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Union County CEO Investor Beck Simonds Sees Huge Value In Teaching Entrepreneurship
A lot of people consider southern Illinois to be a region running out of job opportunities. Beck Simonds of E.T. Simonds Construction strongly disagrees and has pledged a donation towards the Union County CEO Program—an entrepreneurship program for Union County high school juniors and seniors—to help to change that perception.
“I believe one of the biggest misconceptions by our youth today is what southern Illinois truly has to offer as a job marketplace,” says Simonds. “There are many opportunities in southern Illinois at companies such as E.T. Simonds and others.”
Simonds sees increasing exposure of students to industry as key to opening young people to the possibilities all around them and that success in business doesn’t always have to mean reinventing the wheel.
“If you are not exposed to the business industry growing up then there is reason to believe that these opportunities might not exist,” explains Simonds. “I think when students first think of an entrepreneurship class it is a little intimidating as they might feel pressure to develop a new product or service that no one has ever come up with before. My advice to them is that as they are exposed to the local business community to watch for ways to assist a current activity or provide a service for an existing company that they are currently outsourcing to someone out of the area at a higher price. It may even be a service that a local company is currently doing yet would be glad to outsource.”
Simonds describes his company as one that does a lot to build this region, both in terms of their core business and their positive effects on the region.
“E.T. Simonds Construction does heavy highway road construction work in southern Illinois. We are proud to provide good paying jobs for many people in southern Illinois. We also shop locally to purchase many products that are incorporated into our road projects such as stone from local quarries, concrete from local suppliers, lumber from local hardware stores, and many others.”
Programs like CEO could help to provide fresh insights into long-standing businesses by stirring up young minds, according to Simonds.
“It is hard to keep the mind fresh after operating in a certain industry in a certain area for many years,” Simonds points out. “That is what these young individuals have to offer, the ability to think outside of the box.”
The Union County CEO Program has selected students for the 2014-2015 school year and is currently focused on hiring a teacher and securing additional investors. Further information on the program is available on their website at UnionCountyCEO.com.
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