After graduating from Parkland in 1982 with an Associate’s degree in Business Administration, local entrepreneur Jeff Hettler went on to earn his Bachelor of Science in Marketing from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, in 1984. He would ultimately use his Parkland business degree to become an entrepreneur in the merchant wholesale food brokerage industry, selling a wide range of grocery items to retailers and independent wholesalers. He would put his SIU marketing skills to work as well, earning numerous awards for national merchandising displays that he developed.
Jeff gives back to his community by helping to feed its members in greatest need. He is a regular contributor both to local food banks in Illinois and to a local senior assisted living facility. In addition, he is involved in fundraising statewide for the educational not-for-profit sector and has organized local golf outings in support of middle grade school education.
Parkland College and its students also benefit from Jeff’s support. He has served as president of the college’s Alumni Association in the past and currently serves as a member of the Alumni Advisory Committee. In 2008, he established the Frank and Priscilla Hettler Scholarship in honor of his parents; this award has since helped many students from large families improve their lives through higher education. Finally, he is a charter member of the Parkland Proud/IGA Program, which dedicated a portion of sales at IGA stores to provide scholarships to deserving Parkland students.
In 2014 Jeff received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from Parkland College. And he is also a member of the American Marketing Association and Independent Food Broker Associations.
Jeff’s most memorable experience at Parkland was that “Parkland College and its instructors change lives. It certainly changed mine. In the final year of obtaining my Associate Degree at Parkland College, I happened across a Marketing 101 class. It was taught by Ed Zilewicz. Mr. Zilewicz's knowledge and enthusiasm for the subject and his students was infectious. At the end of this class, I knew that sales and marketing would be my career direction.”