CEO to train future leaders in District 303

St. Charles students to learn how to be a CEO -- straight from the source

  • Greg Weismantel of St. Charles, CEO of Epic Management Group, will soon train high school students in how to run a company.

      Greg Weismantel of St. Charles, CEO of Epic Management Group, will soon train high school students in how to run a company. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

Updated 9/21/2018 1:52 PM

After years of involvement with Central School District 301 in the late 1970s, Greg Weismantel of St. Charles is at it again.

This time, the CEO of Epic Management Group has a keen interest in an entrepreneur development program at the St. Charles high schools under Melissa Byrne, director of college and career readiness in St. Charles Unit District 303.


It's a program called "INCubatoredu," which originated at Barrington High School and has taken hold across the country. St. Charles' school board approved it last year, essentially encouraging young entrepreneurs to create products they will present on "Pitch Night" in what amounts to a local Shark Tank competition near the end of the school year.

Weismantel said it was "kind of strange" in how he has now become involved as a significant supporter of the concept.

He was preparing to conduct a high school summer program related to CEO training when Byrne's high school program was brought to his attention.

"When I got in touch with Melissa, I could see she was mostly in need of donations," Weismantel said. "The school board payment for the program wasn't going to cover all of the costs."

After looking over the high school program curriculum, Weismantel determined it was "really solid" and it needed his company's support.

Thus, he started a separate fundraising "The Road to a Future CEO" program for St. Charles high school students that will take place from 9 to 11 a.m. Saturdays, Oct. 27 and Nov. 3, at the Q Center in St. Charles to help fund Byrne's INCubatoredu program.

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Weismantel is hoping between 100 and 200 students will attend his CEO training program, where parents and mentors can also attend while the students learn about CEO traits and processes -- then take an exam to complete the sessions.

In addition to giving 50 percent of the proceeds to the high school program, Weismantel's company is also committing eight scholarships and other awards to students taking part in his CEO program.

"That's what is driving this (his program), to get kids into the sessions with donations and sponsors," Weismantel said. "We are hoping we could give $10,000 to $15,000 to the school program, because she (Byrne) can use it."

In the meantime, Byrne is pleased with the response from the community, citing the help of Mayor Ray Rogina, chamber Director Jim DiCiula, and Jenna Sawicki and Laura Maklin-Purdy of the Downtown St. Charles Partnership as key boosters.


Signup for INCubatoredu has grown to more than 100 students, along with various mentors and volunteers from the community.

"At this point, we have close to 70 volunteers who are wonderful assets to our students and the INCubatoredu program," Byrne said of those who will serve as mentors. "We are always looking for new volunteers and hopeful that we can secure 100 by the end of the school year."

Those interested in learning more about the program can attend an open house from 3 to 4 p.m. Monday, Sept. 24, at St. Charles North and Tuesday, Sept. 25, at St. Charles East.

"The culminating event at the high school level is Pitch Night," Byrne added. "The students will come together with the community to pitch their product/service."

Shredding for a cause:

Who would have known that making a paper shredder available on an afternoon for your clients would turn into a community event that helps various organizations?

It's been a pleasant surprise for Jim Stocker of Avenue Mortgage and the Realtors at ReMax Excels in Geneva.

They recently completed their second "Free Shredding Event and Client Appreciation Day" in the parking lot at the office on Randall Road in Geneva.

"I just went to ReMax with the idea a couple of years ago to do something for all of the agent's clients, and mentioned a free shredding event," Stocker said.

From there, Diane Cole of Brian Cole & Associates, which handles the IT and marketing for ReMax, helped piece together some ideas that would benefit some worthy organizations.

In that spirit, through raffle games called Support the Troops and other donations, the event raised more than $3,100 (and still growing) for VFW Post 7539 in Bloomingdale and its efforts to send 41 boxes of care packages to troops in Afghanistan.

In addition to that, the Safe Haven Dog Rescue staged a pet adoption during the event -- and about 10 dogs and puppies were adopted.

When Cole contacted a Good Humor ice cream truck operator to attend, the truck owner donated 80 percent of the proceeds to St. Jude's Children's Hospital.

"It was even further reaching with the donations than we expected, so that was kind of a cool thing," Cole said.

Organizers are hoping to make the event bigger and better in the future, and want anyone in the community to attend.

In Donna's name:

If an award is going to carry Donna Dallesasse's name, it has to mean the person receiving it has done good things for Batavia on behalf of its Chamber of Commerce.

After all, Dallesasse was involved with the Batavia Chamber of Commerce for more than 16 years and was its first full-time executive director.

So it is, that the chamber is excited to give Jamie Saam the 2018 Donna Dallesasse Award this year at the Oct. 3 Harvest Celebration at Marmion's Abbey Farms.

It's a good choice. Saam has been a business owner, alderman and the MainStreet executive director in the past.

As the chamber notes in their announcement of the award, Saam "has always worn her love for Batavia on her sleeve."

It's not just green:

Three years ago, Isacco Vitali moved his Italian restaurant from Cedar Street to the new First Street setting in St. Charles. Isacco Kitchen restaurant took a spot that had been occupied by O' Sole Mio.

The smaller location at 131 S. First St. was perfect, Vitali felt. And from what I can tell, it has worked out well. However, the name of the restaurant has been changed to Greens Up.

I couldn't reach Vitali to ask him about the change. He had been in Italy for a few weeks while the restaurant was undergoing a makeover.

Diners are telling me Greens Up remains a great place for a meal, and it's not to be mistaken as a vegetarian-only place. It remains a fine Mediterranean and Italian food spot.

My Italian grandmother used to serve "greens" from a big pot, and it was the most delicious soup I've ever had. I have no idea if that's the connection with Vitali's new place, but the name has me curious.

Helping the society:

The conservation mission of the Kane County Audubon Society got a nice financial boost recently when the Unity Masonic Lodge #48 in Geneva handed over a $600 check during the organization's annual potluck dinner.

Fittingly, the event took place at the Hickory Knolls Discovery Center in St. Charles.

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