Bruce Dahlquist is saying goodbye to the architecture firm he started more than 30 years ago with Dwain Lutzow, a lifelong friend he met on the Little League fields in Chicago.
Dahlquist, 67, and his wife Peggy are moving to Marco Island, Florida, near Tiger Tail Beach, to enjoy retirement. "I have been happy and blessed with my career," he said. Dahlquist, co-founder of DLA Architects retired on Feb. 14, more than 3 decades to the day that he started the business in the basement of his Elgin home. "I thought it would be romantic to end it on the same day I started," he said.
Dahlquist started the firm in the home his wife grew up in. He grew the business from the basement to the point that it utilized the entire house before expanding again. In 1993, Dahlquist and Lutzow acquired the architectural firm of Larsen-Wulff Associates in La Grange, which broadened the scope of projects for the firm. The company now has 35 employees, including six partners. The firm now operates in a stunning LEED certified building that they designed in Itasca.
Looking back, Dahlquist remembers suggesting to Lutzow that they buy two used graphing tables when they were just starting out. Lutzow disagreed and said they should buy six as they would grow the company. "That has been inside joke over the years," he said. The firm has provided architectural/planning services for 41 school districts in the Chicagoland area, representing 127 elementary schools, 50 middle schools and 48 high schools. "Form follows learning" continues to be the motto at the firm. "Before we design something, we want to understand the needs and goals of the client," he said, adding that this includes personal, emotional and financial needs.
He said Cantigny in Wheaton is a longtime client that stands out. He said they designed many aspects of the 500-acre park, including the visitor's center, restaurant and outdoor education center. "There is no cutting corners," he said.
While Dahlquist was raising his four children, he spent time coaching and formed a soccer club. He would tell players about an inspirational quote from popular soccer player Mia Hamm -- how she suggests giving 100 percent effort and how you will leave the game feeling better.
Dahlquist equates that to his lifestyle. "I always give it everything I have," he said.
In addition, his love for the outdoors has inspired him to be a major supporter of green and sustainable design. Preserving the integrity of the natural environment is important to him. He also works actively for preservation and respects the architectural legacy left behind by previous generations.
He enjoys teaching elementary school students about preservation and hopes to guest teach while in Florida. He will also indulge in his passions for fishing, photography, golf and cheering for the Chicago Blackhawks and Cubs. Having completed about 2,000 projects in his career, he said he's looking forward to spending time with his four children and eight grandchildren.
Commercial real estate firm grows
With the purchase of three new commercial properties and three more under contract in February 2017, Hoffmann Commercial Real Estate achieved the status of being the largest commercial owner in Chicago's North Shore suburbs. Five new addresses in Winnetka and one in Wilmette will increase HCRE's portfolio to 16 properties, with the greatest concentration along Lincoln Avenue and Chestnut Street in downtown Winnetka.
HCRE management plans to launch comprehensive improvements to its neighboring Winnetka properties to boost foot traffic and business for tenants, most of which are small locally owned firms. Drawing on the company's experience with block management in Beaver Creek Village, Colorado, and along Fifth Avenue South in Naples, Florida, HCRE intends to introduce statue walks, live music events, and other pedestrian-friendly activities to downtown Winnetka. Aesthetic improvements are also in the pipeline for the retail district.
Executive director named
The Wheeling Prospect Heights Chamber of Commerce & Industry said Neena Pottoore is the new executive director for the organization.
She brings more than 10 years of previous chamber experience along with member relations, marketing and business development skills. Before joining WPHCCI, Pottoore was the member services and special events manager at the Glenview Chamber of Commerce.
"Based upon the impact and extensive programs that we are planning, we needed an executive director that could hit the ground running," said Mike Looby, current WPH president and search committee member.
Pottoore is originally from Michigan and relocated to Illinois three years ago. In Michigan, she also served as a director of member services for Troy Chamber of Commerce, and events manager with Asian Pacific American Chamber of Commerce.
Bulldog Ale House is taking over the existing Marzano's location at 1501 S. Route 31, adjacent to the Hampton Inn, in McHenry.
The Marzano's site had been on the market for a while and Bulldog previously had considered the location but again a few months back the deal did not happen. Patience is a virtue particularly in economic development and persistence pays off. Bulldog Ale House has signed a contract to take over the existing building and should be opening soon. It joins other suburban locations in Roselle, Carol Stream, North Aurora, Bolingbrook and Rolling Meadows.