November 02, 2016

Business college names ‘Emerging Saluki Leader Award’ winners

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s College of Business has announced the 2016 Emerging Saluki Leader Award winners.

The award honors alumni who have graduated within the last 15 years and who have already made their mark within business or industry, their communities or the government or military sectors. This year, the college is honoring seven alumni.

The 2016 Emerging Saluki Leaders, along with a few details about them and their accomplishments, are:

  • Ashlee Church, from De Soto, earned her undergraduate degree in management in 2009 and her MBA in 2010. While attending SIU she worked in fundraising and development with the SIU Foundation as a College of Business graduate assistant. She is currently general manager at Volkswagen of Marion, an Ike Family Dealership. There are only about 600 Volkswagen dealerships in the United States and initially, corporate executives were considering other sites in the Midwest for a new dealership but Church’s two-year campaign for Marion was successful. Church is a Marion Area Chamber of Commerce board member, teaches marketing and management classes at McKendree University and is active in various organizations including the Herrin and Carbondale Chambers of Commerce, the Recycle Williamson County Committee, Rotary and the Southern Illinois Personnel Management Association.
  • Mark Ford, a 2002 finance graduate from Mt. Juliet, Tenn., is currently vice president of First Tennessee Bank. His responsibilities include managing and growing a portfolio of commercial and consumer credit holders for businesses and individuals involved in the music industry. He previously worked for more than a decade at SunTrust Bank within its sports and entertainment specialty group, focusing primarily on providing banking and financial services to all aspects of the sports and entertainment industries. A two-time winner of the SunTrust Chairman’s Club award for top performance in his position, he is also active in the Nashville Chamber of Commerce and is chairman of finance and member of the board of trustees for Gladeville United Methodist Church. He and wife Laura Ford, both Salukis, are the parents of Adelyn and Kiley. Ford is an avid boater and enjoys spending time at parks with family and friends.
  • Adrianne Henderson, a Kankakee native and Kankakee High School graduate now living in Flossmoor, completed her Master of Accountancy at SIU in 2002. She is currently a risk consulting director for KPMG’s Advisory Services and is on rotation with the KPMG Business School where she is helping develop new training for information technology professionals at KPMG. Her experience includes work with project management involving complex, large-scale technology service projects as well as handling Sarbanes-Oxley 404 and financial statement audits, internal audit co-sourcing, Internal Control Over Financial Reporting and business process controls identification and design. She is a certified information systems auditor. A member of the SIU School of Accountancy Board of Advisors since 2012, she is also active with ATHENA International, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, KPMG African-American Network, National Association of Black Accountants, and Information System Audit and Control Association. She and husband William Henderson have a year-old daughter.
  • Jason Noack, of Lake Tapps, Wash., is a 2002 finance graduate. He is the global program manager for Russell Investments where he maintains a product development and management organization including mutual funds and separate institutional accounts while working to increase the value of each product line by improving processes and reducing risks. He has more than 11 years of experience leading cross-functional teams in implementing strategic business and governance initiatives, process improvements, multi-product organization change and tools for the U.S. private client services product team. He previously served in the U.S. Marine Corps as a sergeant E-5, assistant detachment commander. Married with an 11-year-old son and 9-year-old daughter, Noack enjoys baking, cooking and gardening.
  • Deanna Price, of Carbondale, completed dual degrees in accounting and management in May 2016, while also competing for SIU’s track and field team. She is currently the client developer at First Southern Wealth Management, where she works to enhance the after-retirement financial outlook for customers. Price placed eighth in the hammer throw at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and she is the 2016 NCAA champion and record holder in hammer throw. Her goals are to compete in the 2017 International Association of Athletics Federations World Championships in London, the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, Peru, and in the 2020 Olympics. She spends a lot of time talking with and mentoring young people, discussing confidence and body awareness with them and representing the College of Business at various events. She enjoys cooking, baking, and walking with her dog, Maverick, and she plans to continue her connection with SIU as she trains for future competitions.
  • Matthew Toenjes, of Richmond Heights, Mo., is a double alumnus of SIU, completing his bachelor’s degree in accounting in 2010 and his master of accountancy in 2011. He managed the Academic Success Center and was a student ambassador for the Illinois CPA society while attending SIU. A certified public accountant, he is now in the MBA program at Washington University and since 2013 has been supervisor of external reporting for Emerson Electric Co. In that capacity, he assists with preparation of company forms for the Securities and Exchange Commission and the federal government and he reviews executive presentations and speeches. He served as an audit associate with KPMG LLP from 2011 to 2013. He is a construction leader in training and has been president since 2013 of Habitat for Humanity St. Louis Habitat Young Professionals. He also volunteers his time to provide free tax preparation services for low-income families through the St. Louis Tax Assistance Program and he is a marathon participant.
  • Brandon Zanotti, of Johnston City, graduated Summa Cum Laude in 2003 with a bachelor’s degree in finance and earned his doctorate of law from the Washington University School of Law in St. Louis in 2008. While in law school, he participated in the Civil Rights and Community Justice Clinic and competed in Environmental Moot Court. He served as a congressional legal clerk to U.S. Sen. Richard J. Durbin, D-Springfield, in Washington D.C. Licensed to practice law in Illinois and Missouri, Zanotti was appointed Williamson County state’s attorney in 2014. He is a member of the American Bar Association, Illinois State Bar Association and Williamson County Bar Association and previously served as president of the Jackson County Bar Association. His experience also includes working as an arbitrator with the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission and as an attorney with the Carbondale firm Feirich/Mager/Green/Ryan. 

 The Emerging Saluki Leader Award was created in 2015 through the efforts of the college’s Outreach Working Group, chaired by Jennifer Olson and Ron Wienstroer. The goal is to recognize deserving alumni early in their careers while also maintaining connections between the college and its more recent graduates.

The award recipients were honored during homecoming festivities at an Oct. 21 reception in Morris Library. Displays at Rehn Hall also highlight the winners.