development, soybean production and profitability research, promotion, issues management and analysis, communications, and education. The ISA has partnered with Illinois State University's Department of Agriculture and College of Applied Science and Technology for many years, supporting research efforts that lead to greater farmer profitability and sustainability, as well as funding scholarships that assist Illinois State University students.
Since the mid-1960s, the goal of ISA has been to serve the needs of soybean farmers across Illinois. ISA programs continue to be designed to ensure Illinois soybean farmers are the most knowledgeable in the world and to maintain global competitive positioning for Illinois agriculture.
It is with the assistance and guidance of industry leaders at Illinois State University that the ISA board of farmer directors is able to provide direction for the Illinois soybean industry. ISA and its farmer leaders are proud to partner with Illinois State University's Department of Agriculture and the College of Applied Science and Technology in enriching higher education and enhancing the future of Illinois agriculture.
Department of Agriculture
Marcos Fernandez was born in Cuba and at the age of five arrived in the United States with his mother as exiles, eventually settling in Maywood, Ill. From an early age, he was captivated by the life sciences and a calling to address world hunger and poverty in the developing world. This led him to Illinois State University, where he focused on animal science.
He was mentored by Clarence Moore and credits the personalized education he received as being pivotal to his development. He continued in animal science, earning degrees from the University of Tennessee and North Carolina State University, Ph.D. '87. Much of his work centered on nutritional physiology and disorders in livestock.
He joined Langston University's American Institute for Goat Research as a research scientist. In 1991, he joined the faculty in the Department of Animal Science at Louisiana State University (LSU). In 2001, a year after returning from a sabbatical in New Zealand's Massey University, Fernandez became an associate dean for LSU's College of Agriculture. He joined the College of Agricultural Sciences at The Pennsylvania State University in 2005, and in 2011, became an associate dean and professor of animal sciences at Purdue University's College of Agriculture.
He has published over 150 refereed and non-refereed articles, been part of nearly 200 presentation abstracts, and garnered nearly $2.5 million in funding. He has served on the editorial boards of the Journal of Animal Science and Small Ruminant Research Journal, served on the board of the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy, and just recently co-authored the latest USDA Employment Opportunity Report for Agriculture Graduates.
Fernandez and his wife of nearly 35 years, Sheila, have four children. He attributes much of his success to his family, and the exemplary education he received at ISU.
Department of Criminal Justice Sciences
Louis Bladel III began his law enforcement career in 1989 as a special deputy U.S. marshal in the Eastern District of Virginia. He later became a special agent with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS). After graduating from the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, he served in the NCIS Great Lakes Field Office in North Chicago. He was the case agent on two successfully prosecuted murder investigations jointly investigated by his office and the Chicago division of the FBI.
Bladel joined the FBI in 1996. He served in New York, investigating foreign counterintelligence (CI) matters. He completed counterterrorism temporary duty assignments in Guam and Kenya. Following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, he was reassigned to an investigative response squad that investigated pending international terrorist threats in the New York City area.
At FBI Headquarters, he handled major CI and espionage investigations. He developed and provided leadership on programs involving Middle Eastern countries, including oversight of one of the FBI's largest Israeli espionage cases.
Bladel became a supervisor at the Washington Field Office and was promoted to assistant special agent in charge of the Counterintelligence Division. His responsibilities included Eurasian and Middle Eastern CI. He was later assigned to the Washington office's counterespionage/counter-proliferation programs. He oversaw numerous high-profile joint espionage and counter-proliferation investigations and arrests in the Washington, D.C., area.
In 2012, he began leading the FBI's national counterespionage program, which included the investigative efforts regarding Edward Snowden and other high-profile media leak, economic espionage, and espionage investigations.
He serves as the president of the board of trustees for the Kingsbury Day School.
Department of Family and Consumer Sciences
BJ Friedman was born in Dravosburg, Pennsylvania, a working class community outside of Pittsburgh. She attended several colleges and universities before graduating from Illinois State, where she majored in history and nutrition. She became a registered dietitian.
Friedman attended graduate school at the University of Texas at Austin, earning a master's in nutrition in 1982 and a Ph.D. in biological sciences in 1985. Her thesis and dissertation research was conducted in the area of trace element metabolism in humans, examining the effects of zinc supplementation on zinc status in the body and a balance study to determine the human requirement for manganese.
