Wesley Child Care and its executive director win Glenview Chamber awards
Yes, Craig Solomon will gladly accept the honor.
Given the challenges Glenview's business community has faced, though, he sees it as a shared achievement.
Solomon, executive director of the Wesley Child Care Center, 727 Harlem Ave., has been awarded the Glenview Chamber of Commerce 2020 Business Person of the Year.
Working with Glenview Park District executive director Michael McCarty to mitigate the upheaval of norms during the COVID-19 pandemic, Solomon and Wesley Child Care Center enacted the park district's Camp REC program to provide hybrid learning to kindergarten through eighth-grade students in pods throughout the village.
"In my mind, that's kudos to the Glenview Park District for their willingness to collaborate with another local nonprofit agency to provide these services," Solomon said.
"Just like everybody, we've all had to make strong programmatic pivots to meet the needs and the safety concerns in the community," he said.
Wesley Child Care, which also has its own preschool, has operated since 1972. Solomon has been its executive director since 2013, with prior experience in Wesley's school-age programs, including serving as program director.
His shortlist of outside interests and activities includes service on the boards of Leadership Glenview and Glenview-Northbrook Kiwanis, chairman of the village's Fourth of July committee, and volunteer posts with Character Counts and the NorthShore Glenbrook Hospital Community Advisory Committee.
Along with naming a business person of the year, the Chamber of Commerce broke from the tradition of selecting a single business of the year. Reflecting the challenges of 2020, it recognized a group of them.
Along with Wesley Child Care Center, Glenview Park District and Glenbrook Hospital and its entire staff, the honorees were: Family Service Center, Northfield Township Food Pantry, Youth Services of Glenview/Northbrook, and the Village of Glenview itself.
"To be included with such an amazing list on that other honor is truly amazing as well," Solomon said.
It's Wesley Child Care's first individual or overall chamber honor.
Still, considering the 2020 climate, Solomon believed any one institution might feel "awkward" being the sole honoree.
"It's not even a complete list. This town, this community, has really stepped up in a collaborative fashion to work together, to support each other, and that list is a pretty good sampling," he said.
"Myself, being honored as business person of the year, no business person of the year can be selected without a strong business -- in our case a strong board, strong leadership, a strong staff, a strong customer base, strong awareness and strong community partnerships. I really view this, quote, 'individual' honor as a shared honor," Solomon said.