• Des Plaines resident Juan Cortez, who has worked as a bus operator for over 23 years, was awarded the Pace Million Miler Award for operating his vehicle for over 12 years without a single preventable accident.
Des Plaines Mayor Moylan and the city council recognized Cortez by presenting a proclamation to him at the Nov. 7, city council meeting.
Juan is married to Gina, a fellow Pace bus operator, whom he met at work. They have two sons.
• Kristen Kopf, a science teacher at Elk Grove High School, received a grant for $1,000 from the University of Illinois at Chicago and the National Science Foundation.
The grant money will be used to fund a bacterial transformation lab for freshmen biology. The students will be using the lab in February during Kopf's genetics unit.
• The Illinois Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives recognized Lynne Schneider, executive director of the Buffalo Grove Area Chamber of Commerce, with the Distinguished Illinois Chamber of Commerce Executive Award at its Fall Conference held Thursday, Nov. 3.
The Distinguished Illinois Chamber of Commerce Executive Award was begun in 1991 to recognize the exemplary performance and leadership of an Illinois chamber executive within their local chamber, their community and to the chamber profession.
• Joianne Smith, vice president of student affairs at Oakton Community College, was honored with the 2011 National Association of Student Personnel Administrators Region IV East Community College Professional Award at the organization's regional conference held November 6-8, in Evanston.
The honor is presented to an individual who demonstrates leadership and commitment to NASPA. To be eligible, a recipient must be actively involved with NASPA; contribute to creating a campus environment that promotes student learning; addresses the emergency needs of students; and have at least five years of experience in student affairs.
Smith, of Mount Prospect, joined the Oakton staff in 2002 as dean of students and was promoted to her current position in 2005. A licensed psychologist, Smith has a Ph.D. and master's degree in counseling psychology from Virginia Commonwealth University.