Felisa Durr – Executive Director
Felisa has 27 years experience working at Caterpillar as an electrical engineer, global buyer, and logistics manager and is sighted. She was also the founder of SWAN National Women’s Network non-profit which operated from 2005-2012 of which she was one of the recipients of the 25 Women in Leadership award. She has an MBA from University of Phoenix and a Masters in Theology from Lincoln Christian University. Felisa is very active in the community with her family business Educatees (products and programs for children) as well as serving in leadership at St. Paul Baptist Church.
Prasad Parupalli – President
Prasad serves as President on the Executive Committee and is sighted. He has experience working at Caterpillar as a software engineer, Business Development Manager for the engineering design Center, and in various leadership roles. In addition to serving as Executive Board President of the CICBVI, he is a board member for the Illinois Math Academy and Easter Seals in Peoria.
Kurt Norris – Vice President
Kurt Norris serves as Vice-President on the Executive Committee and is sighted. He is retired and worked as the Global Director of Rental and Used Equipment Services for Caterpillar Inc. He has 32 years of financial and marketing experience working for Caterpillar and supported the needs of Caterpillar Dealers around the world.
Lance Barke – Treasurer
Lance serves as Treasurer on the Executive Committee and has low vision. He received a Bachelor’s in Engineering from the University of Illinois and a Master’s in Engineering from Bradley University. He started working full-time at Caterpillar in 2011 and loves making a positive impact on the world in his professional career and looks to make an even greater impact within his personal life by being on the Board of Directors. All of this has been possible in his life through the love and support of Jesus Christ, family and friends.
Darlene Violet – Secretary
Darlene Violet serves as Secretary on the Executive Committee. She moved to Peoria in 2017 and is sighted. She holds a Masters Degree in Sociology and has been an active volunteer in Ohio and, currently, in Peoria. She is also President of a non-profit called Shared Blessings.
Deb Conklin – Human Resources
Deb serves as Human Resources on the Executive Committee. She is a US Army veteran and has worked at Caterpillar for 24 years. She has near-normal vision with recurrent uveitis, having experienced temporary blindness for 6 weeks. Deb has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Engineering from the University of Illinois, and an Executive MBA from Bradley.
Board of Directors:
Mark Bean – Director
Mark serves as Facilities Committee Chairperson on the Board of Directors and is sighted. He is a retired steamfitter and Moderator at Peoria Heights Congregational Church. He serves as President of the Peoria Heights Suburban Lion’s Club and volunteers with Helping Hands and the PHCC pantry. Mark enjoys God, family, friends, and working with his hands, especially outdoors!
Gyla Grigsby – Director
Gyla Grigsby serves as a Director on the Board of Directors. She has been employed assembling items for Caterpillar and for the Pekin Times and has low vision. When she was 18, she became involved with the Center as a patron and has spent the past 15 years serving on the Board of Directors.
Steve Knecht – Director
Steve serves as a Director on the Board of Directors and is sighted. He is a retired Caterpillar employee and is a Certified Public Accountant, graduating from Illinois State University. He is a member of St. Philomena Roman Catholic Church. He enjoys family events, outdoor sports and travel.
Xin Lu – Director
Xin serves as a Director on the Board of Directors. She grew up in Beijing, China, and became visually impaired as a teenager from glaucoma. Xin has lived in the U.S. for 23 years and worked in treasury management for a global pharmaceutical company. She earned her MBA from Roosevelt University in Chicago.
David Murphy – Director
David serves as a Director on the Board of Directors and is sighted. David is a Global Account Manager with Parker Hannifin Corporation in Peoria. He is a graduate of Illinois State University. He is a member of St. Philomena Roman Catholic Church. He enjoys traveling, exercising, and spending time with family and friends.
Cora Quinn – Director
Cora Quinn serves as Program Committee Chairperson on the Board of Directors. She is totally blind and has served on the Executive board as President. Cora first became involved at the Center as a patron attending social outings and eventually became involved on the Board of Directors. Cora’s hobbies include listening to Cardinals baseball games, knitting, spending time her dog, and reading.
Jennifer Reeder – Director
Jennifer Reeder serves as a Education Committee Chairperson on the Board of Directors. She is a Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments (TVI) and a Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist (COMS) and is sighted. She has experience working with children who have low vision, blindness, deaf-blindness, and multiple impairments.
Lanna Scannell – Director
Lanna Scannell serves as Marketing Committee Chairperson on the Board of Directors and joined the Board in 2018. She currently works for OSF HealthCare and is sighted. In addition to serving on the CICBVI Board, she is a member of Peoria Rotary-North. She holds a bachelor’s degree in public relations and earned a master’s degree in business administration.
Emily Shuman – Director
Emily is a teacher of students with visual impairments in Tazewell and Mason counties. She is sighted but has a passion for all things Braille. She is an Illinois State University graduate with a degree in Special Education: Low Vision Blindness. She joined the board to assist with educational programs for our patrons to help them grow in their knowledge and skills.
Leia Stewart – Director
Leia Stewart serves as a Director on the Board of Directors. She served as past Treasurer on the Executive Board and is blind. She earned a living as a medical transcriptionist for 14 and grew up participating in programs offered by the Peoria Area Blind People’s Center (now CICBVI). When you meet Leia, you will also meet her partner in travel, Mojave, a dog guide from Guide Dogs for the Blind in Oregon.
Ken Gray – Director Emeritus
Ken serves as Director Emeritus on the Board of Directors and has low vision. His 30-year Caterpillar career included international assignments in engineering, marketing, product management, dealer development, and leadership. He was Caterpillar’s first corporate Director of Innovation and is perhaps best known as the champion of Caterpillar’s first hybrid construction machine. Ken holds Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Mechanical Engineering from Bradley University and has completed executive development programs at Stanford University, the Institute for Management Development in Lausanne, Switzerland, and Bradley University.