Rolling Meadows principal among those honored at chamber dinner
For three decades, the Rolling Meadows Chamber of Commerce has recognized local businesses, organizations and community leaders for their work ethic, commitment to the community, and involvement.
At the annual Circle of Success Recognition Dinner Thursday night, chamber officials handed out nine awards to those deemed to be doing those good works in 2018.
The list included the principal of Rolling Meadows High School, a civic club, two banks, and businesses both long-standing and new to Rolling Meadows.
Eileen Hart, principal of Rolling Meadows since 2011, was named community leader of the year for helping start a Rotary Interact Club at the school that conducts a Thanksgiving food drive, a Christmas basket collection and multiple fundraisers, including a current campaign to raise money for Guatemalan students.
Hart invited business leaders and community members to visit the school, especially if they haven't been to a high school in the last five years. Much of the staff's work centers on getting students ready for careers, not just getting a diploma.
"Our focus is not to get kids to graduate," Hart said. "We care much more about how they'll contribute to the community after they graduate."
Hart is also involved in several projects of the Rolling Meadows Rotary Club, which won a separate community enhancement award Thursday for its Adopt A Highway service project that's beautified the Rotary Plaza at Kirchoff and Hicks roads. Club volunteers maintain a gazebo and water fountain and plant flower beds every year.
Squire Court Shopping Center owners Jim and Vickie Apostolou received a community enhancement award for beautifying their retail strip at Euclid Avenue and Plum Grove Road.
Craig Hesch of A.H. Management Group, a corporate dining and vending firm, was named business leader of the year. Hesch thanked his family for doing much of the heavy lifting in the business that was started by his grandparents in 1939 and is now in its fourth generation.
"I was taught at a young age we don't employ or feed people," he said. "We employ and feed families."
Village Bank & Trust, which opened a branch on Algonquin Road last year, was named business of the year. Mayor Len Prejna said the bank managers have added a "spark" to networking events since they came to town.
"The first time I met the group, they said, 'What do you want done and we'll get it done,'" he said.
Anna Geissenberger of Express Employment Professionals, who has helped increase business membership in the chamber, was named chamber volunteer of the year.
Town Square Publications, part of the Daily Herald Media Group, was recognized with a communications partner award for publishing the chamber's business resource guide, a 36-page glossy directory of companies and information about the city.
Community outreach awards went to Ben Franklin Bank, which supports Wine-Down by the Creek, National Night Out and other community events; and J.C. Restoration, which supports Catholic Charities, Feed My Starving Children and a host of causes important to their employees.