Heritage Board of Directors Group Photo

Craig Hart

The late Craig Hart co-founded Heritage Enterprises in 1962 with business partners William E. Froelich and Tom Jefferson. Hart served as Chairman of the Heritage Enterprises Board of Directors from 1962 until 2022.

Hart spent many years as a community leader and prominent local businessman in his role with Bloomington Federal Savings & Loan, where he began working in 1960. At the time, Bloomington Federal was a $35 million single-office bank in Bloomington, IL. In 1971, Hart was named President of Bloomington Federal. He built the company into the largest financial institution in downstate, Illinois. By the time he retired in 1992, it had 48 branch offices and $2.8 billion in assets, the same year that Champion Federal (formerly Bloomington Federal) merged with First of America Bank.

While he was building his career in the financial services industry, Hart was also actively involved in the growth and development of Heritage Enterprises. He was a founding partner in a venture that opened its first nursing home in Bloomington in 1963 and has since grown to own and manage facilities throughout Illinois.

Hart has long been involved in the Bloomington-Normal community having served as President of the Board of Trustees at Illinois Wesleyan University; President of the Illinois Wesleyan University Associates; member of the Business Advisory Council of the College of Commerce & Business Administration for the University of Illinois; officer of the Illinois State University Foundation; Director of State Farm Bank and Chairman of the Audit Committee; Chairman of the Commerce Unit for the United Way of McLean County; President of the McLean County Chamber of Commerce; President of Bloomington Unlimited; officer in the Bloomington-Normal Jaycees; Trustee of the Endowment Fund for the McLean County Art Association; Director and Treasurer of Bloomington Country Club.

He has also been a member of numerous professional organizations, including the U.S. League of Savings Institutions, Illinois League of Savings Institutions, Federal Savings & Loan Council of Illinois, and the Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago, serving as Director and member of the Audit Committee.

Hart earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting and an MBA, both from the University of Illinois and was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Illinois Wesleyan University. He also served as an officer in the U.S. Navy. 

Benjamin Hart

Benjamin Hart is the president and Chief Executive Officer, of Heritage Operations Group and Green Tree Pharmacy, Inc. He is responsible for the overall administration and operation of Heritage Operations Group. He has worked in the healthcare industry since 1996, all positions which have been with Heritage. In his previous role as Executive Vice President of Administration, Ben was responsible for new development, capital budgeting and acquisition, facilities and grounds, purchasing, information technology, marketing, and housekeeping and laundry services.

Ben is a licensed nursing home administrator and was responsible for the overall operations of Heritage Health in Bloomington for several years. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting from the University of Colorado at Boulder and a Master of Business Administration from Illinois State University.

Ben serves on the board of directors for the Affordable Assisted Living Coalition, is a member of the advisory board for the Illinois State University College of Business, and the Bloomington-Normal Economic Development Council board of directors. He is also a member of Rotary International.

Cheryl Lowney

Cheryl Lowney is a Director for Heritage Operations Group. She has 40 years of experience in the healthcare field and began her career with Heritage in 1969. Cheryl held various positions throughout the years, including Staff Nurse, Director of Nursing, Administrator, Executive Vice President of Nursing, Executive Vice President, and Chief Operations Officer. She is a licensed nursing home administrator and registered nurse. Her nursing degree is from Galesburg Cottage Hospital School of Nursing. She also earned a Bachelor of Science degree from the College of St. Francis and a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Illinois.

Cheryl is a past president of the Illinois Health Care Association (IHCA). She serves on the Illinois Health and Social Services Subcouncil, the Provena Senior Services Board of Directors and Quality Assurance Committee, and on two committees for the American Health Care Association: the Facilities Standards Committee & By-Laws Committee and the Regional Multi-facility Committee. Locally, Cheryl sits on the McLean County Health Task Force.

Steve Wannemacher

Steve Wannemacher is the Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors for Heritage Operations Group, Inc. Steve joined Heritage Operations Group in 1992 and assumed responsibility for managing facilities and purchasing, marketing, government, and public relations, management information systems, and risk management. He was the President and Chief Executive Officer from 2002-2013. Before working for Heritage, he was employed by Champion Federal for 16 years as the senior officer in charge of marketing, advertising, facilities management, human resources, and branch operations.

Steve is a licensed nursing home administrator and a Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Illinois Wesleyan University and a Master of Business Administration degree from Illinois State University. Steve currently serves as Treasurer of the Illinois Health Care Association and is Co-Chair of the Health Care Council of Illinois. He is a former member of the Illinois Health Care Association Assisted Living Task Force, served on the Regulatory Reform Task Force, and was a member of the Assisted Living and Shared Housing Quality of Life Advisory Committee for the State of Illinois.

Active in the community, he is a trustee of Illinois Wesleyan University and a senior member of the Kiwanis Club. Among many other activities, Steve's past community service includes commissioner/vice-chairman of the Bloomington/Normal Airport Authority, president and director (now emeritus) of the McLean County Historical Society, commissioner of the McLean County Regional Planning Commission, transportation chairman of the McLean County 21st Century Committee and fundraising for the United Way of McLean County.

Paul Jefferson

Paul Jefferson, C.P.A., has owned a public accounting firm in Bloomington, Illinois, since 1992. His practice specializes in income tax, small business accounting, and consulting services. He previously served in the accounting firm of Sulaski and Webb. Paul is a 1980 graduate of Indiana University with a B.S. in Accounting and he received an M.B.A. from Illinois State University. Paul is a member of Sigma Chi fraternity and an avid golfer. Paul and his wife, Susan, have three children.

Timothy Jefferson

Timothy Jefferson is a partner in the law firm of Rawles, O’Byrne, Stanko, Kepley, and Jefferson, P.C., in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois. Tim joined his current law firm in 1993 after serving in the firm of Keck, Mahan, and Cate in Peoria, Illinois. Tim is a 1983 graduate of Indiana University with a B.S. in Accounting and is also a C.P.A. He received his law degree in 1986 from the University of Missouri. In his practice, he concentrates on transactions, business, tax, and personal planning matters. Tim and his wife, Kelley, have four children.

Brian S. Hart

Brian S. Hart is a partner in the Chicago office of the law firm of Jenner and Block and is Chair of the firms’ Corporate Finance practice. Brian represents public and private corporations, major financial institutions, and private equity funds in complex corporate financing matters. He previously was a partner with the law firm of Winston and Strawn in Chicago. Brian graduated in 1984 from the University of Illinois with a B.S. in Accounting, with highest honors. He is also a C.P.A. and received his law degree from UCLA in 1987. He and his wife, Lora Hall, live in Lake Forest, Illinois.

Bruce H. Hart

Bruce H. Hart is a partner in the development company Vedura Residential in Phoenix, Arizona. Bruce is a 1982 graduate of the University of Arizona with a degree in Finance and received an M.B.A. in 1984. Bruce served as Senior Vice President of Bank One Arizona until 1998 and was responsible for real estate lending. He then served as Senior Managing Director of Trammell Crow Residential from 1998 to 2010, developing 5,100 apartments and condominium units. Bruce and his wife, Nadine, have three children and reside in Paradise Valley, Arizona.

Susan Jefferson

The late Tom and Susan Jefferson were one of the founding families of Heritage Operations Group in 1962. Tom was actively involved in Heritage until his death in 2004, at which time Susan took his seat on the Board of Directors. Susan, a lifetime resident of Bloomington, Illinois, is a graduate of Illinois Wesleyan University and has been active in community affairs for many years. Susan is the mother of Paul and Tim Jefferson, who currently serve on the Heritage board, are their sons.