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updated: 12/26/2012 9:32 AM

Clearbrook's La Mell climbing new heights for disabled

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  • Carl La Mell

    Carl La Mell

  • Gordon Bethune, former CEO of Continental Airlines, donated some of his rare wristwatches and raised $1 million for United Airline charities. Here he is, fifth from the left, with some United workers.

    Gordon Bethune, former CEO of Continental Airlines, donated some of his rare wristwatches and raised $1 million for United Airline charities. Here he is, fifth from the left, with some United workers.

  • Jeff Wisdom

    Jeff Wisdom

  • Arlene Petersen, left, owner of Visiting Angels of South Elgin, stands with Caregiver of the Year Georgana Janiec.

    Arlene Petersen, left, owner of Visiting Angels of South Elgin, stands with Caregiver of the Year Georgana Janiec.

  • Marcus Voltz

    Marcus Voltz

  • Paul La Schiazza

    Paul La Schiazza


Carl M. La Mell of Evanston knows about longevity. He's attended opening day for the Chicago White Sox for the last 42 years. He still plays basketball at a North Side Chicago gym with two friends he's known since second grade.

The president and CEO of Clearbrook in Arlington Heights has been with the organization for 16 years. And his longevity on behalf of people with developmental disabilities continues.

He's been on the board of the Illinois Association of Rehabilitation Facilities for more than 25 years and will become its chairman starting in January. And he's also been reappointed by President Barack Obama to serve on his Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities.

"People need to be heard and people with disabilities, some with several disabilities, need a lot of support," La Mell said. "So when I see families that I worked with who are helped, either with their son or daughter, or just to support education, I get tremendous satisfaction from that."

La Mell started as a bookkeeper at the Victor C. Neumann Association in Chicago about 30 years ago. He worked his way up to CEO before moving to Clearbrook in 1996. While he doesn't have anyone in his family with disabilities, he has long championed for their rights and services. He has since led Clearbrook with a budget that grew from $11 million to $33 million during some of the most economically challenging times for any association.

It's like climbing a mountain and achieving a goal. And he's done that, too.

Last year, he trekked Mt. Everest. He started out with a friend, who dropped out after a day and a half. He said it was a lonely experience, but he reached the base camp at 18,000 feet.

"I feel good about accomplishing what I set out to do, just like in life," he said.

Yumz expansion ahead

John Barnes, co-founder of Yumz Gourmet Frozen Yogurt, said the company has locked in its first 50 locations within the first year of franchising and anticipates it will open more than 100 new stores by 2014. The company opened its first store in Crystal Lake in November 2010 and later five more locations in Lake in the Hills, Bolingbrook, Plainfield, South Elgin and Warrenville with plans to launch in Addison, Libertyville, Lombard and Palatine by January 2013. Franchise agreements for 50 stores have been signed, committing to 15 locations in the greater Chicago area, in addition to franchises based in California, Indiana, Wisconsin and Florida before 2014.

Rare watches aid United funds

Gordon Bethune, former CEO of Continental Airlines from 1994-2004, donated $1 million to United Airlines' employee charities. Bethune is an avid watch collector, and the Christie's auction company held an Important Watches Auction that included his collection of 50 vintage wristwatches. Bethune donated two of his rarest and most valuable watches to the auction valued at over $1 million, with proceeds benefiting United's employee relief program, United We Care and the United Scholarship Fund.

Funeral home makeover

Michael Demnicki, owner and director of Michaels Funeral Home in Schaumburg, said the facility is being remodeled for a newly designed raised ceiling with multiple skylights, a new heating/ventilation system, new furnishings and the integration of Wi-Fi and Apple TV technology into the visitation chapels.


Wayne resident Jeff Wisdom, CEO and fifth-generation owner of Wisdom Adhesives, said the Elgin company has changed its name to Wisdom Adhesives Worldwide. Since 1875, the company has been one of the longest continuously operating adhesives manufacturer in the world led by five consecutive generations of the Wisdom family. ... Arlene Petersen, owner of Visiting Angels of South Elgin, has named Georgana Janiec "Angel of the Year" for 2012. Janiec has been with Visiting Angels since June 2011 and is a single mother of two young girls.

Susan Klimala, co-owner of The Kitchen Studio of Glen Ellyn, said the company has earned the 2012 Angie's List Super Service Award, an annual award given to about 5 percent of all the companies rated on Angie's List, a national provider of consumer reviews on local service companies. This is the fourth year that The Kitchen Studio has received this award. ... Marcus Voltz is the new business development director at Banner Plumbing Kitchen & Bath Showroom in Buffalo Grove.

Jeanette Catellier and Carol Marcou, employees of Vanguard Community Management in Schaumburg, received Olympus awards during the Community Associations Institute Illinois chapter Winter Awards Gala. They were honored for their influence in the development of the Illinois chapter of CAI. Both women are community managers and members of a group of individuals nationwide with professional community association manager designations from CAI.

Paul La Schiazza, Illinois President of AT&T, which has its Midwest headquarters in Hoffman Estates, along with other AT&T Illinois executives last week volunteered by baking and packaging at the Misericordia Hearts & Flour Bakery in Chicago. They also donated $25,000 to Misericordia. ... Joseph Kiefer is the new vice president of business development serving Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana for Bibby Financial Services in Downers Grove.

•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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