Gary Cohen of Lincolnshire isn't much of a golfer. He just dabbles, he says.
But that hasn't held him back from taking on the CEO position at EZLinks Golf in Chicago and relaunching an upgraded TeeOff.com to provide discounted tee times.
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The website offers reservations at about 1,250 golf courses nationwide, the Caribbean, Mexico and elsewhere. From that group, about 100 courses are in the Chicago and suburban area.
"It was a little difficult to find great tee times online before, so we were trying to make it easier for people to golf locally and find great discounts," said Cohen, 52.
Cohen has been with EZLinks since August 2012 and jokingly said the website's launch happened during the Polar Vortex about a month ago. But that didn't stop some duffers from reserving times in Hawaii, Mexico or other warm areas. The company also provides an answering service for those golf courses.
The New York born-and-raised Cohen came to the Chicago area to earn his MBA at the University of Chicago in the late 1980s and then plunged into the entrepreneur's lifestyle.
He cofounded Cruise Technologies in Arlington Heights and then MusicNow, which was later sold to Circuit City and then to AOL, he said.
Just before joining EZLinks, Cohen was senior vice president of marketing and customer experience at Oakbrook Terrace-based Redbox.
So how did he go from movies to golf? It's all part of the entertainment experience.
"There was a great opportunity here with a dynamic, growing technology company," he said.
And like Redbox helped to change the DVD industry, he aims to help EZLinks change the golf booking industry, he said.
"I'm the type who spends more times behind the scenes to help build businesses and focus on the consumer," he added.
Zurich exec in D.C.
Lindene Patton, chief climate product officer for Zurich Insurance in Schaumburg, testified last week in front of U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs at a hearing on "Extreme Weather Events: The Costs of Not Being Prepared." Zurich is committed to creating sustainable and resilient communities and Patton shared with the committee an insurance industry perspective on the current state of our nation's resilience to extreme weather events and the economic importance of investing today in improving resilience.
Restaurant owner to mark 50
Edward Wolowiec will mark 50 years this June for his Port Edward Restaurant on the Fox River in Algonquin. The restaurant has been featured in the past by "Check Please" and "Best of Chicago" and received the "Wine Spectator Award of Excellence."
Jeff Thames, director of franchise sales for Erbert & Gerbert's Sandwich Shop, a national sandwich chain known for its gourmet subs, is expanding to Elgin and is planning to open 10 locations within the next few years. ... Mark Panzer, president and CEO of Pharmaca Integrative Pharmacy Inc., will join Hoffman Estates-based Sears holdings as senior vice president and president of the pharmacy. He will be responsible for the oversight and leadership of the company's pharmacy business under the Kmart format, both in-store and online.
Executive Director Skip Strittmatter said she has promoted Beth Marchetti to deputy director for the DuPage Convention & Visitors Bureau in Oak Brook. She has worked for the DuPage CVB since December 1999. ... Earvin "Magic" Johnson, former point guard for the Los Angeles Lakers, was at Northbrook-based Allstate last week to talk to kids about the role of education in his life, including the importance of staying in school and his transformation from athlete to businessman.
Jim Drury, vice president of Glen Ellyn-based Drury Design, said the company has been awarded Best Of Houzz by Houzz, the platform for home remodeling and design, in two categories: Customer Satisfaction and Design. Founded by Gail Drury in 1987, Drury Design was chosen by the more than 16 million monthly users that comprise the Houzz community. ... Broker agents Roz Iaccino, Lakshmi "Sue" Veeramasuneni and Kathy Berger have joined the Glen Ellyn office of RE/MAX Suburban.
Owner Nick Utech opened Second Chances Antiques & Resale in Lake in the Hills. ... Kathryn E. McGough is the new account executive at Trust Company of Illinois in Downers Grove. ... Daniel J. Studebaker, a financial representative with The McTigue Financial Group of the Northwestern Mutual in Oak Brook, has been appointed a college unit director, where he will recruit and train financial representative interns and mentor interns. ... Executive Chairman John Cahill will move to nonexecutive chairman of Northfield-based Kraft Foods Group Inc.'s board of directors on March 8.
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