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From Seed to Spirit What does it take to make the finest whiskey in the world? Start with the finest grains grown on the best soils the earth has to offer. Co-Founder and COO, Nick Nagele, knows that starting a news business is taking on different roles to make sure that your business can become successful. Nagele and his team knows that you have to sometimes take a step back and really understand what you business needs. What are come expectations that Nagele and his team has? Find out.

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From Seed to Spirit What does it take to make the finest whiskey in the world? Start with the finest grains grown on the best soils the earth has to offer. Add water naturally filtered by the limestone aquifer found deep under those same soils. Then complete the task by handcrafting a distilled spirit using the same hands of the 5th generation farmers who grew that grain. They know the land, their ingredients, and what it means to pay attention to detail. Blend together using equipment and know-how forged in the rolling hills of Kentucky. Add a little patience. Distilling year-round and open to the public from March-November, we are an Estate Distillery like none other in the United States. In Chicago’s own backyard.

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Nick is a co-founder and COO of Whiskey Acres Distilling Company, Illinois’ first estate distillery. Among his many titles, Nick’s favorite is fifth generation farmer, which is the foundation for his passion for promoting agriculture and guiding force throughout his career. A knack for outside-the-box thinking honed during his days in marketing at Weber Shandwick and Syngenta drives creativity throughout the business from social media to the development of unique, great–tasting products. Nick graduated from the University of Illinois with a degree in Agricultural Communications and he’s also a graduate of the 2014 Illinois Agricultural Leadership Program. He and his wife Amanda live in Wheaton, Ill. and are the proud parents of their twins Gunnar and Everly. Whiskey Acres practices Seed to Spirit distilling — selecting the best seed, choosing the best soil and growing the best grains to use in making ultra-premium distilled spirits.  

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Our commitment to open communication, organization, and exceptional service builds trust with our clients. We are a partner to families and businesses and win their confidence by developing innovative financial planning strategies. Partner and Financial Advisor, Mark Miller, knows that success can drive you in more ways than just one. When Mark first started in business the best piece of advice that he received was to start plans and then you can find success. What’s something that most people wouldn’t know about Mark? Find out.
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Focus on Success is an independent financial advisory firm providing clients with creative solutions for meeting their investment, insurance, and estate planning needs. Our commitment to open communication, organization, and exceptional service builds trust with our clients. We are a partner to families and businesses and win their confidence by developing innovative financial planning strategies. Disclosure Notice: http://www.focusonsuccess.com/disclosure/

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Mark J. Miller is a Certified Financial Planner™ and a partner of Focus On Success. Mark’s expertise and experience in Social Security, retirement income, investment management, and insurance planning grounds his relationships in trust and confidence with clients and strategic partners. Ideas have value. Through utilizing Focus On Success’ unique planning processes, our team brings creativity to our client’s tax, retirement and legacy goals. And our commitment to service builds further to the trust and confidence our clients have in their planning. Born and raised in Toledo, Ohio, Mark went on to graduate with honors from Xavier University and remains an avid fan of Xavier basketball today. A member of Blessed Sacrament church, Mark’s personal interests include golf, cooking and his kid’s activities. Mark currently resides in Lakeside Park, Kentucky, with his wife Lauren, two children, Emma and Jonathan.

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Aspire is recognized as a leader in providing bold, pioneering and uncompromising services to kids and adults with disabilities, their families and the Chicagoland community through four enterprises: Aspire Kids, Aspire Living, Aspire Careers and Aspire CoffeeWorks. CEO, Jim Kales, knows the importance of treating everyone equally, and that has come from some advice from his father. Kales and his team have found a unique way to partner with different companies. What are some of the ways that Aspire does things differently? Find out.

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Aspire is recognized as a leader in providing bold, pioneering and uncompromising services to kids and adults with disabilities, their families and the Chicagoland community through four enterprises: Aspire Kids, Aspire Living, Aspire Careers and Aspire CoffeeWorks. We are one of the most innovative human service non-profits in the Midwest with an incredibly talented and dedicated team of more than 250 that serves nearly 1,000 kids and adults every year, and that number is growing fast.

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Jim Kales is CEO of Aspire, a non-profit recognized throughout the Midwest as a leader in providing bold, pioneering and uncompromising services to kids and adults with developmental disabilities like autism and Down syndrome. Each year Aspire helps more than 1,000 kids and adults with disabilities and their families through its ground-breaking enterprises – Aspire Kids, Aspire Careers, Aspire Living and Aspire CoffeeWorks. Since Kales took the helm in 2007, Aspire’s private fundraising has doubled, helped by a strong emphasis on corporate partnerships. Aspire has embraced social entrepreneurship and social media, launching its own coffee company, Aspire CoffeeWorks. Aspire coffees are sold in all Chicagoland Whole Foods stores and numerous corporate offices and were featured nationally on TODAY. Prior to joining Aspire, Kales served as CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Lake County where he helped forge mentoring partnerships with Fortune 500 companies such as Baxter, CDW, HSBC and Macy’s. Kales also served as the director of communications for the United Way of Metropolitan Chicago. Kales graduated summa cum laude with honors from Bucknell University, and received his Master’s in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School.

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We help companies retain their millennial talent and unlock their people potential. Raise The Bar Consulting founder and CEO, Aaron Levy, knows that when there is a big decision to make you need to stop and focus on what is present. What’s the best piece of business advice that Aaron has received? Find out.

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We help companies retain their millennial talent and unlock their people potential. You need 100% from every employee to run a thriving business. We go to work on the causes of millennial disengagement. Millennials have one foot out the door – and the turnover is costing you $10,000+ per loss. We train and work one-one your managers to be coaches who can engage and develop your millennial talent. Find out more at www.raisebar.co

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I am a coach, educator, and speaker with a passion for helping people and companies unlock their full potential; the full power they possess.

