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updated: 6/25/2012 7:59 AM

Entrepreneurs segue into website business

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  • Ben Wallach

    Ben Wallach

  • Alex Bravy

    Alex Bravy

  • Darrin R. Bacon

    Darrin R. Bacon

  • Frank S. Cservenyak Jr.

    Frank S. Cservenyak Jr.

  • Timothy Knecht

    Timothy Knecht

  • William Kubek

    William Kubek

  • Susan Pennington

    Susan Pennington

  • Greg Bedalov

    Greg Bedalov

  • Justin Pisellini

    Justin Pisellini


Ben Wallach worked as a recording engineer for the stars, including Michael Jackson, Tina Turner, Joe Cocker and Joe Walsh. And he enjoyed the lifestyle of Hollywood for a number of years while he racked up a number of credits on various albums.

But when he got serious about a woman and considered settling down, he sought a job with more normal hours, Wallach said.

"Everyone thinks that working in Hollywood with big name recording stars is a glamorous life, but the long hours and the hard work just aren't conducive to settling down," he said.

The engineer part of him gravitated toward computers and he was soon working with software. The profession still allowed him enough creativity for design and growth and it became something he enjoyed.

Later, he met up with Highland Park High School friend Alex Bravy, who was born in Russia and later emigrated at age 13 with his parents. Bravy later worked for and other firms and then married Wallach's sister.

The two men found themselves talking together on the train, going to their respective jobs, and using that time to develop their own company. They even started writing computer code during commutes and stayed up late creating graphics.

By 2006, they took the plunge and founded Highland Park-based, a website that provides articles and other information on the auto industry along with details about new and used cars for sale. Their workforce has since grown to 9 other employees, and more are expected to be hired this year, they said.

But you won't find Wallach's or Bravy's names on the website. The founders said they prefer to remain behind the scenes and allow their editorial team to shine. Still, the entrepreneurs are always planning, especially when it comes to mobility.

"It's very possible that we'll do another project together," Bravy said. "Once you're bit by the entrepreneurial bug, that just doesn't go away."

Dairy farmers go to D.C.

Joe Oberweis of Oberweis Dairy Inc. in North Aurora and dozens of other dairy industry leaders were in Washington, D.C. recently to ask Congress to remove from the Farm Bill portions of a new program called the Dairy Security Act. They oppose the provision, saying that limits on the amount of milk a farmer can produce could artificially raise consumer prices, cripple dairy exports, cost thousands of new jobs, and stifle investments in new facilities.

Orthodontist works with French team

Michael Stosich, a Lake Forest and Grayslake orthodontist, went to Montpellier, France, to participate in a French and American medical team collaboration conducting research on complex orthodontic and craniofacial cases. Stosich's involvement with this team began three years ago during his time at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, where he completed a craniofacial fellowship. U.S. medical and orthodontic experts are working with French craniofacial and pediatric surgeons on new treatments and research.

New Century 21 Realtor

Carolyn Diesi has joinedCentury 21 Kreuser & Seiler Ltd. Diesi has more than 20 years of real estate experience and recently worked for Koenig & Strey. A 30-year resident of Lake County, she has co-chaired the annual auction for Lake County Haven, a social service agency assisting homeless women and children. She and her husband, Jim, live in Libertyville and are avid Lake Michigan boaters. Carolyn also serves as a board member of the Prairie Harbor Yacht Club.


Darrin R. Bacon is the manager of the new Naperville branch that opens today for the First Bank & Trust, which has banks in Evanston, Skokie, Winnetka and Itasca. ... Robert Habeeb, president and chief operating officer of Rosemont-based First Hospitality Group Inc., said his firm's Holiday Inn & Suites Chicago-O'Hare Rosemont hotel has received a TripAdvisor certificate of excellence award.

Naperville resident David A. Westman will become the executive director and CEO of the Congress of Neorological Surgeons starting July 9. Westman will succeed Regina Shupak, who has served as the CNS interim executive director since October.

Batavia resident Kristen Johnson, Batavia Enterprises Inc. property manager, received her masters of business administration with a focus in project management from Keller Graduate School. She completed her degree while managing all of BEI's commercial properties throughout the Fox Valley. BEI's residential coordinator Carolyn Russell earned her master's degree in organizational leadership from Judson University in Elgin.

Frank S. Cservenyak Jr., managing partner of the civil litigation firm Rathbun, Cservenyak & Kozol LLC has been elected president of the Will County Bar Association for 2012-2013. ... Kent Schwickert has been promoted to regional managing president of the East region, while Bryan Adams and Ken Flickinger become East operating unit president and the Midwest regional managing president respectively at Rosemont-based Tecta America Corp., a commercial and environmental roofing solutions company. ... Timothy Knecht has been promoted to vice president; William Kubek has been promoted to assistant vice president; and Susan Pennington is the new loan operations manager at Palatine-based Cornerstone National Bank & Trust Co., which has offices in Crystal Lake and Lake Zurich.

Pat Szpekowski, president of PMS Advertising Inc. in Carpentersville, was honored with a first-place award in TV advertising by the Illinois Woman's Press Association for her 2011 Kane County Fair commercial. She also earned four second-place awards, which included the categories of specialty written articles in The Observer, the weekly Diocese of Rockford newspaper; advertising print for Express Air Coach and Meritus Financial Group; and radio commercial for the 2011 Kane County Fair.

K'Lynne Johnson, CEO of Woodridge-based Elevance Renewable Sciences Inc., said the company received the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's 2012 Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards for its work using metathesis catalysis to produce high-performing, green specialty chemicals at advantageous costs. The company is a producer of high-performance renewable specialty chemicals.

Elliot Weissbluth, CEO of Chicago-based HighTower, a national financial services firm, plans to open an office in the north suburbs soon ... Greg Bedalov, president and CEO of Choose DuPage, hosted a panel discussion last week about exploring business potential in Australia.

Edward Jones Financial Advisor Justin Pisellini of Bensenville received the TNT Client Development Award for his service efforts over the past year. The award takes its name from the firm legends who, in the 1950s, traveled the Midwest from Tuesday through Thursday each week, becoming known as "TNT" brokers. ... Brian Bare of Edward Jones in Schaumburg won the firm's Ted Jones Entrepreneurial Award for his achievement in building client relationships. The award is named after Ted Jones, the son of the firm's founder.

Bobbi Beake of Antioch was named executive director of Victory Centre of Vernon Hills, a new senior living community owned and operated by Pathway Senior Living LLC. ... William D. Burke Jr. of Evanston has joined the investment bank Sterne Agee's Private Client Group as vice president in the Chicago office in the Willis Tower. ... Betsy Cadwallader of Wilmette has joined U.S. Bank as relationship manager team leader in Chicago for the bank's U.S. middle market group.

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

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