We're Back!

Check the daily CEO calendar at and stop by class for a visit. Most weeks are solidified by the Wednesday of the week prior.

Coming Soon: Counselor Visit Days, January 18 or 19, RRCA, 201 E. 3rd. Street, Sterling. Area counselors are invited to a typical CEO class to experience the culture and standards of the CEO "classroom",  which will help them determine the type of student who is best suited for the program.

Open House Week: Students interested in CEO can choose a day to visit the week of February 5-8 at the United Way basement, use the back door, 502 1st Ave., Sterling. Parents are welcome to attend as well. Check out the 2019 Application at

CEO Business Visits

CEO Guest Speakers

Promotional Products Last!

Halo Branded Solutions

CEO students were off to a great 2nd semester start with their visit to Halo Branded Solutions, Inc. on Tuesday. They were met by the team of Terry McGuire, Dawn Olds, and Stacey Sibley who explained the business model of Halo and its history, beginning in Tampico. They also educated students on the different types of businesses, the operations side of Halo, the advantages of promotional products, company culture and the types of jobs available. The visit concluded with details about the new, state of the art structure to be completed in April. It will accomodate their rapid growth, while taking into consideration the needs of the employees who make up the positive, family-like culture of Halo. CEO students hope to return in the spring to see the final product.

An Entrepreneur's Space

The Kitchen Incubator

They call it, "not your mom's KitchenAid mixer" and its pretty clear as to why! CEO students were impressed with the large equipment as Manager Krista Morthland gave an overview and tour of the Kitchen Incubator of NW Illinois. The kitchen, along with other rental space, serves as a great benefit to budding entrepreneurs who have outgrown their basements and garages, but not ready to purchase or rent a larger, expensive space. As a former Health Department inspector, Krista explained the requirements for food businesses and offered the commercial space for any student planning a food business for the trade show. How fortunate to have such a facility available in the Sauk Valley Area. 

Class concluded with some time to recap the action items for the upcoming Sauk Valley Area Chamber of Commerce dinner event. 

Intern Challenge

Ashley Richter

Ashley Richter, from the Sterling-Rock Falls YMCA, visited class to inform CEO students of a special intern program debuting this summer. It is patterned after a successful program in Rockford, Illinois and mimicks the show "The Apprentice" with weekly challenges, each coming from a different business.The program will challenge its particpants, ages 16-24, and offer scholarship incentives for the winner. Enjoy a brief video overviewing the program. 

Students continue to use any spare moments to work on their class business events. The day also offered insights from CEO alumni, Alan Osterhaus, 2014, and his sister Natalie Osterhaus, 2017. 

The Business Plan

Sauk Valley Bank

Larissa Dale, Chris Mitchell, and Paige Toms represented Sauk Valley Bank for our tour and business plan lesson. Students heard directly from President Dirk Meminger and several other banking leaders, from both behind the scene and front line departments, as they walked the facility. The second part of the class took an indepth look at a business plan using an example of an actual proposal. This crucial lesson is extremely valuable as students begin to think about their individual businesses. The day reinforced previous lessons on the importance of mission statements, customer service, and diversificatian. 

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Get Involved in CEO

The manner in which the CEO program is funded is critical to its success and sustainability. All funds raised are used exclusively for the WACC 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 22 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 27 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

WACC CEO Calendar