Unique Opportunities in CEO


Establishing Business Checking Accounts

TheBANK of Edwardsville

Students completed the required documents and provided their photo identification to Alex Doolittle and the banking staff at TheBANK of Edwardsville. Students established their business checking account for their start up business and made their first deposit. Each student received $150 start up capital for their business. Later in the week, students received their bank card in the mail and activated it for purchases.

Thank you Alex Doolittle and the staff at TheBANK of Edwardsville for spending time with each student to set up their business accounts. 


Videos are Essential in the Digital Marketplace

Silverback Video Animation

Kevin DePew, Owner of Silverback, greeted students, introduced his staff and shared his background in mass media. He has worked for large corporations in media production, smaller companies and started businesses before starting his current business, Silverback. Silverback offers services for video production, animation and graphics, live event production, sound and training and eLearning. Because of social media, videos are more in demand for promoting and marketing businesses. Silverback has15 full time employees. Some of the clients of Silverback are the Gateway Grizzlies, America's Central Port, 3 Little Birds 4 Life, Fox Midwest Sports, and GCS Credit Union. 

Kevin informed students about the Small Business Administration and the process for obtaining loans. Jeff Jensen, Director of Business Development, talked about his position and traditional media versus social media. John Starks spoke briefly about video editing. Jim Perry and Bryan are animators and artists and shared a few animations they had created. They talked about the software used in the animations and video productions. 

Thank you, Kevin, and the Silverback staff, for sharing your morning with CEO.


Methods of Compliance at Mayco and the Lead Industry

Mayco Industries with Daniel Hill

Daniel Hill, Environmental, Health and Safety Manager at Mayco Industries, gave the history of lead in products and talked about the 140 year history of Mayco. Lead has been removed from many products over the years because of the health effects. During its peak years, Mayco employed over 400 people and now have 65 employees. Their average employee has 13 years of service. Mayco goes above and beyond the OSHA requirements to keep all employees safe. OSHA requires all employees tested every six months for lead in the blood. Mayco tests their employees evey two months. Mayco has implemented methods of compliance for safety including engineering controls, work practice controls and respirator protection. Mayco buys scrap metal and recycles lead also.Their products include lead shot for ammunition, lead flashings for roofing, and lead sheet for radiation protection. 

CEO appreciates you, Daniel Hill, and Mayco Industries for sharing your morning with us. 


Learning about I T Infrastructure with Chris Scaglione

TierPoint Data Center in downtown St. Louis

Chris Scaglione, Vice President and General Manager of TierPoint, led students on a tour of the data center in downtown St. Louis. This is one of 42 TierPoint data centers in the United States. Chris explained the essentails of the data center as security and compliance, power sources, network and cooling. The engineering, technology, power supplies, ventilation systems along with all the back up generators and back up systems was a sight to remember. It is a very controlled environment for monitoring systems in real time and for security. The data center houses 378 racks of server storage in 11,000 suare feet and they are expanding. 

CEO students appreciate your time, Chris Scaglione, and our tour of TierPoint. 


From the KGB and Espionage to an American Citizen

27th Annual Rotary Club of Granite City Mayor's Prayer Breakfast

The Nicol Foundation gave CEO students the opportunity to attend the Rotary Club of Granite City 27th Annual Mayor's Prayer Breakfast. Tina Hubert, President of the Rotary kicked off the breakfast with a call to order. Marc Voegele gave the invocation. Inspirational songs were sung. Tammie Fleming gave a testimonial and told her story of how her life drastically changed after a serious car accident and many surgeries. She put the pieces of her life back together after turning to God. She encouraged everyone to believe in God and to never give up. 

The keynote speaker was Jack Barsky, a former spy for the KGB for ten years. He told his story of growing up in East Germany and being an atheist. He talked about his training for 5 years with the KGB and his 10 years of espionage work for the Soviet Union. He shared with everyone his times with depression, drinking and a broken marriage. Years later he met a lady and started going to church and months later, he begin to believe in God. His life changed. With God, all things are possible. He ended his presentation with a prayer. 

CEO students are grateful and appreciate the Nicol Foundation for your support of CEO and this opportunity. 


Editing and Revising First Draft of the Business Plans

Director Jo Ann DiMaggio May, Small Business Development Center

Students have been writing the narrative of their business plans but were happy to welcome to class Director of the Metro East Small Business Development Center, Jo Ann DiMaggio May. Jo Ann talked about the ever changing business plan and how it helps guide an entrepreneur. Industry reports were handed out from First Research. Jo Ann answered questions and helped students individually. 

CEO appreciates you, Jo Ann DiMaggio May, and the Small Business Development Center for your expertise and spending time with Granite City CEO students. 


