July 11, 2012

Alums fill key roles for upcoming conference

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Salukis are at the heart of an upcoming national interactive marketing and technology conference. 

The 2012 Digital World Expo is set for Sept. 27-29 at the Mirage Events Center in Las Vegas.  This is the second year for the conference, created by Shawn Rorick, a 1996 graduate of Southern Illinois University Carbondale.  The conference’s director of business development is Matt Dickson, a 2011 alumnus from Springfield who initially got involved in the conference last year.  This year, the two recruited four more recent SIU Carbondale graduates to assist.

Tom Bannan of Peoria, Natalie Miceli of Schaumburg, Laurel Rokusek of Quincy and John Schumacher of Arlington Heights are spending their summer helping plan and organize the event and ultimately, they will help make it all happen.  Schumacher earned his bachelor’s degree in speech communication with a specialization in public relations while the other three completed marketing degrees.  Bannan finished his bachelor’s degree in 2011 while his three fellow interns all received their bachelor’s degrees in May 2012. 

The conference brings together representatives from business, media and technology industries for a collaborative learning experience.  Through guest speakers, presentations and hands-on training experiences, participants will learn about new trends, innovative strategies and best practices.  The conference also includes the Digital Startup Speaker Series, an opportunity for principals from businesses that are less than two years old to take the stage in front of their peers, investors and business executives to spread the word about their ideas and companies.

Each of the interns has a specific role in the operation, allowing them to utilize their Saluki expertise while focusing on their career interests.  Their positions are:  Bannan -- analytics manager, Miceli -- sales manager, Rokusek -- marketing manager, and Schumacher -- public relations manager.

“It has been a pleasure to work with the current group of interns.  With both Shawn and myself having gone through the College of Business at SIU, we are familiar with the quality of instruction.  But it has been great to see the interns take their textbook knowledge and apply its principles in order to begin understanding the complex nature of interactive marketing and PR,” Dickson said.

All of the interns from SIU Carbondale are heavily involved in conference outreach efforts including securing exhibitors, sponsors and participants.  They have made contacts in the technology and marketing arenas, participated in mixers and other activities, and gained invaluable experience learning by doing.  Last year’s conference event even led to a full-time marketing job for one of the interns.  Robyn Phelan, of Bridgeview, is now the interactive marketing manager at Palms Casino Resort.

For more information about the 2012 Digital World Expo, visit www.digitalworldexpo.com