She practiced dietetics at Travis State School where she was chief dietitian, and then began her academic career as an assistant professor at Texas State University, rising in the ranks to professor. She served as chair of the department of family and consumer sciences for 14 years. She led the effort to establish graduate programs in family and child development and human nutrition. She also developed and directed the accredited Texas State dietetic internship.
After stepping down as chair, Friedman was selected as a Fulbright Scholar at Semmelweis University in Budapest, Hungary. Upon her return to Texas State, she returned to the faculty ranks and has taught graduate and undergraduate courses in nutrition, served as graduate coordinator for the master's program in human nutrition, and co-established the Best Food for Families, Infants, and Toddlers project, Best Food FITS, a community-based intervention program dedicated to the prevention of childhood obesity.
She lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband, Stan, M.S. '75, who graduated from Illinois State with a master's in psychology. They have a son and three grandchildren.
Department of Health Sciences
Alan Janssen's career took him through a series of teaching and public health positions in Illinois, Missouri, and Kansas. He earned his master's in public health and community health education from the University of Missouri Medical Center in Columbia.
From 1980 to 1991, he was at the University of Kansas School of Medicine–Wichita (UKSM-W) and the St. Francis Regional Medical Center, where he worked on education projects focused on rural health care development.
He moved to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta in 1991, where he serves as the senior health communications specialist in the global immunization division, office on global health, working to eradicate polio, measles, and other vaccine-preventable diseases around the world. He was awarded a Paul Harris Fellowship in 2014 by Rotary International President Gary C.K. Huang.
Janssen also serves on the CDC's national and global health emergency response team. He helped support the agency's responses to smallpox, anthrax, Hurricane Katrina and, more recently, Ebola. During the Liberia Ebola outbreak, he provided technical communications assistance to the World Health Organization, UNICEF, and the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare. This included working with Atlanta's Carter Center to develop a social mobilization effort that engaged Liberia's tribal chiefs, a system that was used extensively during the disease outbreak and subsequently in routine vaccination campaigns.
Other significant assignments at CDC included a detail in the Secretary of Health and Human Services Office on Communications to help combat pandemic influenza, improve the public's understanding of vaccine safety, and develop communications strategies to promote global vaccination goals and objectives.
He and his wife, Janette '76, met on the Illinois State University Quad in 1974 and have been married 39 years. They live in Lawrenceville, Georgia, and are actively involved in the Atlanta Alumni Network. They have a 3-year-old granddaughter.
School of Information Technology
Amy Fowler Stadler took her degree to Chicago and began a path of working for several large firms, including Quaker Oats. She took on many information technology (IT) roles, including running the Snapple IT mergers and acquisitions integration for Quaker Oats/Gatorade.
She moved to Colorado and continued her technology leadership roles at Jones Cable, IHS Inc., Qwest, and Perot Systems. At Perot she found her love for technology and management consulting. She co-founded Lewis Fowler in 2002. As a managing partner, Lewis Fowler's clients benefit from her 25-plus years in the business and technology industry and her love of strategy, technology solutions, and IT performance.
In 2015 her company was listed in the Inc. 5000 as well as named among the top 50 Colorado Companies to Watch. Stadler has a passion for helping women in leadership and has started an annual event in Colorado and Arizona. The Women in Leadership series has been largely popular for inspiring women leaders since it began a decade ago.
Beyond work, she invests her time in her family, fitness, and service as a board member or supporter of several philanthropic organizations including Girls Inc., Denver University Women's College, Colorado Coalition for Gender in Information Technology, and the American Diabetes Association. She has been a VIP, luminary, or guest speaker for the Project Management Institute, Society for Information Management, Microsoft Digi Girls, and Colorado Technology Association.
School of Kinesiology and Recreation
Michael Bucek graduated with an affinity for broadcasting. He worked for student radio station WZND and interned at WLUP-FM and WBBM-FM in Chicago. Following graduation, he worked for AC Nielsen before working for KBKB-FM Phoenix in sales.
Bucek's career in sports started in 1985 with the Pacific Coast League's Phoenix Firebirds, where promotions earned him the titles of vice president and general manager, overseeing business operations. He returned to Chicago in 1988 and served as director of marketing and broadcasting for the White Sox. He negotiated sponsorship and broadcast agreements and created new branding for the franchise, producing unprecedented licensed product sales in the early 1990s.
