New Business Manager, Brent Baker Shares How ICC Nurtured His Success

July 11, 2022

ICC Class of 2011 (Psychology) 
Transferred to Bradley University – Bachelor’s in Psychology

New Business Development Manager, Natural Fiber Welding 
2021 ICC Alumnus of the Last Decade Award

Tell us about the career path that led you to your current job:  

After graduating from ICC and then Bradley, I completed two years of AmeriCorps volunteer service through the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) here in Peoria, Illinois. These two years found me serving at the Peoria Housing Authority, between Taft and Harrison Homes providing employment and academic counseling to residents to gain meaningful employment, or enroll in local educational/vocational programs. During this experience I had the opportunity to work with my alma mater, ICC to create a preparatory program for residents to enroll in a joint GED/CNA certifications program that impacted 30 women, with 12 of them earning their CNA certificate.  

After my time at the Peoria Housing Authority, I worked for five years at the Greater Peoria Economic Development Council, in a number of roles focused on supporting workforce development across a five county region. This work found me creating internships for high school students, supporting the region’s largest career-exploration event for middle-schoolers, CareerSpark, and supporting national talent attraction campaigns. Following that, I moved onto a role at Natural Fiber Welding, a fast-growing, materials science company in Peoria, where I am helping take our plastic-free, leather alternative, called MIRUM® to market globally. 

How did ICC shape your future or help you attain your professional goals:  

ICC allowed me to take control of my education and instill a sense of confidence in doing so, that I was steering my future. My instructors were also incredibly supportive, always being open to providing me additional help and resources to ensure I was successful. In my time at ICC I learned it was okay to ask for help and that accepting help is a sign of courage and strength. ICC also allowed me to save money and invest it in other places in my life that have greatly helped provide me the stability I have today. 

What advice would you give current students at ICC to succeed?   

Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it, the staff and instructors at ICC truly do care and want you to be successful. Get involved with organizations and efforts outside of class and put the skills you learn in the classroom to work in the real world. If something comes up that threatens to derail your education, talk to your instructor, or the support staff at ICC to get the support you need to keep your education moving forward.