Rolling Meadows chamber recognizes local business leaders
The owner of a new Rolling Meadows sports bar, a two-time mayoral candidate, and owners of a shopping center were among those honored by the Rolling Meadows Chamber of Commerce during its annual awards ceremony this week.
It's the 31st year the local business organization has recognized those deemed to have gone above and beyond in helping make the city a successful business and municipal community.
Seven Circle of Success awards were handed out by Mayor Joe Gallo and chamber Executive Director Linda Ballantine during a dinner Thursday night at Meridian Banquets.
The Community Outreach award went to Rep's Place, which will celebrate its anniversary at 3200 Kirchoff Road in June. It was the vision of owner Mike Reppe, a Rolling Meadows native, to open the family-friendly bar/restaurant in his hometown after 25 years in the hospitality industry.
Rep's has hosted several fundraising events, and sponsored park district Little League teams, hockey and pewee football.
Dave Whitney, a 40-year resident who ran for mayor in 2019 and 2017, was named Community Leader of the Year for his involvement and volunteer work. Whitney, the vice chairman of the planning and zoning commission, has served on several local boards and commissions, including Crime Stoppers, Citizens Emergency Response Team, Senior Center, Community Events Foundation and Plum Tree Homeowners Association. He also organized a petition drive and meetings to try to bring back a post office to the city's downtown.
The new owners of the Rolling Meadows Shopping Center, where Rep's and other businesses are located, received the Community Enhancement award. Phillips Edison has overseen recent upgrades to the strip center on Kirchoff Road, including making exterior changes, converting parking lot lights to LED, upgrading electrical and plumbing, and signing leases in once-vacant spaces.
"The Rolling Meadows Shopping Center continues to be one of the best kept viable neighborhood strip centers in our community," Ballantine said.
Bear Construction, which started in 1984 and has grown into a $300 million company headquartered on Rohlwing Road, was named Business of the Year. The general contractor has completed more than 15,000 projects in tenant build-out in Illinois and Wisconsin.
Frank Schoen of Transamerica Financial Advisors/World Financial Group was named Business Leader of the Year. He moved his regional office to Rolling Meadows in 2013 and is a chamber board member.
"Radical action produces radical results -- that's Frank Schoen's motto," said Gallo, who has served on the chamber board with him.
Rafal Piontkowski, vice president and branch manager at Village Bank & Trust in Arlington Heights, was recognized as Chamber Volunteer of the Year. His bank hosts a popular holiday meet-and-mingle after-hours chamber mixer, and he serves on Rolling Meadows' fire pension fund board and the Escorted Transportation Service Northwest board.
The Rolling Meadows Community Events Foundation also received a special recognition for organizing dozens of family-friendly gatherings throughout the year, including Taste the Town, City Markets, Downtown Block Party, National Night Out, Fridays Rock & Roll in Meadows, Wine-Down by the Creek, Hometown Hoedown fall fest, and holiday tree lighting and spaghetti dinner.