Voting Has Closed for 2020 LZACC Award Nominees!
Below are SHORT stories for each of the award nominees. All nominees and the winners will be presented at our the VIRTUAL WATCH PARTY: WINNING HANDS MEMBER APPRECIATION EVENT on February 9, 2021. There will be a super raffle going on during the event with a chance to win up to $1,250. Grab your lucky number(s) on the board before they get taken. $50/number. Each voter may only vote ONE TIME for each category. Be sure to share this voting page with your family and friends.
Voting Closes on January 28 at 11:59 pm.
2020 Business of the Year Nominees
A.M. WOODLAND OUTDOOR DESIGN
A.M. is fully and consistently saturated not only within their industry but the community. They are never satisfied with their general wins and are consistently pushing themselves to strive for more and to be the best at not only outdoor design but complimentary industries.
In a year that beat down many people A.M. hit record setting goals all while maintaining client retention and stellar work ethic. They got ahead of the curve with many things in their industry and actually grew their company making it more efficient and effective, and adding industries to their portfolio that could help them be a one stop shop for current and future clients. They also merged with a general contractor to expand their offerings. They did this all while never skimming their commitment to the chamber and the community who’ve helped them grow to what they are today.
CASPER TRUE VALUE
As the longest standing Chamber member, Casper True Value, has been a locally, family owned business has been a staple in Lake Zurich for over 50 years. The staff is able to answer any questions regarding your lawn, garden, paint, plumbing, electrical, to name a few. Owners John and Brenda have been involved in many community activities and supported many local organizations over the years, including the Lake Zurich Rotary for over 25 years, LZ Farmer’s Market, Toys for Tots, the Lion’s Club Alpine Fest, as well as a sponsor of local baseball teams. Casper True Value has been the recipient of awards in their industry including being a 50+Year True Value business when their location was used for a photoshoot for Weber Grills for Vendor of the Year by True Value.
Deemed an essential business, John and his staff were open 7 days a week and worked hard to make sure customers had what they needed during the statewide COVID shutdown. Following protocol, installing clear plastic safety screens, requiring masks in the store and offering curb-side pickup, marking floors to ensure social distancing were a few of the efforts made. Competing with online shopping and big chain stores, customer service and the availability of stock was key in keeping them competitive. They were instrumental with True Value Corporate in awarding District 95 with the K-95 masks and cleaning supplies to combat Covid-19. The store was also a drop-off location for the Lake Zurich Rotary who collected food for the St Vincent de Paul food pantry. Casper True Value – Truly more than a hardware store, they are part of the community.
Andrew Macker and Jim Iverhouse took over Copper Fiddle Distillery in September of 2019. They have always had a simple goal: make the best spirits possible with the best ingredients/process available in a venue that encapsulates hospitality and fun. Andrew has been in hospitality in Downtown Chicago since 2004. Running food and beverage venues as Cindy’s at the CAA, Maple and Ash, The Thompson Hotel, etc. Jim Iverhouse has been at the helm at Lake Zurich Tire (Goodyear) for the past 23 years. Jim was pivotal in the development of Copper Fiddle since day one. When the opportunity became available to keep Copper Fiddle going, Jim jumped at the opportunity and reached out to Andrew to see what they could possibly do. The rest is history!!
When State Senator Dan McConchie reached out to them in mid-March of he was in great need of 160 proof ethanol for Lake County First Responders. The only way they could help him with this cause was to part ways with 45 cases of finished Rum we had available for retail sale. This enabled them to create that component for them. Senator McConchie emailed out what they had available and the recipe from the WHO of how to mix the liquid for hand sanitizer with aloe and glycerin. They were able to keep up with the demand for this until late April. At that point the supply was able to catch up with demand.
