Parkland College has named local entrepreneur Jeffrey B. Hettler its 2014 Distinguished Alumnus.
The owner of Five Star Trading in Champaign is a 1982 Parkland graduate in business administration. He will receive his award May 15 during Parkland's 2014 Commencement Exercises, scheduled for 8 p.m. at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts in Urbana.
Hettler earned a Bachelor of Science in Marketing from Southern Illinois University Carbondale in 1984. He would ultimately use his Parkland 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.
He is a past president of the Parkland College Alumni Association and currently serves as a board member. In 2008, he established the Frank and Priscilla Hettler Scholarship in honor of his parents; this award has since helped many Parkland students from large families improve their lives through higher education. Finally, he is a charter member of the Parkland Proud/IGA Program, which dedicates a portion of sales at IGA stores to provide scholarships to deserving Parkland students.
Hettler is a regular contributor both to local food banks in Illinois and to a local senior assisted living facility. He is involved in fundraising statewide for the educational not-for-profit sector and has organized local golf outings in support of middle grades education. He is a member of the American Marketing Association and Independent Food Broker Associations.