Mary Casey-Lockyer usually arrives at disaster sites after the danger is gone. But at the end of a volunteer stint helping victims of Hurricane Katrina, the nursing supervisor and emergency response coordinator from Palatine was in a plane on the tarmac at the Jackson, Miss., airport when Hurricane Rita was bearing down.
"We were working all the way up until we got to the airport and noticed the winds were really picking up," said Casey-Lockyer. "Luckily, it didn't interfere with our takeoff. The airlines were bringing in larger than usual planes, instead of the regional jets."
And in San Diego, she volunteered again as uncontrollable fires ravaged the area, including the burned hillside near the American Red Cross shelter where she worked.
Now, Casey-Lockyer is putting her disaster training to use full time.
After 20 years at Northwest Community Hospital in Arlington Heights, Casey-Lockyer left her job on Friday and starts a new career Monday, July 11. She'll be the disaster health services manager for the American Red Cross in Washington, D.C.
"I've done a lot of volunteer work for the Red Cross, so it won't feel like I'm going to a new job," she said.
Besides dealing with the aftermath of Katrina, she's also helped after hurricanes Gustav in Dallas and Ike in Hattiesburg and Biloxi, Miss., and after tornadoes in other cities.
"We certainly get more out of it than you think," she said. "People are so grateful for the help. It's very gratifying."
But sometimes scary.
She's worked under trying conditions without electricity, clean water or basic necessities. She's helped victims get their lives back together, down to arranging for their medications or replacing lost eyeglasses.
"It's exhilarating but it can be challenging, too," she said.
Casey-Lockyer has been married for 42 years to Timothy Lockyer, an assistant to the director of the School of Accounting at DePaul University in Chicago. Her D.C. job will make it a commuter marriage, because she plans to keep her home in Palatine but jet to D.C. and other locations for her job.
"I'll be commuting for a while, but that's OK," she said.
She's hooked on disaster, she said, and Mother Nature will always strike again somewhere.
"As a nurse, I've loved being at the bedside," she said. "But, now, I can use all my nursing skills on a much larger scale."
Heimlich will travel: Jason A. Marshall, who lives in Lake in the Hills, is a fireman and paramedic in Huntley. As if he's not busy enough, he recently started his own business called We Got The Beat CPR Inc. He travels to clients at corporations and in health or fitness industries to train them on CPR, the Heimlich maneuver and other first-aid techniques. He said starting a company was on his "bucket list." Never mind that he's only 25.
Switching: Al Saltiel of Clarendon Hills and former president of NC2 Global LLC has become the chief marketing officer at Warrenville-based Navistar Inc. NC2 is the 50-50 global joint venture between Navistar and Caterpillar. In turn, Phil Christman of Sugar Grove, Navistar's president for global truck operations and a member of the NC2 board, has been named president of NC2. ... Speaking of Navistar, its longtime spokesman Roy Wiley of Chicago has retired. He was at Navistar for 12 years, but has been working for 59 years, including a stint as a reporter and editor for the Chicago Sun-Times back in the pre-computer, pre-web days of the 1950s and 1960s.
Educational leader: Suzette Murray of Naperville was elected director of Region 8 of the National Council for Workforce Education. The organization is an affiliate of the American Association of Community Colleges. She's also dean for business and information systems at Waubonsee Community College in Sugar Grove.
FastTrack: Kim Jensen of Streamwood was recognized by Illinois Rep. David Harris in honor of her award from the American Cancer Society. She received the Lane W. Adams Quality of Life Award for her work with cancer patients and their families. She's an oncology social worker at Northwest Community Hospital in Arlington Heights.
Carrie Haney of Lake Zurich has joined The Premier Wealth Group in Buffalo Grove as its financial services representative. ... Mundelein-based Medline's President Andy Mills of Highland Park was honored with the Distinguished Executive Award for 2011 from Lake Forest Graduate School of Management. ... William O. Morrison Jr. of Batavia, of Morrison and Associates Wealth Management in St. Charles, was named Top Financial Adviser at Explore 2011, Genworth Financial's 13th annual conference. He has about 600 clients.
Graphic designer Daina Buchner of Oak Park has garnered the 2011 American Inhouse Design Award for her work on the 2009-2010 annual report for the DuPage Children's Museum in Naperville. ... Jennifer Ore of Skokie is the new chief technology officer of Rosemont-based VHT Inc., a provider of technology and services for marketing real estate online. She previously worked at Amazon and Orbitz.
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