March 29, 2006

Brown named Business Leader of the Year

by Tom Woolf

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Over the past 46 years, Charlie B. Brown traveled across the United States, Mexico and Canada for his real estate appraisal business. But his heart never left Southern Illinois, or Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

In recognition of his commitment to the region, SIUC's College of Business and Administration will honor Brown during an awards banquet on Friday, March 31, as its Southern Illinois Business Leader of the Year. The banquet is at the Carbondale Civic Center.

A native of Salem, Brown graduated from Southern Illinois University Carbondale in 1952. Enrollment stood at about 1,500 then and the University was known as Southern Illinois Normal University. Brown well remembers taking classes in old Army barracks that served as classrooms.

He spent the next eight years appraising property for the Illinois Department of Transportation.

"That was a great experience for me, because it took me to all the nooks and crannies of this region, and I learned a great deal about what makes Southern Illinois so interesting and unique," Brown said.

In 1960, he opened Charlie B. Brown & Associates, Ltd., and over the years, Brown's firm appraised commercial real estate and prepared feasibility studies throughout Southern Illinois and beyond.

"Of course, we have continued to appraise property and perform other real estate-related work throughout Southern Illinois," Brown said. "This region has always been home, and no matter where our work took us, our roots were here and we always wanted to return here."

Brown and his wife, Colleen, are the parents of three children – Trace, the oldest son and Brown's business partner; Gregg, an attorney in Austin, Texas; and daughter Kelly Jo, vice president of a national property management firm headquartered in St. Louis. All three are SIUC graduates.

A few years ago, Brown and son Trace "decided we would invest in a significant way in Southern Illinois." They purchased property along Illinois 13 on the eastern edge of Carbondale to develop a commercial subdivision, Reed Station Crossing Subdivision.

"In our view, the area had tremendous potential, due primarily to a favorable business climate, the presence of a great University and a supportive local government," Brown said. "We concluded that our development would be unlike others in this area, and that it would have the appearance of something one might see in a larger metropolitan area."

The subdivision includes the Hampton Inn, Golden Corral restaurant, Houlihan's restaurant and a Holiday Inn scheduled to open in April. Brown said plans call for development of a professional office park, shopping center, bank and other retail outlets.

"As my family's background shows, SIUC has always been a big part of our lives and our success," he said. "For that reason, this award means a great deal to me. I see it as recognition of our accomplishments to date and an indication of continued support for what we are doing."

Partnering with community developers to create an attractive, thriving business community is among the goals of Southern at 150: Building Excellence Through Commitment, the blueprint the University is following as it approaches its 150th anniversary in 2019.

Charlie B. Brown

Charlie B. Brown
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