Robyn Laur Russell and Greg Bouhl

Award-winner -- Robyn Laur Russell, director of business development and international trade at SIUC, presents the Star Loan Packager award to Greg Bouhl, assistant director of entrepreneurship and business development, in recognition of his efforts to assist clients in obtaining financing for their startup and expanding businesses. (Photo provided) Download Photo Here

June 30, 2011

Lenders honored for business development efforts

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Southern Illinois University Carbondale's Entrepreneurship and Business Development unit recently honored lenders and representatives from financial organizations at a special Banker's Appreciation Event in conjunction with Small Business Week.

The breakfast event celebrated more than 30 lenders and their contributions to the region’s economic landscape. Between July 2010 and June 2011, the University’s entrepreneurship and business development staff assisted clients in obtaining more than $10 million in financing from area lending institutions for business startups and expansions. The celebration featured an awards presentation recognizing with a glass star lenders who have shown their confidence in local business men and women.

“This event was not only about recognition of our finance partners for their efforts in working to get our clients financed, but it is also a way for SIUC to continue building communication with the various organizations and banks that invest money into our economic future. We need referrals from banks and lending institutions to be able to continue business development efforts in Southern Illinois -- one small business at a time,” said Robyn Laur Russell, director of business development and international trade at SIUC.

Valerie Ross, branch manager of the U.S. Small Business Administration, presented Star SBA Lender awards. Award winners, listed with award title and the name and position of person accepting award, are:

• Small Business Growth Corp., SBA 504 Loans, Steve Lindsey, vice president.

• People’s National Bank, SBA 7A Loans, Chris Howton, senior vice president and SBA specialist, and Mark Epperson, vice president.

Greg Bouhl, assistant director of entrepreneurship and business development at SIUC, presented the Star Micro Lender award to Champion Community Investments. Accepting on behalf of the organization was Allen Patton, vice president.

Bouhl presented Star Lender awards to six financial institutions. Award recipients, listed with person accepting the award and their title, are:

• Banterra Bank, Steve Lappin, commercial lender.

• First Southern Bank, John Dosier, president.

• Murphy-Wall State Bank, Roger Hileman, executive vice president and senior lending officer.

• Old National Bank, Jennifer Olson, commercial relationship manager II/vice president.

• SIU Credit Union, Angela Williams-Barke, commercial lending officer.

Russell also gave the star lender award to the Du Quoin State Bank with president Dan Fulk accepting.

In addition, Russell presented the Star Loan Packager award to Bouhl. Working with SIUC economic development since 2001, he recently earned promotion to the position as assistant director of entrepreneurship and business development. As a result of Bouhl’s assistance in the past decade, his clients secured nearly $30 million in financing for their new and expanding businesses.

The event’s guest speakers included Ross, James “Rusty” Wanstreet, rural development area director for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and Jeff Ashauer, treasurer of Champion Community Investments.

For more information about the business development programs at SIUC, contact the Illinois Small Business Development Center at 618/536-2424 or by email at Or, visit the website at