Neighbors in the News: Des Plaines History Center hires new executive director

Kurt Begalka was hired as the Des Plaines History Center's new executive director. He will be responsible for managing and expanding History Center staff, community outreach, creating strategic and practical ways to involve residents of all ages in programs and events, and developing a comprehensive sustainability plan for the Education Center and the Kinder House Museum.

Begalka comes to the history center after leading the McHenry County Historical Society & Museum, Union, for the past 11 years. He was on the board of Naturally McHenry County for more than eight years and is currently a board member of the W.A. McConnell Foundation, a nonprofit that protects and promotes the history of Richmond.

“We are thrilled that Kurt has accepted the executive director position here at the Des Plaines History Center,” said Stan Kotecki, board vice president. “We interviewed a number of very strong candidates, and Kurt’s experience in managing and leading organizations like ours was unmatched. He is clearly the right person to continue the important work that the history center does in Des Plaines and our surrounding communities.”

Hoffman Estates Park District Commissioners Linda Dressler and Marc A. Friedman, with Executive Director Craig Talsma. Courtesy of Hoffman Estates Park District

Hoffman Estates Park District Commissioners Linda Dressler and Marc A. Friedman were honored with Master Board Member status by the Illinois Association of Park Districts as part of its Board Member Development Program.

Dressler and Friedman both assumed roles with the park board in 2021.

Dressler, a Realtor and a resident of Hoffman Estates since 1994, serves as the chair of the Recreation and Facilities committee and as the liaison for the 50+ committee.

Friedman currently serves as the vice chair of the Recreation and Facilities committee. Prior to his board appointment, Friedman dedicated a decade of service as a volunteer community representative on the Buildings and Grounds committee. A resident of Hoffman Estates since 1987, he has been an active figure in youth sports, coaching baseball, basketball and soccer for over 30 years.

Renee Melville Courtesy of Cindy Siegel

818 Capital Group, Libertyville, promoted Renee Melville to the role of president. Melville is adding the strategic responsibilities of president to her existing role as chief financial officer (CFO).

As president, Melville is coordinating the efforts of the leadership team and working alongside Roch Tranel, founder and CEO, in a mission of “Empowering 1 Billion Dreams” through growth and preservation investment strategies and the thought-leading allocations of investment portfolios.

Melville joined The Tranel Financial Group, a related company, as the CFO in 2020. Prior to that, she worked as a fractional CFO and senior accountant for The Tranel Financial Group since 2016.

Palatine resident Rick Burd and his son, Justin, at the 2023 Hustle Chicago event. Courtesy of Rick Burd

Palatine resident Rick Burd and his son, Justin, will lead a charity climb team up 94 floors for the annual Hustle Chicago event, hosted by the Respiratory Health Association on Feb. 25.

The pair began climbing together 10 years ago, leading the record setting “High Steppers” team of 56 members to climb 94 floors of the former Hancock building in support of clean air and healthy lungs.

This is the Burds’ 11th climb supporting the Respiratory Health Association's annual fundraiser. One of Rick’s high school coaches from Southern Illinois will be climbing the 1,632 steps with the team this year, which will make the team the only one with over 50 members with climbers ranging in age from 9 to 86.

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