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posted: 9/3/2012 6:00 AM

Former Moto engineer happy designing apps

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  • Jeff Bonta

    Jeff Bonta

  • Rob Pullen

    Rob Pullen

  • Brian Lakner

    Brian Lakner

  • Bob Podgorski

    Bob Podgorski

  • Stan Pevitz

    Stan Pevitz

  • Addison Fire Protection District Chief Don Markowski, left, Adventist GlenOaksHospital CEO Bruce C. Christian, and Glenside Fire Protection District Chief Russ Wood attended the hospital's annual EMS Appreciation Golf Outing in Glendale Heights.

    Addison Fire Protection District Chief Don Markowski, left, Adventist GlenOaksHospital CEO Bruce C. Christian, and Glenside Fire Protection District Chief Russ Wood attended the hospital's annual EMS Appreciation Golf Outing in Glendale Heights.

  • James McClamroch Jr.

    James McClamroch Jr.

  • James English

    James English


Jeff Bonta of Arlington Heights isn't your typical retiree. After he was laid off from the former Motorola Inc., just before it split into two companies, the 28-year veteran engineer later qualified for his pension.

That's when he started his own company, JBonta Innovations LLC, to design and build apps for your smartphone.

"Rather than retire comfortably, I decided to pursue a passion to develop smartphone apps," Bonta said. "I had to come up a pretty big learning curve, not only in learning how to develop iPhone apps, but also how to be a sales and marketing person."

His learning curve led to the release of two apps. One is MixOnMyRadio Lite, which is free, and another, MixOnMyRadio, which costs 1.99 to download from Apple's App Store for iPhone and iPod Touch, or by visiting

The apps offer the user a mix of news and entertainment podcasts with music from his or her iTunes music library. They're now selling in 27 countries and in 5 languages. It will soon be released in another 13 countries, he said.

"It is gaining traction and has now been sold to over 700 people," Bonta said. "Many of my customers use it while commuting, working out, or simply as a radio in the kitchen."

When he was a staff engineer, he said he would work on some "really cool" projects and some things that never saw the light of day. Still, he was involved in about 55 patents and possibly 20 more still pending at Motorola. They focused on call quality and how the call was "handed" from one area to another to keep the call connected.

Now at 57, he said he's doing what he loves.

"They always say that you should do what you're passions are," Bonta said. "I just enjoy being creative and when developing an app, from idea to coding to testing it and making it come to life, it's all fun and exciting to me."

Pullen memory honored

Rob Pullen, the chairman and CEO of Naperville-based Tellabs Inc. who died of colon cancer in July, will be honored by the Telecommunications Industry Association, which has established a foundation to fund the TIA-Robert William Pullen Scholarship. It will be awarded annually beginning in 2013 at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to an engineering, physics or technology student who demonstrates good character and merit, as well as interest in a career in the information and communications technology industry.

Consultant aims to rewrite rule

Brian L. Lakner, financial consultant with LAMB Financial Services in Elgin has called on the U.S. Department of Labor to follow a set of criteria while writing its new rule to redefine the term, "fiduciary," a rule, he said, that threatens to price millions of Main Street Americans out of financial advice on their IRAs. Lakner s a member of the Financial Services Institute and is working with FSI on this issue.

First year down for Dent Recon

Brandon Halcott, CEO of Dent Recon in Barrington, just completed his company's first year of business. The company provides instant estimates to consumers for their cosmetic vehicle repairs and then completes the service at a customer's home or office.


Bob Podgorski of Hoffman Estates has relaunched RPP Enterprises to focus on presenting career programs regionally, for networking groups, associations, societies, libraries, government labor support entities and other organizations. ... Larry Nicholson, founder and president, and David Fallon, director of sales, at Northbrook-based MPM Food Equipment Group will be showcasing the company's accomplishments at the Illinois Health Care Association annual convention and trade show Sept. 10-13 in Peoria.

J. Patrick Gallagher Jr., chairman, president and CEO of Itasca-based Arthur J. Gallagher & Co., will speak Wednesday at the Keefe Bruyette & Woods 2012 Insurance Conference at the Crowne Plaza Times Square Hotel in New York. ... Stephen M. Merrick, chief financial officer, and Timothy Patterson, vice president of finance and administration, at Lake Barrington-based CTI Industries Corp., will speak Thursday at The Wall Street Analyst Conference at The Omni Parker House in Boston. ... Timothy P. Walbert, chairman, president and chief executive officer, of Deerfield-based Horizon Pharma Inc., will speak Friday at the BioCentury NewsMakers in the Biotech Industry Conference in New York.

Jim and Joe Smith, owners of Allegra in Elk Grove Village, were honored by Allegra Network with the franchise system's Sales Excellence Award. The recognition is earned by the top 10 percent in the network. ... Peggy Sajdak has been named trust officer at Fifth Third Bank on Golf Road in Rolling Meadows. She previously served in the same position at American Bank and Trust in St. Charles. ... Also Stan Pevitz has been named mortgage loan originator at the Fifth Third in Vernon Hills. He was previously vice president of mortgage lending for Guaranteed Rate Mortgage in Schaumburg.

Shoaib Iqbal, manager of the Sam's Club in Elgin, and its 190 employees marked the stores grand opening last week. ... Addison Fire Protection District Chief Don Markowski, Adventist GlenOaks Hospital CEO Bruce C. Christian, and Glenside Fire Protection District Chief Russ Wood were among those who attended the hospital's annual EMS Appreciation Golf Outing at Glendale Lakes Golf Course in Glendale Heights. ... James McClamroch Jr. of Kenilworth is Morningstar Inc.'s new senior vice president for individual software. He's responsible for and the global retail websites, mobile applications, investor relations products and newsletters.

Sandy Shelby recently joined Fox Valley Repertory in St. Charles as its new development manager. ... Susan Parker, of Aflac-Susan Parker & Associates in St. Charles, has joined the board of directors for TriCity Family Services. ... James English of Clarendon Hills has been appointed as chief financial officer at Wirtz Beverage Illinois. He fills the position previously held by Nadine Heidrich, who became vice president CFO of Wirtz Corp., the distributor's parent company.

•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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