They range from a television producer and event planner to a Barrington financial executive, an Arlington Heights entrepreneur and a Hoffman Estates building official.
All call themselves alumni of Harper College.
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On Monday, Oct. 29, at a campus reception hosted by Kenneth Ender, Harper president, they will be inducted as the latest class of distinguished alumni.
They include Jim Inman of Arlington Heights, owner of Elite Athletic Development; Don Plass, the director of code enforcement for the village of Hoffman Estates; Angela Manhart Guyette Lemay of Barrington Hills, CFO at Refurbished Office Environments in Chicago; Tom Kehoe of Chicago, president of Kehoe Designs; Charles Cann of New York, a writer, producer and director dedicated to helping children in Ghana; and John Blim of Louisville, Ky., an Emmy award-winning television writer, producer and director.
"These recipients once walked in the shoes of today's students," says Fredia Martin, director of Alumni Relations and Special Events. "They have a shared perspective on Harper's impact on their success, and are in a perfect position to inspire the next generation of alumni."
Harper has honored 22 Distinguished Alumni since the award's inception as part of the college's 40th anniversary in 2008. Recipients return to the campus again later in the year to participate in activities with students.
Angela Manhart Guyette is the only woman among this year's group. She was 16 when she arrived at Harper College in 1987, an early graduate from Rolling Meadows High School unsure of her career goals.
"I'm very proud to represent women as a top executive in the finance industry," she says. "Coming to college as one of the youngest students, Harper taught me how to build confidence, which is an asset that has driven me to succeed and blossom in the business world."
Since 2008, LeMay has served as chief financial officer for Refurbished Office Environment, a company she runs with her husband that nets nearly $50 million in sales a year.
Another recipient, Don Plass, turned to Harper in 1996 to earn his Building Code and Enforcement certificate after serving in the Air Force and later working in the construction industry with his father.
Plass is the current director of code enforcement for the Village of Hoffman Estates. He oversees a staff of 14.
"Much like emergency personnel are first responders, we are 'the first preventers' making sure all buildings in the Hoffman Estates are safe and up to code," Plass says. "We try to be as proactive as possible, so I'm a big believer in making sure my team continues their education as often as I continue mine."