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Customers and Clients

Over my 20 year career in education, training, facilitation and consulting with small businesses, the list below represents a sampling of the various types of businesses that I've had the privilege of working with through my involvement with the Certificate in Business Administration program at the University of Illinois at Chicago.  This list represent the "Best of the Better" small businesses where I had the distinct opportunity to both contribute to as well as learn from over my career.

Hiring Objective

Marketing Professional with proven expertise in finding, attracting and securing strong long-term relationships directly with owners and key managers of small to mid-size closely held businesses seeks a position or contract opportunity where my knowledge, experience and skills will have a direct impact on acquiring new business opportunities, servicing current accounts and enhancing the overall position of the company in the marketplace. 

Professional Biography

Michael Palella is a marketing professional with more than 20 years experience in marketing campaigns and relationship building to the small business market.   Michael is a motivated and personable worker with effective social skills who works well as a team member and as a manager with mentoring and training skills – he is a hands-on professional with the experience and knowledge to handle anything necessary to reach identified goals. 

He brings a ‘whatever it takes’ mentality to any challenge and has the proven ability to lead others toward the critical issues at hand in order to develop successful solutions. Michael has never been satisfied with ‘business as usual’ thinking, and over his career, has developed a reputation of using hard work, creativity and leadership to produce better results.  He understands project management and knows how to budget and manage multiple projects to ensure all priorities are achieved.

During his marketing career, Michael has developed a unique, in-depth account knowledge of developing business opportunities directly with owners and key managers of small to mid-size businesses.  He has worked directly with single owners, partners, and families of privately held small enterprises as part of their strategic planning and performance improvement projects.  


Michael’s specialties include Consulting and Facilitation of Strategy and Planning, Project Management, and process improvement techniques involving cross departmental teams. Specific marketing specialties include developing CRM applications for strategic marketing and sales campaigns, website development, branding and social media strategies.


Dr. Earl Young

Dr. Young was an instructor in the Certificate in Business Administration program for the Operations Management sessions.  Dr. Young also was the lead content developer for a national program which CED developed. 

Dr. Gerald Hills

Dr. Hills was Center for Enterprise Development's University Partner while he held the title of Denton Thorne Chair in Entrepreneurship at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Tom Glavin

“My business experience with Michael has a few different components. I first met him when I participated in the Center for Enterprise Development. During this time I found one of Michael's strengths was to simplify complicated situations and communicate in a very straightforward manner. Consequently, I have hired Michael of the years to help with specific marketing and operational issues our company has had. Michael has always able to grasp the situation quickly and offer real and lasting solutions.”

Paul Timm

“Mike was an instructor of mine at UIC back in his CBA program days. He faithfully kept in touch with me during his career moves. My firm has been glad to partner with him and Illinois Engineered Products. In addition to being a careful listener, he always demonstrates strategic thinking, creativity, and reliability.”

Randy Rollinson

Randy was the majority stockholder and President of CED, Inc. before I became a Principal of the firm. 

Dr. Ali Akarca

“I have known Mike for almost two decades. He is one of the three partners of the Center for Enterprise Development (CED), a company which consults and educates small business owners and managers. I can tell you that Mike is an effective communicator and well liked and appreciated by his audiences. I also benefited from his feedback and suggestions concerning my presentations. The fact that CED is successful in running cycles after cycles of business participants in their program, is a testimony to the insight and abilities of Mike and his partners, and the value they offer to their clients. I recommend Michael Palella very highly and without any reservations.”

Andrea Stricker

“As a Manager, Michael would be an asset for any organization. He is very knowledgeable in business processes which enables him to get the job done, delegating as necessary. While working with Michael at Illinois Engineered Products, I found him to be a great problem solver, helping the entire organization move forward. I would certainly recommend him for future management roles.”

Diane Langowski

Diane was my partner while at CED, Inc.

Chuck Whisler

“I had the pleasure of working with Mike at IEP. Mike supported my efforts in the sales department with his marketing expertise. I found Mike to be extremely supportive, professional and a real asset to our team. If you need a marketing professional, Mike would be a terrific addition to your organization!” 

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Work experience


Business Development Director

Athens Construction Co., Inc.

Responsible for business development activities including identifying and contacting new relationships with architects, Interior designers, real estate professionals and commercial accounts in order to develop future opportunities and immediate sales.  Additional responsibilities include working as a team member to further website development and collateral materials.  

Jan 2011Nov 2011

Business Development Director

Marble Emporium, Inc.

Responsible for business development activities including identifying and contacting new relationships with architects, Interior designers, real estate professionals, home builders and developers, contractors and commercial accounts in order to develop future opportunities and immediate sales. 


