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updated: 7/31/2017 11:06 AM

2017 C-Suite Award honorees

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Larry Deetjen
Larry Deetjen
Larry Deetjan

Village manager, village of Oak Lawn

Nominated by: Adam Woodworth from the Children's Museum of Oak Lawn

Larry Deetjan is at the forefront trying to solve a myriad issues and in doing so, invites key stakeholders to the table to be part of the discussion and solution.

He has been instrumental in the 111th and Cicero redevelopment project, helping Oak Lawn to attract such names as Mariano's and Cooper's Hawk. Deetjan also helped create a 9/11 monument in Oak Lawn to honor first responders. At the time, he was the president of the Oak Lawn Rotary Club. Many people helped with this project, but Deetjan was a driving force to make it happen by helping to secure donations (both monetary and in-kind). And now they have a beautiful monument that contains four beams from the World Trade Center Towers that came down on 9/11/01.

He will be the first to say that there is much room for improvement, however, he is quick to add that the key to enhancing the overall quality of life in Oak Lawn for residents, businesses, and visitors is a team effort.

"Schools, churches, the Chamber of Commerce, Oak Lawn Park District, Oak Lawn Public Library, Advocate Christ Medical Center, and every civic and community group including the VFW, Rotary, Kiwanis, and Park Lawn are in this together," he said.

Michael Kasper

CEO, DuPage Medical Group, Downers Grove

Nominated by Maria McGowan, DuPage Medical Group

Michael Kasper
Michael Kasper -

Since assuming his role as CEO of DuPage Medical Group in 2010, the group has experienced a sizable increase in new physician and patient growth. To put things in perspective, DMG has grown from 290 physicians at the end of 2010 to well over 600-plus physicians today. The service and business footprint of DMG has also expanded geographically to the southern region of Chicago's suburbs.

Kasper also has an impressive track record of bringing innovation to health care. Under his strategic guidance and leadership, DMG launched an entire telemedicine patient service program, including e-visits, video visits and e-prescribing. As a result, a staggering 15.4 million prescriptions have been transmitted since the program's inception six years ago, and DMG has seen more than 175,000 appointments scheduled by its patients online.

Kasper is a proven, dedicated leader. Mike has defined a clear strategy for DMG's growth and is following through on its achievement. He was quoted in the Chicago Tribune saying, "The sky's the limit for DuPage Medical Group."

Kathryn Miller

President & Owner, HST Materials, Elk Grove Village

Nominated by Larry Barch, HST Materials

Kathryn Miller
Kathryn Miller -

Kathryn Miller has led her company into an era of growth using her business acumen, customer support, operational insight, employee management, and marketing savvy. Revenue doubled from 2007-2011 and again from 2011-2015. Miller

Miller promotes a continuous improvement philosophy throughout her organization. She tasks her staff to apply lean manufacturing principals to scrutinize processes with the aim of continuously building a robust operational system. Through root cause analysis, waste is eliminated and efficiency heightened. Whether it is the proverbial "low hanging fruit" or complex initiatives needing an investment, Miller does not shy away from the challenge of developing superior policies that veer from the established way if it means a return on investment.

She is currently a member of the Elk Grove Village Business Leaders Forum. The BLF is made up of 15-20 private and public sector leaders representing the diverse business interests that operate in the Village, which is home to the largest industrial park in the United States.

In addition, HST Materials have also supported the Lake Park Education Foundation, the Les Turner ALS Foundation, and the TMA Marketing Committee.

Terry Iverson

President and CEO, Iverson & Company, Des Plaines

Nominated by Rodney Grover, RG Consulting Services

Terry Iverson
Terry Iverson -

Terry Iverson is selflessly involved at many levels within the Chicagoland community as well as nationally linking the opportunities available for rewarding careers in the manufacturing profession to the classroom.

The vital industry of manufacturing is experiencing a skills crisis and many students are unaware of the opportunities available to earn a wage and become contributors themselves. He has dedicated his own time and money to start a charitable foundation called Champion NOW, which stands for Change How American Manufacturing's Perceived In Our Nation.

While many others in manufacturing continue the dialogue about the troubles of attracting the next generation of employees to the trades supportive of manufacturing, Iverson is continually doing something about it. Iverson volunteers his time and talents with many education institutions, serving as an adviser to support changes in curriculum, making connections to industry suppliers for technology and equipment placement and often mentoring both students and educators.

