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updated: 2/10/2012 12:47 PM

Tech leader changes focus with sudden fatherhood

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  • Terry Howerton

    Terry Howerton

  • Graem Kubin

    Graem Kubin

  • The third, fourth and fifth generation of Hausermanns are involved in running Orchids by Hausermann in Villa Park. They include, from left, Pat Funke, Melinda Funke, Andy Hausermann, Adam Hausermann, Kellie Wheeler, Irene Finney, Gene Hausermann, Bryan Wheeler, Jim Hausermann and Carol Hausermann.

    The third, fourth and fifth generation of Hausermanns are involved in running Orchids by Hausermann in Villa Park. They include, from left, Pat Funke, Melinda Funke, Andy Hausermann, Adam Hausermann, Kellie Wheeler, Irene Finney, Gene Hausermann, Bryan Wheeler, Jim Hausermann and Carol Hausermann.

  • Tom Ricketts

    Tom Ricketts

  • Matthew Sheahin

    Matthew Sheahin

  • The Nosek family runs Aurora-based Keson Industries

    The Nosek family runs Aurora-based Keson Industries

  • Tom Robaczewski

    Tom Robaczewski

  • Derek Robinson

    Derek Robinson

  • Lauren Duffy

    Lauren Duffy

  • Greg Brown

    Greg Brown

  • Thomas W. Kosanda

    Thomas W. Kosanda


For Terry Howerton, life was thrilling and hectic and exciting as he founded the Illinois Technology Association and then TechNexus with colleague Fred Hoch and was in the midst of a thriving and active IT community. But the single guy with no kids suddenly found himself raising his two teenage nieces after his sister and his mother each died of cancer.

At 39, his life changed and so did his tech-related work.

He recently resigned as chairman of ITA, which had spun off from Palatine-based Chicago Software Association, and now Howerton is focusing on raising his nieces.

On Jan. 25, he posted on Facebook: "This morning at 8:22 a.m. marks the moment that I fully transformed from wickedly cool uncle to tragically unhip parent, as I waved and shouted out the car window to the teenage girl who forgot her mittens as she disappeared into a sea of new classmates."

Then Thursday, he got his first call from the school nurse to pick up one niece, who was sick, Howerton said.

"I've always been a major part of their lives, so this didn't come out of the blue," Howerton said.

But the death of his sister did. After she died of cancer a few years ago, Howerton's mother took the girls in and raised them. But a month ago, his mother died of cancer as well. So Howerton did what any devoted family member would do, he took the girls from their Missouri home and moved them to his Elmhurst home.

His family tragedies were only part of the reasons he resigned from ITA, he said.

"There are other things to think about in life and that influenced only a part of the decision with ITA," he said.

As founder, Howerton said he wanted to move on after seven years and give the reigns to fresh blood in the organization. "It's time to have someone else take over," Howerton said. "Every founder has a tough time stepping away, but it's time."

And the addition of two young girls will change a lot in his life.

While he has enjoyed the energy produced, especially as he continues work with TechNexus, he loves watching the local startups take life and grow.

"As an entrepreneur, I've led a pretty crazy schedule and lifestyle," he said . "All of sudden, there's this constant need."

Masterminds at work

The new Mastermind Advisory Board, created by a group of CEOs to help entrepreneurs, held an open house that included Deerfield resident Chad Coe, president of Northbrook-based Coe Financial Group, and Skokie resident Sarah Bender, founder of Wheeling-based New Loyalty USA.

Third generation on hand

Graem Kubin of Oswego has joined Addison-based DuPage Security Solutions Inc. as managing director. He's the third generation of the Kubin family to work at the business.

Blooming family business

Eugene Hausermann, president of Orchids by Hausermann Inc., is gearing up for his company's 50th annual open house that runs Feb. 24-26 with a snow date for March 2-4 at 2N134 Addison Road, Villa Park. The company, founded in 1920, has about 30 workers, including several Hausermann relatives. He promises to have a variety of blooming orchids on hand at their 3.5-acre greenhouse.


Chicago Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts will talk with business leaders at the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce during a luncheon on Feb. 13 at the Hilton Lisle/Naperville. ... Wheaton resident Matthew Sheahin, partner at Palatine's Lavelle Law Ltd., has been named a 2012 Super Lawyer in Illinois, sponsored by Super Lawyer magazine. ... Ron Nosek of Elmhurst and chairman of Aurora-based Keson Industries has sent another donation of about 1,300 pounds of his company's Glo Orange Pro-Chalk to help U.S. service members mark explosives devices in Afghanistan.

Tom Robaczewski of Arlington Heights is the new vice president of sales for Bays Corp., which makes the well-known English muffins. ... Derek Robinson of Chicago will become the new executive director of Naperville-based Illinois Hospital Association on March 1. He replaces Pat Merryweather. She is now at Telligen, the Illinois Medicare Quality Improvement Organization. ... Lauren Duffy of Naperville joins PACT Inc. as a service coordinator in its Child and Family Connections division. She will help children from birth through 3 years old with developmental delays and their families access state funded programs and services.

Thomas W. Kosanda of Naperville was honored by Northwestern Mutual for his performance at the company's Hoopis Financial Group. ... Dundee resident Joseph Watzlawick has opened a Club Z In-Home Tutoring Services franchise to offer tutoring for students in the Bartlett, Elgin, Wayne and St. Charles area. ... Greg Brown, CEO of Schaumburg-based Motorola Solutions Inc., will be the keynote speaker at the Feb. 8 Executives' Club of Chicago's CEO breakfast event at the Ritz Carlton in Chicago.

Chad J. Jolly is a new consultant at Gonser Gerber Tinker Stuhr LLP in Naperville. ...

James R. Savio has was named Midwest partner for Sikich LLP and will be working with government clients at the company's Naperville office. ... Patrick Cronin of Chicago is the new marketing coordinator for Schaumburg-based Union Leasing Inc.

• There's more to business than just the bottom line. We want to tell you about the people that make business work. Send news about people in business to Follow Anna Marie Kukec on LinkedIn and Facebook and as AMKukec on Twitter.

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