They have done some incredible things both internally and externally with the venue and its offerings. They added two new products to our line up, a Rye and a Three Grain Vodka. Both have performed incredibly well thus far. Day one they changed the original mash bill for Bourbon to one that they source locally and moved the process away from a synthetic conversion to a natural one (through what is called ‘diastatic’ enzyme conversion). Their Bourbon has never been better!! They won a ‘Double Gold Medal’ at The Fifty Best Bourbon’s, the distillery’s highest medal to date. The venue has been completely torn apart and cleaned, repainted, HVAC installed, gaming added, and much more! This ability to clean and purge years of collected material has led to a clean, very friendly (and of course more room for social distancing) venue. While open they partnered with Franco’s Pescheria (Chamber member) and they added a delivered bar menu for their guests. They did a 4 course paired cocktail dinner with Zin Gastropub (Chamber member) over the summer. They also partnered with The Gents Place and Mr. Tux Formalwear (Chamber members) to drive traffic to drive traffic during the holiday season with a “manly man’s gift package”. They recently did a ‘Spirit Pull’ and donated some whiskey to TLS Veterans, raising over $1500 for Veterans!
It is amazing what restaurants have had to endure during the pandemic. Franco’s Pescheria is a unique Italian seafood, pasta, and Fine Dining restaurant in Lake Zurich, that has gained significant community recognition over the past few years. Their ability to pivot to outdoor dining in a space that really did not exist or that you would not imagine could be such a space, was truly innovative. They were creative with the menus and specials while having to adjust to changes in the way they were ordering while bringing in the freshest seafood to ensure they did not have high food spoilage. They partnered with local businesses, to contribute to their hardships, and bring even more value to Franco’s offerings. They engaged several live musicians to perform for patrons in their outdoor Patio, which again was something the average passerby would have never expected to see (right down to the warmth of fire lanterns in the fall). Franco’s strives to ensure that the freshest ingredients go into every dish, from cooking at people’s homes, to take out weekly specials Franco’s made the challenge to survive during such a time look seamless – yet we do not overlook the sacrifices it took. Franco’s is a local business that brings fine dining to another level!
Generation Painting, Inc.
Despite COVID making 2020 different & difficult, Generation Painting was able to increase their gross revenues by a little over $100k from 2019, which had been a record year. Their profit margin stayed consistent with 2019 due to owner Brian Mattey, lowering its profit margin to avoid staff cutbacks or layoffs and to help customers save money during the pandemic. They also waived all customers’ credit card transaction fees (which was a $17k endeavor). Generation Painting took immediate action on all CDC guidelines to protect their employees and contractors and allow customers to feel safe in their homes.
Highlights of the year:
- While many companies had budget cuts, they added a new work van to their GP Street Fleet Team (now Total of 3)
- Grew to 16 full time painters
- Kept a rate of 20% climbing revenue consistently and continually over each of the past 4 years
- Put in place a project manager to oversee all crew leaders and leaders overseeing all crew members
- Had 4-5 crews out working at any given time
- Joined the APPC to help structure this painting business to keep climbing to the next level
- Implemented a “Saved Labor Bonus Program” in which if they were able to save labor on a job early with no touch ups, each member of that said crew would earn a bonus on top of their regular pay
- Owner Brian during this year had time to continue to network and lead the “Noon Networking Group”
- Generation Painting branched out this year and added new services to add on to their revenue, including carpentry, tiling and installation of vinyl flooring becoming a hot 1-stop shop known as “The World Of Generation”.
- Networked and did business with 6 or more businesses within the Chamber. Keep it local Y’all
- Marketing their brand everywhere
- Continued their annual contribution to LZACC Business Expo, LZACC Golf Outing, LZBSA sponsorship, Fellowship Housing Gala, Food For Friends Food Pantry, Alpine Food Pantry, Willow Creek’s Care Center Food Pantry, and food donations to St. Francs
- This year was up with a 33% closing rate on all jobs
- July 2020 had a record shattering intake of $149,688.14 in revenue
- Engaged in 383 estimates (upon 292 from last year) and completed 130 jobs (up from 92 in 2019)
- Implemented our 1st end of the year award ceremony
LAKE ZURICH FLORIST
Running a business commands the owner “Kill a lion every day”. This is especially true for an immigrant woman. Having purchased the Lake Zurich Florist in April 2018, owner Anping Lovejoy has demonstrated determination, discipline and perseverance. Together with her team of devoted associates, who share her vision of excellence, Lake Zurich Florist has been a staple in the downtown community for decades. It took imagination, investment and innovation to resurrect the business and meet the expectations of modern commerce. It also took an unswerving devotion to customer service and cultivation of community relationships.