Bucek was recruited to the Milwaukee Brewers as vice president of ballpark development in 1996. Playing a major role in the development of Miller Park, he negotiated naming rights and concessions agreements as well as primary sponsorship and broadcast rights agreements. He participated in the ballpark design process. Bucek developed new branding for the Brewers and for the 2002 Major League Baseball (MLB) All-Star Game.
In 2002 he joined IndyCar Racing where he served as vice president of sales and business development. He was responsible for managing corporate sales and fulfillment for the IndyCar Series.
He joined the National Hockey League's (NHL) Phoenix Coyotes as chief marketing officer in 2004. During Bucek's tenure the Coyotes' marketing department received several prestigious awards, including the NHL's Best Member Club Marketing Campaign.
In 2009 he was named to his current role as vice president of marketing and business development for the Kansas City Royals. Bucek played a role in securing the 2012 MLB All-Star Game. During his tenure the Royals have established franchise records for ticket and corporate revenues and enjoyed a highly successful postseason run to the World Series in 2014.
After graduation Steve Ware was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the United States Army, beginning a 20-year military career as an ordnance officer.
He enrolled at Illinois State University as a scholarship football player for the Redbirds. Following his sophomore year he joined the University's Reserve Officer's Training Corps (ROTC) program. His ROTC career highlights included being selected as a George C. Marshall Awardee and a Distinguished Military Graduate. During his senior year, he was selected as cadet commander.
His military assignments included 19th Support Command, Camp Humphrey's, South Korea; 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, New York; Ordnance Program Division, Saudi Arabia; 1st Special Forces Detachment–Delta, Fort Bragg, North Carolina; Warrior Brigade, Fort Polk, Louisiana, and Human Resources Command, Alexandria, Virginia.
He held key leadership and staff positions, including forward support battalion commander, 25th Infantry Division, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, and international staff integrator for the Department of Defense Joint Staff, Pentagon, where he was the project lead for a deputy secretary of defense working group responsible for the timely delivery of over $4 billion of force protection equipment to Central Command Forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Ware is executive vice president of Millennium Corp. in Arlington, Virginia. He oversees Millennium's three operational business units. His leadership and direction have been instrumental in Millennium's tremendous growth over the past 10 years. In addition to possessing exemplary leadership, team building, communication, and organizational skills, he also has expertise in strategic planning, supply chain and distribution management, and multifunctional logistics integration.
He and his wife, Norma Ryan-Ware, live in Lorton, Virginia. They have two children.
BS 1977, MS 1980
Department of Technology
Thomas Schildgen served four years on the faculty of Illinois State University, where he earned his bachelor's degree in industrial education and master's degree in technology. He received the 2005 Illinois State University Department of Technology Distinguished Alumni Award.
He began his 34-year tenure at Arizona State University (ASU) while earning a doctorate in educational administration. His research focuses on electron microscopy for quality control of new developmental diodes used in printing new sources of illumination to replace the Edison bulb and mercury fluorescent tubes. He received the 2013 Fred Hartman Award, which is a national award, and this year received the Fredrick D. Kagy Lifetime Achievement Award presented by the Graphic Communications Education Association.
At ASU he is past chairman for the department of technology management. He also is past president of the university senate and chair of the university academic council. He has served on the intercollegiate athletic board and was chair of the academic chairs and directors council. He is active in many professional organizations, a variety of advisory boards, and has served on the National Association of Industrial Technology and Accrediting Council for the Collegiate Graphic Communications (ACCGC) boards of accreditation, including being president of ACCGC.
Schildgen is a national and international consultant for educational development, industrial training and the graphic arts industry. He wrote Pocket Guide to Color With Digital Applications, along with numerous book chapters and articles.
He has coordinated World Bank-funded projects with the Republic of Turkey. He has worked with the U.S. Department of Defense Dependent Schools in Germany and with South Korean CEOs. He has over 36 funded grants or sponsored projects.
He is active in his community as past chair of the board of directors for the Mesa United Way. He also serves on the Rotary board.
CAST is always looking for its next Hall of Fame honorees. If you know of anyone, or would like to nominate yourself for this distinguished honor, please fill out the CAST Hall of Fame Application.