David Gewalt

Principal/CFO, Gewalt Hamilton Associates, Inc., Vernon Hills

Nominated by Leo Morand, senior engineer with Gewalt Hamilton Associates

David J. Gewalt
David J. Gewalt -

Under David Gewalt's guidance, Gewalt Hamilton Associates, Inc. has grown from just two men in a home office in 1981, to a thriving enterprise of 90 full-time employees more than 35 years later. Through his example, Gewalt created a corporate culture of "family," where employees' personal and professional goals are nurtured, their family commitments are honored, they are rewarded for hard work, and their well-being is cared for.

As a founding partner of Gewalt Hamilton, Gewalt has continuously been responsible for the financial leadership and management of the firm, as well as internal and administrative operations. Very early in the firm's history Dave instituted a 401(k) plan with corporate matching, as well as a generous profit-sharing plan. Gewalt has added additional insurance products and other benefits over the years, most recently short-term disability, vision and dental. The robust benefits package Dave has assembled helps attract talented staff and maintain a significantly low rate of employee turnover.

He is a quiet man who leads by example and thoughtful questioning rather than direct instruction. His values and leadership style have positioned him as the moral compass of the firm.

Allison Weakly

Vice president, JAK Creative Design, Darien.

Nominated by Jill Kerrigan, president & owner, JAK Creative Design.

Allison Weakly
Allison Weakly

Allison Weakly solves problems for her clients with graceful efficiency. She manages campaigns from estimation to fulfillment, building relationships -- and trust -- in person, over the phone, and via email. She provides leadership and guidance to the other account executives, collaborates with the creative team, and participates in JAK marketing and sales efforts.

Co-workers say "Allison is a powerhouse disguised as everyone's helper," "She is meticulously organized and impressively able to keep everything under control. She is firm and clear in giving input or direction, which makes it easy to work with her. She is also able and willing to accept different information or to change priorities as needed, which is very useful in our ever-changing environment."

Bryan Duncan, Michael O'Rourke and Kevin Bastuga

Co-founders, Signature Bank, Chicago

Nominated by Julie Simon

Bryan Duncan
Bryan Duncan -

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Michael O'Rourke
Michael O'Rourke -
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Kevin Bastuga
Kevin Bastuga -
As three young commercial bankers in 2005, Mick O'Rourke, Kevin Bastuga, and Bryan Duncan were working together at a large banking institution in Chicago.

They noticed a trend of bigger banks curtailing loans to privately-held, middle-market businesses in the Chicagoland area. So, they decided to branch out on their own to fill that void. They quit their jobs and began working on a plan for a new kind of business bank. Together, they founded Signature Bank in 2006.

Within their first year of business, they achieved profitability, then surpassed $100 million in assets eighteen months later, and opened the company's headquarters in Rosemont shortly thereafter.

Signature Bank was one of the last de novo banks in the state of Illinois to receive a charter and Duncan, O'Rourke and Bastuga did the bulk of the work on their own. They went through the entire regulatory process from start to finish, wrote the business plan, and raised the capital with the help of the other organizers of the bank. Signature's charter raise of nearly $25 million remains one of the most successful in the history of the state of Illinois. While various bank mergers and consolidations are widespread,

Signature Bank remains true to its original mission and to its Chicago roots. Together, Duncan, O'Rourke and Bastuga changed the banking landscape in Chicago by founding a true relationship-based, locally-owned commercial bank to serve all of Chicago and the suburbs. And Signature Bank is going strong eleven years later.

Michelle Needham

Executive director of human resources, Waubonsee Community College, Sugar Grove.

Nominated by David Quillen, Waubonsee Community College

Michele Needham
Michele Needham -

Michelle Needham holds a bachelor of science in psychology from the University of Illinois and a master of business administration/human resources management from Benedictine University. She shows leadership within her industry by hosting and attending regional community college human resources director meetings to discuss common issues and best practices. This also includes sharing best practices and sharing learning experiences via phone or email.

Needham is also very involved with the local community having been a member of the Aurora Noon Lions Club since December of 1993. She has served as the chair of the Scholarship Committee for the last 20 years. She served as president from 1999-2000 and again from 2015-present and currently chairs the Distinguished Service Committee. In addition, she has been an instrumental sponsor of the chartering of the Waubonsee Community College Lions Club which was established in 2016.