Although the Governor mandated closure of Flower Shops in the spring, Lake Zurich Florist was determined to be ESSENTIAL and OPEN. They adopted all new processes to assure the safety of its employees and its clients – rearranging the shop, delivery procedures and stretching work hours to limit workers in the shop to two persons. They even temporarily reduced prices to zero profit to make their flowers more affordable yet keep the staff without a single layoff. With many families unable to celebrate Mother’s Day, weddings among other holidays, Lake Zurich Florist made magnificent smaller arrangements to contribute to the social emotional needs of customers. When a protest in downtown Lake Zurich scared many fearing violence, Lake Zurich Florist chose to help calm the mood by GIVING away flowers to the energetic protesters. They defied the high tide of doom, redoubled efforts to be relevant and made sure that workers and the local community did not bear witness to another withering business. The business not only survived 2020, it flourished, and is ready to serve Lake Zurich for many more decades to come.
Nothing Bundt Cakes
Over the past year, even with all the pandemic challenges we have had as a small business, Nothing Bundt Cakes remained focused on their core values that include having a servant’s heart and engaging the community. As they continued to ensure their staff and guests stayed safe (another full-time job!), they also continued to focus on their partnerships in the community. Owner Caryn Simons supported high school programs by assisting to support and develop students for the future both as part of the job fairs and mock interview assistance.
While many organizations were unable to continue their regular fundraising support, they continued to partner with the non-profit community by donating cakes and setting up COVID- safe special events to help them raise cash they needed. Some of these contributions were made to Long Grove Community Church, as well as Caring Women’s Connections for their Thanksgiving dinners to shelters. They partnered with schools in the area to ensure all of the wonderful teachers and staff felt supported with their sweet Bundlets. Additionally, front line healthcare workers were a big focus for Nothing Bundt Cakes’ Kildeer location, as they continued to partner with health facilities and hospitals in the areas.
2020 Community Impact of the Year Nominees
Ancient Oaks Foundation
AOF is the only conservation 501(c)(3) in the Lake Zurich area and is made up of volunteers helping to restore and preserve natural areas by decreasing invasive species and reintroducing native vegetation that may have never otherwise been maintained by village dollars. This not only raises property values, but has numerous benefits to the environment and provides healthy places for citizens to benefit from both mentally and physically. During 2020, it was a prime time to get outdoors and explore the effects of nature on well-being. However, while social distancing even put a damper on outdoor activities. This group pivoted very well to hosting social distancing outdoor events (with less attendees) as well as ZOOM education events with LIVE wildlife (a total of 20 educational programs for all ages on the care of natural areas and the benefits for future generations). They have continued to grow their partnerships with organizations, local government, volunteers and donors to increase their impact. This non-profit truly gives endless hours of volunteer work time to our community to make our area a better place to live.
A few of the accomplishments from this past year include:
- Received approval from the LZ Village Board for the installation of a Nature Playscape – “Kuechmann Kove” – at Kuechmann Arboretum. Development began in 2020.
- At AOF’s request, the LZ Village Board amended the Noxious Weed ordinance to remove Common Milkweed and Blue Vervain from its list, bringing the ordinance inline with state standards – a win for the Monarch butterfly and other pollinators.
