Now is a good time to evaluate those year-end goals for your organization. To reach those goals, you’ll need a team that can go the extra mile. Here, we introduce you service providers who are leading the way.
McDermaid Roofing and Insulating
Quality work is a hallmark for McDermaid Roofing and Insulating Company, 1229 Kishwaukee St., Rockford, one of the area’s oldest roofing contractors.
“Our motto is, ‘Above all, a good roof,’” says Paul Naretta, company vice president and head of the roofing division. “I believe we provide exceptional service.”
McDermaid specializes in roofing, waterproofing and pipe-covering services for commercial, industrial and governmental buildings. The roofing division installs new roofs and re-roofs, and does below-grade waterproofing of vaults and tunnels.
The pipe-covering division serves many of the same clients, satisfying their insulation needs on hot and cold water lines, boilers, ductwork, tanks, vessels and process piping. McDermaid offers 24-hour emergency service.
Don McDermaid and Joe Naretta founded McDermaid Roofing in 1934. Joe’s son, Bill, joined the company in 1961 and serves as president. Paul joined his father in 1989; his son, Nick, of the fourth generation, pitches in when he’s home from college.
The sense of family at McDermaid extends to the loyal workforce, which varies between about 40 and 50 workers, depending on the season.
“We have foremen who have retired from here, and now their sons are foremen,” says Paul. “We have employees’ nephews, sons and brothers who work here. We’re a pretty tight-knit family, when it comes down to it.”
Roofing technologies have changed dramatically since the 1930s, and McDermaid continually adapts itself to new demands for environmentally friendly, reflective and energy-saving materials. McDermaid has become highly specialized in the installation of solar photovoltaic panels and vegetative roof systems, among other “green” solutions.
McDermaid also is expanding its reach into air and vapor barriers that help to insulate a building in the same way that a double-pane window protects a home.
“Normally, a block wall is installed and we waterproof that wall before the brick veneer goes up,” Naretta explains. “Health care facilities want the building sealed. They don’t want air in, and they don’t want air out unless they are able to control the flow. We’re able to envelop the entire building, from the foundation to the roof.”
Lately, the McDermaid crew has been busy making ongoing facilities improvements at Rockford’s public schools. McDermaid recently completed work on field houses at Guilford and Auburn high schools, and he is now wrapping up an extensive roof removal and replacement at Flinn Middle School. The insulation division has assisted with mechanical upgrades to more than a dozen of the city’s public schools.
Because replacement of an entire roof is a time-consuming and costly job, Naretta helps many clients to break the job into more manageable portions.
“We set up a reroofing program, based upon the needs of the client and the existing conditions of their roof,” says Naretta. “The client is then able to replace areas that are in the worst shape first and budget for the remaining areas in the years to come.”
Roofing material makers continue to recognize McDermaid for its quality work, awarding the company with achievements such as the Firestone Master Contractor and the Versico Gold Medal Quality Award.
“When a project is completed, the manufacturer’s technical inspector comes to the job site to look at every detail and every item on the roof,” says Naretta. “They check seams, the laps, corners, flashings, pipes – everything. Quality contractors don’t have re-inspections and are acknowledged for their good work.”
To learn more about roofing, pipe covering and waterproofing services available from McDermaid Roofing and Insulating, visit mcdermaidroofing.com or call (815) 963-8458.
Larson & Darby Group
Consider the team at Larson & Darby Group, 4949 Harrison Ave., Rockford, a set of talented problem solvers. That’s how this full-service architectural firm sees its role in helping clients to accomplish their building needs.
“Everything we do comes back to problem-solving,” says Larson & Darby CEO Bill Waldorf, SE, RA. “You think of Heartland Community Church, when they moved into the old Colonial Village Mall. They said, ‘We need a sanctuary, but there are six columns in the way, and the roof is 20 feet too low.’ No problem. We came up with a creative solution that allowed them to stay in their budget.”
The firm’s 45 architects, engineers and interior designers can handle a wide variety of building needs for clients around the world. About half of its work is related to manufacturing and industry, a niche that’s led to work across the U.S. and into places like Mexico, England, Germany, Egypt and India.
Locally, you might recognize their industrial work at places like Mondelez International Gum Factory, Danfoss Drives and UTC Aerospace Systems. In other sectors, Larson & Darby designers have worked on the University of Illinois College of Medicine, KSB Hospital, Rosecrance Health Network and Westminster Presbyterian Church.
