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CAVU HCM gives Riverfront the cost-effective, simple payroll solution they need.
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Peoria’s Riverfront Museum Soars

CAVU HCM gives Riverfront the cost-effective, simple payroll solution they need.


Nearly 10 years since transitioning to CAVU HCM

Meet Riverfront Museum

Nestled in the heart of Peoria along the Illinois River sits the campus of Peoria Riverfront Museum.

Opened in 2012, the multi-disciplinary institution has grown to showcase art, history, science, and achievement from around the world. Along with a series of galleries and exhibits, the museum boasts a large screen movie theater and domed planetarium. 

Riverfront Museum strives to be a leader of culture and art for Central Illinois, as well as provide an exemplary education experience. Additionally, the museum is a leading supporter in the development of Peoria’s Warehouse District, the section of the city that Riverfront calls home.

The AAM-accredited and Smithsonian-affiliated museum is supported by more than 4,000 members and donors, as well as 28 full-time employees. There are few hourly employees at Riverfront, but the institution does hire 5-25 part-time employees for seasonal roles.

For their management needs, one of Riverfront’s major necessities was an adequate payroll service solution – especially as a newly opened museum.

The Problem

As the Vice President of Finance, few people know the Riverfront Museum quite like Ruth Bittner. Joining Riverfront in 2013, Bittner has helped oversee the continuous growth of her beloved institution, as well as manage its day-to-day payroll, accounting, and HR duties. 

At the start of her tenure, Riverfront still used a large national service for their payroll needs. Upon just a few uses of their current solution, it became clear to Bittner that a change was needed. 

The web-based solution was simply too difficult to use and too hard to navigate, even for a veteran like Bittner. Beyond its deep learning curve, she also found the tool had far more complex functions than her museum needed. As a non-profit, an expensive solution that was not user friendly was simply not worth keeping.


As she started searching for a new solution, Bittner identified four main needs:

  • Cost-effective payroll solution and maintenance
  • Reliable payroll maintenance and storage
  • Consistent knowledge on all changes in taxes rate and regulatory measures
  • Timely execution of payroll management procedures

Beyond her top priorities, Bittner also valued quality customer service. Although the museum always received quick and helpful support, they were forced to talk to an anonymous support representative each time they called their national provider. In an ideal world, her next solution would be just as supportive, but also genuinely know her and the Riverfront Museum.

The Solution

Like finding a needle in the haystack, Bittner eventually discovered Sharp Payroll Services. Along with being a small-sized operation, Sharp was also founded and operated in Peoria, Illinois. After meeting their tax aficionado and CEO, Joe Sharpe, Bittner was convinced she found her fit. 

Nearly 10 years later, she has continued to work with Sharpe, even after his company became CAVU HCM.

Along with being a more economical payroll solution, CAVU HCM far exceeded the expectations Ruth Bittner had in 2013. Reflecting on her nearly decade-long relationship, Bittner identified three main solutions that CAVU brought:

01. The Ideal Software

Much to her delight, CAVU HCM surpassed Bittner’s expectations as a payroll solution.

Unlike her previous national provider, CAVU’s platform had a simple user interface and was easy for anyone to learn. Along with its less complicated design, it also offered far more relevant features without unnecessary bells and whistles. As a result of the software’s more simplified functionality, it was also less significantly expensive than her previous provider.

When it comes to purchases within the nonprofit sector, few things matter more than functionality and cost – CAVU consistently exceeded in both categories.

0.2 Personal Customer Service

When Bittner began searching outside of her national provider she knew she had an opportunity to solve one her biggest annoyances: ambiguous help desk support. 

From the beginning of their relationship with CAVU, Bittner and the Riverfront Museum were blown away by CAVU’s intentional and personal customer service. In addition to an assigned Payroll Guide, CAVU gave Riverfront three additional contacts for support.


No matter who they are on the phone with, Rittner and her team always receive genuine help, support, or care. Over time, the Museum and CAVU have been able to build a strong and trustworthy relationship through this personal customer experience.

With a wealth of experience, especially in tax rules, CAVU has consistently been prepared to assist Riverfront in it’s growth.

03. Single Source Payroll Guide

Once Riverfront Museum began using their payroll services, the CAVU team immediately assigned the organization a Single Source Payroll Guide.

Offered for every payroll service customer, CAVU’s Payroll Guides are paired with every account to offer a single point of contact. Able to focus intentionally on their accounts, Payroll Guides are experts in their client’s needs – including having a complete understanding of all local, state, and federal payroll and tax policies. 

Unlike her experiences with her national provider, having a single Payroll Guide gave Bittner a clear point of contact for any kind of problem. With CAVU, Bittner no longer needed to explain over and over. 

As expected, the Riverfront Museum’s Payroll Guides have always been kind, respectful, and genuine.

The Result


Nearly a decade with a single provider says quite a lot on its own.


After nearly 10 years with them, however, Rittner still noticed three major results from transitioning to CAVU HCM.

Consistent Support

Since their first task, the CAVU team has consistently provided Riverfront with a personal and supportive payroll service. This consistency has not only led to better managed payrolls, but also helped the Museum and CAVU develop a legitimate, vested relationship.

The consistent support has also allowed Bittner to allocate minimal time to her payroll, allowing her to focus on other elements of her day-to-day job. Further, the continued support has provided Bittner and Riverfront Museum the ability to better provide an exemplary cultural experience to their visitors.

During the opening months of the pandemic, CAVU also heavily assisted the Riverfront Museum. With the help of her payroll guide, Rittner was able to secure the Employee Retention Credit, as well as two Payback Protection Program (PPP) loans. Additionally, yearly changes, like holiday payroll, are executed to a perfection by the CAVU team.

In addition to providing continuous support and guidance, CAVU also offers expertly curated content, as well as provides exceptional resources in their email newsletters.

Exemplary Payroll Services

Contrary to most national payroll companies, CAVU is more of a partner than service for the Riverfront Museum. Working simultaneously with Bittner, CAVU helps ensure that all filings are handled correctly and delivered on-time. The museum’s payroll is no longer dependent on just Bittner and her assistant.

CAVU also ensures that the Riverfront Museum’s payroll management is as optimized as possible. The payroll team helps to ensure no tax credits are missed, as well as ensures all regulations are met. Additionally, CAVU’s platform allows the museum to easily manage the payrolls for full-time, hourly, and part-time employees.

After nearly a decade with CAVU, Bittner is confident that her payroll is in the hands of experts and professionals.

Long Term Partnership

Through years of genuine support and communication, Riverfront Museum’s relationship with CAVU has become a genuine long-term professional partnership. After nearly a decade together, Bittner feels it's obvious that CAVU genuinely is invested in the museum’s growth. Moreover, she believes that Riverfront is also invested in CAVU.

Over the course of their relationship, Riverfront has enjoyed continuous growth to their facilities and exhibits. Most recently, the museum added a large screen for film showings, as well as a domed planetarium to allow guests to explore the stars above.

As the museum continues to move forward, Bittner genuinely believes that she has a supportive partner and payroll service provider in CAVU.


Your payroll business is our business.


CAVU HCM is a national boutique payroll and HR technology and services firm. C-A-V-U, the acronym, stands for Ceiling and Visibility Unlimited, a phrase often used to describe desirable flying conditions. This also clearly describes our mission; Eliminate barriers, boundaries and limits for our valued clients and their workforces by providing best-in-class technology and a unique personal experience online and offline. We are a great fit for companies wanting to do business with people.