Paul Vosters is originally from the Belgium Congo and his trek through several countries has led him to speak five languages and ultimately settle in Lincolnshire to foster his entrepreneurial spirit as president and chief operating officer and founder of LaunchPoint in Itasca.
"I've really enjoyed living in so many different places. Every time I've moved, it's taken about a year to feel at home in the new country and make new friends," said Vosters, 58. "Speaking several languages helped with the transitions because I could very quickly communicate in the language of the country I was living in."
Vosters speaks Flemish, French, German, Norwegian and English. His knowledge of languages and global travels have all given him a more open mind to accept differences in people, he said.
"Differences are what strengthens a team," he said. "At one point, when I was living in Spain, I had a group of friends that hailed from many different places in Europe and North Africa -- the conversations were fun and challenging from time to time because of the differed perspectives."
Vosters was born in Léopoldville, the capital of Belgium Congo. Later, the name changed to Kinshasa. He said he has great memories of his childhood in the Congo.
"We had school from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. and our schools weren't air-conditioned. Most afternoons we would spend in the pool or playing tennis," he said.
One of his favorite memories is of his pet monkey, named Chita. The monkey was saved from "those who didn't have good intentions." He helped to nurture it and later sent it back into the wild.
Early in his work life, around age 19, he became a trained chef and worked at a Belgium restaurant and ran a bar and a crepes place in Spain, he said.
"It was a very high-energy service-oriented business, which helped me develop many skills I use today in my personal and professional life," Vosters said. "I was ready for a professional change and it is a very difficult to have a family life. I still cook on weekends and when I can."
In 2000, he was working for Baxter Healthcare in Germany and Baxter had spunoff one of its distribution businesses in the United States. The IT organization, of which he was a part, moved with the spin off and he helped the Baxter CIO rebuild the IT organization.
"My goal was to be in the USA for 6 months, but as the months went by, I took some additional responsibilities for global IT development and ended up working for Baxter all over the world, including South America, Asia and Europe," he said.
He studied information service and social science and earned his MBA during his work at Baxter, "I was familiar with how technology and data analytics could contribute to health care outcomes," he said. "This led me to pursue an interest in the marriage of technology, data analytics and how they provide solutions to problems in health care organizations."
He also led the Health & Life Sciences practice at Knightsbridge Solutions, where he worked on reducing operational costs by 40 percent for a health care decision support solution provider and developed the nation's first statewide surveillance system to detect bioterrorism and infectious outbreaks for the state of North Carolina.
Knightsbridge was then acquired by Hewlett-Packard, where he led their Information Management Services practice for Health & Life Sciences.
Eventually, Vosters and others founded LaunchPoint and its two divisions, Discovery Health Partners and Ajilitee, to develop payment integrity software and solutions that help health plans and other health care organizations optimize revenue, avoid costs, and improve recoveries.
He believes his work in health care and his many travels have "made me a better person and a better manager as I can understand and accept that there are many ways to meet a goal."
Cool treat, prize inside
Katie Dolan Dix, co-owner of Mount Prospect-based Capannari Ice Cream, said the shop won the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's annual Blue Ribbon Small Business Awards, a program that recognizes companies for their success and innovation and for their contributions to economic growth and free enterprise.
John McCormack of Downers Grove recently became the regional sales director at Elk Grove Village-based Ace Computers. He previously worked as a sales executive for International Computer Concepts in Northbrook.
Friends and colleagues last week mourned the loss of Ken Guy, a former senior vice president of account management at Topco in Elk Grove Village. He joined Topco in 1971 and was the longest tenured associate Topco had. During his 41 years or service, Ken wore many hats and held many titles. He retired from Topco in 2012.
Tom Zengeler, president of Northbrook-based Zengeler Cleaners, said his eight locations will serve as drop-off points for donations of dresses and accessories for the Glass Slipper Project, which helps high school women to enjoy their proms.
Steve Parnow is the new director of fixed operations and Damian Norris is now inventory control manager at the Autohaus on Edens and Northbrook Toyota Scion. ... Norman Smagley, executive vice president and chief financial officer of Itasca-based Gogo, will be traveling to New York on March 11 to present before the Piper Jaffray Technology, Media & Telecom Conference.
Rey Cruz of Cruz Investments & Wealth Management in Aurora, marked 30 years of service by hosting a party at Ballydoyle Irish Pub in Aurora. ... Richard R. Tworek of Park Ridge has joined Horwich Coleman Levin LLC, certified public accountants in downtown Chicago.
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