Alumni Notes

Elizabeth Becvar, 2006
Liz graduated from KCC with an Associate in Applied Science, majoring in Office Professional studies. Since then, she’s “never really left KCC. I was hired as an Administrative Assistant I in the marketing department two months before I graduated,” Liz notes. She recently celebrated her five year anniversary with the college. “Working at KCC has made me very much aware of the importance of education to ‘Enhance the Quality of Life.'” Liz says that since graduating, she’s never stopped learning.

Training services and seminars offered to KCC staff have helped her to increase her skills in customer service, technology, and leadership. Becvar puts those leadership skills to regular use through numerous roles within her church, St. Joseph’s Parish in Manteno. She has also been a regular blood donor since 1989 with Heartland Blood Centers, and has been a seamstress for over 35 years. Liz resides in Manteno with her husband, Lee. They have two sons, Joshua and Zachary.

Denise Burklow, 2005
For Denise, attending KCC was a turning point in life. Newly single at the time, Denise enrolled in KCC and completed her associate degree in 2005. She went onto Olivet Nazarene University and earned her Art degree, and is currently enrolled in her masters program at Governors State University. She resides in Manteno with her sons, Kyle and Levi, and their Great Dane, Bull Dozer. Denise serves on the Alumni Advisory Committee for KCC, and as a board member for the Gretchen Charlton Art Gallery. She is employed as the KCC Recruitment Coordinator.

She says her life has come ‘full circle’ now. “KCC gave me the confidence to pursue my education, and my education gave me the opportunity to work at the college so that I could support myself and my children. Denise credits KCC with giving her many great experiences, interacting with people who genuinely cared about her educational future. Denise says she gained mentors and personal friends who remain a part of her life to this day.

Jeanie Cancialosi, 1988
Jeanie completed the Cosmetology program at KCC in 1988. At that time, she was a young mother, divorced with two children. She credits KCC with ‘changing her life’. She got her education, started her own business, and remarried her husband, Victor. Today, they have a blended family of five children.  Jeanie is on the board of Cosmetology Illinois – Bourbonnais and has served in all capacities in the role. She is a Look Good, Feel Better volunteer at both Provena St. Mary’s and Riverside Hospitals, giving classes for appearance related side effects for women with cancer. She is a board member for the Order of the Sons of Italy, and is a docent for the Frank Lloyd Wright House in Kankakee.

Kevin McGovern, 1989
Kevin graduated from KCC in 1989 with an associate degree in Criminal Justice. After retiring from a distinguished career with the Kankakee City Police Department, he became the Director of Communications for KanComm, a position which he holds today. KanComm is the Public Safety Answering Point for the majority of 911 calls received in Kankakee County.

In addition to his career, McGovern is active with a number of organizations, including the Association of Public Safety Communications Officials, the Northwestern University Center for Public Safety Alumni Association, the 7th Infantry Division Association, the Knights of Columbus Council 745, and the Professional Association of Driving Instructors. His family organizes the Run for Autism, and also participates in other autism awareness walks, runs and motorcycle rides. 

“I attended KCC while working full time with a young family,” Kevin says. “The experience and education at KCC prepared me for my role in the Kankakee City Police Department, and it provided me the opportunity to manage family life, work full time and still continue my education. The relationships that were developed with both staff members and fellow students continue to be meaningful to this day.” Kevin and his wife Chris reside in Kankakee. He has two sons, Ryan and Adam.

Sam Nicholos
Sam Nicholos attended KCC from 1983 to 1984 studying business. During that same time, he had recently begun his role as manager of Ted’s Shoes, his family owned business in Meadowview Shopping Center. Sam remained store manager until the business’ close in 2009. He is currently the store manager at Joseph A. Banks in Peoria, IL.

Sam has been actively involved in the community over the years through the Salvation Army, and as the director of the Independent Athletic Association. He was a longtime member of the Kankakee County Board. Sam says KCC helped prepare him for the real world, and gave him instruction that he continues to use daily in his professional responsibilities. He is father of two children, Teddy and Anastasia.