Technology plays an important role in the way Larson & Darby serves its clients. Instead of lugging around rolls and rolls of prints, these architects now use 3-D computer renderings, also known as Building Information Modeling, to help clients easily envision the final structure. Consequently, these systems help to reduce time and costs.
“What used to be a several-day or weeklong process to draw a picture or build a model is much faster,” says Waldorf. “Now, we can look at a screen on the wall and say: ‘This is what your building will look like. Do you want to stretch it? Here’s how it’ll look. Do you want to change its color? Here’s how it’ll look.’”
One of the first firms in the region to embrace the Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) standard for sustainable construction, Larson & Darby continues to promote smart design that incorporates energy and materials conservation, recycled and renewable materials, and overall efficiency. The firm has eight LEED-certified designers.
Larson & Darby Group was founded in 1963 by the late Larry Larson and his brother-in-law, Sam Darby. Larson was a more technically minded designer and businessman who earned an architectural degree and an MBA at the University of Chicago. Darby was a very creative personality. The two were a natural fit.
“They were very good at mentoring us,” says Waldorf. “They spent a lot of time looking over your shoulder, their hand on your back, saying, ‘What are you doing, kid?’”
The pair started with simple jobs, such as at doughnut shops and locations for the Geri’s Hamburgers chain. Their big break came when they landed a contract to design the headquarters for Sundstrand, which is now owned by UTC Aerospace. In time, the firms also landed contracts with companies like Barber-Colman, Woodward and Ingersoll. Larson retired in 1995, Darby in 2001.
Today, Larson & Darby Group enjoys a reputation for quality and, because it’s a small firm, agility in completing both long-term and short-term projects. Many new jobs come through referral or involve additional work for loyal clients.
“It always goes back to service and quality, the same thing that any small business preaches,” says Waldorf.
To learn more about Larson & Darby Group and how it can create an inspiring vision for your organization, visit larsondarby.com or call (815) 484-0739.
Rieke Office Interiors
Your office is a reflection of your company, so why settle for a boring gray cube? The team at Rieke Office Interiors (ROI), 2000 Fox Lane in Elgin, embraces innovation within its custom-designed interiors.
A full-service company, ROI provides everything from custom furniture built in-house to flooring and decor – and does so in a cost-effective manner.
“We think about the whole environment, from the ceiling and lights, to the flooring and artwork, to the sounds, smells and furniture in an office space,” says Mike Warren, workplace culture consultant for ROI. “There’s a whole lot more to having a cool, creative, innovative and productive workplace than having just a really nice ergonomic chair and fancy desk.”
ROI’s Elgin headquarters is a working showroom and laboratory of innovation. The sales team, for example, works in a newly redesigned space with 5-foot-by-5-foot workspaces. Every part of the station is optimized: storage and drawers on either side, overhead cabinets with a markerboard facing, and a square hole on the desk where important files can hang.
In general, modern office footprints are shrinking and the walls are coming down. Employees are increasingly mobile and collaborative. Splashes of color and texture – on walls, furniture and floors – add visual interest.
Refreshed interiors provide several advantages, says Warren, most notably as a recruitment tool for employees and customers.
“If a customer just walked into your competitor down the street and had an average first impression, but he walked into your door and feels inspired, or sees your marketing message, or thinks the space is unique, you didn’t have to do anything to sell him,” says Warren. “You didn’t have to give him a fancy brochure, you didn’t have to show him your warehouse and you didn’t have to spew sales jargon.”
Started by Todd Rieke in 1992, ROI began as a dealer of used office furniture. It’s since carved a niche for itself in custom office solutions. ROI’s 150,000-square-foot showroom along Interstate 90 provides a colorful advantage for potential clients.
Innovation plays a big role in Rieke’s philosophy on office design. A few years ago, his team launched the 52-25 Challenge to create 25 new products each year. The first year led to creative solutions including a markerboard conference table that has a writeable surface and comes with table tennis equipment and storage space.
The Challenge also brought forth the “Bravo,” an L-shaped desk that’s a standard seated desk on one side and a standing-height surface on the other. Warren says that, of the projects he’s sold in the past few months, about 75 percent incorporate some form of sit-stand desk.
“They say sitting is the smoking of our generation, so giving workers the opportunity to get up and walk around, or stand at their workstation is something that we’re talking about in every new office design,” he says.
