It was 4:30 p.m. the afternoon before Governor J.B. Pritzker was scheduled to give his Budget Address in February when his office called Brandon Ihlenfeldt 

Brandon, bank teller at our Chatham branch, was invited to attend the speech at the State Capitol the next morning and be part of Pritzker’s speech. 

“I didn’t think I’d be able to get off work, and obviously work comes first, but INB made it work because they’re very flexible,” Brandon said. “It was an awesome experience; I’ve never been invited to the Capitol before.” Photo of Branden Ihlenfeldt

The governor highlighted Brandon’s background and personal story as a young father and husband who is continuing to pursue his education while working full-time and supporting his family.

Text from the budget speech reads:

I also want to introduce you all to Brandon Ihlenfeldt, who earned his GED at Lincoln Land and is in the final semester of his H-VAC program. He’ll graduate this spring with a degree and the ability to do work that he loves. Brandon is also a husband and a father, and after a full day at work at Illinois National Bank and a full evening at school, he finds time to spend with his family. But he knows that an education is the key to being able to get a good job to support them. Without MAP grants, he would’ve had to take on loans and debt, with two young children. For Brandon, this is an opportunity he wouldn’t have had otherwise; and it’s an opportunity you all made possible by expanding the MAP grant program. Please give a round of applause to a great family man and a hard worker, Brandon Ihlenfeldt.

Originally from Auburn, Brandon, 19, currently lives in Springfield with his wife Tahara, son Beckham and daughter Brooklyn. He began work at INB in May 2019 and started the nine-month HVAC program at Lincoln Land in August 2019.

“I started at INB as an opportunity to get into banking and explore that industry. I’m enjoying it more than I even thought I would,” he says. “What’s not to like about working at INB? It seems like everyone is family.”

INB’s support over the last year has been extremely appreciated, Brandon says.

“That’s a huge reason I like working here; they’ve been very good to me, especially my supervisor Kelly Raison (INB Chatham branch manager). They know I have to get to school by 4:30. And on weeks that I close the branch, my instructors at LLCC are also very understanding,” he shares.

It was a good feeling to be acknowledged for his hard work every day as he juggles work, school and family.

“It was nice to be recognized. Even if I wasn’t recognized, I just have to do what I have to do for my family, but the pat on the back was nice,” Brandon says.