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updated: 7/31/2018 5:57 PM

Suburban executives honored for outstanding work

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  • Awards at the BizLedger C Suite awards ceremony at the NIU campus Naperville. More than 120 people heard their honorees' stories and celebrated their success.

    Awards at the BizLedger C Suite awards ceremony at the NIU campus Naperville. More than 120 people heard their honorees' stories and celebrated their success.

  • Daniel White/dwhite@dailyherald.comMona Salmon, NIU director of evening MBA programs, is a sponsor at the BizLedger C Suite awards ceremony at the NIU campus Naperville.

    Daniel White/dwhite@dailyherald.comMona Salmon, NIU director of evening MBA programs, is a sponsor at the BizLedger C Suite awards ceremony at the NIU campus Naperville.

  • Gretch Van Vlymen, VP of human resources for StratEx, is a 2018 honoree at the BizLedger C Suite awards ceremony at the NIU campus Naperville. Many of the honorees echoed the importance of embracing and dealing with change.

    Gretch Van Vlymen, VP of human resources for StratEx, is a 2018 honoree at the BizLedger C Suite awards ceremony at the NIU campus Naperville. Many of the honorees echoed the importance of embracing and dealing with change.

  • Daniel White/dwhite@dailyherald.comBrian Blaha, chief growth partner Wipfli, gives the keynote speech at the BizLedger C Suite awards ceremony at the NIU campus Naperville.

    Daniel White/dwhite@dailyherald.comBrian Blaha, chief growth partner Wipfli, gives the keynote speech at the BizLedger C Suite awards ceremony at the NIU campus Naperville.

  • Brian Blaha, chief growth partner at Wipfli, gives the keynote speech at the BizLedger C Suite awards ceremony at the NIU campus Naperville.

    Brian Blaha, chief growth partner at Wipfli, gives the keynote speech at the BizLedger C Suite awards ceremony at the NIU campus Naperville.
    photos by Daniel White | Staff Photographer

 
By Richard R. Klicki
rklicki@dailyherald.com

Fifteen Chicago and suburban executives were recognized for their excellence in leadership and service Thursday at the annual C-Suite Awards hosted by the Daily Herald Business Ledger and its sponsoring partners.

More than 120 people heard their honorees' stories and celebrated their success at NIU Naperville campus Thursday evening.

The mission of the C-Suite Awards is to honor top executives who contribute to the success of our region's economic growth and stability. The honorees are executives responsible for the top management in their company or organization, which must be located or have a presence in suburban Chicago. Executives were nominated by their peers and chosen by a panel of Daily Herald Business Ledger representatives.

Keynote speaker Brian Blaha, chief growth partner of Wipfli CPAs and Consultants, spoke about the increasing disruption of technologies in business, noting that, as leaders, they must stay aware of the changes and use that as opportunities to make their business and employees stronger.

"If we don't stay aware of new technologies, then they will be able to sneak up on us and disrupt our businesses," Blaha said.

He added change provides the opportunity to "self disrupt" your business, finding ways to improve your business, as well as your employees and future leaders.

Many of the honorees echoed the importance of embracing and dealing with change.

"The strength of America is in this room," said John Quigley, president and CEO of the Elmhurst Chamber of Commerce. "It's in the people who start out small and grow their business for the next 20 to 30 years."

All the honorees stressed the award reflects more on the great work done by their staff than on individual merits.

"This honor isn't really about me," said Terence Felton, CIO of Waubonsee Community College in Sugar Grove. "At the end of the day, it's really about the staff. They do what it takes ... staying late at night, coming in weekends and holidays ... to make sure the system is operating for our faculty and staff."

Steve Bernas, CEO of the Better Business Bureau in Chicago, added that great business leaders also possess strong ethics.

"As leaders in the world today and as business people in the world today, I ask you to please remember one thing; Please always be concerned about your moral compass," Bernas said. "Being ethical is one of the most important virtues of every leader, not only here but across the world."

Jim Muckerheide, CFO of Rose Paving in Bridgeview, suggested the leaders be mentors as well.

"Take the time to mentor someone. It's one of the greatest experiences you can do," he said.

Profiles of the honorees can be found in the August issue of the Daily Herald Business Ledger, to be published Aug. 20, and online at dhbusinessledger.com.

Presenting sponsors for this year's awards are Wipfli CPAs and Consultants, NIU MBA Program, AM560 The Answer, and B. Gunther & Company.