Addison CEO hires homeless to give them second chance

  • Justin Norman

    Justin Norman

  • Carol Simler

    Carol Simler

  • John V. Prunskis

    John V. Prunskis

  • John Bazan

    John Bazan

  • Debra Susie-Lattner

    Debra Susie-Lattner

  • Kimberly Kelly

    Kimberly Kelly

  • Lora Vitek

    Lora Vitek

Updated 3/5/2012 9:00 PM

CEO Justin Norman needed to hire workers at his Addison-based manufacturing firm, JD Norman Industries. Instead of turning to a temp agency or a headhunter, he turned to Carol Simler, executive director of DuPage PADS. Since last fall, he has hired four formerly homeless people and is considering a fifth person.

"Their attitude is better than some others," Norman said. "They're more motivated by getting a second chance and they work hard, like no one is going to take it away from them."


Norman values that passion and positive attitude.

"Once some people become homeless, they have all kinds of obstacles in their way that prevent them from getting back on their feet," Norman said. "So when they have another chance, they take it. They have a high level of motivation."

About six years ago, Norman moved from the city to the suburbs and got involved with DuPage PADS, also known as Public Action to Deliver Shelter. The Wheaton-based nonprofit helps the homeless live better lives and has helped many prepare to get work. Norman sent a donation check to Simler, and later she arranged to have lunch with him to talk about PADS.

He wanted to help develop more housing and he later joined our board of directors, Simler said.

Soon Simler and her team were acting like a human resources team for Norman, sifting through possible job candidates and sending him good matches to open positions.

"He said he was looking for someone with a good math aptitude, who really wanted to work and had a positive attitude," she said. "'You can't teach people about a positive attitude," he said.

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Norman founded the the company in 2004 and then acquired about a half-dozen companies, building his workforce to about 350, including about 150 in Addison. Operations also are in Ohio, Michigan and Mexico. They make engineered metal parts for the auto, defense and aerospace industries.

"He came to realize that he can make an impact on someone," Simler said.

Helping Brazilians in pain

John V. Prunskis, medical director of the Illinois Pain Institute was invited to teach the Brazilian Pain Society. He was one of five USA Interventional Pain Physicians recommended by the World Institute of Pain to go to Sao Paulo, Brazil last Friday through Sunday. He has offices in Elgin, Barrington, McHenry, Itasca and Libertyville.

Helping families of troops

Charles Miller, owner of St. Charles-based Charles Miller Lawn & Snow, is part of the GreenCare for Troops program. He plans to donate his services to mow the lawns this summer for two military families where the husband or wife has been deployed.

Now offering services

Gene Bazan has started Mount Prospect-based At Your Service by Gene, offering himself as a concierge and personal assistant to help suburban families with their shopping, errands and other household needs. He aims to keep you from standing in lines, driving to stores and even waiting for repairmen, especially if you're short on time, recovering from surgery, or unable to take time off from work. He's also planning to buy a coffee shop near commuters, so they can get a cup of coffee and drop off their things to do for him.



Chris Hird retired as owner of Chris' Hallmark store in Schaumburg. She sold the store to Hallmark and it was temporarily closed on Feb. 21 for remodeling. The company plans to reopen it on April 25 under the new name of Amy's Hallmark, said Hallmark spokeswoman Toni Ferro. ... Palatine resident Bill Flemming will oversee sales and operations for LED Source, which supplies LED lighting products and opened its first franchise in Illinois last week in Rolling Meadows. His wife, Kristine, will oversee administrative support for the business.

CEO Adam Kamieniak said his strategic marketing firm, Gateway Marketing Interactive in Hoffman Estates, has re-branded and changed its name to AND Agency. Kamieniak and other partners run the firm with operations in Hoffman Estates and Dallas, Texas. ... Debra Susie-Lattner, a board certified internist and Mount Prospect resident, joins Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville as vice president of medical management. She'll oversee both health outcomes and patient safety initiatives as well as hospital regulatory compliance. She was vice president of medical affairs at Alexian Brothers Medical Center in Elk Grove Village.

Joseph G. Ollayos, administrator of Tri-Cities Surgery Center in Geneva, has been elected as 2012 president of the Ambulatory Surgery Center Association of Illinois. ... Terri Thomas, owner of Terri's Resale Treasures in Batavia, celebrated the store's grand opening with a ribbon cutting on Saturday. A portion of the store's sales will be donated to Batavia United Way.

Christine Chase of Aurora is the 2012 Realtor of the Year by Mainstreet Organization of Realtors. She is vice president of career development and relocation services for Realty Executives Premiere in Wheaton. She has started her career in real estate in 1988 and has since helped about 800 families, the group said. ... Sue Markgraf, president and founder of GreenMark Public Relations Inc. in Mundelein, is the immediate past president of the Publicity Club of Chicago. ... Kimberly Kelly of Bartlett was named assistant vice president, banking center manager at MB Financial Bank in Warrenville. ... Lora Vitek of Bartlett has joined Delta Dental of Illinois in Naperville as director of philanthropy and community relations. She'll manage the Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation, the firm's charitable arm.

•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.


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