Who we are...

Welcome to North Central Regional Betterment Coalition (NCRBC.) We are a 501(c)(3) tax exempt charitable organization formed in 2008, which serves LaSalle, Bureau, and Putnam counties. As a betterment coalition, we strive to improve our region by engaging in innovative ways to partner with other local entities to build a better community. 

Mission - Vision - Values Statement


 To develop initiatives that create viable cultural, educational, and economic opportunities in North Central Illinois. 


 Our vision is of an informed, inspired, gainfully employed and well-educated North Central Illinois community, which easily works together on a regional basis to enhance economic growth and educational opportunities. 

Values Statement

We value education, it is our future
We value community effort, we all have a stake in our future.
We value action & innovation, our economy will be what we choose.
We value partnerships, together we achieve more. 

Collaborative Projects

Town Halls

Town Hall

In partnership with Advance Illinois, NCRBC sponsored a regional town hall meeting focused on state and local education. The key note speaker was Bill Daley. Over 200 community members attended. 

North Central Illinois Artworks

 NCRBC acted as a sponsor and a spring board for the creation of NCI ArtWorks 

Discover Manufacturing Expo

Discover Manufacturing Expo

 Together with Illinois Valley Community College (IVCC), Carus Corporation, LaSalle-Peru Township High School, Starved Rock Association for Vocational and Technical Education (SRAVTE), and the Peoria Strategic Manufacturing Group, NCRBC created the annual North Central Illinois Discover Manufacturing Career Expo, currently in its sixth year. The Expo brings together educators, manufacturing employers, and students so that students can understand how their education impacts future career choices  and that all types of interesting and good paying jobs are locally available in the manufacturing setting. 

Youth Chess Club

Youth Chess Club

Led by former Board member DeAnna Carlson, NCRBC sponsored a middle school Youth Chess Club. 

IVCC Capital Project Awareness

IVCC Capital Project- Peter Miller Technology Center

Working closely with Rotary, Kiwanis and local Chambers, NCRBC assisted IVCC in scheduling community meetings where Dr. Jerry Corcoran and Fran Brolley introduced a new capital project – The Peter Miller Technology Center 

60 by 25 Network

NCRBC, as lead, and together with over 25 regional entities, applied for and was granted 60 by 25 Network Leadership Community status. The 60 by 25 Network is a state-wide organization created by Advance Illinois, Northern Illinois University Education Systems Center, and Illinois Student Assistance Commission. The 60 by 25 Network is committed to the goal of having 60 % of adults having a post-secondary degree or career credential by the year 2025. Attainment statistics can be found at dashboard.il60by25.org 

Board Members

J. Burt

J. Burt & Associates
J works with high net worth individuals and families, including business owners and professionals, during the various stages of their financial lives.As a financial professional for over 25 years, J is committed to working with his clients to help guide them to an improved financial position.  His first priority is to take the time to listen, and then encourage clients to think and act on their financial goals.  Financial strategies are customized to incorporate risk tolerance with purposeful asset intentions.J’s commitment to advanced education provides clients with a valuable added benefit.  He holds the widely recognized industry marquee designations of CLU (Chartered Life Underwriter), and ChFC (Chartered Financial Consultant) from the American College in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania.  To better help his clients through the financial aspects of the aging process, J was awarded the lifetime designation of CLTC (Certified in Long Term Care) in 2004.  Professional organizations include the Society for Financial Professionals, and the Illinois Valley Estate Planning Council.  J received a B.A. from Southern Illinois University.J resides with his wife Linda in Spring Valley.  Active in his community, J is Past President of the North Central Regional Betterment Coalition. J is an active member and Past President of Illinois Valley Sunrise Rotary and a Paul Harris Fellow. He is a Past President of the Illinois Valley Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors. Hobbies include collecting music, taking in live performances, computers, building digital home entertainment solutions, reading, and home improvement. 

Steve Seaborn

Steve Seaborn, originally from Marseilles, lives with his wife, Jan, across the river in Peru.  They have four children and seven grandchildren.  Steve is a retired engineer from Exelon and Jan is a retired Social Worker from St. Margaret’s.  Steve enjoys many pursuits including storytelling, gardening, singing, and metal sculpture. .

Dr. Conrad Spirrison

Superintendent, Retired
Conrad Spirrison is the retired superintendent of Deer Park Consolidated School District #82 in Ottawa Illinois. Prior to that he served as Director of Speech and Language Services for the Peoria Public School. His career includes 38 years as a special education teacher and school administrator.Conrad’s educational background includes a Master’s Degree in the Teaching of Reading and a Master’s and Ph.D. in Educational Administration.As a special education teacher Conrad worked diligently with students and often with their parents in providing the experiences and learnings that would serve to enhance his student’s life experiences during and after their years attending school. As an administrator he worked closely with his students and their parents, his teachers and other faculty members, and with his school boards.Conrad has been a long time executive board member of NCRBC, having joined the organization shortly after its inception. He was instrumental in organizing the well-attended Town Hall Meeting on Education in Mendota, chairing the NCRBC Educational Advocacy Committee, been active in many of NCRBC’s various programs and projects including organizing the Discover Manufacturing Expo, and served as vice-president for many years before becoming the NCRBC’s president.Now retired, Conrad is a member of several organizations besides NCRBC which are involved with the betterment of our community in various ways.  He is a member of the school superintendent’s organizations Visions On Issues and Choice in Education (VOICE)  and the Illinois Association of School Administrators (IASA) Starved Rock Region. As a member of the LaSalle County Retired Teachers Association (LSCRTA) he serves as chairman of the publicity committee, webmaster, and other assorted functions.The core of Conrad’s life is his family. He and his wife, Sophia, enjoy and participate in the lives of their children and their many grandchildren. We are truly blessed! 

