President and Chairman
How long have you lived in the Metro-East?
I was born and raised in Collinsville and have lived here most of life, with the exception of going away to college. My family has lived in Collinsville since the late 1890s and I now live a little over a mile from where my mother was born.
In what Metro-East city do you live?
What do you love most about the Metro-East?
The location. I really like the small town, community feel but like that we are so close to a major metropolitan area. From my house to the ballpark it is only 15 minutes without traffic and only 30 minutes with traffic. You can be almost anywhere you want to be in the Metro-East in less than 30 minutes. I also love the sense of community, safety, low cost of living and the fact that you can be downtown St. Louis or in a rural, wooded area in minutes to fish at one of the area lakes or enjoying the bike trails.
What advice would you give someone moving to the area?
Often times when people move to the St. Louis area they first look in Missouri for a home. I would encourage them to drive around, explore the Metro-East and find a neighborhood you love. I would also encourage them to look at school districts and the diversity in neighborhoods. So my best advice would be to take the time to look and they will find a community they love in the Metro-East.
What are your favorite attractions in the Metro-East?
Being from Collinsville, I would say my favorite attractions are the World's Largest Catsup Bottle and Cahokia Mounds. One of my favorite things to do is to go to Pere Marquette State Park in the Grafton area and eagle watching. I love to drive up the Great River Road with my family in January and February and watch the eagles.
What do you think are the Metro-East’s best assets?
I think our greatest assets are our location and people. If your work takes you out of the area you are close to the airport so you can fly wherever you need to go. This is a friendly community and there are a variety of things to do. I also believe that the value of housing and cost of living in this area is fantastic.
What do you like to do for fun in the Metro-East?
I really enjoy being outdoors and I own acreage about 10 minutes from my home. So what I like about living here is having access to being able to hunt, fish, ride four wheelers and enjoy the lake only minutes from my house. At the same time, one of the things my family loves to do is go to the ballgames. We are really close to the ballpark in St. Louis so it’s very easy to get to and from the games. My family also really enjoys all of the festivals in the area like the Horseradish Festival and the Italian Fest. We also like going to the art fairs such as Art on the Square and those in Fairview Heights and Edwardsville.
Please list charities to which you lend your time.
Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Light the Night campaign, American Heart Association and the Salvation Army's Tree of Lights campaign. I helped build a ramp for a disabled veteran, worked a "Breakfast with Santa" event for kids in East St. Louis, distributed window air conditioners to low income and disabled and worked energy assistance events for low income customer events in several cities within Illinois.
Why do you think it's important for people to volunteer and what drives you to volunteer?
My career has always been focused around helping people and helping our communities. My parents taught me to be thankful and to help people who may not be as fortunate as I am. Each time I volunteer I think I become a better person. I think people that volunteer get more out of the experience sometimes than the people they are trying to help.
Have you made any special friends or memories in your volunteer work?
I have been lucky to meet a lot of wonderful people throughout my years of volunteering. I've especially been touched by the children I have met who face health or home-life challenges and their ability to keep going, be positive, and are so grateful for life. This year, when we built a ramp for a disabled veteran and his wife, I was surprised when I was sent the address of where to go to do the work. The couple lived only a block away from my home. It was very gratifying to help a neighbor. I also love speaking to kids about how important an education is and what they need to do to be successful in life. Volunteering is a great way to meet good people.