Entrepreneurial spirit drives business networking guru

Shalom Klein, who was born in Vernon Hills, assumed he would join his family’s accounting firm, Moshe Klein & Associates Ltd. in Chicago and Skokie, at some point.

But he decided to do other things for a while, including taking on the role of CEO at and project manager at Then he became vice president at the accounting firm in 2009.

That’s when he starting shifting things around. He helped to develop a niche at the firm where he catered to small businesses and realized they had a need to network so they could better serve each other and expand their businesses.

By 2010, he started arranging some meetings among clients, family and friends. After all, a lawyer needs an accountant, and other professionals need other services. About 75 people came to that first meeting, he said.

The next morning, Klein went to the local Starbucks for coffee and noticed a number of those same business people meeting again, continuing the networking that started the night before.

“They all realized that they shared a need to put food on the table,” Klein said.

Since then, he has formed the Jewish B2B Networking in Skokie, which draws about 22,000 members from around the North and Northwest suburbs, including Bannockburn, Buffalo Grove and elsewhere, he said.

He arranged more meetings that lead to a trip to Washington, D.C. last year and again about a month ago. About 50 business people braved the last snowstorm to fly to the capital to have meetings at the White House, he said.

The business people wanted to be heard on a number of business-related issues, including crowd funding or micro investing in small companies and reducing the fees to form a limited liability corporation, or LLC, when compared to forming other business corporations, he said.

The organization plans another such issues-related trip on April 30 to Springfield that may include a luncheon at the governor’s mansion, Klein said.

“While we want to advocate, we also want to hear what is going on,” he said.

Half way there

Kyle DeSantis, president of Drury Lane in Oak Brook Terrace, said the first phase of its renovation is complete. It included the 27,000-square-foot grand ballroom, main lobby, cocktail lounge, and the French and English rooms. The new spaces feature a European design aesthetic with top-of-the-line furnishings, original artwork and elegant décor. Phase two, to be completed by mid-2014, will include the renovation of the Courtyard Restaurant and the Theatre Bar.

60 years young

South Elgin-based Hoffer Plastics Corp. President William Hoffer said the company has earned the Processor of the Year Award from industry trade magazine, Plastics News. The company also marks its 60th anniversary this year with a specially designed logo.

Filling young tummies

Jennifer Bychowsky of Lake in the Hills has opened Wholesome Tummies, a franchise that provides healthy food options to schools with Trinity Oaks Christian Academy as a client. More schools are expected to be added next year. Chef Cathy Saso works with owner Jennifer and husband Mike Bychowsky on creating healthy meals for kids, one month at a time. And parents can order them online.


Peter Brooks Brown is the new president of Bolingbrook-based Quantum Foods LLC, an independent custom provider of proteins. ... Ed Mallof, president of Man Marketing in Carol Stream, marks the firm’s 33rd anniversary. He said he was 25 when he opened the firm in 1980. ... DialAmerica spokesman Marcus Hardy said the teleservices company is planning to hire about 100 people at its Oak Brook office.

Brendan O’Carroll of Glen Ellyn is the new project engineer at Chicago-based Reed Construction. ... Jeffrey Nie has been promoted to Midwest regional sales manager at Batavia-based Advanced Disposal, an environmental services company. ... Greg Palese is the new vice president of marketing at Klein Tools in Lincolnshire. ... Judy Anderson of Geneva and Andrea Wallace of St. Charles are now Realtors with Stone Tower Properties in Geneva.

Internal medicine and geriatrician physician Robert Freilich joined Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital as a member of the Northwestern Memorial Physicians Group. ... Dr.Sheetal Rao will practice in Downers Grove and Dr.Carissa Tyo in Lisle for the DuPage Medical Group. ... Pro Energy Consultants of Geneva owner Jerry Needham has earned his certification as a HERS Rater, or Home Energy Rating System Rater. He can now score the energy efficiency of a new or existing home. These scores are necessary for a new home to be Energy Star rated.

Chuck Lamphere, president of Van Vlissingen and Co. in Lincolnshire, the developers and managers of Lincolnshire Corporate Center, said it has been awarded the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED Silver certification for its office building at 300 Tower Parkway in Lincolnshire Corporate Center. ... Michele L. Lengerman is the new director of development and foundation at the Congress of Neurological Surgeons in Schaumburg. ... Kerry Degener is the new senior federal account sales manager/senior federal estimator at Rosemont-based Tecta America Corp., a commercial roofing contractor.

Karen Dix is the new marketing strategist at The Tradeshow Network Marketing Group, a St. Charles-based trade show exhibit design firm. ... Nick P. Jachim of Western Springs is the new managing director in the Chicago office and as leader of the Investment Banking Group for Stout Risius Ross, a global financial advisory firm specializing in investment banking, dispute advisory and forensic and other services.

Ÿ 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 Follow Anna Marie Kukec on LinkedIn and Facebook and as AMKukec on Twitter.

Jewish B2B Networking members meeting with House Small Business Committee staffers, Andy Guggenheim and David Gillers. COURTESY OF JEWISH B2B NETWORKING
Some members of the Jewish B2B Networking group that traveled to Washington, D.C. for meetings at the White House including, from left, Marc Hilary, Brad Becker, Moshe Klein, Michael Godlin, Gary Frager and Shalom Klein at bottom. COURTESY OF JEWISH B2B NETWORKING
Bill Hoffer, president of Hoffer Plastics, accepts the Processor of the Year award. COURTESY OF HOFFER PLASTICS
Brendan O'Carroll
Jeffrey Nie
Greg Palese
Robert Freilich
Jerry Needham
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