CCS, Parr find ways to help others
CCS founder helps young people advance
When Ian Parr founded Oakbrook Terrace-based CCS International in 1979, he didn't realize that he was creating a company that would eventually do more than estimates for projects in the construction industry.
The company started a program designed to help individuals, who may need a boost to step up and gain a career, education and confidence.
CCS started what it calls the Step Up program after helping one young man gain a job and an education paid by the company.
It is a way to help someone get a solid foundation, a steady job and a future in a growing industry.
"It's not a giveaway, or being charitable. It's an opportunity to do good work, help other estimators and eventually get a step up on the ladder," said Parr, 69.
While Parr enjoys working as an estimator on major commercial projects, he also enjoys helping others trying to find their way, just as he once did.
Parr was born and raised in southeast London, England. It was a tough neighborhood, a world away from his adopted DuPage County home.
He was born to an unwed English woman and an Asian father in 1948. Society then wasn't always kind to a biracial boy growing up in England. It wasn't any better when his mother later married and the youngster took his stepfather's last name.
Parr eventually left England, hitchhiked around Europe and then traveled through New Zealand. He later landed in Boston and got a job, which eventually led him to the Chicago area.
He has worked in the estimating industry since 1965. So it was natural to start his firm in 1979.
CCS now has 35 employees and offices in Oakbrook Terrace; Houston, Texas; Durham, North Carolina; Bethesda, Maryland and Ashford, England.
About three years ago, the company was looking for ways to work more efficiently. They considered hiring someone to take on a few extra duties that many of the top executives didn't have time for. That's when they learned about a man through one of their employees. He was a high school graduate, but he didn't attend college. He was working for a bathroom-and-kitchen company and wanted a better future with more stability.
"We brought him in and said, 'This is what we have,'" Parr said. "'If you think you could do this for about 18 months, you could learn more about the construction industry and construction materials.'"
Jeff Klima agreed. CCS sent Klima to College of Dupage while he worked side-by-side with others in the firm.
About two years later, Klima, 36, learned about the commercial construction industry and estimating. He was involved in the management and estimation side of new buildings erected at Northwestern University, University of Notre Dame and some Veteran Administration hospitals nationwide. He has since been promoted to cost manager.
"I like it a lot," said Klima of Elmhurst. "I've learned a lot about some cool projects."
Since Klima's promotion, the firm has hired his replacement in what is now formally known as the Step Up program. They selected a man from Chicago's South Side who starts this week.
"This is a win-win situation," Parr said. "It makes business sense to do a program like this and help someone so they can have an opportunity."
• Kerry Lavelle of Lavelle Law in Palatine has turned over the role of managing partner to Ted McGinn. This is the first time in the 25 year history of the firm that someone other than Kerry will be responsible for the day to day operations of the now 25 attorney practice. Kerry is staying on at the firm and will return to handling client work on a full-time basis. "Kerry wants to get back to practicing law full time. Over the last decade in particular he has focused much of his attention on growing and managing the firm," said firm spokesman Jim Mitchell. "They have some very large clients and his work is in demand and he misses the practice so he is ready to transition. He has been planning this for several years." Lavelle aims to get more involved with some bar associations and speak more on practice management.
• Achour Esho, the founder of Flo Boxing and Martial Arts in Palatine, is getting ready for his boxing match against Anthony Abbruzzese at 8 p.m. on Jan. 21 at the UIC Pavillion in Chicago.
• Patty Lindstrom, CEO of Creative Logic Inc., and founder of Living the Brand Institute, is the producer of the daylong Brand Innovation Quest conference on Jan. 26 in Naperville. It will feature Harry Gottlieb, founder of Jellyvision and developer of the trivia game called "You Don't Know Jack," Tim McEnery, founder and CEO of Cooper's Hawk Winery and Restaurants, among others.
• Rob Golden and George Lauber are leading the Rolling Meadows office of Fairbanks Energy Services. They will direct business development and project operations for Fairbanks Energy Services throughout the region.
• There's more to business than just the bottom line. We want to tell you about the people who make business work. Send news about people in business to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Anna Marie Kukec on LinkedIn and Facebook and as AMKukec on Twitter.