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posted: 1/14/2013 5:05 AM

New Naperville chamber CEO aims internationally

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  • Mike Evans

    Mike Evans

  • Patrick Price

    Patrick Price

  • Alexa Greer

    Alexa Greer

  • Jordan Shea

    Jordan Shea

  • Neal W. Otten

    Neal W. Otten

  • Judy Baar-Topinka

    Judy Baar-Topinka

  • Fred Turner

    Fred Turner


Mike Evans has been to China three times, so don't be surprised that he continues such a mission for Naperville area business leaders this year, and possibly include a few other countries as well.

Evans, who replaced John Schmitt last fall as president and CEO of the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce, is a strong advocate of opening the international doors regardless of the size of a local business. The Naperville chamber also recognized that with its own trip last October when 35 business leaders participated.

"This is more than just seeing the Great Wall," Evans said.

He said the China trip is all business, and leaders get the VIP treatment, including state dinners with local mayors and other prominent leaders from China. "This is a higher level of experience than a typical travel program," he said.

Evans, who also lead the Bolingbrook Area Chamber of Commerce before being tapped for the Naperville job, said that business leaders need to explore and understand international cultures, how the economy works overseas, and how it affects business in Naperville.

"We need a greater understanding on international relations, and an appreciate of their history and culture in order to do business together," he said.

While Evans, 30, has broad perspectives on business, he's remained a local guy, raised in Bolingbrook and remains living there with his wife and daughter. He also served a stint on the Valley View School District 365U board.

"My mom was always a volunteer, so I grew up with that kind of spirit," he said.

Fit in St. Charles

Leslie Grosshauser and Sammy Radi have teamed up for S&L TriCycleFitStudio in St. Charles, and will host its grand opening on Jan. 26. Grosshauser has taught indoor cycling and group fitness classes in the Tri-City area for about 15 year and has traveled worldwide as a presenter and trainer for several different fitness programs and organizations. Radi, owner of Sammy's Bikes for 28 years, has created and developed his own bike club and competition team.

Facing renovations

Kyle DeSantis, president of Drury Lane in Oakbrook Terrace, said his dinner theater will undergo renovations expected to be finished in March and others by completed by mid-2014. The first phase includes the renovation of the grand ballroom, main lobby and cocktail lounge. Later work will include the Courtyard Restaurant, French Room, English Room, and the Theatre Bar.

Author from Algonquin

Kevin D. Johnson, president and CEO of Johnson Media Inc. in Atlanta, Ga., grew up in Algonquin and was a student at Henry D. Jacobs High School. He is now the author of "The Entrepreneur Mind: 100 Essential Beliefs, Characteristics, and Habits of Elite Entrepreneurs," which sold 313 copies the first day of its pre-order launch a few weeks ago. The book's official release is March 5.


Pinstripes' Executive Chef Cesar Gutierrez has launched a new Chef's Features menu available now through March 6. It includes white marble farm grilled pork chops, Green Line pale ale for the beer lovers, PB&J gelato, and BBQ Chicken Pizza to share all around. Pinstripes has locations in Northbrook, South Barrington and Oak Brook. ... Patrick Price of Arlington Heights is the new director of development and marketing for North Shore Senior Center in Northfield. ... Brothers Dan and Alan Kjeldbjerg, the second-generation owners of Poul's Landscaping & Nursery in Long Grove, said the business earned the Super Service Award from Angie's List for 2012.

Aaron Rochholz, the relationship officer for PNC Bank, has been honored as the member of the year by the Buffalo Grove Area Chamber of Commerce. Rochholz has been a member of the chamber since 1988. ... Chief Strategy Officer Thomas Somodi will retire from Wood Dale-based Power Solutions International Inc., an engine supplier. Somodi also served as chief operating officer and chief financial officer of PSI since 2002. ... Alexa Greer of Schaumburg and Jordan Shea of Chicago have been named employees of the year at Assurance, an independent insurance brokerage based in Schaumburg.

Andrew Johnson, Legoland Discovery Center Chicago's master model builder, said that now through Jan. 16, the public can vote for their favorite Lego theme. The theme receiving the most votes will be developed into a large-scale, interactive Lego experience for display at the Schaumburg store this spring. ... Neal W. Otten has bee hired as Midwest regional engineering and sales manager for Hirschmann Engineering USA Inc. in Schaumburg. ... R.J. Pahura, CEO of Venture Connects, said the Chicago organization was founded by a group of small business owners and entrepreneurs determined to help business owners and create more jobs. The national group launched on Jan. 1 and is giving the first 10,000 entrepreneurs free access.

Mike Arvelo, vice president of client services at Vernalis Systems, is the new president of Naperville-based Incentive Marketing Association. ... Jane A. Hays has been elected to the board of Naperville-based The Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Delta Dental of Illinois. She is a managing director for The Downey Group Inc., which has offices in Champaign and Chicago.

Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka will be the keynoter at the Biz 6+ Multi-chamber Collaboration luncheon Feb. 27. It includes members of Arlington Heights, Barrington, Buffalo Grove, Des Plaines, Mount Prospect, Hanover Park, Hoffman Estates, Palatine, Rolling Meadows, Schaumburg, Wheeling/Prospect Heights chambers. ... Condolences to the family and colleagues of Fred L. Turner, the former chief executive officer and honorary chairman of the board at Oak Brook-based McDonald's Corp. The Deerfield resident passed away last week from complications with pneumonia.

•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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