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Bill Kruder, President

It all began the summer of 1973, after graduating from high school and waiting to attend college that fall. I applied for a sales associate position at store 1542 Chicago (Ford City). Within months, I met Jack Fields, Ron Fazio, and Jim Trench who were part of the management team. It was at that moment that I decided I wanted to be like them. Through their mentorship and friendship, which has lasted more than 40 years, the journey began. After attending Elmhurst College in 1977, I joined the Management Training Program in store 1542. Upon completion of the program and after working in a couple of stores including store 1688 Gary (the Village), Indiana and store 1967 Waukegan, Illinois, and many different merchandise assignments, I was promoted to General Merchandise Manager of Women's and Men's in 1983 in store 0972 Niles (Golf Mill). In 1985, I was promoted again. The promotion was GMM of Women's and Home to open store 2163 Calumet City (River Oaks). Two years later, I moved on to my next assignment as GMM of Women's and Home at store 0237 Orland Park. Following these assignments in 1992, I was promoted as Women's Business Planning Manager for the newly combined Chicago district 8310 out of store 1948 Schaumburg (Woodfield). It was in 1994 that I was sent to the Home Office, first as Marketing Programs Manager in Soft Home then as Catalog Media Manager in Women's before getting my first buying assignment as Buyer of Misses Blouses. I then moved on to Buying assignments that included Misses Casual Tops followed by Misses Casual Bottoms. Ten years later, I was assigned as a project lead to the Cycle Time Reduction initiative followed by the Private Brands Time and Action Director in 2008. I retired after nearly 40 years in January 2012 at the age of 57. I joined H.C.S.C. Southwest Local Meeting Group in 2013, becoming Treasurer in 2015 a position I still hold. Why? Because I wanted to give back from a career that provided so well for me and my family. In 2017, I joined the National Board becoming Vice President in 2021-22 and now President for the term of 2022-2023. Me and my wife Debi look forward to serving the H.C.S.C. Alumni.

Steve Strom, 1st Vice President

I am a 39+ year veteran of JCPenney and 11 years with the Alumni Club. I will happily receive my 50 Year Pin in 2023! My JCP career started in Fort Dodge, Iowa and progressed to Sterling, Ill, Dubuque, IA, Davenport, IA, Waterloo, IA, Chicago, Ill (Calumet City, Orland Park, and Elk Grove Village), Hays, Kansas, and Fort Smith, Arkansas. I joined the Alumni Club in 2013 and served as Vice President of the Mile High Denver/ Rocky Mountain RMG for 3 years under Ed Trujillo as President. I assumed the RMG President duties in 2017 and served for 4 years before turning the role over to current President, Royce Bervig. I served on the 2016 HCSC Annual Convention Committee researching Denver as a potential site (Sacramento, CA was selected), and the National Ad Hoc Committee researching and making recommendations about succession planning, future needs and priorities of the club etc. in 2019. I was selected by a National Search Committee led by Board Member, Wynn Watkins, to become 2nd Vice President effective October 2021 and served in that capacity this past year. My dear Wife, Marcia, has supported me throughout my JCPenney and HCSC Alumni Club careers for these 50 amazing years! We have been blessed to reside in Colorado since 2013 after I retired from JCP in Fort Smith, Arkansas in 2012. I am passionate about engaging with all HCSC Alumni Club members and strengthening and preserving our Club into the future. My Alumni Club priorities as 1st V.P. this coming year are membership growth and continued strengthening of relationships with the JCPenney Company and the City of Kemmerer, WY. .

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John Gresham, 2nd Vice President

I wanted to introduce myself as the new 2nd VP of the National HCSC Club. I worked for JCPenney for 43 years and now 9 years with the Alumni Club since retiring in 2013. I started in Kinston, NC then moved to District Staff in Raleigh, NC, New York Office, Dallas, TX Home Office, Florence, SC, Atlanta, Ga on Regional Staff, Jacksonville, Fl back to Atlanta, Ga, Washington, DC then to Sterling Heights, MI. I joined the Southeast HCSC Alumni Club in 2013 and became the President of the Southeast Club in 2017/2018 and then joined the National HCSC Alumni Club as a board member in 2020. Linda and I retired to Rock Hill, SC to be close to our families in NC/SC/GA and built our dream home on Lake Wylie. Linda is from Hartsville, SC and I'm from Clarksville, TN. We really enjoy having family and friends over to our home to enjoy activities on the lake. I'm an avid Alabama football fan. When I was a teenager, my uncle worked for Bear Bryant as the trainer and when a player got hurt he would run out on the field, when watching TV I would say there goes Uncle Jimmy. Our mission is to continue to support our Local Regional Meeting Groups and to encourage retired JCP associates to join those RMG Clubs as well as building relationships with our former and current JCP associates. .

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Sharon Winkle 

After graduating from Montclair State University in New Jersey in 1972, I began my JCPenney career as the second woman hired as an Accounting Trainee in the Company’s New York Office Finance Department.


After several supervisory positions in the Fixed Assets, Financial Reporting, and Payroll Departments (working with Frank Arnone, Don Christensen, Fred Mucha, and Dick Tobin), I accepted a promotional transfer to Human Resources as Project Manager in the Compensation Department working with Tom Clerkin and Don Finn.  

After participating in the Home Office move to Plano in 1988, I transferred to the Benefits Department and spent much of my time implementing Managed Care networks aimed at controlling the Company’s spiraling healthcare costs.  In 1995,  I was promoted to Benefits Director, and over the next few years worked with my experienced team to outsource administration of the Company’s benefits program to Hewitt Associates which became known as ”PowerLine.”  During this time, I was also fortunate to work with such experienced leaders as George Kapplinger, Bruce Hill, Gary Davis, and Gale Duff-Bloom.

I retired in January 2010 as V.P., Compensation and Benefits, celebrating 37 ½ years with JCPenney.  

Many H.C.S.C. members would remember me as “Sharon Leight” when I was married to my late husband, Gil Leight.  After retirement, I was fortunate to meet (on Eharmony, no less!) retired Air Force Navigator, Steve Winkle, who had also recently lost his spouse.  Steve and I have been married almost five years now, living in Highland Village, TX and, between us, have five children, seven grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.  Life is good! 

Karen Bell, Treasurer

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