Co-Chairs Michelle Matsche and Taylor Justice
The Ambassador committee represents the Growth Association as a public relations body. The main focus of this committee is to aid the Growth Association in maintaining our visibility in the community. The Ambassador committee provides this visibility by generously volunteering their time to attend our ribbon cuttings, groundbreakings, open houses, and member events. They volunteer to work at our special annual events. This committee also assists the Membership Committee in the recruitment and retention of the membership.
This committee meets monthly on the 2nd Tuesday at 11:30 am.
Michelle Matsche, Co-Chair
Michelle Matsche is the Director of Training & Development for Challenge Unlimited, Inc., a mission-strong organization driven by providing competitive employment and residential opportunities to individuals with disabilities which enable them to achieve their highest level of independence. She has served on the RBGA Ambassador Committee since 2014, and has been a featured speaker/emcee at the RBGA’s Annual Women’s LeadHership Event for many years.
Michelle is a Certified Professional in Talent Development, Franklin Covey Corporate Trainer, BlueEQ Emotional Intelligence instructor, American Red Cross instructor, Crisis Prevention Institute instructor, and holds her Master’s degree in Communication. Michelle has spent her career as a university instructor, HR professional, and advocate for people with disabilities. Michelle is passionate about learning, leadership, and connecting with others! In her spare time, she enjoys playing with her two-year-old son, Slate, weightlifting, scrolling Instagram, and listening to 90’s hip hop ??
Taylor Justice, Co-Chair
Taylor Justice (Gibbs) received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Public Relations as well as a Minor in Media Communications from Webster University in St. Louis. She has been in the Development department with Beverly Farm since 2015 where she has worked her way to her current position as, Director of Development. In addition to her role at Beverly Farm, she is also an active member of the River Bend Growth Association as an Ambassador and serves as the Co-Chair for the committee. She enjoys playing/watching softball, camping, cooking, and simply spending time with her family. Taylor currently lives in the Brighton area with her husband, their two sons, and two dogs.
Senior Services Plus
Debra Frakes is the Marketing Manager for Senior Services Plus, Inc. (SSP). She is from Alton and attended Lewis & Clark Community College. Serving on many committees in the Riverbend area, she enjoys being able to share SSP’s expanded services with the community. Debbie enjoys hiking, painting furniture, and volunteering in the Riverbend area.
Neena has been with Busey Bank (formerly The Bank of Edwardsville) for 10 years, and has worked in numerous roles from banker, trainer, manager, and now Mortgage Lender within the Riverbend area. She is a graduate of East Alton-Wood River High School, an alumnae of the Young Adults Committee as a high school representative, an alum of The University of Evansville with a degree in business administration with a marketing and management focus. Neena is also an alumnae of Zeta Tau Alpha, and served in its Alumni chapter for 5 years, has been a former member of United Way, Allocation Committee, Relay for Life with the American Cancer Society, Reach Out and Read, Give 30, and Bethalto Rotary.
She currently resides in Wood River, with her husband Joe, and our daughters Layne and Charlotte. We also have two senior dogs, who are family and a bunny. We are members of Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish in Bethalto, and our daughter attends school there.
Gary Hoggatt, Jr.
1st MidAmerica Credit Union
Gary has been in the financial services industry for over 35 years, having started his career as a part-time teller. He has managed various banking centers for 17 of those years. He also spent three years as a small business lender and relationship manager. Currently, he serves as the Vice President of Mortgage Services at 1st MidAmerica Credit Union, where he focuses on origination, processing, and servicing of residential home loans.
Gary graduated from Mississippi Valley Christian School in Alton and attended Pillsbury Baptist Bible College in Owatonna, Minnesota. He also attended Missouri Baptist College, Lewis and Clark Community College, and the Center for Financial Education focusing on Accounting, Business Law, and Commercial Lending. In July 2009, Gary completed the Community Bankers School and graduated with honors.
Outside of the banking world, Gary has served on the Board of Directors at the Ed/Glen Chamber of Commerce. He is the past Chair of the Ambassador Committee for the Riverbend Growth Association and now serves on the Promotions Committee. In addition, Gary is an active member at Faith Baptist Church in Godfrey, IL where he serves on the Deacon Board and sings in the choir. He also serves on the Mississippi Valley Christian School Board.