When Opportunity Knocks, Open the Door

Cequel III visit with Chairman and CEO Jerry Kent

On Friday students were excited to visit a corporate office in West St. Louis County, sit in a large conference room and listen to entrepreneur Jerry Kent. Jerry gave his professional career background and a timeline of his start up businesses, his acquisitions and subsequent sales (shown below). He is very proud of his track record and recognized and talked about his relationship with his mentor Howard Wood, whom he met at Arthur Anderson. He encouraged students to have the right people in the right places on their team, be honest and straight forward with integrity. His core principles are:

  • superior customer care is the cornerstone for success
  • an open environment to discuss issues
  • choose your business partners as carefully as you choose your spouse

Jerry led students on a tour around the office and a visit to his office. 

Granite City CEO students appreciate Jerry Kent spending his Friday morning with CEO. 

Shown below is the bio for Jerry Kent from the Cequel III website:

Chairman and CEO, Cequel III

Chairman and CEO, TierPoint

Chairman, StayLock Storage

Jerry Kent is a recognized entrepreneur and trailblazer in the telecommunications and technology industries, with an outstanding track record of customer service and delivering superior returns for investors. In addition to his role as Chairman and CEO of Cequel III, which he co-founded in January 2002, he serves as Chairman and CEO of TierPoint.

Cequel III is a technology management company. Previously, the Cequel III team built AAT Communications into the largest privately owned cell tower company in the United States before selling that enterprise in 2006. Cequel III and Jerry also managed Suddenlink Communications, building it into the seventh largest U.S. cable company with operating results among the best in its industry before it was sold to Altice Group in 2015 for an enterprise value of $9.1 billion.

Jerry began his career as a CPA with Arthur Andersen in 1979, and in 1983 left to head up acquisitions and finance for an upstart cable company, Cencom Cable Associates, Inc. He later became CFO of Cencom, which grew by acquisition and eventually served 550,000 customers in the U.S. before it was sold in 1991.

After serving a year with Cencom’s acquirer, Jerry left and co-founded Charter Communications, Inc., in January 1993. He led Charter to become one of the 10 largest cable operators in the U.S., serving 1.3 million customers. In 1998, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen acquired Charter, providing substantial rewards for Charter’s private investors. Jerry continued as President and CEO, growing Charter to serve more than 7 million customers and making it the nation’s fourth largest cable company at the time. The company went public in November 1999, in what was then the third-largest IPO in U.S. history. Charter consistently led the industry in superior operating results and from the IPO date until September 2001, the month Jerry left, Charter’s was the best performing public cable stock.

Multichannel News named Jerry its Executive of the Year in 2011. In 2012, he was inducted into the Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame and received the cable industry’s Distinguished Vanguard Award for Leadership. In 2013, he was named CED Magazine’s co-person of the year, with Suddenlink CTO Terry Cordova, and in 2014, Jerry was inducted into The Cable Center Hall of Fame.

A native of the St. Louis metropolitan area, Jerry is very active in the community, serving on the Board of Trustees and Executive Committee for his alma mater, Washington University, from which he earned his bachelor’s degree and MBA. He is Vice Chairman of The Magic House/St. Louis Children’s Museum Board. He is also a member of the Board of Directors for the St. Louis Zoo and Chairman of the St. Louis Zoological Park Subdistrict Commission.


Student Journal Highlights for this week

Tuesday we went to the Mayor's Prayer Breakfast. They had good food and some great speakers. Tammie Fleming told us that one minute she was driving and the next she was sitting in a hospital bed because she had got into a car wreck. The doctors didn't know if they were going to be able to save her leg but thankfully they did and she has been going through therapy for it. Her message was to stay strong and keep God close to you so you can achieve anything.

Wednesday and Thursday we were in class working on our business plans and hopefully getting them all finished. We also made taglines and for Bruso`s Detailing it will be “Turn rust and grime in to sparkle and shine."

Friday we went to see Jerry Kent. His first job job was partnering with other businesses and private equity groups to build his successful businesses in the cable industry. He says you have to put a lot of focus in to your customers or else you will not have a good business. He has started a lot of big companies. His largest investment was Tierpoint. Their culture and values are honesty integrity, take pride, superior customer service, and family. He also gave us a tour of his part of the building and his office. It was an amazing visit.

On Tuesday Kevin Nicol, owner and operator of Nicol Financial Services and President of The Nicol Foundation invited and payed for CEO students to attend the Mayor's Prayer Breakfast. Ravanelli's provided the food for the breakfast. We heard Tammie Fleming give a testimonial about how she had a wonderful life and turned it all down to live her own life. Her life spiraled out of control until she was forced to accept God after she was in a severe car crash. She knew she couldn’t continue, so she started attending church and her life has changed because of it.

