Sheri and Matt Johnson of Libertyville raised their family here and now started a new business that helps people during major transitions in their lives or maybe those who just want to declutter the house. Their College Hunks Hauling Junk franchise has helped a number of people downsize and donate numerous items to support Goodwill.
But it's also uncovered some treasures, like samurai swords, wedding dresses, and even 40 new golf bags.
"We go into every job with our eyes wide open," said Matt Johnson, who leads a team of 4 to 6 college students into homes or businesses. "And sometimes we need to be very sensitive to their surroundings, especially if someone has died or is going through a divorce."
The Johnsons started the franchise serving Lake County about a year ago, and it's one of about 40 nationwide. The Hunks part of the business name is actually an acronyn for "Honest, Uniformed, Nice, and Knowledgeable" team members, they said.
The business has encountered any number of life's transitions or troubles, such as divorce, death, eviction, and even hoarders. Then there are parents aiming to clean out their child's things after they've moved out or an elderly parent moving into assisted living. It spans generations and events, they said.
And it hasn't always been pleasant. They'll need to sift through tonnage left behind by a hoarder or someone being evicted. And they've uncovered any number of dead rodents in basements or crawl spaces and even raccoon traps in attics.
But their happiest moments are when they retrieve usable items that are donated to Goodwill, they said.
One time, the company was asked to haul out a couch from a home and it was immediately donated to Goodwill. In turn, Goodwill sold it within a few hours and asked the Johnsons to help deliver it to the new owners, who couldn't carry it themselves, said Sheri Johnson.
"We have a good relationship with Goodwill and we help to keep a lot of good items out of landfills," she said.
Most of all, they enjoy watching their young employees use the business as a launchpad for the future.
"This has been a great avenue to help college students pay their way through school," she said.
Audits your life
Paul Katz has started LifeAuditors Inc., a new fee-based consulting service in Long Grove that urges families to look outside the box when seeking counsel on wealth transfer issues. Katz said that not many families are prepared for the challenges that occur if someone suddenly gets ill or dies.
Terry Fisher, a pharmacist since 1966, was recently honored by Adventist Hinsdale Hospital after enhancing the service that the pharmacy offered to employees. Fisher proposed that the pharmacy begin filling the employee prescriptions that called for 90-day supplies of medication and deliver it to them. For his commitment, he was one of five employees recognized with the organization's Pillar Award at a recent leadership conference. Fisher fills prescriptions for employees at all four hospitals owned by Adventist Midwest Health, and for employees at any location. The outpatient pharmacies at Adventist Bolingbrook and Adventist GlenOaks hospitals also fill prescriptions for their employees, but Fisher still fills more employee prescriptions than any other location, the group said.
More centers for Language Stars
Leslie Lancry, CEO and founder of Chicago-based Language Stars, has opened 15 centers in the Chicago and the suburbs, including Arlington Heights, Barrington and Wilmette. Satellite centers are in Homewood, Orland Park and Park Ridge. Another five are in Washington, D.C. She has plans to continue the expansion. The company provides play-based, full-immersion foreign language programs in Spanish, French, German, Italian and Mandarin Chinese for children ages 1-10. Language Stars serves about 7,500 students every week and has reached more than 20,000 children since 1998. Lancry lives in Lincoln Park and grew up in Winnetka.
Cindy Musikantow has resigned as president and CEO of Barrington-based Hospice and Palliative Care of Northeastern Illinois. Chief Operating Officer Sarah Bealles has been serving as acting president and CEO since last December will continue in that capacity while the board works through the selection process to permanently fill the role.
Intellectual property litigator Alan L. Barry of Lake Bluff has been named administrative partner of Law firm K&L Gates LLP's Chicago office. He succeeds Nancy E. Bertoglio, with Bertoglio returning to her labor and employment practice at the firm in addition to continuing to serve on K&L Gates' firmwide management committee.
Cantor Kay Greenwald is the new director of placement at Schaumburg-based The American Conference of Cantors, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the professional growth and development of cantors in the Reform Movement. Greenwald will take over on Aug. 1, following the retirement of Cantor Barbara J. Ostfeld, who has served in this capacity for 10 years.
National Green Roof Manager Angie Durhman of Rosemont-based Tecta America Corp., a commercial roofing company, will be the opening speaker at The Green Roof Science Symposium. It will be April 17 and hosted by The Green Roof Research Consortium at Barnard College and Columbia University in New York.
Peter Henseler has been named vice chairman of TOMY International after serving 10 years as president of TOMY International/RC2 Corp. in Oak Brook. Also, Greg Kilrea has been named president of TOMY International. He previously served as the company's executive vice president and chief operating officer.
Matthew Sheahin, a Wheaton resident who is a partner at Lavelle Law Ltd. in Palatine is chairing a committee for the upcoming Hearts for the Homeless dinner. The picturesque Sanfilippo estate in Barrington Hills will host the Hearts for Homeless Families Dinner and Auction, supporting Catholic Charities New Hope Apartments for the Homeless, at 5 p.m. on April 28.
Lake Forest resident and cardiologist J. William Benge has joined the staff of Northwestern Memorial Hospital's Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute and provides care at Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital. ... Frank Mesina of Naperville has joined Downers Grove-based The Premier Wealth Group, an office of MetLife, as a sales director. ... Scott Lake of Naperville has joined AgileThought, a provider of custom software solutions, as senior account manager in its Chicago office.
Christa Davies, executive vice president and chief financial officer of Aon Corp., has been nominated for CFO magazine's Women in Finance Awards. The awards will be presented on May 15 at the first CFO Women in Finance Conference at Capitale in New York. Davies joined Aon in November 2007 as executive vice president, Global Finance, and became chief financial officer in March 2008.
Loree Wasserman of Highland Park, a mother of three, has started Loree's Closet, which helps people clean out their homes, make money and even donate to charity through her business.
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