ROI’s interior design suite demonstrates the company’s work with acoustic panels that absorb ambient sound. A yellow “banana bunch” in a designer’s private office helps to reduce echo and cleverly disguises an Edison light bulb. The company’s “Torrent” product, which looks like a collection of wavy-shaped panels emerging from the wall, recently won a “Best of Year” award from Interior Design Magazine for innovative new wallcovering.
“It’s made from a felt-like product, and we use a CNC machine to cut different shapes, so we can do logos, designs, all kinds of things,” says Warren.
Where creative design and engineering intersect, the team at ROI continues to pursue new solutions that enhance the sleek, modern office.
To learn more about custom office solutions from Rieke Office Interiors, visit rieke.com or call (847) 622-9711.
Des Plaines Office Equipment Co.
Office technology has come a long way since the days of typewriters and calculators, when the Miceli family started selling them from a garage in Des Plaines, Ill. But over the past 60 years, Des Plaines Office Equipment Co. has kept pace with rapid changes in the industry and has become a leader in its field.
“You really have to stay on top of what society and businesses are demanding, what the business model looks like, and helping businesses to reach their goals,” says David Achilli, branch manager of the location at 1445 Windsor Road, Loves Park, Ill. “It’s not so much anymore about how fast a copier you need, and what sizes of paper. It’s more about figuring out the challenges the business faces.”
Serving clients from its home base in Elk Grove, Ill., to its branches in downtown Chicago and Loves Park, the company continues to reach small and large businesses from the Loop to Stephenson County.
Des Plaines Office Equipment Co. specializes in high-quality multifunction devices that can print, copy, fax and scan. It works closely with well-known brands such as Sharp, Kyocera and Okidata, all brands that have evolved over the past few decades.
Because these brands are leaders in their field, they have the advantage of being easy to understand.
“For some multifunction devices, you walk up and it’s like you have to be a NASA engineer to figure them out,” says Achilli. “Our machines are made with the user in mind, because a lot of the machines out there don’t make sense to the average user.”
Des Plaines Office Equipment Co. is also branching out to other services such as data security on multifunction devices and products including interactive “smart boards” and 3-D printers.
“You can now get a 3-D printer starting at $2,900,” says Achilli. “So, small businesses or anybody that wants to do any type of prototyping for small devices might find this is a good solution for them. It’s a small desktop unit, about the size of a microwave, but we also have larger ones.”
Because today’s printers are often a key entry point in the networked office, Des Plaines Office Equipment Co. provides document management services that help you to keep those important files organized. No longer do employees need to waste valuable time searching for lost data.
“You might not remember what the document’s name is, but you remember some of the contents of the document,” says Achilli. “Maybe ‘Mississippi River’ was embedded somewhere in the document. If you type that in a search field, it’ll return all the documents that have that word or that phrase in those documents.”
Service is an important part of the relationship Achilli and his team build with clients. When it comes to service, all technicians are manufacturer-trained, meaning they often spend days or weeks attending classes in how to repair these specific products.
“They’re actually certified through the manufacturers to work on repairing the equipment – a lot of our competitors don’t have that,” says Achilli.
Later this year, he promises to take that relationship a step further with new lunch-and-learn seminars, where Achilli and other sales reps can show off the latest technologies and services.
“We’ll be doing open houses and some Chamber of Commerce events as well,” says Achilli.
Des Plaines Office Equipment Co. is still owned and operated by the Miceli family, now in its third generation of leadership. Achilli helped the family to launch the Loves Park branch in January 2000, and recently returned from a 10-year stint with another firm in town. He’s excited to increase Des Plaines’ profile.
When renovations to the Loves Park branch are finished late this winter, a full line of products will be on display for potential clients. Achilli invites businesses of all sizes to learn more.
“From Joe’s Bar & Grill, where they have a few users all the way up to someone like Woodward, where they have thousands of people connected, we’ll serve you,” says Achilli. “Our audience is really anybody who needs to be able to print, scan, copy and even fax.”
To learn more about Des Plaines Office Equipment Co.’s multifunction devices and integrated document solutions, visit dpoe.com or call (815) 654-4115.
Hendricks Commercial Properties
Hendricks Commercial Properties has spent nearly 40 years investing in its hometown and beyond, maintaining industrial, commercial, residential and mixed-use properties, always with a long-range view on quality structures.
