GODFREY, IL – The RiverBend Growth Association recently welcomed five new members to its board of directors for 2022, bringing a total of 30 to its community leadership collaborative. The organization also announced a new board chair for 2022 and shared gratitude for the visionary leadership provided by its previous chair.

Alan Meyer, president, and chief executive officer of 1st MidAmerica Credit Union, recently took over the leadership reins of the RiverBend Growth Association’s board. He comes into the position after a successful year led by Country Financial’s Jeff Lauritzen.

Alan Meyer, 2022 RBGA Board Chairman, accepts the gavel from Jeff Lauritzen, 2021 RBGA Board Chairman.

“To represent this region and serve as chair of the RiverBend Growth Association for 2022 is an honor, and an opportunity to contribute to our region’s growth. As a board member since 2013, I understand the challenges and evolving needs of our communities. I look forward to working alongside the RBGA board of directors as we support our area’s economic development,” Meyer said.

“I give my thanks to Jeff Lauritzen for his commitment and leadership to the RBGA in 2021, a year in which we continued to navigate the impact of a global pandemic,” added Meyer. “We have pivoted, flexed, and found ways to serve our membership; we continue to come together to support our local residents and one another.”

Jeff Lauritzen, outgoing RBGA board chair, shared sentiments from his leadership year as well. “I have been humbled and proud to serve as the 2021 RBGA chair. I look forward now to the leadership of Alan Meyer and what 2022 will bring. I encourage everyone to continue shopping local and support our local businesses and restaurants. It is as important as ever.”

Jeff Lauritzen accepts a clock after his year of leadership to the RBGA Board of Directors

The RBGA’s newest board members rounding out its roster include Brian Campbell, Nick Darr, Crystal Officer, Jane Saale, and Martha Schultz.

Brian Campbell is co-owner of Colman’s Country Campers and 5 Diamond Campground in Hartford, Ill. He is a lifelong resident of the Alton-Godfrey area. A graduate of Alton’s Marquette Catholic High School, Campbell completed his postsecondary educational studies in economics, receiving his degree from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. He currently represents the City of Alton’s 1st Ward as its elected council member and has served on several other community organization boards. He and his wife Elizabeth have a daughter and three sons.

Nick Darr has served as vice president and general manager of Big Z Media in Alton, Ill., since 2015. Graduating with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in mass communications from Illinois College in Jacksonville, he received his master’s degree in mass communications from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville in 2003. Darr has worked throughout the Riverbend community since 2001, serving on multiple boards and with numerous networking groups and civic organizations. Lifelong residents of the area, he and his wife Sheila have four children.

Crystal Officer is the chief executive officer of Beverly Farm Foundation in Godfrey. She began her career over 20 years ago as a direct support professional, working with people with developmental disabilities. Since then, Officer has held leadership positions directing all facets of operations, including training coordinator, support coordinator, adult day program director, human resources director, operations director, vice president, senior vice president, and executive director for leading companies in the industry.

Jane Saale is a third-generation family member to be employed at Cope Plastics Inc. in Alton. She serves as president and chief executive officer at the company founded by her grandparents, Dwight and Mozelle Cope, 76 years ago in 1946. Saale has spent the last 35 years in the plastics industry after graduating from Eastern Illinois University with a Bachelor of Science in business concentrated in accounting.

A River Bend Head Start and Family Services Circle of Care honoree, Saale is among 100 St. Louisans You Should Know and Most Admired Leaders by the St. Louis Small Business Monthly, noted as a Most Influential Businesswoman by the St. Louis Business Journal, and honored with the Paul Davis Award of Merit from the International Association of Plastics Distribution. She has served in many key community leadership capacities and, joined by her husband Steve and the Cope Team continues to actively support numerous local and regional organizations as well as several area schools. As lifelong residents of the Alton area, Saale and her husband have five children and two grandchildren.

Martha Schultz is community bank president and market manager for First Mid Bank & Trust in Alton and Wood River. With 36 years of banking experience, Schultz 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 First Mid’s Highland location.

Raised in Godfrey, Schultz has deep ties to the Riverbend region. She is involved in many community organizations, serves as treasurer for the Boys & Girls Club of Bethalto, chamber ambassador for the RiverBend Growth Association, and is an active member of the Alton Women’s Home Association and the Wood River Woman’s Club. In 2017, Schultz was recognized as a YWCA Woman of Distinction.

The RBGA Board of Directors, in addition to Meyer, Lauritzen, and the five newcomers, includes:

  • Brad Goacher – Alton Memorial Hospital
  • Jake Bodi – Ameren Illinois
  • Denise Wolff – Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Select Properties
  • Rob Schwartz – Busey Bank
  • Pam Heepke – Heepke Farms
  • Bernie Sebold – Illinois American Water
  • Terry Shewmake – International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) #649
  • Thomas Berry, Jr. – Jackson Lewis P.C.
  • Tim Kuebrich – Lake Drive Logistics
  • Lori Artis – Lewis & Clark Community College
  • Matt Waters – Liberty Bank
  • David Miller
  • James Rogalsky – Old Bakery Beer Company
  • Jerald Rumph – OSF HealthCare Saint Anthony’s Health Center
  • Melissa Erker – Phillips 66 Wood River Refinery
  • Cody Hinkle – Piasa Body Art
  • Stephanie Monroe – River Bend Chiropractic Center
  • Mike Fitzgerald – Scheffel Boyle
  • John Barnerd – Simmons Hanly Conroy
  • Dan St. Peters – St. Peters Hardware & Rental, Inc.
  • Karen Wilson – State Farm Insurance & Financial Services-Karen Wilson
  • Jim Rankin – West Star Aviation


Thanks to the years of service to retiring board members: John Roberts, Jim Shrader, Denise VonderHaar, Dwight Werts, and Augie Wuellner.

The RiverBend Growth Association is the Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development organization for the 11 communities known as the Riverbend. For more information about the Growth Association, please visit www.growthassociation.com or call (618) 467-2280.

This article was prepared for the RiverBend Growth Association by Melissa Meske Publications, macmeske.com.