Gary grew up in the Bethalto area and currently resides in Alton with his wife of 29 years, Donna, and their two children Ellianna and Micah. In his spare time, Gary likes to spend time with his family, read, exercise, and enjoy outdoor activities when possible.
City of Alton
Bianca is the City Council Liaison for Mayor David Goins of the City of Alton. Her role in the Mayor’s Office includes, but not limited to, engaging with the public, assisting the City Council Members in accomplishing daily operational requests, and aide to the Mayor. She is a native Altonian. Prior to her appointment, she worked for the Alton Community Unit School District as a Parent Educator and worked in management for the non-profit sector. Bianca joined RBGA as an ambassador in January 2022.
Bianca graduated from Franklin High School, Baltimore County, MD. She is a graduate of Lewis and Clark Community College with an A.S. in Early Childhood Education. After transferring to Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, she studied Political Science and minored in Psychology. Bianca served as an Ambassador for the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute, Senator for Student Government, and a Vince Demuzio Governmental Intern. Bianca studied architectural history in Egypt and Thai Society and Culture at Thammasat University in Bangkok, Thailand. Bianca was awarded the PROMPT (Proactive Recruitment of Multicultural Professional for Tomorrow) Fellowship to earn her Master of Public Administration.
Bianca is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and National Council of Negro Women. Bianca is the proud mom of twin boys Javon and Jaxon.
For over 25 years, Matthew Kotzamanis has been a lender in the Riverbend community. He is currently the Vice President of Lending for Liberty Bank at their Godfrey location where he helps people every day with their mortgage and personal loan needs. Matthew is an active member of the Bethalto Kiwanis and Riverbend Rotary Clubs. He and his wife Brandy have two children, Lacy and John. He enjoys hunting and fitness as well as going to his son’s basketball and baseball games.
Kuddes Advertising Specialties
Therese Kuddes co-owns Kuddes Advertising Specialties with her husband Kevin. She has been in the business since 1985, first working with her father-in-law, Don Kuddes, then continuing the business once he passed on.
Therese has been active with many local advertising groups over the years and is an active member and Ambassador of the RBGA since 1989, winning Ambassador of the Year in 2008. She is a member of Faith Lutheran Church in Godfrey and on the Social Ministries Committee.
Born in Louisville, KY, she and her husband live in Godfrey. Therese is the mother of 2 sons and 4 grandchildren. She enjoys visiting with her family and quilting.
Adrianna Lock is the Marketing Manager at ReClaim, her family-owned and operated junk removal company. Prior to opening ReClaim, Adrianna worked as a public relations and marketing professional at St. Louis area agencies, contributing to national healthcare and insurance industry campaigns. She graduated from SIUE in 2016 with her Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications.
In her free time, Adrianna lives for traveling (soon to Ireland!), yoga, wine nights, DIY projects, and spending time with her husband and pup. She is a lifelong resident of Alton – drawn to the lively community, wealth of history, and variety of entertainment the area offers. She looks forward to serving as an RBGA Ambassador and further her involvement in the Riverbend community.
OSF Saint Anthony's Health Center
Lee is a Major Gift Officer who works at OSF HealthCare Saint Anthony’s Health Center for the Foundation.
She works closely with our community, through philanthropy, to obtain resources crucial to enhancing the OSF HealthCare Mission. Funds raised through the Foundation are used in a variety of ways at OSF Saint Anthony’s and throughout the Ministry – including equipment, research, building, training, and multiple programs to help care for those who to turn to OSF Saint Anthony’s for their health care needs.
Lee helped lead a successful Capital Campaign to build OSF Moeller Cancer Center, bringing the area’s only comprehensive cancer care center to Alton.
Lee holds an Associate’s degree from Lewis & Clark Community College.
She has two adult children, her daughter is studying to be a Child and Family Counselor, and her son is a United States Marine.
