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updated: 2/19/2013 8:06 AM

Huntley's Bell builds out her own niche in construction

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  • Kellie Bell

    Kellie Bell

  • Joel R. Petersen

    Joel R. Petersen

  • Peter M. Caliendo

    Peter M. Caliendo

  • Rishi Sikka

    Rishi Sikka

  • Jeff Matheson

    Jeff Matheson

  • Larry Kaskel

    Larry Kaskel

  • Monika McLain

    Monika McLain

  • Lisa Newman

    Lisa Newman


Kellie Bell is the third generation of her family to be in the construction business and has made her own mark with Huntley-based Forrest Construction Group Inc. Her certified woman-own firm marks its 10th year and has about a half-dozen employees with plans to expand, despite the stiff competition in the industry.

Bell, who is married to Dan Bell and they have a 3-year-old son, believes she has been treated equally among her industry colleagues. She specializes in build-out projects and her recent projects include call centers, data centers and retail stores such as the Crabtree & Evelyn and Puma stores in Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg,

"It is 2013 and I truly believe that people's perspectives have changed," Bell said. "Forrest Construction is a grass-roots construction company with a history of knowledge, experience and satisfied customers. At the end of the day, it's the product we produce and quality of that product that sets Forrest Construction apart."

Construction has defined who she is because she grew up in the industry. She said family dinners usually included a recap of daily issues on the construction sites and she often helped her father clean up on projects. She later earned a business and marketing degree from Upper Iowa University and immediately decided to start her own company.

"I dove right in to what seemed like a perfect fit," she said.

Ten years later, she has learned that every day is a "training experience."

"Those who know everything, fail to see they know nothing," she said. "The industry is always changing and more importantly, so are our clients needs. Running a construction company is no longer hand shakes, hammers and saws. It involves navigating and streamlining your accounting system, comprehending commercial and medical insurance policy, payroll, taxes, contracts ... It never ends."

She continues to navigate all aspects of her company and the industry, she said.

"You need to learn every element of your company and how it works," Bell said. "When complete, and comfortable with this new knowledge, you have to be prepared to change it, update and customize to meet the client's needs. As a small-business owner you wear many hats, at times receptionist, accountant, estimator, project manager and, yes, cleaner of drywall dust. This also keeps me proactive in all aspects of my business and better able to be the visionary, problem solver, delegator and cheerleader with clarity of thought and objectivity while maintaining a finger on the daily pulse. After all, the buck stops here -- at my desk."

And she realizes that she is helping a client fulfill their own dream and she becomes a part of that vision.

"How great is that?" she said. "More important, this process brings you closer to others and secondary relations develop into future projects. We have a large volume of repeat customers, who pick up the phone and call us to become part of the development team. The days that you get those calls from an existing customer asking you to work with them again, are the best. It shows that what we work so hard to achieve every day is noticed."

Transitioning with Whole Foods

Store Team Leader Floyd Staine will be heading up the Whole Foods Market that's relocating March 6 from Palatine to a new 40,000-square-foot store at 20281 N. Rand Road in Kildeer. The Palatine location was in business since 1998. Staine has been with the store since its origin as a Fresh Fields in 1993.

Along with the merge

Joel R. Petersen said he's merged the firm he owned with wife Jeanie, Hemisphere Recruiting of Geneva, with Management Recruiters of St. Charles, a branch office of MRINetwork owned by Dan Lasse, his longtime friend. He told his LinkedIn peeps that "the obvious melding of the two companies will provide incredible tools and resources that our clients and candidates can take full advantage of. One of the more exciting aspects is the opportunity for me to provide contract staffing and temp-to-hire services along with our executive and professional recruiting." He also owns

Traveling around, except in Italy

Peter M. Caliendo, president of Hoffman Estates-based Caliendo Sports International, told us he's recently pulled out of managing a baseball team in Grosseto, Italy, that had been acquired by some investors in January 2011. Instead, he said he wants to focus on his firm, which includes a lot of international travel. Last week, he was in Vancouver speaking at a coaches convention, and then he spoke at another convention in Mexico. Next, he's heading to Japan to work for MLB for the first two rounds of the World Baseball Classic.


Naperville resident Robert F. Seidl is in the process of moving to New York after his appointment as chief global business strategy officer at Pola Orbis Holdings, parent of H2O Plus. He served as president and CEO of H2O Plus for seven years. ... Rishi Sikka, vice president of clinical transformation for Oak Brook-based Advocate Health Care, has been awarded the 2013 Community Health Leadership Award from the Chicago Health Executives Forum.

Libertyville resident Jeff Matheson, a real estate sales associate, was honored with the Double Centurion Producer award for sales production from Century 21 Kreuser & Seiler. ... Jimmy Bannos, owner of Heaven on Seven in Naperville and Chicago, was king of Mardi Gras last week with a purple, gold and green colored beard, a king's crown and lots of bling. ... Jeffrey A. Raday, president of McShane Construction Co. in Rosemont, said the firm has finish constructing the Rockford Veterans Affairs Outpatient Clinic, a new medical facility for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs in Rockford.

Brandon Barnholt, KeHE Distributor's president and CEO, said his Romeoville-based distributor sold its Eye Level Solutions business to Living Naturally LLC, an online business that offers consumers unique products through brand stores. ... Kelly Wilborn, who works in the Naperville office of CBIZ, was named to the executive board of the company's women's initiative program, CBIZ Women's Advantage. ... Randy Ebertowski, general manager at Gurnee Mills, said its full-price wing is now under construction. Scheduled to open in conjunction with the grand opening of Macy's during July 2013, this project marks Gurnee Mills as a hybrid shopping center with outlet, value and full-price retailers all under one roof.

Andrew Limouris, CEO and President of Medix Staffing Solutions Inc., a national staffing organization in Lombard, said the firm has been named to Inavero's 2013 Best of Staffing Client list of award winners. ... Brian Grams, museum director, said the showroom at the Volo Auto Museum received a makeover, from its polished marble floor to its crystal chandeliers. Grand openings are planned Memorial Day weekend for the showroom and Father's Day weekend for the new exhibit hall.

Internal medicine physicians Larry Kaskel, Monika McLain, and Lisa Newman of Deerpath Primary Care have joined Northwestern Memorial Physicians Group in Libertyville. ... Cheryl Frommelt has been promoted to clinical director and Jennifer Curtin is a new counselor at the Fox Valley Institute in Naperville.

•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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