Judd Lusher

President, Princeton Elementary School Board

Education        Degrees  - B.S., M.S., and C.A.S.         Certification             Illinois    Administration   w/Endorsements                                75 Superintendent / Chief School Business Official                           Teaching                                09  English and Speech Communication    With a broad-based training and experience in secondary and elementary education, I have   spent most of my adult life serving the education community. Most of this time was in various   capacities as administrator, instructional leader, and coordinator of special projects.    Volunteer Service        Bureau County United Way  - Board of Directors  (Past President and Campaign Chairman)        Bureau/Putnam County  -- Community Partners Against Substance Abuse - Coalition             Executive Board        North Central Regional Betterment Coalition  - Executive Board        Princeton Elementary School Board   - President        Bureau County Retired Teachers Association  - President  2009-11, Public Relations        Princeton Rotary Club  - Paul Harris Fellow, 2010 Rotarian of the Year, and Scholarship           Chairperson 

Dr. Chithambarathanu Pillai

Carus Corporation
Dr. C. G. Pillai has recently retired from his position as Director of Corporate Regulatory Compliance at Carus Corporation after 29 years of service. He has a Ph.D. degree in Chemistry and 20+ years of experience and expertise in Global Chemical, Environmental, Chemical Safety, Security & Transportation Regulations, Responsible Care®, new product and process invention and development, and change management.His significant achievements include the successful R&D and commercialization of several new products. After transitioning to regulatory role in 2000, he has implemented the environmental management system and led in the implementation of the Responsible Care Management System and certification at Carus sites. Carus sites had zero environmental reportable incidents since 2000. Most recently he is the leader in the implementation of Global Harmonized System and REACH regulatory requirements. .He has five US patents and over 15 publications in referred international journals.  He has given numerous presentations in national meetings and is the invited speaker at American Chemistry Council’s three national Responsible Care conferences.He is passionate about improving the education of our children and is elected as a School Board Member, Peru School District #124 in 2005 & reelected in 2009 & 2013. He strongly believes that a great education is a great equalizer and is the main vehicle for economic advancement. Other offices he holds are Founder Board Member, Peru Education Foundation, Member, Little Vermilion Watershed Committee, LaSalle/Peru/Utica Community Advisory Panel Founder Board Member, North Central Regional Betterment Coalition and Member, LaSalle Rotary.Dr. Pillai is married to Vasuki for 38 years and has three daughters and two grandchildren. 

Board Members

Deanne Conterio


Deanne Conterio is the Vice President and Retail Support Manager for Heartland Bank and Trust Company’s I80 region, which includes Princeton, Peru, Spring Valley, Henry, Oglesby and Minooka.  She has also served as the retail support manager for the Bank’s Northern offices.  She is responsible for ensuring value and service to bank customers, as well as retail employee development and training.  Conterio has more than 22 years of banking and lending experience.  She is involved in various community activities.  Minooka is where her and her family call home.  

“I absolutely love the communities Heartland Bank serves; serving communities is a passion that is important to me, I feel that public action and involvement is the key to the success of our communities,” states Conterio. 

Mark Hull


Mark is originally from Iowa and attended the University of Iowa with a degree in Finance.  He relocated to the Illinois Valley in 1995 and currently resides in Spring Valley.  Mark is the Banking Center Manager for Midland States Bank in Peru and has been with the bank since 1998.  He is a former board member for the Heartland Division of the March of Dimes.  

Julie Kilday



Julie Kilday is a Certified Public Accountant at Baxter & Associates in Oglesby. She grew up in Peru and currently resides in Tonica with her husband and two children. Julie attended Illinois Wesleyan University and graduated with a degree in Accounting. She has been in the accounting field since 2002. Julie enjoys reading, cooking, hiking and camping with her loved ones. She is currently involved with Illinois Valley Animal Rescue. Previously she’s donated her time with the Lions Club of Peru, Tonica Methodist Church and coaching T-ball for her kids. 

Derek Fetzer


Derek Fetzer is the Vice President of Agribusiness Banking for Heartland Bank and Trust Company.  He grew up on a farm near Arlington, Illinois and has over 15 years of banking experience.  He has an Ag Business degree from the University of Illinois.  He and his wife have two kids and currently live in Princeton.  Derek enjoys being involved in various community activities.  He is the current Vice-President of the Princeton Chamber of Commerce Board, chairperson of the Chamber Ag Committee, an Owen Lovejoy Homestead board member, and enjoys coaching his kids baseball teams.   In the past Derek has been involved with United Way, CPASA (Community Partners Against Substance Abuse), and Bureau County Young Leaders.