“We pride ourselves on having a good product,” says Rob Gerbitz, company president and CEO. “We have high standards and, we want to help people build their businesses or to help people enhance their lifestyle.”
Locally, you might recognize Hendricks at work in many recent urban renewals: Beloit Ironworks and its IronTech coworking/business incubator, the Ironworks Hotel, Beloit Club, and the Phoenix Building. In all, Hendricks maintains about 12 million square feet across 32 states, from the Beloit area to Hawaii.
But Hendricks is far more than property management. It also assists clients with asset management, accounting and finance, and development operations. The company has launched a hospitality division that oversees the Ironworks Hotel and its in-house restaurant, Merrill & Houston’s Steak Joint.
Hendricks Commercial Properties was started in 1974 by Diane Hendricks, who began by maintaining small industrial properties and multifamily housing units, often leased to college students. In 1982, she and husband Ken started ABC Supply Co., which has become the nation’s largest wholesale distributor of roofing materials. Ken died in 2007; Diane remains plugged into ABC Supply, Hendricks Commercial and an investment group, Hendricks Holding.
“Diane has a special knowledge of the industry and an incredible passion,” says Gerbitz. “She wants to do things that she can be proud of and the community can be proud of. There are great properties here in Beloit, especially downtown.”
To learn more about properties available through Hendricks Commercial Properties, visit hendricksgroup.net or call (608) 362-8981.
Gary W. Anderson Architects
Gary Anderson is no stranger to visionary ideas. In 34 years of private practice, the principal of Gary W. Anderson Architects, 200 Prairie St., Rockford, has been a leader in restoring historic structures.
The proof is in his current office, inside the Prairie Street Brewhouse, which Anderson and his team spent the better part of a decade restoring.
Preserving and adaptively reusing old buildings is just part of Anderson’s story. His full-service architectural firm maintains a diverse portfolio in commercial and office buildings, recreation facilities and new construction. Environmentally conscious architecture is a core component of each project.
Anderson’s firm also provides guidance and planning for urban centers, capital improvements and site master plans. Well acquainted with development deals, Anderson and his team work with clients to analyze the feasibility of a project and shed light on what resources are available to get the job done. The firm has also worked with historic tax credits for redevelopment, including the River Edge Historic Tax Credit.
Past projects have included many structures along East State Street downtown, the Richardson Building at West State and Wyman, planning and development of several retirement communities, the Nicholas Conservatory, and improvements to Burpee Museum of Natural History and Tinker Swiss Cottage.
Anderson is involved in several restoration projects downtown and is excited to see a renewed interest in the city’s center.
“I’m as excited today as I was when I got out of college,” says Anderson. “It’s been quite the journey. It’s certainly been a rollercoaster, but I’ve never had more passion and burning desire to improve and revitalize our community than I do today.”
To learn more about Gary W. Anderson Architects and how it can create a vision for your organization, visit gwaarchitects.com or call (815) 963-1900.
R.J. Bowers Distributors Inc.
Richard Bowers was retired from the HVAC industry just two weeks when he started selling pressure washing equipment. Three decades later, R.J. Bowers Distributors, 2003 Harrison Ave., Rockford, is one of the nation’s top-selling dealers of Karcher equipment, parts and accessories.
“He knew oil burners, and most hot water pressure washers have oil burners,” says Judy Bowers, Richard’s wife and the company’s vice president of sales. “Karcher was more efficient and better engineered.”
Today, R.J. Bowers serves nearly 3,000 customers across northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin, representing manufacturing and agricultural applications, schools, car dealerships, trucking and many other types of business.
Commercial and residential pressure washers are most popular, but R.J. Bowers also sells floor-cleaning equipment and related detergents. A CETA-certified service department is on-site.
R.J. Bowers sells products from several brands, including Mi-T-M pressure washers, manufactured in Peosta, Iowa. The Bowers family specializes in the industry-leading Karcher brand.
“Karcher is on its third generation of machine, meaning Karcher has retooled and re-engineered the hot water machines three times in the past 30 years,” says Bowers.
As chief of sales and purchasing, Bowers brings first-hand knowledge of her products to every customer.
“We have been to Germany three times with Karcher,” Bowers says. “And, we’ve visited the Karcher factories in Mexico and Washington.”
