Hall of Champions: Business & Industry

JCA President/Principal Dr. Jeffrey Budz is pleased to announce the 2023 Hall of Champions: Business & Industry: Lee Crowther ’56, Scott Czerkies’94, Phyllis Olsta ’51, Dr. Anita (Kraus ’83) Lane, and the Hon. Richard C. Schoenstedt ’74. The Hall of Champions has become a staple in the JCA community, honoring past Angels and Hilltoppers for their accomplishments in business, industry, and athletics. 

The mission of the Hall of Champions: Business & Industry is to honor SFA, JCHS, and JCA graduates for their accomplishments throughout their professional careers ranging from medicine, law, education, entertainment, business, technology, and more. With over 23,600 alumni and counting, the lessons instilled by both the Carmelites and Franciscans over JCA’s 154-year history of Catholic education in the Joliet community has consistently cultivated leaders that have produced a world-wide impact.

JCA Director of Special Events Mrs. Christine Voss said, “this year’s honorees represent the character, integrity, passion, hard work, compassion, and wisdom that make Joliet Catholic Academy one of the premier institutions across the state and nation. We want to thank them so much for all they do to make JCA a better place. We are indebted to their leadership and kindness towards our institution. I’m so happy that we are able to honor them, and that they are able to visit with and tell their inspirational stories to our students.”

This year’s honorees will be inducted at 7:00 p.m. on Friday, February 10, 2023 at the Jacob Henry Mansion.

Congratulations to the 2023 Joliet Catholic Academy Hall of Champions: Business & Industry:


Lee Crowther ’56


Lee volunteered to serve two years in the U.S. Army, including one and a half years active duty in the Korean conflict after graduating Joliet Catholic High School. Lee joined his dad in the family roofing business in Joliet after returning home from Korea. While building the family roofing company, he always cared for his employees. A particular pastime they all shared was they all loved softball. To provide ample opportunity to enjoy the game, he built a Crowther Roofing baseball stadium on his roofing company property dedicated to 12″ slow pitch softball leagues, complete with stands, nightlights, press box and concession stands. Lee and his brother, Scott, started and became principals in the early 1970s of LJ Crowther Inc. Roofing company and operated the business out of Romeoville, Illinois where it still exists to this day. In 1974, Lee moved to Ft Myers, Florida and started Crowther Roofing and Sheet Metal of Florida Inc. He continued to grow this business under his leadership. With his family, he expanded the operating base of the company to two more locations in Florida, one in Sarasota, and one in Jupiter. More services were added as time evolved in order to serve a broader demand for Florida Construction services. Lee added a Commercial Division, a Residential Roofing and HVAC Division, A Lightweight Concrete Substrate Division, and a Truss Framing Division all within the last 20 years that provide a bundled service offering to its loyal and repeat customer base.

After 9/11, Lee was awarded a charred roofing slate sample from the Pentagon in return for the financial support provided as a charter member of the National Roofing Contractors Association. The support aided in the rebuilding of roof systems at the Pentagon complex after AA flight #77 crashed into the Pentagon. In December of 2022, Lee was given an honorary Bachelor’s degree in Life Success and Community Service by Florida Gulf Coast University. Today, Lee continues as Chairman of the Board of Crowther Roofing & Sheet Metal of Florida Inc. Crowther Roofing and Sheet Metal of Florida Inc. is consistently ranked in the top ten commercial roofing contracting companies in the country with revenues in excess of $100,000,000, employing more than 700 people. Company motto’s that have been born since inception are:

• Lead by example – respect is earned.

• Service the company reputation and do the right thing.

• Install roofs and provide services in this order: Safely, Correctly, Quickly, and lastly “for profit.”

• The true value of any good company lies in the employee base it retains.


Scott Czerkies ’94

Scott was born and raised in the Joliet-area. After attending Troy grade schools and graduating from Joliet Catholic Academy, he pursued his childhood dream and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Architectural Studies from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. He continued his education at UIUC with a Master of Architecture and Master of Science in Civil & Environmental Engineering (Construction Management). During his architectural education, Scott interned for Thomas Buchar’s (JCHS ’67) Joliet architectural firm. After graduation he worked for Legat Architects as an associate architect and project manager. While at Legat, he was on the project team for the Tinley Park Metra Station (Oak Park Avenue) that was named one of the 150 Great Places in Illinois by the American Institute of Architects. In 2006, Scott became a Licensed Architect and founded his own architecture firm (Czerkies Design, LLC) in 2007. The firm has been involved in many commercial, residential, and educational projects, including the design of JCA’s Warning Innovation Research Center. Currently, Scott balances his work life between architecture and real estate. He and his older brothers, Craig (JCHS ’88) and David (JCHS ’90), own and manage several agricultural, commercial, and industrial properties within Illinois. Scott contributes much of his success and values to his parents, Edward and Carolyn Czerkies. Both born in Joliet, Scott’s parents worked hard to set a lasting influence on the focus of family, work, and community.