- Worked with LZHS REACT Club to clear the wooded oak area in front of the school. Coordinated with the Barrington Area Conservation Trust to present a Conservation At School award to the REACT Club of Lake Zurich High School for their restoration work on the oak grove on school property
- Employed a D95 summer intern, Quinn Baumann, over the summer, providing her with 60 hours of opportunities and several field trips to area habitats give her a background on how various conservation organizations restore and manage their holdings
- Finished habitat restoration at Oak Ridge Marsh Nature Park, which was over a 10 year endeavor
- Developed the Oak Ridge Marsh Nature Park Story Walk in conjunction with the Ela Area Public Library.
- Instrumental in creation of the Kuechmann Arbortetum Planting day at Paulus Park as well as clearing brush at Paulus Park and planted 160 sedge plants at the Paulus Park south oak grove with the help of 14 enthusiastic volunteers
- Maintained many gardens around LZ area; collected over 100 different types of seeds to replant throughout the community
- Signed a letter of support for the Hawthorn Woods application for an Urban and Community Forestry grant.
- Held individual habitat restoration work days to continue weed pulling at AOF managed sites as well as buckthorn assessment visits for residents
- Purchased many species of sedges and planted on the pond edge at 351 Lions Drive
COLLEGE OF LAKE COUNTY
CLC is leading the charge to give our residents and businesses a workforce ready and able to fill jobs and/or add new skills. CLC just began a for-credit Pharmacy Technician program that will prepare students for a quickly evolving career field. CLC has a state of the art dental hygiene program. It’s students have a 99% pass rate and are a great resource for local dental offices. CLC has a state of the art Mechatronics and Photonics program and recently purchased a building to convert into a complete technology center. CLC also has a top notch nursing program and is working to add a BSN degree to its already RN degree program. CLC just opened its expanded culinary arts program in partnership with Lake County. CLC is a leader in the state in “green” and renewable energy and was the founder of IGEN (Illinois Green Economy Network). There is so much more: horticulture, arts and music, and most importantly it is affordable and a great stepping stone to a 4 year degree. CLC partners with over 40 universities to transfer credits.
Joanie’s Closet has been a committee of the District 95 Educational Foundation for many years but its existence goes back to 2005. The committee was formed after the sudden death of Joanie Bednarz, the May Whitney school nurse, in August 2005. Her passing brought awareness to the work she did to meet the immediate needs of many of her students and their families. Joanie’s Closet was created to continue to fill that gap for May Whitney students and their families and was expanded to be a District 95 wide effort in 2009. Today their committee totals over 25 volunteers with a leadership team and representatives to help serve each school. The mission of Joanie’s Closet is to meet the immediate needs of under-resourced families in District 95. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about new challenges for many District 95 families and Joanie’s Closet has stepped up and expanded services to meet these new needs. When all the schools were closed and at-home learning began in March, all of the basic school supplies Joanie’s Closet had on hand were distributed to students who needed supplies to learn at home. Joanie’s Closet created “COVID kits” to provide to families with members testing positive for the virus. These kits included hard-to obtain cleaning supplies, dish soap, hand soap, toilet paper, and paper towels as well as paper plates, paper bowls, plastic cups, and plastic cutlery to enable the one-time use and immediate disposal of these items to reduce the spread in the household. While the pandemic created economic uncertainty for many families, we have seen increases in the numbers requesting help from our usual programs as well. Joanie’s Closet continues to provide school supplies (over 375 kits in 2020) for any student requesting help at the beginning of the school year. On November 6th, Joanie’s Closet distributed over 400 new coats to students and their family members who requested them. Each coat included a hat and a pair of gloves and many also had a scarf tucked in the pocket. Joanie’s Closet continues to meet immediate needs for families, primarily providing new seasonal clothing and new sneakers for families in need.
In May 2020, one District 95 staff member initiated a donation challenge which raised over $8,000 for Joanie’s Closet to meet the needs of others affected by the pandemic. In November 2020, the community again responded overwhelmingly to an ask for help to “Feed A Family” over the Thanksgiving Break and Winter Break when school was closed and free meals were not able to be distributed. They were able to purchase over $19,000 in gift cards from locally owned restaurants to provide meal support over the breaks. This project was truly a win-win by supporting local businesses while helping our local families. Through private donations and grants, Joanie’s Closet is honored to continue to receive the support needed to meet the future needs of those under-resourced families in our School District community.
