ClassE is where we grow entrepreneurs and nurture success. Read about what we have been learning.

Location: Lifespan Center (unless noted below), 11021 E. Cty. Rd. 800 N. Charleston (Loxa Rd just northeast of SBLHS).  Class is open and everyone is welcome. 
Reviewing Goals

Susan Hanfland asked the students how they were progressing on their goals. We also reviewed deadlines for coursework and continued our planning for the Chicago trip.
Learning about Lifetime Eyecare

Dr. Mark Esarey, optometrist with Lifetime Eyecare, gave the students a tour of their facilities and demonstrated how his hi-tech testing machines are integrated throughout the office. We discussed buying versus leasing equipment and tax advantages found in Sec. 179 and the ADA laws.

He spoke about the education needed to be in the business. We also discussed marketing efforts and his advice was to, "reach out to the clients in the manner that they want to be reached."


Rob Patterson, Noah's dad and owner of Irish Tees are Smiling, shared his experience of starting a business from out of his garage and his future growth goals. He told the students, "research, and when you think you researched everything, you're about halfway there." 

He also gave us valuable insight on how to price our sippers for the retail stores.
Building a Book of Business

Jamie Pilson, co-owner of three sites of Pilson Automotive, toured the class around to the different departments. Their goal is to make sure all vehicles, "start, steer, stop and are safe." They employ a total of 150 employees and have about $10 million in inventory.

His father started the business after owning a service station in Ottawa, IL and he knew he wanted to be his own boss. 

Jamie discussed the value of networking and paying close attention to customer relationship management. They have a saying, "charge in and row" which means, jump in to whatever endeavor you choose, then work with the team to move in the right direction.

Sparking Your Creativity

Madeline Babcock kicked off the book discussions with a review and discussion of  "Imagine: How Creativity Works" by Jonah Lehrer. We learned that your mind has to be in a relaxed state to freely wander and make important connections. This book is filled with stories and examples of "aha" moments that came to people that were many times not in the industry, but connected the dots. They suggested expanding your social circles, be diverse and find areas where creativity and invention are part of the culture.
We are so thankful for the generosity of the Coles County businesses that sponsor ClassE. For a complete listing and more information about these businesses, please click below.  We also appreciate the that the Lifespan Center serves as our home base throughout the year. We hope you support them as they support us!


ClassE | 217-549-2564 | |