Breaking News Bar
updated: 9/25/2012 11:24 AM

Bensenville executive aims to develop China connection

Success - Article sent! close
  • Kitty Pon

    Kitty Pon

  • Kitty Pon

    Kitty Pon

  • Michael Birck

    Michael Birck

  • Craig Slavin

    Craig Slavin

  • Andy Mills

    Andy Mills


Kitty Pon, who was born and raised in Taipei, Taiwan, came to the United States in 1981, and has volleyed her international ties into a thriving business based in Bensenville.

She and her husband own and operate Pactrans Air & Sea Inc., which provides logistical services, including transportation of products from overseas to the United States. They handle logistics for a variety of companies, including Wal-Mart, she said.

"We do everything with international supply chains," she said.

Although she has seen her business grow from a two-person staff and about 800 square feet to roughly 140,000 square feet and 50 workers, she still seeks to expand.

That's why she recently returned from a trade mission to Shanghai and Beijing, China, hosted by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, Office of Trade and Investment, and the Small Business Administration. She was among eight Illinois companies that met with about 200 company representatives as well as government officials in China.

In fact, SBA officials are expected to tour Pactrans on Oct. 3, which had been postponed from Sept. 27 because the company would be just too busy with a big project at that time, Pon said.

But it was her trip to China last month that she formed ties with new customers and companies overseas, she said.

She believes the trade shows and other meetings allowed her to develop nearly $2 million worth of revenue. And that could help her to create or retain about 20 jobs, she said.

But this wasn't her only time in China. She's traveled there a couple of times of years over the last 15 years, aiming to develop that network.

"It is an opportunity to meet more contacts, partner, vendor, (and) build up the network and new business venture," she said.

Retirement target date

Mike Birck, co-founder and chairman of Naperville-based Tellabs Inc., is expected to have his last day on the job while at the company's annual meeting next spring. He revealed in August that he has chronic myelomonocytic leukemia, an uncommon form of bone marrow cancer and has been undergoing chemotherapy.

Marking a new beginning

CEO Phil Bolt of Cambium Networks will be hosting an open house Tuesday to mark the high-tech company's move to Rolling Meadows. Last year, the company was spun off from Motorola and now it will be launching new products related to fixed wireless broadband. About 100 communications service providers are expected at the opening and more than 500 are expected to attend online.

For breast cancer month

General Manager and partner Ed Culleeney, Chef and partner Shawn Li, and husband-and-wife partners Thomas Hirdes and Lisa Hirdes will be on hand when PL8 Simply Asian in Barrington offers a 4-course "Pink Pre-Fixe" menu including a cocktail, sushi roll, salad and entree during October in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. PL8 will donate $8 to the Wellness Place in Palatine for every "Pink Pre-Fixe" ordered in honor of the symbolic lucky number "8" in Chinese culture.


Pastry guru Chef Alain Roby, holder of two Guinness World Records, guest on The Martha Stewart Show and contestant and judge of numerous Food Network challenges, will celebrate National Dessert Month at his All Chocolate Kitchen in Geneva. He'll feature a specialty item on different dates throughout October and a portion of all proceeds will be donated to the National Kidney Foundation of Illinois. ... Buffalo Grove resident Craig Slavin, a 40-year franchise veteran, offers the ConnectMe website, where those interested in buying a franchise can take a survey to see what would make a good fit and get other advice or information. He was CEO and president of Giordano's from 1983 to 1988, long before the company's bankruptcy filing in 2011.

Gene Wood, director of operations, heads up the Glendale Heights facility that opened in March for Uxbridge, Mass.-based Lenze Americas, a global manufacturer of electrical and mechanical drives, motion control and automation technologies. He'll be on hand for the facility's grand opening celebration on Tuesday. ... Ron Starr, president of Lake Zurich-based Koffler Sales, said the company made Internet Retailer's Second 500 Guide, a sister publication to the Top 500 Guide, and includes information on e-retailers ranked 501 to 1,000 in annual online sales. The company had about $2.5 million in sales in 2011, 51,000 monthly visits, and ranked No. 906 on the list.

Ravi Saligram, president and CEO of Naperville-based OfficeMax Inc., was in London last week to participate in the World Retail Congress 2012 in London. ... Naperville resident Mark A. Flessner has joined the litigation team at Holland & Knight law firm in Chicago. A former assistant U.S. attorney in Chicago, Flessner counsels clients on the litigation risks arising from government investigations. ... Married couples Paul and Meg LeFaivre own the new La Grange location and Lynn and John Day own the Glen Ellyn location of Chicago's expanding Bottle & Bottega, a franchise that combines art instruction with a BYOB (bring your own bottle) concept.

Dan Miller, president and CEO of American Chartered Bank in Vernon Hills, and Bob Mariano, founder of Mariano's Fresh Market, will talk about their humble beginnings at a program hosted by American Chartered Bank at 5 p.m. at the bank on Thursday. ... Voytek Opalski, general manager and owner of Opal Enterprises, a Naperville windows and doors company, said the company marked its ninth year by moving into a new showroom. ... Carpentersville resident David Schweihs has rejoined Mercer as a principal and senior member of the newly formed Analytics and Measurement Solutions group within the Health and Benefits business. He returns to Mercer from United Healthcare, where he was vice president of Customer Analysis and Solutions and Advanced Analytics.

Robert T. Isham Jr. is the new chairman of the board of Lake Forest-based Baytree National Bank and Trust Co., a unit of EB Financial Group Inc. He succeeded Willard Bunn III, who has joined the Chicago boutique investment banking firm of Colonnade Advisors as managing director. ... Naperville resident Neil Gorman joined the Child and Family Connections program at Pact Inc. in Lisle. ... Andy Mills, president of Mundelein-based Medline Industries Inc., hosted softball and soccer tournaments, cook-offs, picnics and award ceremonies for his global staff during the company's 15th annual Employee Appreciation Week last week.

•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.

Article Comments ()
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.