Product demonstrations are encouraged. A large inventory of pressure washers, parts and accessories is stocked in Rockford.
To learn more about R.J. Bowers and its broad lineup of cleaning equipment, visit rjbowers.com or call (800) 383-6584.
Few electrical companies can pack the one-two punch that Krup Electric, 1125 Railroad Ave., Rockford, delivers to its clients.
Through its 70-year history, this electrical specialist has provided electrical installations, lighting fixtures, machine wiring and panel upgrades for a variety of residential, commercial and industrial customers. Over three generations of ownership, this company has built a loyal team of electricians and technicians. In some cases, these employees work alongside their fathers or sons.
Krup Electric’s new sister company, Communication Connection Inc., complements these longstanding services by providing installation of fiber optic cable, fire alarms, access controls, security systems and wiring for TV, phone and Internet.
The combination is a powerful competitive advantage. “We do the whole gamut, from electrical to low-voltage,” says principal Brad Tolliver. “One side really feeds the other.”
Anthony Krup started Krup Electric from his Rockford home in 1946. Krup sold the business in 1977 to his son, Randy, who retired and sold the business in 2014.
“We have some longstanding customers that Randy Krup spent many years serving,” says Tolliver. “We are grateful for the customers who’ve supported us. We do a lot of repeat loyal customers.”
Tolliver and partner Brad Hatfield bought the business and combined it with Hatfield’s communication business, which launched in 2006. The pair recently have landed several jobs that promise to revitalize downtown Rockford.
“We want to be investing in Rockford and growing with Rockford,” says Tolliver. “We were both raised in Rockford. We want to see our area develop and evolve.”
To learn more about Krup Electric and Communication Connection Inc., visit krupelectric.com or call (815) 964-4932.
EcoHome Expert, Inc.
Your roof replacement deserves to be done right the first time. That’s why the team at EcoHome Expert, Inc., 2231 Hawkey Dr., Belvidere, provides a 17-point inspection.
“We even get into attics and try to determine the root cause of a product failure so we can ensure that our roof is installed properly,” says Bob Raleigh III, president of EcoHome Expert. “This helps to guarantee that system will perform properly and last a long time.”
EcoHome Expert serves commercial and residential clients and specializes in the installation of solar power panels and asphalt shingle roofing systems. Its Kanga-Roof product guarantees higher wind ratings than competing products.
EcoHome Expert also installs Rhino gutter guards, which use a surgical-grade stainless steel micromesh to filter out debris. Installers and service personnel are factory-trained.
The Conklin Roofing System is an acrylic roof coating that extends the life of a metal roof by sealing weak spots.
“It really extends the life of the metal roofing system at a cost far less than replacement or installation of another system,” says Raleigh. “The other great thing about that coating is that, for tax purposes, it’s a maintenance item and can therefore be expensed.”
Founded by Raleigh, his father Bob Jr., Jason Zipse and the late James Zipse, EcoHome Expert began in 2009 as an extension of Raleigh’s other company, Renaissance Roofing, which specializes in architectural restoration roofing.
“We really elevate the level of service a homeowner can expect from a roofing contractor,” says Raleigh. “We want them to completely understand what we discover on their roofs and help them to make the best decision based upon their circumstances.”
To learn more about quality roofs, gutters and solar panels by EcoHome Expert, Inc., visit ecohomeexpert.com or call (815) 544-1100.
Your technology infrastructure is essential, but often forgotten. Is it being serviced and maintained appropriately? Bob Bisconti and his crew at Bisconti Computers, 3065 N. Perryville Road, Rockford, have the knowledge and experience to keep your technology running smoothly.
Bisconti’s IT management services encompass server and device management, proactive maintenance, remote support, and sales of important hardware and software. Its VoIP services connect clients with modern Internet-powered phones while its managed services promise a safe connection for cloud computing, company emails and cybersecurity.
Most of Bisconti’s clients are small businesses ranging from 1 to 100 employees.
“What distinguishes me from bigger companies is that I’m better able to tailor-make a plan for your IT that is cost-effective,” says Bisconti.
His team also offers web design services and setup for e-commerce. Dedicated email servers and cloud computing services promise to protect against cyber threats and unexpected outages.
“If something goes down, or the power goes out in Rockford, or the lines get cut, our cloud servers are up and running 24/7,” says Bisconti.