ROTARY CLUB OF LAKE ZURICH
For over 40 years the Rotary Club of Lake Zurich has supported many organizations financially and through volunteerism, including Special Olympics for over 10 years, the Chamber’s Oktoberfest, Alpine Fest, Rock the Block, Career Days at the high school, Mobile Food Pantry, Project Warm, Illinois Food Bank, Illinois Diaper Bank, and Lake County Honor Flight. Rotary made it possible to have the first Welcome To Lake Zurich Signs on Rand Road and other major roads leading into Lake Zurich. They have had for over 25 years Roadside Clean-up along Ela Road between Rt 22 and Cuba. The clock in downtown Lake Zurich was donated by Rotary as well as the Little Library. This year, during the pandemic, Rotary made possible letters to Santa and surprised children with a response letter from Santa and an item from their list. They have cooked and served the two annual Emmaus House dinners over the years. They have an ongoing literacy program with St Vincent de Paul and provide new and used books in many different languages. They continue to supply books even during Covid. They had a food drive for St Vincent de Paul and donated $2,000 toward the food bank in April. One of the largest projects was finishing up a remodel project that started before “Patrick” was born with a congenital heart defect, that was abruptly halted as his medical bills ate up resources, including a home equity loan the couple took out for the home project. Lake Zurich Rotary members heard of the couple’s plight and launched an effort aptly named “Project Patrick” to refurbish the home. Roughly 35 home improvement companies and other organizations from Lake Zurich and the Northwest suburbs have been involved. The Rotary Club started a website to solicit donations of money or materials, set up a gift registry for household items, and raised approximately $16,000 for the project. For eight months now, club members, home contractors, and community groups have volunteered countless hours on the project and donated thousands of dollars in materials.
VOLLE’S BRIDAL & BOUTIQUE
Volle’s Bridal has always tried to give back to the community by donating small items to local charities, mostly to help fundraising efforts of local organizations. This year they took it to another level giving back almost $60,000 worth of wedding dresses to deserving members of the military, first responders, and front line medical workers helping fight the COVID pandemic.
While Illinois was still shut down in the spring under the Governor’s orders, Volle’s worked with local wedding dress designer Victoria Sdoukos to give away a custom designed dress to a front line COVID worker. Other participants were granted discounts on their wedding dresses. In honor of Veterans Day, Volle’s teamed up with Brides Across America to give away wedding dresses to active military, first responders, and front line medical workers. The event was a huge success, NBC Chicago covered the day with Volle’s giving dresses to 16 happy brides who also left with a treat from chamber member Nothing Bundt Cakes. They plan on making this an annual event, and possibly helping even more brides next year!
2020 Innovator of the Year Nominees
BONNIE CONTE – AVALON SALON SPA
As a small business owner and active community member, Bonnie Conte could the impact of COVID everywhere. She was an inspiration whether walking into her salon, communicating in networking groups or attending chamber functions. People talk about pivoting, but Bonnie was like a fidget spinner picking up speed to move forward. While not only opening a new location in Crystal Lake and investing in her Deer Park salon, she remained active in numerous Chambers, networking groups and charities. While obviously being impacted by COVID restrictions, she helped struggling businesses with advice and financial recommendations. What can we do positively was not only a thought for her own businesses but also the community. She is always pushing to support local businesses and shop small.
At the anticipation of business closures, Bonnie stocked up and notified her clients and product vendors to provide root coverage or tame unruly curls or keep body until they could resume stylist visits. During closure she removed extraneous decor, painted, redesigned flooring, stations and product displays for safe distancing and sanitization. Industrial hand sanitizer stands, disposable masks, plastic bags for purses were just some of the items added. Spa locker rooms were converted to a space for high risk clients as well as the use of a private side door. Gift card deals, gift product specials and wrapping were on-going not only to help clients but bring in revenue. Her stylists, due to a slower client rotation, spent time educating clients on their hair/skin etc type and what would be good product fits, and giving a new service such as brow dying. Enhancements were made to social media and contact systems. Avalon continues to win industry awards and local “Best of..” Her staff and salon remain strong. Her self appointed title of “Chief Inspirational Officer” is so apropos.
