Zakery Kates, owner of Naperville-based Simple Edge web marketing firm, admits he has a "volunteer problem."
He serves on a number of boards and volunteers at countless events, especially for Kids Matter and the Naperville Jaycees. He's also a member of the Naperville Chamber of Commerce and was recently recognized by the chamber's Small Business of the Year Awards in the category of Young Entrepreneur. He's only 25.
"Over the past four years, I've worked really hard to develop my business and to help support my community. I'm extremely fortunate to be in a community that is so supportive of all businesses, including me, as a young entrepreneur," he said.
Born in Oak Park and raised in Raleigh, N.C., his family returned and settled in the Chicago area. Kates then majored in industrial organization psychology at DePaul University.
He now puts that training to work in his own business, Simple Edge, that he started in 2010. He uses psychology in web marketing, web design, search engine optimization, social media management, and video production in figuring what clients want and how to get their message in front of customers who count.
"When I graduated, there were a lot of students with a lot of debt and many friends weren't getting jobs," he said. "I realized I didn't want to work for someone else, so I decided to start my own company."
He bootstrapped the company, starting in his Naperville home and then moving to an office at the Fifth Avenue Train Station in Naperville. He now has another employee and they work with about 50 clients, including those in engineering, manufacturing and restaurants, he said.
He married Rachelle Kates and they have a 5-year-old son, Grant. When he does have some spare time, he hops on either his Honda CBR 600 or Suzuki GSX 750 motorcycle.
"I'm always so very connected, but riding a motorcycle gives me some 'me' time," he said.
Otherwise, he's always working, he said.
"I observe everything and look at all the angles and when I make a decision, I get just get out of the way. I just go for it," he said.
Author talks on wholistic ways
Local author and speaker Evie M. Caprel of Wheaton, and her son Tom Caprel, will bring their personal story during the inaugural Think Wholistic, A Celebration of Health and Happiness event on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., DePaul University, 150 Warrenville Road, Naperville. She said her son was 2½ when he was diagnosed with asthma. She talks about how they later turned that around. He's now 25 and has a degree in opera/music. "You need your lungs for that," she said. Veteran journalist and Chicago broadcaster Bill Kurtis also do a presentation on "Death By Food- How the American Diet is Killing Us" and will discuss the health benefits of choosing humanely raised beef. He has his own company, Chicago-based TallGrass Beef Co. with a ranch in Sedan, Kan.
Back from D.C.
Nicki Anderson, president and CEO of the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce, said a congressional delegation has returned from Washington, D.C. after meeting on the Terrorism Risk insurance Act, the Reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank, and they also learned more about immigration reform, the Marketplace Fairness Act and transportation funding. ... And speaking of D.C., Mike Foley, CEO of Schaumburg-based Zurich North America Commercial, has traveled to the White House to participate in discussions on climate resilience and extreme weather, attracting foreign direct investment to the United States, and job creation.
Vince Caffarello, president of Duraclean International in Arlington Heights, said the company has its franchise in Saudi Arabia additional territory to include the entire kingdom. Al-Bundakji Holdings, located in Jeddah and Duraclean's franchise in about one third of Saudi Arabia since 1987, had negotiated a new franchise contract to include the remaining two thirds of the Kingdom.
Sarah Friedewald, co-medical director of the Caldwell Breast Center at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, is the lead author in a study published last week in The Journal of the American Medical Association that found 3-D mammography is more effective in detecting lethal breast cancer in women, than traditional mammography.
Timothy N. Bergan of Barrington is the new legal counsel and chief compliance officer at Cornerstone National Bank & Trust Co., which is based in Palatine and has offices in Lake Zurich and Crystal Lake. ... Georgia Koch of Glen Ellyn is the new community outreach coordinator at Career Vision in Glen Ellyn.
President and Founder Reid Harman said his Echelon Design Inc. has been named a Bronze Award winner for 2014 in the 12th annual American Business Stevie Awards. The award honored work done for Gilbarco Veeder-Root and Veeder-Root at the National Association of Convenient Stores show in 2013, in the Best Exhibition Display, Stand or Feature category. ... Kate Garassino is the new marketing specialist at Elmhurst-based J.C. Anderson Inc.
Jim Wiseman has been tapped as the next executive director of the Northern Illinois Special Recreation Association in Crystal Lake. He has served as NISRA's superintendent of recreation since 2008. He replaces Brian Shahinian, who retired effective today. Shahinian joined the staff in 1987 as superintendent of recreation and became executive director in 1989. ... Liz Anderson, sales associate with Century 21 Kreuser & Seiler in Libertyville, has earned the Century 21 System's Centurion Producer Award, their equivalent to the Oscar in the real estate industry.
Tom Mitchell is the new director of consultant relations at Great Lakes Advisors LLC, a Wintrust Wealth Management Co. in Rosemont, ... Owner Eric Davidson said his Gurnee-based Santana Equipment Trading Co. marks its 15th anniversary, noting how it has expanded from just a townhouse to a full warehouse and office in Gurnee and operations in Phoenix, Ariz. ... Henry Paulson, former U.S. Treasury secretary and a Barrington Hills resident, had a long op-ed piece in The New York Times last week on the danger of climate change. ... John Albright of Wilmette joins Hub International as chief legal officer.
•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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Anna Marie Kukec on LinkedIn and Facebook and as AMKukec on Twitter.