Others turn to Bisconti for purchasing new computers and equipment and repairing damaged equipment. Bisconti technicians are certified in Apple repair, A+ and Cisco.
Bisconti started his company in 1994 from the basement of his home, building custom computers.
“One of my strategies is to keep pace with the times,” says Bisconti. “Twenty-two years ago it was not repairing cellphones. Now, we’re fixing phones and tablets because they are computers.”
To learn more about managed IT services and other services from Bisconti Computers, visit bisconticomputers.com or call (815) 229-8110.
11th Street Express Printing
We may be an increasingly “paperless society,” but Gary Ehrhardt believes there’s still something powerful in a quality print.
The president of 11th Street Express Printing, 2135 11th St., Rockford, and his team of nine can handle a wide variety of printing services, from short-run copies and prints to business stationery, wide-format posters and more.
“We’re changing with the times and doing more color prints, booklets, things that you can’t do yourself on a copier,” he says.
Common applications include items like business cards, newsletters and flyers, forms, labels, envelopes, and post-printing work, such as binding, folding, numbering and cutting.
Ehrhardt invests in new technologies and printing presses, often introducing tools ahead of competitors. The company’s website handles online orders and fast file uploads.
At the company’s core is a dedication to service, a philosophy that distinguishes 11th Street Express from big-box competitors.
“Our pricing’s always been pretty competitive, and we try to give that better level of service to get things done on time,” he says.
Ehrhardt’s father, Jim, started the business in 1972, on 11th Street. In 2000, Jim sold the business to his son. The company still operates in its original building, which was expanded in 2008.
No matter the changing times, Ehrhardt finds something enduring in paper.
“I know, for me, I’ll definitely read something if I have it on paper, a lot more than I would if I were trying to find something online,” he says. “Not that I wouldn’t search online, but it’s a more powerful reminder if you have that paper in front of you.”
To learn more about custom copy and print jobs from 11th Street Express Printing, visit 11thstreetexpress.com or call (815) 968-0208.
The partners at Pumilia Law offer the best possible combination of experience and up-to-date legal knowledge to serve the needs of small business owners.
“We’re dedicated to helping small businesses meet their legal needs efficiently, effectively, and economically,” says Gary Pumilia. “We understand the numerous challenges facing small business because we are one.”
After leading the Winnebago County Public Defenders Office for nearly 20 years, Pumilia was appointed associate judge in 2000. He served on the bench until his retirement in December of 2013. He then opened Pumilia Law with his son Joseph. Gary also teaches law at Northern Illinois University (NIU) School of Law.
Joseph previously worked at the Rockford office of Heyl Royster Voelker & Allen, where he focused on insurance defense as well as civil and commercial litigation. Joseph graduated Magna Cum Laude from the NIU College of Law. His research on the issue of Net Neutrality was published in the NIU Law Review.
In 2014, Gary’s son Michael joined the firm. He’s a Magna Cum Laude graduate of the University of Illinois Law School. At U of I, Michael earned the CALI Excellence Award in both Business Associations and Evidence. After graduation, Michael worked in Chicago for Lowis & Gellen LLP, where he handled commercial litigation and transactions for large banks, Fortune 500 companies and small businesses.
“We guide our clients through organization and start-up, asset purchase agreements, purchase and/or sale of a business, asset protection or any other transactional matter a small business may encounter,” says Joseph. “Our attorneys also represent clients in civil and commercial litigation matters.”
Gary, Joseph and Michael Pumilia were born and raised in Rockford. Gary is a graduate of East High School; Joseph and Michael graduated from Jefferson High School.
“We care about our hometown and understand how important its small businesses are to its good health,” says Michael. “We’re deeply invested in helping them to succeed.”
Pumilia Law also serves clients in personal injury, DUI and criminal defense, estate planning and probate.
The firm’s office is in downtown Rockford at 321 W. State St., Suite 805. Reach the firm at (888) 635-0010 and learn more at pumilialaw.com.
Sam Furman can sum up why a parking lot affects your reputation: Your parking lot is their first impression.
Lots marred with potholes and damaged signage aren’t just a nuisance to potential customers. “They may opt to go somewhere else,” says Furman, “chief problem solver” at the groundUP, 6330 Forest Hills Road, Loves Park, Ill.
The company specializes in a variety of parking lot needs, from sealcoating, pavement patching and parking striping services to street-legal signs, sign poles and bollards. Both a service business and retail outlet, the groundUP also provides accessories such as sign frames, electric vehicle charging stations, and site furnishings like park benches, bike racks and cigarette ashtrays.
