Eduardo Paras of Barrington has spent about 30 years in the mortgage industry, mostly helping Hispanic families obtain their first homes.
As rewarding as that was, Paras was part of that wave of mortgage professionals who witnessed the tsunami of foreclosures and the anger that later was directed at his industry.
"Mortgage brokers got a bad rep back then," Paras said. "So I thought it was time to exit the industry and find something else."
Paras, who was raised in Chicago's Pilsen neighborhood, said his interest in mortgages and banking started early.
After his family moved to Oak Park, he attended Fenwick High School and earned a football scholarship to Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. He graduated in 1985, married his wife Valarie, and settled in Indiana.
But he longed to return to the Chicago area, and landed a job at Union Federal Savings Bank in Chicago and went into its management training program. An executive with the bank's parent company talked with Paras and asked him to join his company at a time when refinancing was booming.
He later moved to various companies and eventually landed back in Chicago, specializing in FHA loans and first-time Hispanic homebuyers, he said.
But Paras discovered the mortgage industry had its "ebb and flow" and the ultimate crash happened during the nationwide foreclosure crisis, he said.
So he decided to join Navistar's financial service center. But that, too, faced layoffs just as the Great Recession hit on the heels of those foreclosures.
But now, the economy has continued to change and Paras has returned to the mortgage industry. He's also involved in the Hispanic Alliance Career Enhancement, where those interested in banking or the mortgage profession can call and ask his advice or direction.
"Sometimes they want to reach out to some executives and talk about the profession," Paras said. "So they send me emails or talk and I tell them what to expect."
In May he joined Sunrise, Florida-based Hamilton Group Funding as its regional vice president for the Midwest United States. He is based at a Schaumburg office, where he aims to establish four to six branches in the region. That means hiring as many as 60 loan officers, he said.
"I'm always positive," he said. "And we're back in business."
Ace gets a place in Fox
Jeremy Melnick and his father, Les Melnick, own and operates six Gordon Ace Hardware stores in downtown Chicago, and have now opened one at 107 Towne Centre Lane in Fox Lake, their first store in the suburbs. With this 9,100 square foot Fox Lake location, the Melnicks hope to extend the legacy of "shopping local small businesses," great service and quality to Fox Lake.
CEO busy cutting ribbons
Mitchell Warren, CEO and co-owner of The LaSalle Group Inc., has opened the firm's Autumn Leaves of South Barrington, a memory care community for about 50 residents with Alzheimer's, dementia, and memory impairment. The grand opening is Thursday, July 31, from 4 to 7 p.m., at 215 Bartlett Road, South Barrington. He also plans to cut the ribbon Wednesday, July 30, at Autumn Leaves of Gurnee, 505 N. Hunt Club Road in Gurnee
Cathy Higgins-Mora, an attorney fluent in Spanish, has opened a law office at 251 E. Dundee Road, Suite 201 in Wheeling. She has been practicing exclusively in these areas for nearly 15 years. ... Amy Pecoraro was named tops in listings taken, listings sold, sales units and sales volume at Coldwell Banker Lombard. ... Molly McShane has been promoted to the newly created position of chief investment officer at Conor Commercial Real Estate, a member of the Rosemont-based McShane Companies.
Benjamin Kleiman has been promoted to director of marketing at LA-CO Industries in Elk Grove Village. ... Jeffrey R. Copeland, who practices dentistry in Hawthorn Woods, received the Academy of General Dentistry's Fellowship Award during the its 2014 Annual Meeting & Exhibits in late June in Detroit. To earn this honor, Copeland completed 500 hours of continuing dental education, passed a comprehensive written exam, and fulfilled three years of continuous membership in the association.
Roger Rhoten of Western Springs has joined Faegre Baker Daniels' corporate practice in Chicago. He counsels clients on mergers and acquisitions, spinoff transactions, leveraged buyouts, recapitalizations, securities offerings, joint ventures and private equity investments.
•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 email@example.com. Follow Anna Marie Kukec on LinkedIn and Facebook and as AMKukec on Twitter.