2020-2021 Board of Directors of the Starved Rock Country Community Foundation
Pamela Beckett, our beloved Founder and former President/CEO, will continue to serve as special advisor to the management team and as Secretary as a member of the Board of Directors. Beckett was one of the first to see the massive potential for philanthropy in the Starved Rock Country communities. She created a platform for giving and is responsible for growing the Foundation to where we sit today. We cannot thank her enough for her leadership and contributions. To us, she a true pioneer and visionary.
Robert “Bob” M. Eschbach is the former long standing Mayor of Ottawa, Illinois. Mayor Eschbach has been elected Mayor of Ottawa for 5 consecutive terms, beginning in 1999, but that isn’t the beginning of Bob’s story in Starved Rock Country. Bob was born and raised in Ottawa and graduated from Illinois Valley Community College, Illinois State University and the University of Illinois College of Law. Mayor Eschbach began practicing law in Ottawa in 1978. Prior to being Mayor, Bob Eschbach served for many years on the Ottawa Plan Commission, Historic Preservation Commission, Zoning Board of Appeals and various other City committees. Always a purveyor of green initiatives in the town, Bob has been adamant about the beautification of Ottawa, but has also been extremely effective in his attempts to bring jobs and industry to the area. Eschbach was a founding member of Residents Against a Polluted Environment in the early 1980’s and fought the establishment of a hazardous waste landfill near Ottawa. He also served as Special Assistant LaSalle County State’s Attorney for land use and environmental matters for many years. He has served as a Commissioner of the I & M Canal National Heritage Corridor Commission, and in 2013 received the prestigious Boat Captain’s Award of the Canal Corridor Association. He has been instrumental in shaping a shared vision for the future of Ottawa – placing special emphasis on economic development and the creation of new jobs.
Inga has worked in the environmental chemistry industry for more than 30 years; she received her BA in Chemistry, and MBA in Finance and Marketing, both from the University of Chicago. Prior to joining Carus Corporation in 1992, Inga worked for Air Products and Chemicals (APCI) from 1987 until 1992, primarily serving in ex-patriot positions in Europe, where she had commercial responsibility for APCI’s specialty chemicals for the German speaking regions. Inga joined Carus in 1992 as European Sales Manager, and returned to the US in 1993 to become Director of Marketing. She was Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing from 2001 until August of 2005, when she became President and CEO. In 2013, she was made Chairman of Carus Group, and in 2015, the year Carus celebrated its centennial, she handed the CEO title to Dave Kuzy and continues in her role as Chairman. Inga is a member of the Executive Committee of the American Chemistry Council, the Society of the Chemical Industry, is Chair of the OmniArts Trust, and also serves on the boards of the Hegeler Carus Foundation, Canal Corridor Association, and Landmarks Illinois.
I am honored to have been asked to serve on the SRCCF board. Community is very important to me. It allows us to support one another, share experiences, network and help make life better for those experiencing modern life struggles. I am proud to be an ambassador of such a fine organization who helps to make a positive financial impact to those residing in Starved Rock Country.
I was born and raised in Streator. I've been a companion animal veterinarian for 39 years. I opened Countryside Animal Clinic in 1985. Today it is a 5 doctor practice. Through the years I've attempted to be involved in the community and to give back when possible.
Participating, contributing and helping to imporve our communities through SRCCF Board of Directors is an opportunity that I have welcomed openly. In this world of constant change, I am glad to help continue to build this foundation's stability now and also for the future.
The bedrock of philanthropy is in the origin of the word: Love of humankin. I am honered to represent Seneca and the entire Starved Rock Country Community Foundation in the spirit of giving back to others. As a social activist in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Maryland, West Africa and Illinois, I am delighted to bring my experience in serving to SRCCF.
Reed and his wife, Dr. Sydney Sue Wilson, reside in McNabb, Illinois in Putnam County. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture Economics from the University of Illinois. He is a Veteran of the US Military, and has served in many capacities in the offices of U.S. Congressmen, most recently with Congressman Adam Kinzinger. Reed was the Economic Development Director for the City of Ottawa from 2009 until 2019. He is a member of the Putnam County Rotary Club, having served as Club President several times since 1977; he is the Co-Founder of the Putnam County Educational Foundation; serves on the Board of Directors of the McNabb United Methodist Church, and served as the Putnam County Community Unit District #535 Board of Education from 1979-1996, which included six years as Board President. Reed and Sydney have two daughters, Laura and Loralee, both of whom hold Masters Degrees from the University of Illinois. We are honored to have Reed among our distinguished members of the SRCCF Board of Directors.
Susan Thornton, a life long Starved Rock Country resident, moved to Ottawa 32 years ago from the LaSalle area. Passionate about giving back to her community, she serves on many volunteer and non-profit boards. She has spent 32 years on the LaSalle County 708 Mental Health Board, advocating for those with special needs and is currently serving as President. Susan’s interest in the past afforded her a seat on the board for the Center for American Archeology. She is active in Rotary and is a member of the LaSalle Noon Club, and sits on the Executive Board, and is currently the Foundation Chairman. Her love of baseball, brought her and her husband to help fund the LaSalle Rotary Park which has an ADA certified playground, a soccer field, and soon a Senior League baseball field. She also serves a President of the Parks non-profit Foundation. In her free time Susan enjoys, gardening, spending time with her family which includes her husband, Edmund, four children, 5 grandchildren, and her beloved Pug, Rolex, her “watch” dog. She also loves old movies, theater, music, and tries to keep humor in her daily life.
Tara is a resident of Streator, Illinois, where she has been heavily involved in a multitude of community service programs and activities. Tara holds a B.S. in Industrial Engineering from the University of Illinois at Chicago with two minors, Math and Physics, completed at Eastern Illinois University, Pre-Engineering Program. Tara is employed by Caterpillar, Inc., in Aurora. She is a 6 Sigma Black Belt, Manufacturing Engineer, and Systems Subject Matter Expert in Assembly, and serves as a member of the Women’s Initiative Network. Tara currently holds the position of Councilwoman, serving on the Streator City Council since 2013. She is a team member of START (Streator Action and Revitalization Team), served as the President of Streator Leading Ladies from 2014-2016, and holds leadership and committee member positions with Streator Tourism, the 4th of July Celebration Committee, the Streator Garden Club, the Streator Walldogs Committee, and the Streator Farmers Market. Tara is a recipient of the 40 under 40 Award, Class of 2014. She is married to Curt Bedei, the Executive Director of the Ottawa Visitor Center.
John McCormick is a lifelong resident of Starved Rock Country having grown up in Spring Valley and now living in Peru with his wife and 5 children. He has spent more than 20 years as a banker providing support to businesses and individuals in Starved Rock Country. He currently serves as Senior Vice President of Eureka Savings Bank with offices in LaSalle, Peru, Mendota, and Oglesby. He has held numerous community positions throughout Starved Rock Country including time with Horizon House (Past Campaign Chair), IVAC (Past President), Ottawa Area Chamber of Commerce, Junior Achievement, and United Way. He currently serves on the finance committee and board of directors for St. Margaret’s Hospital, President of the Upper Illinois River Valley CDC, finance chair of Grace Untied Methodist Church in LaSalle, and as treasurer for the Starved Rock Country Community Foundation. “The SRCCF is a great organization that focuses on making our entire region stronger through it’s mission and I am honored to be a small part of this great group as we grow into an amazing resource for Starved Rock Country.”
We are grateful for the good work, financial support and advocacy of our dedicated Board of Directors.
Retired Board Members
Thank you so much for your service to the Starved Rock Country Community Foundation! We could not have grown so much without you!