MASATO ZUSUKI & STEPHANE GOUPIL – D&J BISTRO
An authentic French sit-down dinner coupled with spirited ambiance is what you receive at D&J Bistro since 1987, and capturing the true experience of what they bring was extremely challenging during the pandemic. However, from the start of the lockdown in March 2020, D&Js decided not to close their doors but to start offering Carry Out & Deliver to support their customer base and their employees. They quickly pivoted by creating a new user-friendly website, a new carryout menu, new online ordering, new QR Code Touchless link to Menus and new opportunities for waitstaff to be delivery staff. Given the opportunity, they delivered over 1,000 donated meals to Good Shepherd hospital to support front-line workers. They have created innovative specials like the “Bento Box” and holiday meals to pick up, as well as keeping with the traditional celebrations like Bastille Day, D-Day & Veterans Day Commemoration, Beaujolais Nouveau Arrival.
In order to welcome back patrons once authorized by the local & state regulations, a new extended patio experience was created with the same European feel that D&J Bistro as offered for decades, all to stay open and continue to serve the community through this challenging time making sure and enforcing safety & sanitary methods & procedures to keep guests as well as staff SAFE & healthy. It’s the creativity, persistence and sacrifice of business owners, like Masato, along with partner Stephane, and all of D&J’s Staff, that will make sure that Lake Zurich will continue to have wonderful home-grown restaurants intact long after this pandemic.
SANDY SMITH, SUSAN BURNS, ALISON TSENG – PULSATION YOGA
The co-owners of Pulsation Yoga had to pivot (and pivot again and again) their business this year due to COVID. They charged forward adapting their business to the ever changing environment. They took the opportunity to update their Lake Zurich studio (paint, new lights, etc), quickly offered free online prerecorded streaming yoga classes and within a short time later they made technology advancements to add live streamed yoga classes. They let customers into the privacy of their own homes by streaming from home during the stay at home order and then from the studio when rules allowed. COVID hit right after their six month teacher training class had started. They saw what was coming and shifted the curriculum to have in person work completed before lock down rules hit. They then continued instruction virtually via Zoom. All teachers completed the training! They also conducted regular outdoor yoga classes. They provided a safe, caring, friendly yoga environment for whatever their clients were comfortable with: free streaming classes, live streaming classes and workshops, outdoor classes, and private classes for both individuals and groups indoors, outdoors and even online. They’ve been very accommodating for customers, pausing class packages until clients are comfortable coming back to Pulsation. And of course they completely reworked their approach to cleaning the studios and props, as well as spacing out students safely. They took a caring and understanding approach with their staff of 18 teachers, allowing them to return to teaching at whatever point in time they were comfortable. This meant early on the 3 owners taught all the classes. Pulsation Yoga also partnered with local Chamber member vendor, Melon Ink, to provide an online store full of Pulsation Yoga merchandise that could be printed on demand and shipped directly to customers. Sandy, Susan and Ali excelled at a time when some of their competitors have unfortunately permanently closed their doors. Determined to not let the pandemic slow their plans to continue improving their services and client experience. They had no cases of COVID transmission at the studio the entire year! Their success and perseverance this year rises to the level of the expectations of this award.
