July 03, 2012

Barry Smith leads SIU Alumni Association’s board

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Barry Smith, a 1980 graduate of Southern Illinois University Carbondale and president for Regions Bank in western Kentucky, is the new president of the SIU Alumni Association’s National Board of Directors.  Smith took over the organization’s leadership on July 1, replacing Ray Serati, who will continue to serve on the board.

An Eldorado native, Smith was a four-year basketball standout at SIU Carbondale, scoring 1,066 points as a Saluki from 1977-1980.  Smith, who lives in Paducah, Ky., has served on the board of directors of the Paducah Area Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Paducah Economic Development Corp., and the Carson Center.  Smith’s wife, Amy, also a 1980 SIU Carbondale graduate, was a Marching Saluki and member of the pom pon squad.

“We appreciate the willingness of alumni to serve on the Association Board and provide support for the University,” said Michelle Suarez, SIU Alumni Association executive director.  “I look forward to working with the newly elected members, and I know Barry will do an outstanding job as the organization’s president.”

In addition to Smith, the following alumni were elected to the board through votes of dues-paying SIU Alumni Association members.

Elected to four-year terms were:

Gary Heflin, the business development manager for GHE Enterprises, has been actively involved with his alma mater since graduating in 1989. Heflin, who coordinated the SIU Black Affairs Council while a student at SIU Carbondale, has been one of the leaders in the SIU Black Alumni Group (BAG), and served as the organization’s treasurer from 2009 to 2011. Professionally he has experience in sales and managerial duties with companies such as Coca-Cola USA, Quaker Oats, Barton Beers, Gallo Wine, and Sara Lee. Heflin lives in Chicago.

Larry Mieldezis, a Marion native who is chief operating officer for the Atlanta-based Liaison Corp., a company that specializes in integration and data management services and allows companies to connect electronically with business partners. In 2010, as an alternative to offshore outsourcing, Liaison set up shop in Carbondale at the Dunn-Richmond Economic Development Center as a customer service center.  That enterprise, now called Liaison Technologies, continues to grow at its new office on Reed Station Road in Carbondale. A 1986 SIU Carbondale graduate, Larry has been on the association board since 2010, appointed to fill out the term of the late Cleveland Hammonds. Larry and his wife Amy, who graduated from the University in 1990, live in Flowery Branch, Ga.  The couple has six children.

Rick Wysocki, a two-degree SIU Carbondale graduate, who for the past 16 years has served as president and owner of Language Services LLC.  A native of the Jersey shore, Wysocki now lives in Orland Park.  He earned a bachelor’s degree in 1983 and a master’s degree in 1984. Wysocki was a four-year letterman on the SIU baseball team from 1980 to 1983, and his wife, Karen, who graduated in 1983, was a Saluki Shaker.  Rick was a graduate assistant at the SIU Student Recreation Center and a member of Eta Sigma Gamma national health honorary. He regularly attends many SIU events throughout the year and is actively involved with the baseball field renovation committee in efforts to restore and renovate Abe Martin Field.

Re-elected to four-year terms were:

Winston Calvert, an attorney at Armstrong Teasdale LLP in St. Louis, is a 2002 graduate of SIU Carbondale.  Calvert has served on the Southern at 150 Financial Resources Committee, Southern Illinois Symphony Orchestra Patrons Committee, Washington University School of Law Alumni Executive Committee, Washington University Distinguished Faculty Award Selection Committee, and event committees for the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis and Opera Theatre of Saint Louis.  Calvert and his wife, Amanda, a two-degree SIU Carbondale graduate in 2002 and 2004, have a son.

Dorothy (Dede) Lingle Ittner, a 1961 SIU Carbondale graduate from Carbondale, provided literacy instruction and learning style assessment in the John A. Logan College Adult Education program before her retirement. Five generations of her family have attended Southern Illinois University, and her father was long-time SIU coach “Doc” Lingle.  She and her late husband, Bill, have three children and seven grandchildren. She is creator and facilitator of the ongoing Carbondale Oral History Project. 

Mike Kasser, a certified public accountant and controller with Southern Illinois Healthcare in Carbondale, has served as treasurer for the alumni association’s national board, and becomes president-elect of the organization.  A 1978 SIU Carbondale graduate, Kasser has been a school board member and treasurer in Carbondale, and was president of the Southern Illinois chapter of the Healthcare Financial Management Association. Mike and his wife, Jill, a two-degree SIU Carbondale graduate, have two daughters.

Ray Serati of Springfield recently completed his term as alumni association board president.  A 1959 SIU Carbondale graduate, Serati was the “Outstanding Journalism Graduate” during his senior year, and for many years he worked in the Illinois Capitol Press Corps covering all facets of state government and politics. He and his wife, Margaret, have three children and five grandchildren.

Ben Weinberger, a 2001 SIU Carbondale graduate, is co-founder and CEO of Digitalsmiths, a company started in 1998 which has grown from a two-person college business into a market-leading technology company. Digitalsmiths entered the entertainment industry in 2001 when it introduced its proprietary technology platform, Media Access Pro® and later InScene™, a groundbreaking software platform that allows clients to search massive amounts of film and television content in a simple way. While a student at SIU Carbondale, Weinberger worked at the alumni association and designed the organization’s first website.  Weinberger and his wife, Jill a 1999 SIU Carbondale graduate, have a daughter. They live in Chapel Hill, N.C.