Upon moving back to Joliet in 2007, Scott began his involvement with local organizations by joining the board at Our Lady of Angels Retirement Home. He has also served as Holy Family School Board member and president and was on the building committee during the 2020 HFS expansion. Throughout the years, Scott has enjoyed coaching many sports teams within the area (YMCA basketball, Joliet Park District soccer, Holy Family cross country, volleyball, and basketball). Most recently, he has found great meaning in being part of the Will County Habitat for Humanity. In addition to being a board member, Scott contributes his architectural skills to designing and detailing many of the homes built by the local chapter. As a student of the first four-year class to graduate from JCA, Scott maintains many lifelong friendships from his high school years. Most notable is his wife, Laura Milo (JCA ’94). Together they have four amazing children, three of whom are currently attending JCA (Lanie ’23, Miles ’24, Charlie ’26, and Louie ’27). Scott finds his greatest pride in all of their accomplishments.


Phyllis Olsta ’51

Phyllis attended the Cathedral of St. Raymond Nonnatus, St. Francis Academy (’51), and Joliet Junior College earning an AA Liberal Arts. Upon graduation she worked as a clerk stenographer at U.S. Rubber Company at the Joliet Arsenal. In the late 1950s and early 60s, Phyllis performed with the traveling Ice Varieties Skating Show, and was a hostess on the Transcontinental California Zephyr for the Burlington Railroad. She also had a wonderful opportunity to work at the State of Illinois Pavilion at the New York World’s Fair alongside Walt Disney. In addition to being a longtime Cruise Directress for the Matson Lines Monterey & Mariposa South Pacific (world passenger ships), she also worked for the Catholic Church in Fairbanks, Alaska, helping to establish the Monroe Foundation (raising funds for the first Catholic schools in Alaska). In 1982, Phyllis volunteered in Juno, Alaska helping establish a recreation program for senior citizens and worked on the Alaska marine highway system. She then worked for the Golden Bear Travel Service and worked on the Princess and Holland America lines. In between her travels, Phyllis would visit Joliet and attend Mass at St. Paul’s and get together with her old SFA friends. She has always held the City of Joliet close to
her heart along with the Franciscan Nuns for building in her a strong study and work ethic which she has carried with her throughout her life. Phyllis has established the Phyllis Olsta Endowed Scholarship Fund for JCA students. According to Phyllis, “it’s like a gift that keeps giving back, it’s a wonderful present to give to Joliet Catholic Academy, a school that has done so much for all of us.”

Phyllis is retired now and resides in Portland, Oregon. Due to her declining health, she regrets that she is unable to attend the Hall of Champions for Business & Industry and congratulates all of the inductees. She is grateful for receiving her Catholic education, for all the teachers, the priests and nuns who made us all wonderful successes in society but especially thankful to Our Lord for her long healthy life!


Dr. Anita (Kraus ’83) Lane

Anita started her Catholic education at St. Joseph’s school. This was her family’s parish for multiple generations. She began high school at Joliet Central but transferred to St. Francis Academy her junior year. She was inspired to go into medicine by her science teacher Mr. Robert Cambic, who taught her science for five years at St. Joes and two years at SFA. She then attended Northwestern University where she met her husband Phil. She received her medical degree from the University of Illinois, married Phil, and then completed her Internal Medicine residency back at Northwestern. Anita and Phil moved to Phil’s hometown, Colorado Springs, in 1994. She worked for a large medical group for 18 years before she and a colleague started Touchstone Internal Medicine, a direct pay practice. In 2017 Anita bought an old bank building 500 steps from her home, renovated it and moved her practice there. She also rents space in the building, (The Oasis at 6 Elm), to a facial plastic surgeon, a Culinary and Lifestyle physician, a Pilates instructor, a massage therapist and an aesthetician. Anita became the sole owner of Touchstone this year.

Outside of medicine Anita has enjoyed performing in musical theater productions. She has climbed more than a dozen of Colorado’s 14,000-foot mountains. She and Phil are the proud parents of three daughters and
are active volunteers in their community.


Hon. Richard C. Schoenstedt ’74

Rick Schoenstedt was born and raised in Joliet. He attended St. Raymond grade school (’70) and Joliet Catholic High School (’74). Rick received his B.A. from Marquette University in 1978 and his J.D. from DePaul University School of Law in 1981. He married his wife, Mary Beth in 1985 and they have three beautiful daughters, Lorien, Katie and Emily, all of whom attended JCA. Rick was a general practice partner in several law firms in Joliet from 1981 to 2001 when he was appointed an Associate Judge in Will County, followed by his election in 2002 as a Circuit Judge and his election in 2012 as Chief Judge. Rick is a former member of the Illinois Conference of Chief Judges, the Will County Bar Association Board of Directors, Joliet Catholic Academy School Board, Crisis Line of Will County Board of Directors, St. Mary Immaculate School Board, and he received the Will County Bar Association’s lawyer of the year award in 2020.

Rick retired in January 2021 and divides his time between Joliet and Scottsdale, Arizona.

Past Honorees

Class of 2021

Hon. Vincent Cornelius ’82

Dr. Bill Nelson ’73                                                                                                                                                       

Jane (McGrath ’76) Schmig                                                                                                                                 

Meg (Murer ’87) Tortorello


Class of 2020

Diane (Felbinger ’62) Habiger

Jennifer M. (Kane ’82) Howard

James W. Missig ’83


Class of 2019

Mary Kay (Softcheck ’66) Blake

Geraldine R. Fehst ’66

John Manner ’63

Julie (Periu ’91) McMahon


Class of 2018

Paul Arling ’81

Robert M. Dow ’83

Sally (Nolan ’86) Giegerich

Thomas C. Kennedy ’83

Lynne Scheffler ’85

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