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updated: 9/10/2012 7:05 AM

Vision of Crystal Lake executive helps others

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  • Camille Caffarelli

    Camille Caffarelli

  • Bruce George

    Bruce George

  • Anne Pramaggiore

    Anne Pramaggiore

  • Edward Meil

    Edward Meil

  • Karen Stoychoff Inman

    Karen Stoychoff Inman

  • Jennifer Raaths

    Jennifer Raaths


Camille Caffarelliof Lake in the Hills may not have her eyesight, but she certainly has vision. That vision started back in 1978, when she was a widow raising three small children and she decided to start her own business.

Today, Horizons for the Blind, a Crystal Lake nonprofit that provides a variety of services for blind and visually-impaired people, employs about 50 people, some who also are visually impaired.

"Being blind is not that big of a deal," Caffarelli said. "All of us have plusses and minuses and if you're blind, those minuses may be more obvious."

Caffarelli was born 3 months early and was put into an incubator in which the oxygen damaged the retinas in her eyes. She grew up in Chicago and later married and had three sons.

But in 1977, her first husband died of a brain tumor, leaving her to be the sole support of the family. She had worked for some cultural organizations and those skills led her to creating Horizons in the basement of her home.

Since those days, she has remarried and one of her sons, Keith Myersof Lake in the Hills, also works at Horizons.

Horizons doesn't just survive on grants or donations. Its primary income is from converting about 30,000 monthly bills and financial statements from ComEd, AT&T and a number of banks and other companies into Braille, large print or audiotapes for visually impaired customers, she said.

Horizons also converts restaurant menus, theater programs, user manuals, schedules, directories and other items for customers that include Metra, Hyatt Hotels and the Chicago Historical Society.

Horizons also has been working with Lisle-based Gladson, which puts images up on a website that allows the visually impaired to enlarge the font or otherwise obtain information on products or recipes or other things to help their daily lives, she said.

Directions For Me allows visually-impaired users to "read" the information on consumer product labels. The website also provides access to preparation directions, ingredients, nutritional facts, allergy warnings and other label details via text-to-audio screen readers, magnifiers and Braille output devices. A mobile app is being developed, she said.

"This website helps you, so you don't have to keep asking and can be more independent," she said.

Shades of design a cover story

Hinsdale resident Bruce George, architect with Charles Vincent George Design in Naperville, along with interiors by Aimee Wertepny of Project Interiors, redesigned a Hinsdale home that is featured as the cover story in the August/September issue of Interiors Magazine. The article, "Shade of Gray," focuses on what Editorial Director Michael Wollaeger describes as the home's "edgy urban glamour."

Warrenville brewer moves to city

Davin Bartosch has been appointed head brewer for Rock Bottom Brewery in Chicago, where he will focus on strategies to promote Rock Bottom craft beers and create specialty beers specific to that location. Most recently, Davin was brew master at Rock Bottom in Warrenville, where he helped to create the brewmaster dinners and events, including Popfest which he originated three years ago after viewing the Food Network program, "Good Eats." The fest included numerous craft beers from area brewers paired with gourmet popcorn and set the stage for the tapping of Davin's Popcorn beer, King Puff, a beverage that involves a delicate yet tedious craft beer brewing process.

ComEd executive key speaker

Barrington resident Anne Pramaggiore, president of ComEd, was a former film major who decided to climb the ladder of the Chicago-based utility. She shared her story last Friday at a breakfast fundraiser for the Rita and John Canning Women's Program at Harper College in Palatine.


Dan Steever, CEO of Schaumburg-based PromoWorks LLC, a marketing services firm that works with retailers, has been named president and publisher of The Gazette in Colorado Springs. Freedom Communications acquired the Gazette in July. ... Edward Meil has been promoted from corporate controller to vice president of finance and administration of Aquion Inc. in Elk Grove Village. ... Karen Stoychoff Inman, owner of Elite Athletic Development-CrossFit of Arlington Heights, passed the National Strength and Conditioning Association certified strength and conditioning specialist exam. It's the primary certification required for professional and college-level athletic teams.

Glenview resident Gilbert A. Haggart, an independent agent for the Des Plaines-based brokerage firm Meeker-Magner, has been named president of the Million Dollar Round Table Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the association for about 38,000 of the world's leading life insurance and financial services professionals from more than 450 companies in 76 countries. ... Rick Derr, owner of Lake Zurich-based Learning Express Toys, said the company has introduced Skill Builders for Children with Special Needs, an online and in-store resource that offers parents, professionals, friends and caregivers toy suggestions to help children accomplish their developmental goals.

Bob Stockard, CEO of Club Colors in Schaumburg, said the company has been named one of Counselor Magazine's Best Places to Work in the ad specialty industry. ... Brian Gordon, president of MAGA Ltd., a family owned and operated insurance agency in Riverwoods that focuses exclusively on long term care insurance, ranked 43rd nationally and 2nd in Illinois, and Peter Florek, MAGA's vice president, ranked 89th nationally and 6th in Illinois in listings by the American Association for Long Term Care Insurance. ... Robbin Diedrich, manager of the Maurices store in McHenry, said the store is hosting a fashion show at 6 p.m. on Sept. 22 at The Shops at Fox River, 3258 Shoppers Drive in McHenry.

Michael A. Pitcher, president and CEO of Rolling Meadows-based LeasePlan USA, a provider of vehicle leasing and fleet management solutions, said the company was named one of "Chicago's 101 Best and Brightest Companies to Work For" by the National Association for Business Resources for the sixth consecutive year. ... Jennifer Raaths is the new public relations and social media manager at The Stationery Studio LLC in Buffalo Grove. She had owned FortunecookiePR for 12 years.

•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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