Editor's note: This is one in a series of profiles of mayoral candidates in the Northwest suburbs.
As a child, Ray Kincaid swept steps, cleaned rooms and helped do small repairs at residences his father managed in the Northwest suburbs.
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Now, the 60-year-old Hoffman Estates resident owns a travel agency with his wife and manages more than 40 properties in two states, continuing the "entrepreneurial spirit" he grew up around.
Kincaid said his longtime work experience taught him to be service oriented. He said it's important to take the customers' point of view to heart and provide them with great services.
That's one reason why he is running for mayor after serving eight years as village trustee. He faces incumbent William McLeod.
"The taxpayers are our bosses and you need to see what their needs are and you need to focus on the services you need to give to them," Kincaid said.
Born in Flora, Ill., Kincaid spent time traveling around the country with his family while his dad worked on roads. Eventually, they moved to Des Plaines, where Kincaid graduated from Maine West High School. He took some classes at Harper College, but had to leave to help, again, with properties his father owned.
Shortly after moving to the village, Kincaid got involved in getting a church built on the north end of Hoffman Estates. He helping with fundraising for construction and became a founding member of Holy Family Catholic Church.
For many years when his two children were young, Kincaid was active in coaching and managing youth sports teams. He said he enjoyed working with the players that needed more help and he made sure to take his time to explain to parents why their child was playing a certain position.
"You think that you draft the superstar athletes, but when you're successful is when you take a kid that isn't very good and you make him a mediocre player ... when the other coaches were just focusing on superstars," he said, adding that his approach led some of his teams to championships.
Mark Mueller, president of the Hoffman Estates Athletic Association, said he has known Kincaid for more than 20 years through youth football. Although Kincaid's children are grown, Mueller said he continues to come out to games and support the association.
While he doesn't know Kincaid's coaching style, Mueller said it's clear he doesn't react without educating himself on each side of an issue.
"I consider Ray a very fair guy who listens," he said. "He's very open and accessible. I think he'll listen to what people tell him and make a decision based on what he thinks is best."
Mueller also mentioned he was impressed with the Kincaid's donation last year of a trip for one of the cheerleaders who made it to the national championships, but couldn't afford to go.
In 2005, Kincaid was elected to the village board. Over his two terms he said he has always voted with his conscience and carefully decides what is the best choice, an attribute that is apparent in other parts of his life too.
"It's taking calculated risks," he said. "I really make sure that the odds are in my favor before I spend my money or put anything at risk."
Kincaid said he takes the time to go over other viewpoints and details, and tries to understand things from a different perspective so the outcome can be a win-win situation instead of a win for one person.
"At the same time, I can be very firm in my decisions," he said. "I explain myself. I don't try to dictate. I'll go through why I'm so firm on my decision."
Kincaid describes his personality as "outgoing" and said he thinks it could help change attitudes in and toward the village.
"When people come in (to the village), they don't feel welcomed and when they don't feel welcomed in town they take their business elsewhere. I want to change all that," he said. "I believe what the village has gotten into with Bill's leadership, it's more governmental, how do we make money? If I start changing that personality from the top, I believe that we can be a happier community and people will want to come here and run their business and raise their families."
However, he added nothing will get done unless people work together as a team.
"I'm more of an individual who feels that it's a group effort rather than an individual," he said. "It is a group effort that gets you there."
• To see all our coverage of the Hoffman Estates mayoral race, including candidate bios, go to www.dailyherald.com/news/politics/election/race/Hoffman-Estates-Village-President/.