2020 Chamber Volunteer of the Year Nominees
KENT SMITH – BYTE OUTFITTERS
Whether it’s picking up trash as part of the cleanup crew for Taste of the Towns or serving on the Board of Directors, Kent is willing to serve the Chamber. Kent believes that a strong Chamber is good for Lake Zurich area businesses, as well as the community(ies) as a whole. Kent chaired the Marketing and Technology Committee (formerly the Marketing Committee), pivoting their activities to well attended webinars during COVID. Desiring to create greater value for solopreneurs (and attract new solopreneurs to the Chamber), Kent spearheaded the establishment of the Solopreneur Group. In the process, Kent has formulated and facilitated discussions as well as sought out speakers on topics of value to this business group’s specialized needs. Kent has also provided pro bono maintenance for the Chamber website throughout the year. He and his wife, Pulsation Yoga co-owner Sandy Smith, were the top members engaged in the Chamber’s inaugural SPLURGE Restaurant Week – supporting all of the participating restaurants. The LZACC Board of Directors and the nomination committee highly recommended Kent to move up to Vice President of the Chamber in 2021, to which he accepted.
PETRA CRONEIGH – PETRA 4 TRAVEL
Petra has been a volunteer for the Chamber for well over a decade in a multitude of events and committees. In 2020, she dedicated numerous “behind-the-scenes” hours to seek raffle items for the Chamber’s Annual Golf Outing. Income from the raffle was critical to the Chamber’s success for multiple reasons, and during the pandemic and while participation was sparse, she was able to bring in an ample amount of income for the raffle prizes she collected. She also dedicated her time the entire day to volunteering onsite in multiple locations throughout the day. Petra is always bringing new ideas, recommendations, and even new members to the Chamber at her own will. She has been highly engaged in all of our virtual networking events over the course of the year. Her impact in 2020 earned her the nomination to become a Director on the LZACC Board of Directors.
PETE SALERNO – STRATUS CONCEPT, LLC
Pete has been serving on our Board of DIrectors for the past two years. His engagement, ideas, and actions have been recognized so that he has earned another two year term on the LZACC Board of DIrectors. While he has served on the Marketing & Technology committee and has brought valuable benefits to our members, he also works numerous hours behind the scenes to support the LZACC office with IT needs (sometimes “at the drop of a hat”). He is a strategist when it comes to finding new and innovative ways to engage members of the Chamber, which is above and beyond others.
2020 Chamber Rookie of the Year Nominees
DEREK HARTMANN – FRASER WEALTH MANAGEMENT
Derek joined the Chamber just before the start of the unprecedented COVID pandemic. Eager to get his financial business off the ground he was present at most every in-person event networking like a rockstar. When the world turned virtual, his engagement continued just as strong with the Chamber’s virtual events. His presence and ability to contribute to discussions has strengthened over the course of the year. He was a contributing force to the development of the Solopreneur Group and continues to help the group plan its activities for members. He also provided his financial expertise as a speaker on a panel discussion, “FInancial issues That Keep You Up At Night”.
JORGE MENDEZ – LA PARROQUIA MEXICAN PANCAKE HOUSE
Jorge’s restaurant, La Parroquia, was new to the scene in 2020. What a tough year to get started in a location that has seen a lot of turnover. Being a new restaurant owner has plenty of its own challenges, but coupled with an unusual pandemic, Jorge, his family, and his staff have gone down the road less traveled and have come out the other end thriving. Their social media accolades from the community prove this successful journey. From family meal specials to creative opportunities to serve customers, Jorge and his staff have been committed to safely and carefully serving the Lake Zurich community through a challenging time. Not to mention, the food is absolutely delicious, which demonstrates the unwavering determination to all facets of being a business owner! We are lucky to have Jorge and La Parroquia in the Lake Zurich community!
KATHLEEN LIGGINS – EDWARD JONES
Kathleen came on the Chamber scene mid-year as the coordination of the annual Golf outing was in progress. Her spirit and ideas to make the day fun for members was a welcoming contribution. She was able to give away a ladies and men’s bicycle through her connections within the community. She began attending the Chamber’s Young Professionals networking meetings and shortly after stepped up to chair the group with the notion that they can make an impact within the Chamber and the community. She began rolling out ideas for the new year in just a short time thereafter. She has also come to the Chamber with ideas on bringing value to members in other capacities in 2021.