John Reynertson

President, Sturtevant Richmont, Carol Stream

Nominated by VR Sarti, Sturtevant Richmont

John Reynertson
John Reynertson -

John Reynertson likes to know the people with whom Sturtevant Richmont does business. As a result he is very active in vetting suppliers and working with them to keep the quality of inbound parts where it needs to be.

He also works collaboratively with them to establish best practices and create efficiencies between our companies. Reynertson also meets with customers to gain and share expertise in the torque field, in addition to mentoring staff so he contributes in that way. Being active in the ISO committees, he also continues to stay abreast of the latest trends. Being a thought leader for the industry he is continually learning.

In 2015 Sturtevant Richmont received special recognition for twenty years of ISO 9001 excellence.

And when Reynertson isn't working, he is also active in the local Boy Scouts of America and leads their camping trips.

Brian Blaha

Chief growth partner, Wipfli LLP, Westchester.

Nominated by Gary Shutan, partner in Wipfli LLP's manufacturing and distribution practice.

Brian Blaha
Brian Blaha -

Brian Blaha is the chief growth partner on the leadership team for Wipfli LLP, one of the top 25 accounting and business consulting firms in the nation. As chief growth partner, he is responsible for the oversight of growth strategy and its execution across the firm.

Before becoming the firm's chief growth partner, Blaha was the partner-in-charge of Wipfli's Westchester office and the firm's Chicago Market Leader. Under his leadership, Wipfli's presence in the Chicago market grew from three associates in one office to 249 associates in nine offices, with the majority of growth occurring in a span of 18 months.

Blaha graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor of business administration degree from St. Norbert College in De Pere, Wisconsin. A certified public accountant, He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and a board member for the Illinois CPA Society.

Jordan Sadoff

CEO at RESTORE Holdings, Schaumburg

Nominated by Kelsey Costales, KemperLesnick

Jordan Sadoff
Jordan Sadoff -

More than half of the U.S. population is losing their hair, but very few opt for hair restoration. Jordan Sadoff and his partner attribute this significant gap to the critical lack of education about hair restoration -- and they want to change that. To do so in a bold way, Sadoff has built a cadre of endorsers -- like former Chicago Bear Brian Urlacher -- who are willing to speak publicly about balding, their hair restoration procedure, and their experience at RESTORE via the media, advertising, marketing and more. And it works. The Urlacher campaign delivered more than 1,000 leads from patients globally, and those leads eventually booked enough appointments to fill more than a year.

In 2016, RESTORE earned a number of industry awards, including the PRSA Skyline Award for Media Relations Consumer Services and Jordan was named PRSA Chicago Executive of the Year. So far in 2017, RESTORE has earned a PRSA Bronze Anvil Award of Commendation as well as a Publicity Club of Chicago Trumpet for the company's strategic reveal of brand ambassador, Brian Urlacher.

James Chakires

President and CEO, APEX & Consultants, St. Charles

Nominated by Marie Lazzara, JJR Marketing

James Chakires
James Chakires -

James Chakires is a visionary thinker with strong strategic and analytical skills. As president and CEO since Apex's inception in 1998, his determination to differentiate the business to outperform competitors has taught him how to help many business owners make more money and live more freely. Quite simply, he guides them to the American dream. He is a licensed Certified Public Accountant and a Certified Valuation Analyst. He has also earned the prestigious certification of Balanced Scorecard Professional, possessing specialized skills in strategy planning, execution and measurement.

He is also the founder of Shave the Nation, an initiative that has raised over $50,000 with 100 percent of the proceeds going directly to US servicemen and women fighting overseas. He received pledges/donations from many supporters in exchange for appearing on stage in front of a crowd of 15,000 veterans & patriots where he received a Red, White and Blue mohawk -- which he wore for two weeks.

Chakires believes in giving back and is a true leader in the community.

Jill Albin Hill

Vice president of technology and operations, Dominican University, River Forest

Nominated by Jessica MacKinnon, Dominican University

Jill Albin-Hill
Jill Albin-Hill -

During her 13 year tenure, the university has made great strides in updating its technology and Jill Albin Hill has provided the vision, leadership and direction for this complex, multipronged process. She has accomplished this through her vast technical expertise and her soft skills of listening to and interpreting the needs of a number of constituencies across campus, including faculty, students and administrative staff.

In addition to her role as the leader of the university's technological infrastructure, Hill has been involved in a major campus website redesign, providing her expertise to the Office of Marketing and Communications during this yearlong process.

Recently, she was promoted to position offering her a broader portfolio encompassing operations in addition to information technology.