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posted: 11/4/2013 7:57 AM

Meeting changes life for Vernon Hills therapist, athletes

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  • Mike Kordecki

    Mike Kordecki

  • Brenda Johnson with Bruce C. Christian, CEO for Adventist GlenOaks Hospital.

    Brenda Johnson with Bruce C. Christian, CEO for Adventist GlenOaks Hospital.

  • Simon Fricker

    Simon Fricker

  • Kerry Hill

    Kerry Hill

  • Stephanie Feldman

    Stephanie Feldman

  • Mike Stephans

    Mike Stephans


Sports physical therapist Mike Kordecki, owner of Praxis Physical Therapy in Vernon Hills, was invited to a meeting that changed his life, and possibly countless others.

Officials from the Lake Forest Orthopedic Group, his former employer, talked about cervical injuries on the football field and how difficult it was to remove shoulder pads to do certain medical scans. Removing the typical pads was cumbersome and required certain movements by an injured player to remove them, movement that the player could make matters worse.

Kordecki left the meeting, went to buy a pair of the typical shoulder pads, and started to work on a new design. By trial and error, he used parts bought at a local hardware store and worked in his basement. He spent about two years perfecting the system and working with medical and athletic pros to develop and then license the design.

The design included clipping a tab in front to more easily and quickly release the shoulder pads with minimal movement from the injured athlete. This more easily allowed medical doctors and other personnel to quickly and more easily place a player in the appropriate scanner without additional harm, he said.

After getting four patents in 2008, Kordecki has since sold the licenses to Riddell in Rosemont. The pads are now worn by a number of football players on 24 NFL teams, 57 collegiate teams and some in Canada, he said.

"The medical sign is really driving this," Kordecki said. "We needed something that would cause less movement for the player and was quicker to come off."

While the pads have taken off, Kordecki continues with his physical therapy business, taking on tough cases from sports injuries. He also assists the staff of Carmel Catholic High School in Mundelein in case of emergencies, he said.

"We're use to taking the cases that failed elsewhere or are the tough cases," he said.

Hospital director honored

Glen Ellyn resident Brenda Johnson, patient access director at Glendale Heights-based Adventist GlenOaks Hospital, was named its Distinguished Leader at a leadership institute run by Adventist Midwest Health. An employee at Adventist GlenOaks for four years, Johnson started as an overnight and weekend registrar and moved up into the directorship role.

Bear garners award

David Bear, McDonald's owner/operator and vice president of South Elgin-based Bearco Management Co. will be awarded Community Service Family Business of the Year by the Family Business Center at Loyola University Chicago. The company will be honored for its community service in support of the 20th Annual Illinois Family Business of the Year Awards. A gala honoring Bear and others will be at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 21, at The Four Seasons Hotel in Chicago.


Andrew Parravano plans to open his Andrew's Garden, European-style floral market, on Nov. 14 in Wheaton. ... Elmhurst resident Simon Fricker is the new general manager at the Le Meridien Chicago at Oakbrook Center. ... Arlington Heights resident Kevin O'Connell has been named board president for HandsOn Suburban Chicago in Arlington Heights. He has been with AT&T for over 14 years and serves as IT Director of Network Services.

Kerry Hill is the new chief financial officer at Vista Health System in Waukegan. ... Doug McAllister, president of Douglas Automotive in Barrington, celebrated its grand opening with about 100 friends, business colleagues, village and chamber officials.

Bruce Hammond, who served as director of marketing and communications at the Mount Prospect-based National Sporting Goods Association for nearly three years, has left for another job. So Marty Maciaszek was named director of communications, in addition to his duties with NSGA's Team Dealer and Hockey Dealer Divisions. Katie Nemec was named director of marketing, social media and special events.

Jason Baab has been named vice president of mergers and acquisitions and Elif Sagsen-Ercel is now vice president of strategy at Deerfield-based Fortune Brands Home & Security, a home and security products company. ... Garry Smith is back as general manager for Houlihan's in Geneva. ... Michele Crown, owner of Curves of Buffalo Grove, has marked 10 years in that spot. ... Andrew Maletich has been promoted to senior associate with Cawley Chicago Commercial Real Estate in Downers Grove.

Mike Lee is the new president/CEO of KCT Credit Union in Geneva. ... David Williams and Cynthia Lilke were appointed to TriCity Family Services Geneva governing board of directors. ... Jeffrey Winton is the new senior vice president/chief communications officer at Northbrook-based Asetellas U.S. LLC, a subsidiary of Astellas Pharma Inc. Tokyo, Japan. ... Stephanie Feldman of Highland Park is now vice president/wealth specialist in the Wealth Management group at Chicago-based Mesirow Financial.

Martha L. Twaddle, who spearheaded Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital's palliative care with Midwest CareCenter, was named one of the 30 most influential leaders in the nation in hospice and palliative medicine. The American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine asked its 5,000 members to nominate who they think are the leaders.

Mike Stephans, owner of 3-D Home Inspection in St. Charles, has completed annual leadership training, where the spotlight was on the significance of professional development and how this training benefits the consumer and the home inspection industry.

• 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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