After 29 years in distribution, Palatine man focuses on dogs

  • Brad "Casey" Howe and Dusty

    Brad "Casey" Howe and Dusty

  • Bark Busters, an international dog training franchise, named a new award after Brad Howe's dog that passed away in late 2014.

    Bark Busters, an international dog training franchise, named a new award after Brad Howe's dog that passed away in late 2014. Courtesy of Bark Busters

  • Kimberly Sumrak

    Kimberly Sumrak

Updated 1/5/2015 12:27 PM

For 29 years, Brad "Casey" Howe of Palatine was a sales distributor of live lobster from the East Coast. He was known as Casey the lobster man.

He obtained the lobster from Maine or Massachusetts and had it shipped through O'Hare International Airport, where it was then distributed to the Drake Hotel, Morton's Steakhouse, and several restaurants in Chinatown and elsewhere, he said.


But with changes in the airline industry, along with some personal health issues, Howe decided to close the distribution business.

He saw a story in the early 2000s about Bark Busters, a franchise that offers in-home training for dogs. He clipped it and saved it. He then decided to pursue franchise opportunities and settled on Bark Busters, a global company focused on training dogs at the client's home.

The organization put him through a criminal check and three personality profiles to see if he would be suitable to handle dogs.

"Not everyone is fit for the job," he said. "You have to really have a love for animals."

In 2006, he opened his Palatine-based Bark Busters franchise and became a certified master trainer. While he operates an office in his home, he goes to client homes to train dogs. No shock collars or abusive treatment is allowed, he said.

"We train any breed, any age," he said.

Besides house training and helping to reduce excessive barking, his training also focuses on separation anxiety, aggressiveness and even sibling rivalry, he said.

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Perhaps his most emotional case was his own dog, an 11-year-old Shepard mix suffering from cancer. For 22 months, he helped Dusty deal with cancer treatments until the dog recently passed away. Howe's devotion to Dusty, as well as to other dogs, helped him to earn the Bark Busters International's first "For the Love of Dogs Award," presented to him via Skype during the organization's annual convention in San Diego, California. The trophy includes "In Memory of Dusty" an award that will be given annually by the organization, he said.

"I am not only overwhelmed, but humbled too," he said.

Changes at Ace

Dan Miller has been named vice president of retail operations and new business, while Brian Wiborg has been appointed to vice president of retail development and supply at Oak Brook-based Ace Hardware. Miller succeeds Kane Calamari, who recently transitioned to vice president of human resources, organizational development and communications. Wiborg succeeds Tom Knox, who has transitioned to president and CEO of Westlake Ace Hardware.


Bill Chase, executive vice president and chief financial officer at AbbVie in North Chicago, will be heading to San Francisco, California, to do a presentation at the 33rd annual J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference on Jan. 14.

Kimberly Sumrak, a civil engineer, recently joined Hanson Professional Services Inc. in Oak Brook. She will assist with the firm's roadway work, including interstates, state highways and local government projects.


Linda L. Morris is the new director of the Des Plaines-based Emergency Nurses Association's Institute of Emergency Nursing Education. She is responsible for the management and oversight of its educational programs, products and services.

Steven Robb, president of Solutions Group at LaSalle Solutions in Rosemont, said LaSalle earned the Cisco Gold Certification for networking competency, service, support and customer satisfaction.

• 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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