Former Chicago Bulls center Bill Cartwright is known for sharing the court with another Bulls legend, Michael Jordan, during their winning seasons in the 1990s, or his stints as a coach.
Lake Forest resident Cartwright retired as a player following the 1994-95 NBA season, having collected three NBA championship rings and tours with New York Knicks, the Chicago Bulls, and the Seattle SuperSonics. He returned to the Bulls in 1997 as a member of the coaching staff. He then served as interim and head coach of the Bulls 2001-03 and ended his coaching career this past season after stints in New Jersey and Phoenix.
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Cartwright, now 55, takes his work ethic behind the scenes now as chairman of Park Ridge-based CartwrightDownes Inc., a private investigations firm that does investigative work and background checks for companies. The company was founded in 1980 but taken over by the Cartwright family about six years ago, he said.
"Our niche is in the nuclear industry, but we're looking to expand," he said.
The firm includes his wife Sheri Cartwright, who is the CEO, and Sandy Downes, the president. Also on staff are his sons Justin, Jason and James Cartwright.
Being in business with his family reminds him of his younger days, growing up in the Sacramento, Calif., area where he lived on a ranch and everyone pitched in with chores.
"Whether it was picking tomatoes or sugar beets, we all worked together," he said. "When I was a kid, it was fun. We were all out there and willing to work."
He credits his parents with his strong work ethic and his six sisters with his values on sharing.
"They were very positive people and I was fortunate to have them," he said.
Now he's back in business with his own family and aiming to expand the investigative firm beyond its work with the nuclear industry. He'd like to expand further in the educational, financial and medical areas. Staffing ranges from 15 to 26, depending on the projects, and he expects to add more by next year.
The company aims to protect reputations of companies and their executives and to provide background investigations on potential employees. CartwrightDownes uses the latest technology and databases to take its clients beyond a simple screening of an employee or potential board member, he said.
So would he be open to working with any of his former sports colleagues again in some capacity, such as investors?
"No," he joked. "Unless they want to work as investigators."
No longer on hold
President David Hearld of Hinsdale-based Profit-Tell International said his company was acquired by Tampa, Fla.-based Spectrio, a provider of audio- and video-based marketing solutions. Profit-Tell, which does those on-hold messages, will lay off two of its three employees. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Law firm a family affair
Henry Phillip Gruss of Park Ridge founded the law firm, Henry Phillip Gruss Ltd. as a sole practitioner in 1994. In 2007, Gena Gruss Romagnoli joined her father at the firm to represent injured persons and their families in medical malpractice, motor vehicle collision, premises liability and other personal injury matters. Last January, Henry's daughter-in-law, Kristin M. Gruss, joined the team. And, not only do the lawyers work side-by-side, they're also neighbors in Park Ridge. Kristin and Gena live right next door to each other. They even tapped Henry as a part-time employee.
Georgio's marks 10 years
Brian Coli, owner of Georgio's Pizza in Crystal Lake and South Barrington, marks the 10th anniversary of his business on Nov. 5. It is named after his father and their shared middle name, George.
Owner Winnie Huang last week opened Sake Sushi and Grill on Rand Road in Lake Zurich, ... Lombard resident Sue Zawacki, a senior care entrepreneur, has started her own radio program to assist baby boomers to age without growing older, called AgingInfoRadio on WIND. ... Anne Zambrano is the new account executive and Lynnea Honson-Walsh is now director of operations at Total Event Resources in Schaumburg.
Streamwood resident Karyn Chylewski, manager of Best Friends Pet Care in Prairie View, received Outstanding First Year Manager, in recognition of her achievements during her first year with the company. The award was presented during the company's annual Managers Conference in Norwalk Conn. ... Synergy Flavors Inc. CEO Rod Sowders, who toured his new Wauconda facility, urged legislators to support reform of the Depression-era sugar program and help generate economic growth and support job creation. Synergy Flavors is a manufacturer and supplier of flavors, extracts and other ingredients to the food and beverage industry, including Blommer Chocolate Co.
West Dundee-based Bii Salon founders James Gartner and Adam Swanlund earned the Best Small Business of the Year award during the Northern Kane County Chamber of Commerce annual awards dinner at the Holiday Inn in Elgin. ... Rotary Club of Crystal Lake Dawnbreakers President Gary Riegler inducted in new members Sean Nelson, executive director of the Sage YMCA; Chris Hindley, president of Everblast Products; and Patrick Maynard, president and CEO of Pioneer Center for Human Services.
Northbrook resident Angela Korompilas has been promoted to executive vice president and chief operating officer at Vernon Hills-based American Hotel Register Co., a supplier to the hospitality industry worldwide. ... Manager Aaron Greene was on hand when the expanded Sam's Club opened its doors in Addison last week. ... Brian Finch is the new military product manager at LaFox-based Radco Industries, a global manufacturer of specialty fluids and lubricants for the military sector. ... Scott Johnson is the new franchise sales consultant at RE/MAX Northern Illinois in Elgin.
Brynne Smith, president and CEO of Rosemont-based Tecta America Corp., said the commercial roofing contracting company has earned the No. 1 spot on Engineering News-Record Magazine's list of 2012 Top Roofing Firms. The ranking is featured in the publication's October issue as part of its annual Top 600 Specialty Contractors report. ... Aurora resident Kim Stanley is the new service coordinator at Pact Inc. in Lisle. ... Wheaton resident Tom Schaffler is now president of the Chicago operations for insurance broker, Lockton.
Russ Bergeron, CEO of Lisle-based Midwest Real Estate Data multiple listing service, has been elected to the 2013 board of directors of the Real Estate Standards Organization. ... Interior Designer Joan Kaufman, a member of the American Society of Interior Designers in Naperville, was recently elected to the national board of directors of the group for the 2012-13 fiscal year. ... North Barrington resident Brian Jacobson, an employee of Farmers Insurance Group, has completed the managers leadership development course at the University of Farmers. ... Tony Stallone, vice president of fresh markets for Skokie-based Peapod.com, has been the chef du jour for his family's Thanksgiving celebrations for 30 years.
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