Marketing Manager

Illinois Engineered Products, Inc. and Acorn Wire & Iron Works

Manufacturer of security folding gates sold to commercial, institutional and contractor customers.  Responsibilities included planning and execution of all marketing campaigns and sales support for two product lines of two separate companies (Illinois Engineered Products and Acorn Wire & Iron Works) representing various vertical markets and positions.  Product lines are sold through a dealer network, competitive bids to contractors and directly to end-users.

Marketing campaigns included trade shows, display advertising, direct mail, public relations, internet marketing and call center management.  Marketing communication responsibilities included evaluation and planning of print and electronic advertising and collateral and managing external ad agency resources.

  • Realized a 20% increase in contract sales volume over previous years’ levels through the increased performance in RFQ acquisition and quoting response and follow-up.  Guided team strategy to achieve an increase in sales goals using team building, performance reporting and phone conferences. 
  • Reduced direct mail expenses by 50% and improved the effectiveness of marketing and internal sales campaigns through the improvement of CRM systems. 
  • Re-organized and trained a national dealer network to help increase sales.  Developed and implemented website improvements, improved product literature, demonstration videos and product images, tradeshow demonstrations and WebEx web conferencing.
  • Consolidated marketing efforts across two companies increasing purchasing efficiency, planning effectiveness and decreasing overall costs.  Created budgets and tracking mechanisms. New initiatives solved sales support issues, resulting in an increase in sales department performance.
  • Led company transition into web-based and online marketing programs, including Google Pay per click campaigns, and initiated email marketing campaigns which increased response rates and tracking capabilities while reducing overall cost per inquiry versus traditional direct mail efforts. 

Contract Manager

Patrick Engineering

Contract Manager for Exelon projects in the west (ComEd) and in the east (PECO Energy Services) representing over $15 million in value.  Responsible for the management of multi-year contracts under Engineers of Choice (EOC) and Contractors of Choice (COC) agreements between Patrick Engineering, Inc. and Exelon, including the execution and on-going funding of contract releases.


VP Marketing/Principal Partner

Center for Enterprise Development

CED is a business education, training and consulting company that offers as its primary product, the Certificate in Business Administration Program at the University of Illinois at Chicago (CBAP).

Responsibilities included the development and on-going management of a marketing and sales system with an emphasis on new customer development including direct mail and telemarketing campaigns and inside sales pipeline programs executed through an internally designed and developed CRM system.Day-to-day activities included one-to-one selling of individuals and teams into core education programs as well as facilitation and consulting engagements.

  • Doubled enrollment through the development and roll out of additional classroom facilities to a larger – and growing – geographic segment of the market.
  • Increased company revenue by 40% through the development of new business education programs targeted at national enrollments.g core competencies in the design, development and delivery of business education content. 
  • Reduced the overall cost of new, qualified inquiries by more than 50% over previous levels through the development and execution of an outside telemarketing campaign integrated with improved inside sales efforts.
  • Developed strong written, verbal and listening skills. Presented effective sales information and educational content to all levels of small to mid-sized business organizations.
  • Facilitated hundreds of strategic planning teams and helped realign organizations, its people and actions around the most critical work processes.Used team building, process flow charts and other quality tools to achieve leaner processes and improved performance.



Southern Illinois University

BS - Journalism with a specialization in Photo Journalism. 


DePaul University Chicago

MBA in Marketing Management from DePaul University Kellstadt Graduate School of Management


Microsoft Project
Corporate Culture Development
Having worked with numerous planning teams, I have found that understanding, assessing and working to improve company cultures is imperative to successful change management initiatives.  I have studied and used the Denison Culture Survey tool in order to obtain a proven baseline of a company's culture as part of my performance improvement and strategic planning engagements. 
Process Mapping and Improvement Projects
Since 1993, I have been studying and applying process improvement techniques for customers and consulting clients within the manufacturing, construction and service business sectors.  Proficient in mapping work processes using the Ben Graham Process Mapping software and Microsoft Visio.  Processes charted for team improvement projects and the creation of direct roles and responsibilities for current and new job descriptions.    I participated as an Examiner for the Lincoln Awards for Performance Excellence - the state of Illinois' equivalent to the Malcolm Baldrige Awards.  The engagement included a site visit to the headquarters of Grainger Industrial Supply in Lake Forest, Illinois.  I also have pursued on-going training in process improvement techniques and lean disciplines throughout my career. 
CRM Systems
Systems used include Goldmine - develop, design and train, and Act Enterprise Edition - enhanced, maintained and train. 
MS Office
Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook