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posted: 6/18/2017 1:00 AM

St. Charles man forgoes family construction business to build in IT

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  • Army veteran Michael Dorrance of St. Charles attended the Turing School of Software in Denver while preparing to get a job in the industry.

    Army veteran Michael Dorrance of St. Charles attended the Turing School of Software in Denver while preparing to get a job in the industry.
    COURTESY OF MICHAEL DORRANCE

  • Michael Dorrance of St. Charles, in red shirt, works in information technology but also volunteers with Habitat for Humanity.

    Michael Dorrance of St. Charles, in red shirt, works in information technology but also volunteers with Habitat for Humanity.
    COURTESY OF MICHAEL DORRANCE

  • Michael Dorrance of St. Charles, second from left, poses with his family, from left, Christine, Norah, Grace and Jack.

    Michael Dorrance of St. Charles, second from left, poses with his family, from left, Christine, Norah, Grace and Jack.
    COURTESY OF DORRANCE FAMILY

  • Reshma Saujani

    Reshma Saujani

  • Cynthia F. Tolan

    Cynthia F. Tolan

 

Michael Dorrance of St. Charles could have gone into the family construction business. Instead he decided to build new things in IT.

The junior software engineer at G2 Crowd Inc. in Chicago also became its employee of the year, all while bringing skills he learned in the U.S. Army.

"I'm committed to doing a good job every day," said Dorrance, 42. "I couldn't imagine being in a better place."

Dorrance was born and raised in St. Charles and liked to get dirty and build things, but not necessarily through his family construction business. He enjoyed a different kind of building with technology and computers, he said.

Deciding college wasn't for him, he relied on his ROTC experience and enlisted in the U.S. Army. He served from 1995 to 1998, working his way up from rifleman to machine-gunner before becoming the lead sniper for his unit in Washington state. He also did some training in Panama and Thailand.

"It was interesting to see how different cultures operate," he said. "And it's all about collaboration."

He returned to civilian life, got married, started a family and went to Elgin Community College. Later, he met a speaker during a program in Chicago from The Starter League, which teaches people how to do computer coding. Dorrance attended a boot camp on computer coding in Chicago then headed to the Turing School of Software and Design in Denver, Colorado, where he earned a certificate. During those seven months in Denver, he lived alone in a camper and returned home every few weeks to visit his wife and three children.

"My wife and I are great partners," he said. "She told me to do it and had a lot of confidence in me and offered a lot of support."

The effort paid off and he starting working with G2 Crowd in 2015 and was employee of the year for 2016.

"It's been a real joy bringing all the skills from the military and then applying them to this job," he said.

Speaking of code ...

Reshma Saujani, founder of Girls Who Code. was featured last week in The Venture, a new podcast series from Virgin Atlantic. Saujani's roots for activism and volunteerism started while she was a student at Schaumburg High School. The episode spotlights the story of Saujani and how she started Girls Who code, a national nonprofit that aims to close the gender gap in technology and prepare young women for jobs in the profession. Some clubs are at the University of Illinois at Chicago, Walter Payton College Prep and elsewhere in Chicago.

Owners expand home delivery

Mimi and Matt Tolkin's WT Cafe, a school lunch and homemade meal delivery service in the Eastgate Shopping Center in Lombard, has started home delivery. The company, which serves about 20 schools in DuPage and Kane counties, offers homemade meal delivery in Lombard, Villa Park, Glen Ellyn, Wheaton and Naperville.

FastTracks

•Cynthia F. Tolan, a Morton Grove attorney who has worked for more than 15 years in estate and trust administration, estate planning and elder law, has joined the ATG Trust Co. as trust officer. ATG has offices in Arlington Heights, Aurora, Elgin, Gurnee, Libertyville, Lombard, Wheaton and elsewhere.

•Gordon Freeman, executive producer of the "World's Greatest" TV show, spent time with Sue Monhait and her company The Ribbon Print Co. in Highland Park for programs that aired this month.

•Dave Hogaboom, managing partner of Guidant Wealth Advisors in Palatine, unveiled a new logo for the firm. Next, the firm will roll out a new website and podcast series, while expanding its social media presence.

•Grace Winston, co-founder of WTTW Kids Great Food Fan Van, said the van will be at Mariano's in Park Ridge at 10 a.m. Wednesday. The van offers lessons about a nutrition along with dancing, singing and food sampling.

•There's more to business than just the bottom line. We want to tell you about the people who make business work. Send news about people in business to akukec@dailyherald.com. Follow Anna Marie Kukec on LinkedIn and Facebook and as AMKukec on Twitter.

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