The importance of building strong company cultures was the thread that connected 15 suburban executives recognized Wednesday at the 2019 C-Suite Awards, sponsored by the Daily Herald Business Ledger and its partners.
The eighth annual awards, held at Medinah Shriners Banquets in Addison, honors executives who contribute to the success of their businesses, as well as the region's economic growth and stability. Honorees are judged on their company's overall growth, commitment to good ethics and involvement in the community. The businesses or organizations they represent must have a presence within the Business Ledger's suburban Chicago footprint.
2019 C-Suite Awards honorees• Alona Anspach CFP, CDFA, managing director, Sheridan Road Advisors, LLC, Northbrook
• Jean Carlson, vice president. Human Resources, RTC, Rolling Meadows
• J. Lyell Clark, III, president and CEO, Clarke, St. Charles
• Austin Dempsey, CEO, Batavia Enterprises, Batavia
• Robert Dold, Jr, president and COO, Rose Pest Solutions, Wheeling
• Kornel Grygo, CEO, Tasty Catering, Elk Grove Village
• Paul Kaufmann, president, Shred Spot, Northbrook
• Zac Larson, founding partner and CEO, IntentGen Financial Advisors, Naperville
• Olivier Leonetti, CFO, Zebra Technologies, Lincolnshire
• Chris Lesner, founder and CEO, Project World Impact, Wheaton
• Chip Miceli, CEO, Pulse Technology, Carol Stream
• Dave Petersen, CEO, NAI Hiffman, Oakbrook Terrace
• Jeff Reiter, CEO and founder, RWK IT Services, Frankfort
• Laurette Rondenet, CEO and president, Edlong, Elk Grove Village
• Jeff Schmitz, CMO, Zebra Technologies, Lincolnshire
Keynote speaker Matt Stock, president and owner of U.S. Waterproofing, shared with the group of more than 100 how marketing helped build his third generation family business into a household name, growing its revenue by 800 percent. The company had to overcome a number of challenges to build a brand that "brings humanity and personality" to the company, including struggling with using the term "seepage" in its message.
"To the CFOs in the room, when marketing is done real well, it can be a significant revenue generator," Stock said "TO the CEOs of the room, I hope I demonstrated the importance of branded messaging. If I had stuck with the word 'seepage,' I probably wouldn't be here."
Many of the honorees, in accepting their awards, pointed to their employees as the core for their company's success.
"Clark doesn't really have a C-Suite," said J. Lyell Clark, president and CEO of Clark in St. Charles. "It has a suite of 165 co-workers with this amazing passion of this public health business."
Austin Dempsey, CEO of Batavia Enterprises, added one of the goals of executives is to "surround ourselves with the best people possible and empower them to achieve their greatest potential."
Dave Petersen, CEO of NAI Hiffman in Oakbrook Terrace, focused on leadership qualities.
"To build a strong team, you must see someone else's strength as a complement to your weakness and not as a threat to your position or authority," he said. "A leader's job is not to have all the ideas. It's to make sure the ideas are heard and the best one wins."
Detailed profiles of the honorees are online at dhbusinessledger.com and will appear in the Business Ledger's August issue, publishing Aug. 19.
Presenting sponsors for this year's awards are Republic Bank and B. Gunther & Company. Marketing partners are MRA -- The Management Association and Small Business Advocacy Council.