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posted: 4/17/2012 10:51 AM

Former CEO to help establish dairies in third-world countries

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  • Trevor Tomkins, at left, founder of Carpentersville-based Venture/Dairy that is dedicated to helping improve dairy farming in countries that have little or no production, works on a feasibility study in Rwanda to determine whether the country's developing dairy industry can be helped by construction of a dairy processing plant.

      Trevor Tomkins, at left, founder of Carpentersville-based Venture/Dairy that is dedicated to helping improve dairy farming in countries that have little or no production, works on a feasibility study in Rwanda to determine whether the country's developing dairy industry can be helped by construction of a dairy processing plant.
    COURTESY OF VENTURE/DAIRY

  • Trevor Tomkins, founder of Carpentersville-based Venture/Dairy, an organization dedicated to helping improve dairy farming in countries that have little or no production. Here, Tomkins is in a facility where they are undertaking a feasibility study in Rwanda to determine whether its developing dairy industry can be helped by construction of a dairy processing plant.

      Trevor Tomkins, founder of Carpentersville-based Venture/Dairy, an organization dedicated to helping improve dairy farming in countries that have little or no production. Here, Tomkins is in a facility where they are undertaking a feasibility study in Rwanda to determine whether its developing dairy industry can be helped by construction of a dairy processing plant.
    COURTESY OF VENTURE/DAIRY

  • A technician is testing milk for quality at El Sauce collection center in Nicaragua. It's part of a project undertaken by Carpentersville-based Venture/Dairy, founded by Trevor Tomkins.

      A technician is testing milk for quality at El Sauce collection center in Nicaragua. It's part of a project undertaken by Carpentersville-based Venture/Dairy, founded by Trevor Tomkins.
    COURTESY OF VENTURE/DAIRY

  • A farmer is stripping the cow, or checking for mastitis, prior to milking at a facility in Nicaragua. It's part of a program under Carpentersville-based Venture/Dairy, founded by Trevor Tomkins.

      A farmer is stripping the cow, or checking for mastitis, prior to milking at a facility in Nicaragua. It's part of a program under Carpentersville-based Venture/Dairy, founded by Trevor Tomkins.
    COURTESY OF VENTURE/DAIRY

  • Charles McKenna

      Charles McKenna

  • Dominique Raccah

      Dominique Raccah

  • Kristy Wenz

      Kristy Wenz

  • Steve Weaver

      Steve Weaver

  • Stephen D. Blandin

      Stephen D. Blandin

  • Lou Manfredini

      Lou Manfredini

 
 

After retiring as CEO of Carpentersville-based Milk Specialties Global earlier this year, Trevor Tomkins didn't just play golf or move to Florida. He went to Rwanda, Nicaragua and even parts of Asia to study how they needed help to create safe and modern dairy farms.

The 38-year dairy industry veteran took it a step further. He helped to found Venture/Dairy in Carpentersville, which helps dairy entrepreneurs in depressed countries learn about good business and safety practices to produce milk for their region. Venture/Dairy is backed by investors as well as experts in dairy sciences and will have its official launch on May 1 at a reception at the Union League Club of Chicago.

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"I have been so extraordinarily fortunate in my career that there's a time to give back and when I saw there was an opportunity to do just that," Tomkins said.

When Tomkins finished his Ph.D. in the mid 1970s, he left his London-area home and worked for a Dutch company that transferred him to South Africa. His work at that time brought him all over the world.

"That's when, for the first time, I saw hunger and poverty," Tomkins said. "That's when I determined that at the right stage of my career, I would do something to help those people."

He witnessed how developing communities needed access to affordable capital and technology as well as good business practices, especially for small- and medium-sized businesses.

He worked in the United States for a period of time and that's when he was tapped to work at Milk Specialties Global as head of research. He held that position from 1983 through 1996 when he was then appointed as president, then CEO, before he led a buyout of the company. He continued through earlier this year when an equity firm bought out the company.

The development of Venture/Dairy was in its developmental stages about two years ago as more experts in the dairy industry joined Tomkins' mission to help third-world countries. His first project started in Rwanda and later Nicaragua. He just returned from Vietnam, where more help is needed, he said.

Venture/Dairy is structured as both a non-for-profit organization and an investment fund. The non-for-profit operation supports dairy businesses with technology and training in dairy production, and coaching those involved through the fundamentals of business and development. The social investment fund provides access to affordable loans or equity that can be used to buy equipment, purchase feed, build infrastructure and oversee operations.

"Venture/Dairy's impact component is in the quantifiable returns it will provide for investors," Tomkins explained. "Our fund is designed to benefit the entrepreneurs and the investors who will see real and measurable results."

