The Leadership Council Southwestern Illinois is excited to announce the 2019 officers. Due to their qualifications, Kevin Powers, Dr. Jim Dennis, Richard Mark, Alonzo Byrd and Dr. Randy Pembrook were unanimously approved to serve a one-year term to provide oversight and guidance for the Leadership Council’s major operations to further the mission and vision of the organization.
The Leadership Council is a member-based, economic development organization working to unite business, industry, government, education and labor for economic growth in Southwestern Illinois. Each officer has an invested interest in Southwestern Illinois, bringing a wide range of experience and valuable insight to the Council.
The chairman of the board for 2019 is Kevin Powers, President and CEO of TheBANK of Edwardsville. Previously a Group President for Bremer Bank, Powers was key to building the Bremer Financial Corp into a powerhouse in Minnesota, North Dakota and Wisconsin. An economics graduate of the University of North Dakota, Powers has had a successful 38-year career as a banker and banking executive. Since 2015, Powers has served as the President and CEO of TheBANK of Edwardsville, and headed its expansion to two St. Louis area locations: Clayton and St. Charles, Mo.
President of McKendree University Dr. Jim Dennis is serving as the president. During his 25-year-long career at McKendree University of Lebanon, Ill., Dr. Dennis has led the institution to tremendous growth in academics, enrollment, fundraising, construction, athletics and more. Throughout his education and career, he has been committed to providing students with an education that prepares them for the workforce. Under his tenure, McKendree University has been nationally recognized for providing high-quality education. Additionally, Dr. Dennis serves on the executive boards of the Council of Independent Colleges, the Associated Colleges of Illinois and the Federation of Independent Illinois Colleges and Universities.
Richard Mark, Chairman and President of Ameren Illinois Company (AIC), is serving as the Council’s Vice President. AIC is a subsidiary of Ameren Corporation, a Fortune 500 company, and serves over a million gas and electric consumers across three-quarters of Illinois. Since 2002, Mark has held many executive roles with Ameren. Currently he is leading the grid modernization effort in Illinois, which includes the installation of smart meters that will help customers manage their energy consumption and smart sensors that will help reduce outages. Mark also serves on several boards, including Tenet Healthcare, Fontbonne University and the Saint Louis Regional Business Council. He has been recognized for his civic and community work with three honorary doctorate degrees and many awards, such as being recognized by Black Enterprise Magazine as one of the Most Powerful Executives in 2012 and 2017, receiving the 2018 Visionary Award from Foundation Fighting Blindness, and the 2015 Outstanding Corporate Leadership Award.
The treasurer for 2019 is Alonzo Byrd, assistant vice president of public affairs at Enterprise Holdings, the largest rental car company in North America. Byrd, a graduate of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville with a degree in journalism, works with Enterprise’s senior management to develop and execute corporate citizenship initiatives nationwide. Prior to joining Enterprise, Byrd worked as a vice president at Fleishman Hillard, working in media relations, corporate affairs and diversity-related issues. He currently serves on multiple local and national boards, including Chair of East Side Aligned, a collective impact initiative in the Metro East, a board member for Fair Saint Louis and a member of the Mayor’s Business Council for the U.S. Conference of Mayors.
Dr. Randy Pembrook, chancellor at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE) is the secretary. He is a native to the Metro East area and has an invested interest in seeing the region grow. He earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from SIUE, and his doctorate in music education from Florida State University. Dr. Pembrook has served as vice president for academic affairs at Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas from 2011-16. In addition, he was the chief academic officer at Washburn. Before landing at Washburn, Pembrook served at Baker University for four years in several capacities, including executive vice president and provost, interim vice president for enrollment management, acting dean of the School of Professional and Graduate Studies, and special assistant to the president. He also has served as chief academic officer for Baker’s College of Arts and Sciences, School of Education, School of Nursing, and School of Professional and Graduate Studies. Before joining Baker in 2007, Pembrook was dean at the Conservatory of Music and Dance at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, where he also served as associate dean of the Conservatory, chair of the Music Education/Music Therapy Division, and Conservatory faculty chair, as well as chair of a four-campus faculty committee reporting to the University of Missouri System president.
“The officers elected for 2019 are all individuals in Southwestern Illinois that have a passion to unite our region for growth. It is an honor to be able to work with these prestigious individuals to advance the mission of the Council, says Executive Director and CEO of the Leadership Council Southwestern Illinois, Dr. Ronda Sauget.”