The keynote speaker Jack Barsky, a former KGB spy turned double agent for the FBI, gave his story about what led him to God. He talked about how he was on assignment in the US for the KGB and things took a turn. He quit the KGB and used the excuse that he contracted an STD while on assignment. He quit because while on assignment he had fallen in love with a lady and had a child, and he knew he couldn’t leave the child. Later in his life, Jack hired an intern to do some tasks and he asked her why she always had a glow on her face and she responded with Jesus. Later on he married that intern and after some alcohol and depression troubles, he became a very devout Christian.

On Wednesday and Thursday we went to the Chamber of Commerce to work on our business plans.

On Friday we traveled to West County to go to Cequell III and meet Jerry Kent, Founder of Charter Communications and current CEO of Tier Point. Jerry talked to us about his success and what drove his success. He talked about all the major events that have lead to this point in his life starting at Centcom and ending at Cequell III. His really big talking point that he showed in every business that he has overseen was superior customer service. Customer Service is the most important part of every business because it is the first thing a customer sees. He also talked about the importance of investing in your own company. He used Blackberry as an example, saying that at one time 90% of the cell phone market was controlled by Blackberry. Blackberry didn’t invest in their product so when other phones like Apple came out Blackberry became obsolete.

This week we met an ex-Soviet spy, and a billionaire. That makes for a pretty eventful week. On Monday we were off school, but on Tuesday we went to the Mayor's Prayer Breakfast as a class. I thought this event was very cool considering I’ve never been to it before. The breakfast was prepared by Ravanelli’s and was extremely good. The guest speaker was Jack Barsky who grew up in Russia and had a very eventful life that led to him being a spy. Then he talked about his experience with faith and believing in God. I learned a lot from Mr. Barsky but the most important lesson he talked about was gaining a better relationship with God. I’m a Christian and have full faith in God, but I haven’t always believed. About a year ago I started believing, and gaining a better relationship with God.

On Wednesday we met at the Chamber of Commerce to work on our business plans as a class. The struggle I’ve ran into while completing my business plan is repeating myself. I thought filling out a business plan would be easy but it has been hard. Luckily, on Thursday JoAnn Dimaggio May was kind enough to take the time out of her day to help us fill out our plans. I asked her many questions and she willingly answered them and guided me on the right path. I’m still working on my business plan, but since she came and gave me advice it made the process a lot easier.

On Friday we visited Cequel III to speak with Jerry Kent. This was one of the coolest experiences I’ve had in CEO. Mr. Kent told us how he got started as an entrepreneur and how it quickly led to him starting Charter Communications. Then he bought and sold several more companies. The intelligence and success of Jerry wasn’t handed to him. When I met him I could quickly see how hardworking and intelligent he is. The biggest takeaway I have from Mr. Kent is to “Treat your customers better than your competitors treat theirs.” This quote is important because I believe people lose focus on their customer service and only worry about making money. Money will come once you treat people right.

Adam  Marmion

Adam Marmion
Sunday, March 11, 2018Learn More About Adam

This week in CEO we took a lot of business visits to the St.Louis area and they were very informative. Monday we visited the Bank of Edwardsville to set up our personal business accounts. We all have $150 to start up and from there we will all try to expand and get more money.

Tuesday we went and visited Kevin Depew at SilverBack productions. Kevin has had this business for 3 years; he has hit some rough patches but has managed to conquer them all and become successful. Kevin shared with us that he hired a guy on to the team that became a great asset and helped business boom for him.  I really liked that visit and I was also pleased to know that Kevin live streamed our football game this season against Carbondale.

Wednesday we we visited Mayco and met Daniel Hill, who is the environmental manager over that plant. We learned that Mayco has 2 locations; one is Birmingham and the one here in Granite City. Mayco is a lead factory but they also make ammunition for shotguns and water pipes, pigment for paint etc. They have safety protocol they have to follow there which makes it a tough job, but Daniel had no trouble explaining to us everything about the job. That’s really what I liked about the visit.

Thursday we visited TierPoint in downtown StL. We learned how all the data comes through and where it goes. We learned that when we order online it goes through their data process center. It was more of a look and see visit than an information visit.

Friday we were back in class where we worked on a business plans to get our start up business up and running. I can’t wait to see the finished product in April!


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The manner in which the CEO program is funded is critical to its success and sustainability. All funds raised are used exclusively for the Granite City CEO program. To participate, a 3-year $1000 per year commitment is required. Business Partner Investors commitments of time and energy are also critical to the program's success. Contributions may be tax deductible, as our organization is a 501(c)(3) not for profit organization.

When we are not touring local businesses, we need a place to host the class. During that time, the 8 CEO students and their Facilitator would meet at your site where they would also have guest speakers and guests from the community attend. Hosting requires a facility with internet access and adequately accommodates up to 13 people.

We are looking for people to share real-life stories about the concepts of running a business, from strategic thinking, product development to marketing, and cash flow management. Also, sharing your personal successes and failures are what recent classes have enjoyed the most.


If you are interested in participating in any of the above programs, use our contact form to send us a message

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