Is third time the charm for retiring Naperville business leader?

  • Mike Skarr

    Mike Skarr

  • Alice Jandrisits

    Alice Jandrisits

  • Joe Mazza

    Joe Mazza

  • Jacob Marquardt

    Jacob Marquardt

  • Christopher Kearney

    Christopher Kearney

  • Bob Diamond

    Bob Diamond

  • John Head

    John Head

Updated 8/31/2011 10:57 AM

Mike Skarr of Naperville retired as division vice president with Nicor Inc. after about 30 years.

Then he retired after about 11 years as CEO of the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce.


If that wasn't enough, now he is retiring as CEO of Choose DuPage. He's being replaced by Greg Bedalov and the Aug. 31 board meeting with be his last with the regional economic development alliance.

"Yes, this is the third time I'm retiring," said Skarr. "Now I know how to do it."

The longtime business leader is 68 and has worked with nearly every company and nonprofit in the Naperville area since he moved to town in 1980. This latest attempt at retirement doesn't necessarily mean he'll disappear.

"I'll still be doing some things," he said. "I'll just be taking a little pause first to decompress."

He'll have plenty of company to help him do that. Skarr and his wife, Mary Ann, have three grown sons and seven grandchildren, who all live in Naperville. Skarr's mother, 91, along with his brother and a sister, also followed him to Naperville.

Business has been at the center of Skarr's world since he and Mary Ann moved from Kankakee 31 years ago.

"I've always had a strong desire to do this," Skarr said about working with businesses. "Naperville is a world-class community and I felt businesses here just were not well represented. I wanted to help put them on the map."

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And he did.

Besides working on the local level, he's traveled extensively during his chamber years, was appointed to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Chamber of Commerce Committee of 100, and served on the American Chamber of Commerce Executives board of directors. He's also won several awards along the way.

While he said he's retiring, he's still retaining his title of president and CEO of Not-For-Profit Strategies and Solutions LLC, an organizational and leadership development consulting firm, and has his eye on another business venture with a software security firm.

"I have my fingers in a variety of things," Skarr said. "But I just don't want to get back into a 40-hour workweek."

Are you sure about that?

New touch

Remington Products Co. in Madison, Wis., has been using some suburban talent to launch its new Touch Control Beard and Stubble Trimmer, engineered by RedFusion Studios in Downers Grove. The product uses the same technology as in iPad and automotive touch screens. The team included Alice Jandrisits of Des Plaines, the principle researcher and design director, and Joe Mazza of Warrenville, as director of engineering.


Ironman of I-88

Jacob Marquardt of Hinsdale is a broker for Cawley Chicago Commercial Real Estate in Downers Grove. But he's not just focused on commercial clients along the I-88 corridor. He's also an avid triathlete. Last September he completed the Madison Ironman and has done other triathlons and multiple marathons. The outdoorsman also enjoys fly fishing, mountain biking, and hiking. Also, he spent some time in Prague, Czech Republic, to teach English to Czech business people.

Succession at Castle

Executive Vice President Steve Hooks, who also is president of Castle Metals, is retiring after 39 years at A.M. Castle & Co., a global distributor of specialty metal and plastic products in Oak Brook. Later this year, Hooks will be replaced by Blain Tiffany as president of Castle Metals and Castle Metals Plate. James Callan will succeed Tiffany as president of Castle Metals Aerospace.


Nancy Chovancek has moved her home and her business, Pegleg Web Designs, from Bloomingdale to Wheaton. She's owned the company since 2009 and offers website design, e-newsletters, logo or blog design, among other services. ... Tatum, a professional services firm, has hired Frank Berauer of Mount Prospect as a new principal to focus on the manufacturing and services industries. Also, Tatum's Partner & Practice Leader Christopher Kearney of Buffalo Grove received the President's Cup from Tatum President Karen Macloed. The Cup is presented to one employee every six months to recognize outstanding performance and client service.

Bob Diamond of Buffalo Grove was named chief club officer at Five Seasons Family Sports Club in Burr Ridge. The club also has facilities in Northbrook and five other locations around the Midwest. ... Robert Cleator has been named vice president of sales and marketing for Chicago Freight Car Leasing Co. in Rosemont. He succeeds Paul Deasy, who was named president. Chicago Freight is a unit of Sasser Family Holdings Inc., run by the fourth generation of the family. ... John Head, director of enterprises collaboration at PSC Group LLC in Schaumburg, is the new 2011 IBM Champion. The Chicago resident is one of 50 honorees worldwide this year who influence and mentor others to help them best use IBM solutions and services.

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