Furman had been an architect for about 16 years when the market for retail structures dried up with the recession. Rather than sit back and wait for an opportunity, he applied his knowledge of zoning ordinances in a new way.
“There was a requirement to have $250 parking violation signs, but a lot of places still had $100 signs,” he says. “So, we created this engineering-grade prismatic sticker that you could apply over the old sign. That way, you didn’t have to go out and replace the whole sign.”
When clientele started seeking other services, Furman diversified his offerings. Today, the groundUP continues to provide clients with advice and insights on effective parking lot design, and Furman promises to deliver with quality products and dedicated service.
“I’m a real stickler on the service I get from people, and the service we give to other people is exactly what I would expect to get from other people,” he says. “Parking lot striping is ubiquitous, but people don’t really pay attention to it. I scrutinize it.”
To learn more about the groundUP, to purchase equipment, or to schedule a no-obligation assessment, visit theground-up.com or call (815) 316-0893.
Savant Capital Management
The team at Savant Capital Management doesn’t sell products like some investment firms do. Rather, Savant, a nationally recognized fee-only wealth management firm headquartered in Rockford, provides fiduciary advice to clients using an evidence-based approach, integrating each client’s unique needs and goals. The firm operates more like a world-class medical institution than a typical advisory shop.
“We’d heard a lot about the Mayo Clinic, where the best specialists work as a team to diagnose better and create better treatment plans,” says Brent Brodeski, CEO. “We decided to model that.”
Savant’s team of investment advisors offers a wide range of services, from assisting with financial planning, investment portfolios and retirement plans to providing family wealth transfer guidance, tax consulting and private trust management.
Its clients are more than individuals seeking personal investment advice. Savant’s integrative investment management and financial planning solutions also serve families, foundations, trust funds, retirement plans and nonprofit organizations.
No matter the client background, relationships are an important part of Savant’s promise. When it comes to retirement planning, for example, Savant’s team first examines each client’s retirement goals and dreams. Then, the firm’s time-tested, evidence-based approach helps advisors and investors to create a personalized plan and portfolio option.
Savant Capital Management was started in Rockford in 1986, when Thomas Muldowney sought an alternative to the common means of providing financial services, where advisors gave advice for “free” in exchange for the sale of commissioned products. When Brent Brodeski joined the firm in 1992, Savant began to manage assets for clients in addition to the financial planning services. Richard Bennett joined the firm a few years later and helped to establish a scalable structure and organization so the practice could endure long after the founding partners retired.
Today, Savant has more than 130 employees with financial, legal and health care backgrounds to serve all types of clients.
Under its current model, Savant’s financial advisors are backed by a dedicated team of researchers and professionals who provide quality guidance and advice on financial actions. This allows the advisors to spend more time focused on developing client relationships and helping clients make sense of the financial markets while working toward their goals.
Savant currently manages more than $4 billion in assets and oversees the financial health of more than 3,500 clients residing in all 50 states and abroad.
The firm’s unique approach to financial management has earned it numerous accolades over the years. The Centre for Fiduciary Excellence (CEFEX) has recognized Savant as a certified Investment Steward and Investment Advisor, and national publications including Barron’s, Forbes, BusinessWeek and Reuters have recognized the quality of its work. Charles Schwab recognized Savant with the 2015 Best-in-Business IMPACT Award, while Financial Planning Magazine named it the ninth-largest advisory firm in the U.S. and the largest in Illinois.
Savant Capital Management continued to grow during 2015, acquiring financial management firms in McLean, Va., and Winnetka, and an accounting firm in St. Charles. It also maintains offices in Rockford, Freeport, Geneva, Hoffman Estates, Naperville, Wilmette, Sterling, Chicago’s Loop, Peoria, Ill., and Madison, Wis.
The firm’s independence and unbiased approach continues to be a competitive advantage. “We don’t have to answer to a large corporate entity that manufactures financial products,” says Muldowney. “All they do is rearrange the things that already exist in the marketplace. Our independence and autonomy have been developed to serve only one person – our advisory client.”
To learn more about Savant Capital Management and how its team of professionals can help you to work toward your financial goals, visit savantcapital.com or call (815) 227-0300. See important disclosures at SavantCapital.com.