Rodd Russow, 1993
“What I really liked about attending KCC was the dedication of the instructors,” says Rodd. “They were very helpful and encouraging, regardless of whether or not the student was right out of high school, or more commonly in my classes, an adult learner.” Rodd graduated from KCC with an associate in applied science degree, majoring in Business. He went on to earn his Bachelor’s Degree in Business/Human Resources from Governor’s State University, and his Masters in Arts in Human Resources from Ottawa University.

Today, Rodd is the Director of Human Resources for Northcentral University in Chandler, Arizona.  He is a member of the Society for Human Resource Professionals, and a chapter member of the East Valley HR Association. He and his wife, Karen, currently reside in Phoenix. They have two children, Kristina and Martin.

David Skelly, 1986
After leaving KCC with an associate's degree in Criminal Justice, David Skelly went onto attend Southern Illinois University where he earned his bachelor’s degree in Administration of Justice. He has been a police officer with the Kankakee City Police Department for the past 21 years, and is currently an Administrative Lieutenant for the force. He is the past president of the Police Benevolent & Protective Association, a board member with the Armour Kankakee Credit Union, and was recently elected as Kankakee Valley Park District Commissioner. 

David and his wife, Emily Summers Skelly reside in Kankakee. David has an 11-year old-step son, Noah, and the couple a daughter, Emilia, who is 3. Skelly credits KCC as a “great fit” for him right out of high school, enabling him to stay close to the familiar setting of home and friends. David still enjoys visiting KCC and rekindling memories when the opportunity arises.

Dan Wilder, 2006
Dan Wilder joined Sorensen, Wilder & Associates in 2006 after graduating from Kankakee Community College in Kankakee, IL with a degree in Law Enforcement. With SWA, Dan works extensively with educational and healthcare facilities across the nation, performing security vulnerability assessments (SVA) and developing security programs. He also provides occupational health and safety training.

Since graduating from KCC, Dan has earned multiple certifications from the US Department of Homeland Security, and has worked with local and state government agencies in design and implementation of disaster preparedness drills. Dan also works as a firefighter/EMT and is a certified instructor with the Illinois State Fire Marshall's Office.

Dan says that KCC was a perfect stepping stone for his future. “Instructors like Frank Fischer helped me to be better prepared for my career through a commitment to one on one attention, and a genuine interest in student success. He was a great role model not only for learning the curriculum, but for what it means to be a dedicated professional.” Dan is engaged, and resides in Bradley.

Sarah Winkel, 1999
Sarah Winkel completed her Associate in Arts degree in 1999, and then transferred to Illinois State University to earn her Bachelors in Recreation & Parks. Currently, Winkel is the manager of the Exploration Station Children’s Museum at the Bourbonnais Township Park District. Outside of work, Sarah is active in the community through Zonta Club of Kankakee. She is the current food chairman for Zonta’s annual “International Taste” event, and recently finished her term as a board member.

Sarah says she loved her time at KCC. “It was a great school, and I had great experiences. I loved the fact that I had one on one interaction with the instructors; it was something I needed, and would not have gotten at a four year institution. Sarah currently resides in Kankakee with her significant other, Beau Manny.

Tammie (Wilkins) Wright, 1993
Tammie Wright completed her KCC education in 1993 and life quickly took off from there. She married her husband Stacy in 1994, and the couple had their daughter, Mollie, in 1997. Wright was working at CIGNA when she graduated, and following her wedding, started working at then Armour Pharmaceuticals doing temp work in the Accounts Payable Department, and was then hired in the Maintenance Department as a Supervisors Assistant.  

Tammie credits KCC with helping her get a foot in the door for her job. “Jobs are hard to come by, and people need every advantage they can get. A college education on a resume is a plus.” Wright continued employment until her daughter was born. As a stay at home mom, Wright became actively involved with her daughter’s Girl Scout Troop for three years, including one year as leader, and has also been very involved in Children’s Ministry at Calvary Bible Church in Bourbonnais for the past eight years.