McGilvrey Fine Portraits
George is the owner of McGilvrey Fine Portraits. He grew up in Danville Illinois, moving to Paris Illinois where he lived his adult life until he moved to Rosewood Heights to marry his wife Kimberly in 2015. George photographed his first wedding in 1981. The couple operates their photography business working on location in the River Bend area while doing location and studio sessions in Paris Illinois. George joined the RBGA not long after moving to the area as a networking tool to grow his reborn photography business and has since attended and/or assisted with as many RBGA events as he could.
McGilvrey Fine Portraits offers a full line of photography services from weddings to family portraits, high school senior portraits, business, and acting headshots, and Kimberly offers boudoir photography. “We find joy in portraying people the way others see them, not the way they see themselves in the mirror daily.” says George, there isn’t anything more satisfying than hearing “Wow, I look good!” from a satisfied customer. “It is our goal to create the best portrait you have ever had taken.”
American Family Insurance - Gerard Fischer
Samantha (Sam) Quigley is a licensed sales specialist for Gerard Fischer – American Family Insurance in Godfrey, specializing in all lines of insurance. She is a lifelong resident of the Alton/Godfrey area and absolutely loves our historic, beautiful river town. One of her favorite pastimes is taking in the scenic views of the Mississippi River – whether that be biking the surrounding trails, boating, hiking, driving up the river road, or simply enjoying a local establishment’s patio with friends. Sam is looking forward to becoming more involved with the Riverbend community and is excited to serve as an RBGA Ambassador!
First Mid Bank & Trust
Martha Schultz is Community Bank President / Market Manager for First Mid Bank & Trust in Alton and Wood River. With 36 years of banking experience, Martha is responsible for promoting First Mid’s business lines of banking, insurance, and wealth management; managing the day-to-day operations of deposit services; overseeing new account operations, and managing branch assets. She also oversees deposit services at the First Mid Highland location.
Raised in Godfrey, Martha has deep ties to the Riverbend area and is involved in many community organizations. She is the Treasurer of the Boys & Girls Club of Bethalto, a Chamber Ambassador for the RiverBend Growth Association, an active member of the Alton Women’s Home Association and the Wood River Woman’s Club. And because of her work in the communities she serves, she was recognized as the 2017 YWCA Woman of Distinction.
Big Z Media
Erin Spain is an account representative for Big Z Media which includes WBGZ radio, MyMix radio, Today’s Advantage and AdvantageNews.com. Erin was born and raised in the Riverbend area and has been happy to have worked in the Riverbend community for more than 15 years. This has provided her with the opportunity to work with local small businesses to help them not only increase their business but also to promote the local economy.
Erin lives in Godfrey with her husband, Tom. They have two children. Their daughter, Claire, is a freshman at Missouri State University and their son, Jack, is a junior at Marquette Catholic High School. In addition to her work with local businesses, Erin also spends time volunteering for her church and her children’s schools.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Select Properties
My career has spanned a variety of real estate-related industries since launching in the workforce in 1988 at the Alton Wood River Board of Realtors®. That position provided a springboard to the administration and management of a real estate brokerage office for nine years as well as management roles in the title industry for several years. Additionally, my career includes nearly thirteen years in the banking industry where I served as Vice President, managing a branch, and focusing on retail mortgage lending. All this while being an Illinois licensed broker since 1990!
I have always loved real estate, so the opportunity to move to the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices family of network offices really caught my attention in the spring of 2015. My background is a great compliment to my role here, for both our Edwardsville and Fairview Heights locations. I have deep appreciation for the challenges of both our real estate professionals and the buyers and sellers they serve. My position feels as if I’ve gone full circle and returned home. I enjoy assisting our agents to provide the Forever Agent experience to their clients.
In addition to a busy career, I’ve had the pleasure to get involved civically in various organizations in our market area for many years. When my schedule allows, I serve on the RiverBend Growth Association’s Board of Directors, chairing the organization in 2010; served on the United Way of Greater St. Louis’s Board of Directors; member of the Greater Gateway Association of Realtors® serving on its Education Committee; and previously volunteered in the Alton School District’s Reach out and Read literacy initiative.
Personal Motto: Culture eats strategy for breakfast. (by Peter Drucker)