Arlington Heights attorney has eclectic mix of art

  • George Drost, an Arlington Heights attorney, is also an avid art collector.

    George Drost, an Arlington Heights attorney, is also an avid art collector. COURTESY OF GEORGE DROST

  • George Drost, an Arlington Heights attorney, has traveled around the world and collected mostly contemporary Czech art.

    George Drost, an Arlington Heights attorney, has traveled around the world and collected mostly contemporary Czech art. COURTESY OF GEORGE DROST

  • George Drost, an Arlington Heights attorney, is also an avid art collector. Here's a sampling of his collection.

    George Drost, an Arlington Heights attorney, is also an avid art collector. Here's a sampling of his collection. COURTESY OF GEORGE DROST

  • George Drost, an Arlington Heights attorney, is also an avid art collector.

    George Drost, an Arlington Heights attorney, is also an avid art collector. COURTESY OF GEORGE DROST

  • Christine DeGraf, left, and Heidi DeGraf own Rhea Lana's of West Chicagoland, a consignment shop.

    Christine DeGraf, left, and Heidi DeGraf own Rhea Lana's of West Chicagoland, a consignment shop. COURTESY OF RHEA LANA

  • Michael P. Sullivan Jr.

    Michael P. Sullivan Jr.

  • Attorney Kerry Lavelle, who has a practice in Palatine, was invited to speak at an American Bar Association conference.

    Attorney Kerry Lavelle, who has a practice in Palatine, was invited to speak at an American Bar Association conference. COURTESY OF KERRY LAVELLE

  • Caroline Dell

    Caroline Dell

  • Helmut E. Gerlach

    Helmut E. Gerlach

  • David Franks

    David Franks

  • Michael J. Skaff

    Michael J. Skaff

 
 

Arlington Heights attorney George Drost doesn't always surround himself with legal documents and courtroom drama.

He likes drama that can be found in oil ... or sculpture ... or even in etchings.

Drost, 69, is a collector of fine art as an investment. He has traveled around the world and collected mostly contemporary Czech art for enjoyment and for investing, he said.

"It's not a bad collection," Drost said.

Drost's collection includes about 500 paintings, sculptures, etching and other media. He declined to say what the collection is worth. While some pieces are at his home, others are displayed elsewhere, including at the Czech and Slovak Museum and Library in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, or at his alma mater, Augustana College. He's now planning a special exhibit in 2018, he said.

"Unlike the emotional ups and downs of the stock market, investing in art can add a level of personal fulfillment that traditional investments simply can't provide," said Shankar Iyer, a financial adviser with Merrill Lynch who works with Drost.

Drost's parents were also art collectors and they came to the United States around 1950.

Drost returned to his native country in 1990 for the first time and has made several trips since then, often buying artwork from Czech, Slovak and other artists, Drost said.

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Drost's father also was an attorney and the younger George Drost followed in those footsteps. His brother, Rudy, went into the insurance and banking.

Drost has been an attorney since he graduated from DePaul University in 1972. He worked for about three years for the IRS and then for a private company. By the mid-1980s, he helped start the law firm of Drost Kivlahan McMahon & O'Connor LLC in Arlington Heights. The firm now has 11 attorneys who focus on various legal fields, including estate planning and commercial real estate.

Drost also has been involved with various organizations that help strengthen ties between the United States and the Czech Republic, including the American Friends of the Czech Republic in Washington, D.C., and the John Marshall School of Law Czech and Slovak Legal Exchange Program. He also has been honorary consul of the Czech Republic for Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin from 2001 to 2006.

And just as he has an eclectic mix of art, he also has had a variety of kids at his home.

Drost resides in Arlington Heights with his wife, Beth. They have three grown children and 12 grandchildren. He and Beth also have served as foster parents to more than 30 kids. The foster kids were for short periods of time until they were permanently adopted, Drost said.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"We have to learn how to help these families," Drost said. "There's a variety of kids from families who do drugs, need some type of support or have been abused. They are a rainbow of races," he said.

In-laws gear up for sale

Christine DeGraf and Heidi DeGraf co-own Rhea Lana's of West Chicagoland, a consignment shop that is gearing up for its annual spring sale at 1199 E. Ogden, Naperville. With more than 70,000 items and 600 consignors, there will be plenty of used brand clothes, repurposed furniture and other items for sale. By the way, Heidi is Christine's mother-in-law.

Peak CEO honored

Michael P. Sullivan Jr., founder and CEO of Peak Construction Corp. in Des Plaines, has been inducted into the 6th annual Midwest Commercial Real Estate Hall of Fame. This influential list of who's who of commercial real estate professionals recognizes and honors individuals who have provided inspiration and leadership throughout their successful careers.

FastTracks

Palatine attorney Kerry Lavelle was invited to speak at the recent American Bar Association Midyear Conference in San Diego. Lavelle also was appointed as chairman of a new Law Practice Management Committee at the Northwest Suburban Bar Association in 2015. ... Helmut E. Gerlach has joined the law firm of Kelleher & Buckley in North Barrington, which now has 23 attorneys.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Caroline Dell of Elmhurst is the new marketing director/associate at Lee & Associates' Chicago office. Before joining Lee, she spent about 10 years in the commercial real estate industry as a marketing director and broker associate focusing on the I-55/I-80 & I-294 industrial corridors. ... Frank Zak, of Winfield, was hired as the new chief operating officer at Lisle-based American Fidelity Mortgage Services Inc., which is owned by Joe Cuttone.

David Franks, a partner in the law firm of Franks & Rechenberg PC in Lake in the Hills and McHenry, has been selected as a state delegate for Illinois at Montgomery, Alabama-based National College for DUI Defense. NCDD is a nonprofit professional organization that aims to improve the criminal defense bar and provide information to the public about DUI defense law. ... Michael J. Skaff, a former White House designer and owner of Skaff Floral Creations in Hinsdale, has moved his floral business to 110 S. Washington St. in Hinsdale. It is sharing space with Jeff Ebert, owner of Ebert Photography, which was established in 1915. Ebert's main location is Oak Park. It is also in the same building as Janie Petkus Interiors.

Susie Kleiner owns Leathers 4U, a full-service leather store in Antioch. Over the last 6 years, it has grown from a leather store that offered motorcycle/biker type merchandise and now creates custom leather products, custom chaps, tool bags, saddle bags, fender bibs for motorcycles; handle bar, clutch and brake covers. They've recovered seats for motorcycle, and even make custom BBQ aprons. They can also repair or restore just about anything made out of leather ... Former Kane County court reporter, Brenda Gregory, has now opened the Painting with a Twist studio in Naperville. It is a paint-and-sip franchise where friends can get together to paint, drink wine and discover their inner artist. This will be the first Painting with a Twist to open in Illinois.

Rose De Paola, the owner of Couture 360 Salon in Lake Zurich, just hired Tommy Antonucci as master stylist/color tech, Chrissy LaManna and Kara Lynn Bisenius, senior stylist/color techs. ... Debbie and Tom Castino, owner of FastSigns of Northbrook, received two recognitions including the CEO Circle award, which recognizes the top 25 centers in the United States and Canada for sales volume between Oct. 1, 2014, and Sept. 30, 2015, and the sales achievement award, which recognizes the center with the highest overall sales growth in the country. FastSigns of Northbrook increased its annual sales volume by more than $900,000 from the previous year.

• 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 akukec@dailyherald.com. Follow Anna Marie Kukec on LinkedIn and Facebook and as AMKukec on Twitter.

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