J. Patrick Benton knows what it's like to stay for the long haul. He's been a lifelong Naperville resident. He's been married to retired District 203 teacher, Polly Benton, for 40 years. And he's been a banker for most of that time, including nearly 30 years at Harris Bank in Naperville and then as market president of the First Community Bank -- Naperville.
Perhaps many would wonder why anyone would stay in the banking field so long, especially during the recent recession, the foreclosure crisis, the ensuing robo-signing controversy among lenders, and ongoing consolidation as some banks close or were acquired.
Perhaps because Benton kept his entire banking career in Naperville, where he grew up and knows various community leaders, neighbors and fellow business people on a first-name basis.
"It's been quite a ride," Benton said of the banking industry.
Benton said his First Community Bank -- Naperville held its ground during that roller coaster ride of the industry and after four years has broken ground on a new facility with a drive-through at the Naperville Plaza, not far from its small storefront on 75th Street that opened about 4 years ago. He aims to have the new facility open early next year and hire more workers, he said.
The Naperville bank, considered an FDIC-insured branch of the First Community Bank of Joliet, also aims to be in business for the long haul. It's backed by several local business owners, so they have a vested interest in keeping the local bank thriving and serving in the community, Benton said.
"When I started in banking, Naperville was just on the cusp of becoming a very dynamic community and it's come to pass," Benton said.
As the Bentons enjoy their fly-fishing vacation this week in Colorado, they'll likely think about what it's been like living, working and raising their two children in Naperville as well. That's why they stayed for the long haul.
New phase for attorney
Arlington Heights resident John G. O'Brien is phasing out his longtime real estate and estate planning law practice in Arlington Heights after becoming vice president and counsel to the Attorneys' Title Guaranty Fund Inc. O'Brien also was president of the Illinois State Bar Association in 2009-10 and is chairman of the board of directors for the Illinois Real Estate Lawyers Association, an organization he founded in 1994.
New restaurant, new staff
Kevin Finegold, operating partner and owner of BlackFinn American Grille in Mount Prospect, is gearing up for the September grand opening of the restaurant and is in the process of hiring about 150 people to be servers, bartenders, hosts and cocktail servers.
Making a global name for herself
Lake Zurich Travel owner and President Sue Shimkus was named one of "The Top 20 Signature Travel Consultants" in the nation for Travel2 and Tourism Australia's 2012 Australia campaign, which promoted travel to Australia and the South Pacific during the first half of 2012. Shimkus' Top 20 finish has earned her the opportunity to spend 14 days on an educational trip to Australia this fall.
Larry Schumacher recently opened Sport Clips at 1072 N. Rohlwing Road in Addison. It's part of the Sport Clips hair-cutting chain that has 900 stores nationwide. Schumacher and his wife own TSF Holdings LLC, which also has stores in Park Ridge, Bannockburn, Long Grove, Hoffman Estates, Evanston and Chicago's Lincoln Park. ... Libertyville Realtor De Shaun Cox received the Mainstreet Organization of Realtors Community Service Award. Cox has been active in Libertyville for the last decade as a member and now as co-chair of the Libertyville Days Festival committee and at the Libertyville Civic Center. ... Tiffany Uy is the store manager at the new AT&T store that opened Sunday at Westfield Fox Valley Mall in Aurora.
Tony Reed is the new vice president of engineering at Comcast Greater Chicago Region in Schaumburg. He'll oversee the network, which serves 2 million customers in several Illinois markets, including Chicago and the suburbs, as well as Indiana and northwest Michigan. ... Kyle Welte of Lake in the Hills has passed his professional engineer exam and has earned the title of professional engineer with the state. Also engineers Sean W. Mikos and John D. Hoffmann are now certified public infrastructure inspectors. They each work at Engineering Enterprises Inc. in Sugar Grove.
PNC Bank's regional President Joe Gregoire has been appointed to the newly created role of state chairman in Illinois. He'll help drive PNC's growth, and he'll be looking for a new regional president for the Chicago market. The bank has added branches in Bensenville, Palatine, Niles, Lombard, Mount Prospect and Vernon Hills. Gregoire also serves on the board of the Naperville Development Council. ... Christopher D. Sliva is the new chief operating officer of Oak Brook-based Treehouse Foods Inc.'s Bay Valley Foods unit and a senior vice president of Treehouse.
Glen Ellyn resident Tom Kelly as its new health & productivity practice leader for the Chicago market at Buck Consultants, a global human resource and benefits consulting firm. ... Riverwoods resident Richard N. Kessler, managing member of McDonald Hopkins' Chicago office, has been honored with the Distinguished Member Award by the Lake County Bar Association. ... Crystal Lake resident Mike Wozny is the new general manager at the historic Woodstock Theatre, owned by Classic Cinemas. ... Naperville resident Alex Pope is the new vice president/Foundation and chief development officer at Rush-Copley Medical Center in Aurora.
Arthur Blank, co-founder of Home Depot and owner and chairman of the National Football League's Atlanta Falcons, along with Shahid Khan, owner of Flex-N-Gate Corp. and the NFL's Jacksonville Jaguars, will be the opening general session speakers at the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals' 2012 annual conference Sept. 30 to Oct. 3, in Atlanta, Ga. The association is based in Lombard. ... Sharon L. McCollam, the recently retired chief operating and chief financial officer for Williams-Sonoma Inc., has been elected to the board at Naperville-based OfficeMax Inc.
Rich Foster's Liberty Mutual Insurance Group has moved to 477 S. Third St., suite 148 in Geneva. ... Rod Yarger of Literacy Volunteers Fox Valley was one of 10 tutors who won a Spotlight on Service Award from the secretary of state and the Illinois Press Association for outstanding volunteerism. Yarger was chosen from more than 8,000 nominees. ... Gretchen W. Price, chief financial and administrative officer at Arbonne International LLC, has been elected to the board at Deerfield-based Beam Inc.
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