Angie De Christopher has always felt that being a carpenter was a natural path for her.
But being the only woman on a work crew, especially when constructing commercial buildings over the years, often brought different reactions.
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"Sometimes it's been tough, because I felt like I always had to prove myself," said De Christopher, 45, of Burr Ridge. "But once they saw I could hold my own, I was accepted," she said.
De Christopher is a licensed carpenter and spent 18 years as a union carpenter. Over the last five years, she has been part of a team at Adventist GlenOaks Hospital in Glendale Heights. She is the only female member of the work crew at GlenOaks and helps to lead various departmental renovations at the hospital.
De Christopher was born in South suburban Oak Lawn and raised in Calumet Park before moving to the Western suburbs. She was attending college to go into physical education, but later was encouraged by a relative to go into carpentry. She scrapped college and decided to take a test to become a carpenter apprentice in 1990. The trade was changing and some women were becoming carpenters, she said.
"For the most part, it was a man's trade," she said.
She thought she would build homes, but after a few months in the program, she started work on commercial buildings, doing various jobs, including insulation, caulking and dry walls.
Through a four-year program with the Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters in Elk Grove Village, she finished in 1994.
She then worked about 15 years for Thorne Associates in Chicago, where she worked on high-rise buildings, commercial buildings and even McCormick Place buildings, she said.
But when the economy slowed, she and some colleagues were laid off. A relative then encouraged her to apply for a job at a hospital. As she approached GlenOaks looking for work, she remembered something. She was there before. She had actually been on the crew that built the emergency room, she said.
"I have a strong faith that some things happen as they should," De Christopher said. "There are no coincidences."
Elgin firm earns award
Elgin Industries President Bill Skok and Vice President of Operations Dan Gathman scooped up the John Deere Partner-level Supplier, based on its ability to provide products and services of quality and its commitment to continuous improvement, during a ceremony in Davenport, Iowa. Elgin Industries is a supplier of internal engine components to John Deere operations in Waterloo, Iowa, as well as Mexico, France and Argentina.
He heads TPG acquisition
Brian Beth, president and CEO of Willowbrook-based The Plastics Group, known as TPG, said the company was acquired by Lexington, Mass.-based The Watermill Group. They wouldn't disclose terms of the deal. TPG makes molded plastics, from small gas containers to large portable toilets. The new investors said they plan to further develop TPG's materials science and design engineering to help the company expand. TPG's local manufacturing plant employs 106 people, and another 206 work in a plant in Fremont, Ohio.
Greg Szarzynski will be store manager when the new Naperville Walmart at 2552 E. 75th St. opens on Wednesday, March 12. The 185,000-square-foot store will feature a full line of groceries, a pharmacy and general merchandise. ... Cary Chessick, the former founder of Restaurant.com, is now president of The Rabine Group and co-founder of Rabine Technologies in Schaumburg. The Rabine Group provides solutions for local and national property asset managers.
Gary Wilhite has been promoted to vice president of finance, Elizabeth Kousiakis has been promoted to vice president of human resources; and Jason L. Toffolo is the new vice president of sales and marketing all at diversified metal component manufacturer JD Norman Industries Inc. in Addison. ... Kathy Cacciato, president of Katherine Frank Creative Inc. in Lombard is marking its 20th anniversary. ... Paul Ambrogio heads the new Arlington Heights office for Carrington Real Estate Services LLC, a corporately owned and operated national brokerage.
John Stephens, senior executive vice president and chief financial officer of AT&T Inc., is set to be in Palm Beach, Fla., on Wednesday, March 12, to address the Deutsche Bank 2014 Media, Internet and Telecom Conference. AT&T's Midwest headquarters is in Hoffman Estates. ... Bob Jones, president and CEO of Palatine-based Acura Pharmaceuticals Inc., is expected to be in Dana Point, Calif., to speak at the 26th Annual ROTH Capital Conference on Tuesday, March 11,
Robert F. Carey has been appointed as executive vice president and chief business officer at Deerfield-based Horizon Pharma Inc. ... Julie Maslanka said her collision repair business, Hy-Tech CARSTAR in Elgin, is celebrating 20 years in business. ... Josh Tubero, president of Alliance Disaster Kleenup, said his Wheeling-based company received the Diamond Claim Award at the 2014 DKI Awards ceremony hosted by Wood Dale-based DKI, a nationwide disaster restoration contracting organization.
Jon Schmitz has been promoted to corporate director of quality and supplier management at Aurora-based Peerless-AV, a manufacturer and supplier of AV equipment. ... Mayim Bialik, co-star of CBS's "The Big Bang Theory," has become a spokeswoman for Downers Grove-based DeVry University's National HerWorld Month and will speak at the HerWorld event at Gotham Hall in New York City on Friday, March 14. ... Human Workplace CEO Liz Ryan, and commentator on Fox Business, CNN, MSNBC and elsewhere, will be the keynote speaker at 8:15 a.m. Tuesday, March 11, at the Management Association of Illinois's annual HR conference in Schaumburg.
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