'King of clubs' comes in Rosemont

Irish Five Roses Pub backers Patrick Lyons and Ed Sparks, co-founders of the Lyons Group, were on hand for the grand opening last week for their Irish pub in Rosemont. In 2003, Boston Magazine called Patrick Lyons the "king of clubs" in Boston, because of a number of popular nightclubs he established there. The Rosemont pub is Lyons' business foray into the Midwest.

Partnering with Cubs

Mark Kaufman, president and founder of Oak Brook-based Athletico Physical Therapy, is expanding the company's relationship with the Chicago Cubs as the official provider of physical therapy. APT will provide the team with a full-time physical therapist to work under the direction of Mark O'Neal, director of athletic training, and team physicians. The Cubs could use a good massage.

McKenna to be honored at gala

Wheaton resident and retired partner of Oak Brook-based Crowe & HorwathCharles McKenna will be honored at the Metropolitan Family Services DuPage Gala on May 4 at Bobak's Signature Events in Woodridge. He will receive the Roger K. Johnson Award, which recognizes individuals who have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to families and communities served by Metropolitan Family Services DuPage. He served on the group's board from 1997 to 2007, and then joined the associate board. He's also involved with the DuPage Community Foundation, Lion's Club International and Adoption Advocacy International.

FastTrack

Patricia and Derek Betlejewski opened the new Budget Blinds store in Carol Stream last month. The company was featured on CBS' "Undercover Boss" last Friday. ... Dominique Raccah, CEO of Naperville-based Sourcebooks, has started Discover A New Love, a romance readers' e-book club. She wrote on the company's website last week that she has been watching different ways that publishers are engaging readers online. ... Kristy Wenz of Bloomingdale started Endura Communications LLC, an integrated marketing firm specializing in business-to-business solutions.

Goran Topalo, who is from Michigan where he attended the University of Michigan dental school, joins Plum Grove Dental in Palatine. ... Laura Martin of Palatine is a new nurse practitioner at Lake Forest Internal Medicine. ... Osteopathic medical doctor Tracy Quinn, a Barrington High School alum, returns to her roots as she joins the staff of Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital in Barrington. She also has an office in Wauconda. ... Steve Weaver will be the managing partner for the new Seasons 52 fresh grill and wine bar restaurant opening later this spring at Oakbrook Center in Oak Brook.

Keith B. Earley, of Bartlett, has been appointed as director of administration, and Dorothy Isherwood of Lincolnshire was named senior executive officer of the U.S. Railroad Retirement Board. Both appointments follow the departure of Henry M. Valiulis, who had served as in both positions. He retired April 3 after 38 years of service. ... Dean Hart, chief commercial officer of NanoInk Inc. in Skokie, gave the keynote address at the Midwest Research Competition: Positive Impact Conference, presented by Wheeling High School last Friday.

Just before Terry Howerton of Evanston turned 40 last week, he went on the grand tour of Hoover Dam, the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas. Howerton, co-founder of managing partner of Chicago's TechNexus, returned home to his family and happy to hit the milestone. So does that mean he did well in Vegas?

Information technology consultant Michael Hugos will present "Success in the Global Markets" at 6:45 p.m. Wednesday, April 18, in North Central College's Smith Hall at Old Main, 30 N. Brainard St., Naperville. Hugos is a principal at Center for Systems Innovation. In recent years he has worked with clients and taught seminars in China, India, Ireland, Korea, Singapore, Turkey and Vietnam.

Hawthorn Woods resident John D. Yerger III, president and CEO of Advanced Diamond Technologies; Lemont resident Jim L. Kaput, general counsel and secretary of Zebra Technologies Corp.; Lake Forest resident Philip G. Franklin, CFO and treasurer of Littelfuse Inc.; Western Springs resident Peter Urbain, senior vice president of Partnerships Merge Healthcare Incorporated; Chicago resident John Kinzer, managing director of corporate finance at SVB Financial Group now service on the board of TechAmerica, the national voice of the U.S. technology industry.

Havlicek's Geneva Ace Hardware had its grand opening Friday with style, including "Mr. Fix-It" Lou Manfredini, who broadcasts his WGN Radio show live on site, and Blackhawks Hockey legend, Bobby Hull signed autographs. ... Stephan D. Blandin of Park Ridge, a founding principal and partner in the Chicago law firm of Romanucci & Blandin LLC, received a "Trial Lawyer Excellence Award" from the Law Bulletin Publishing Co. for the highest reported verdict in an Illinois chiropractic malpractice case for the year 2011. The case won $3.7 million for a man who was paralyzed from the chest down.

•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 akukec@dailyherald.com. Follow Anna Marie Kukec on LinkedIn and Facebook and as AMKukec on Twitter.

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