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Boodell & Domanskis, LLC is a client-focused law firm dedicated to providing individuals and businesses with responsive, pro-active, and cost effective legal solutions. Managing member, Al Domanskis, believes that everyone needs to have a purpose in their life. Domanskis is still learning after 39 years of practicing law that he is learning new things everyday. What does Dick Durbin, Barack Obama and Al Domanskis all have in common? Find out.

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Boodell & Domanskis, LLC is a client-focused law firm dedicated to providing individuals and businesses with responsive, pro-active, and cost effective legal solutions. We take pride in being trusted advisers partnering with our clients to help them achieve their personal and business goals. Our firm's attorneys have excellent educations, have gained experience and training at large law firms and corporations, and have held leading roles in government and the public sector. B&D proudly gives back to communities in Chicago and around the world, providing legal representation to local non-profits and charitable international organizations. Content may include attorney advertising.

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I have had 36 years of experience as a lawyer working as a law clerk to a federal judge, as an associate and partner in a large law firm, as an in-house attorney, as an arbitrator for 27 years with the American Arbitration Association and as an owner of 2 boutique law firms. My goal in life through work, family and community is to do all that I can to serve God and to serve others. I greatly enjoy the practice of law and the many ways I am able to help my clients meet their goals. Specialties: Real Estate, Finance, General Business, Not for Profit and Estate Planning Law.

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555 International is an award-winning global design, development and fabrication firm. More than just design, we fabricate the items essential to the business needs of our clients, and manage the process all under one very large roof. President and Founder, James Geier, from a young age has learned that you shouldn’t be spending money that you don’t have and that you should learn to live on half. Geier never looks back on the past, it’s all about today and tomorrow. How did James get involved in his industry? Find out.

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555 International is an award-winning global design, development and fabrication firm. More than just design, we fabricate the items essential to the business needs of our clients, and manage the process all under one very large roof.

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Look around Chicago and you'll likely see James Geier's handiwork. The Gold Coast resident and president/founder of Back of the Yards-based 555 International Inc.either developed or designed the inside of some of the city's classiest destinations. That includes Girl & the Goat, GT Fish & Oyster and Perennial Virant. His projects this month include Scone City in Wicker Park — highlighted by "artistic neon lighting and white marble throughout" — and Hopsmith Restaurant & Bar in Gold Coast — featuring a "repurposed 1970s VW microbus, a custom-paneled DJ booth and an adult-sized Twister game floor area." Geier is nationally and internationally recognized for his work designing venues for the Green Bay Packers, Dallas Cowboys, National Basketball Association, Gucci, Hard Rock Hotels, Yves Saint Laurent and Valentino. The New Jersey native grew up in Glenview and Skokie, graduating from Niles North High School and earning a fine arts bachelor's degree from the University of Illinois in 1984. For the next four years, Geier worked at Chicago design company Niedermaier, eventually becoming its design director. He also built and ran a bar in Lakeview, Union, at that time. Although the bar has closed, it helped him get started designing restaurants and other venues. In early 1988, representatives from Liz Claiborne wanted to hire Geier directly, so he decided to start his own business. He named it 555 Design Fabrication Management Inc. after his lucky number, 5.

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We think different and that’s the +. Our unique blend of marketers + technologists impacts a business from the inside out. Kathy Steele, President and CEO, knows that you have to play the great games of business in order to provide simple information. Kathy and her team always make sure to include her team in any decision they make. What’s something that Kathy has learned from a mistake? Find out.

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We think different and that’s the +. Our unique blend of marketers + technologists impacts a business from the inside out. The outcome of our holistic approach is alignment with your vision, team culture and business goals. Whether we’re building a brand, marketing campaign, website, or software application, we are passionately committed to fueling your business.

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Kathy Steele is Founder and CEO of Red Caffeine, a marketing and technology firm that develops engaging experiences to give you a competitive edge. We partner with you to provide expertise and resources to take your business to the next level. Our team specializes in strategy, branding, marketing, and technology solutions driven by a deep understanding of your vision and business goals. At Red Caffeine I lead a team of professionals who specialize in strategy, branding, marketing, and technology. We truly align ourselves with your organization to help you achieve goals such as a consistent brand & message, a boost in lead generation, or an increase in efficiency via web technologies. Red Caffeine operates on the notion that good business is all about valuable, rewarding experiences for all involved. We foster a positive corporate culture that translates directly to quality work and devoted partnerships with our clientele.

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Founded in 2001, Cambridge Lending Group has established itself as a trusted resource and respected mortgage leader in the Chicago’s North Shore community. Dmitry Bresler, President, knows that you have to maintain some kind of level of service for your clients. One piece of advice that Bresler could give is to love the work that you are doing and be passionate about it. What’s something that Bresler has learned from his worst boss? Find out.

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Founded in 2001, Cambridge Lending Group has established itself as a trusted resource and respected mortgage leader in the Chicago’s North Shore community. Throughout our journey in the financial industry, we have helped thousands of clients find the optimal mortgage plan tailored to their needs, and provided successful solutions for those who have previously been turned down by other lenders. We partner with over 100 lenders, including major banks, credit unions, trusts and other national and regional lenders. This vast selection enables us to secure the best terms and minimal closing costs for our clients while maintaining strict standards and procedures designed to prevent misuse of sensitive information. With a keen eye on the economic situation and current loan programs, we think outside the mortgage credit box and take pride in providing unprecedented service, professional expertise and individual support. The Cambridge Lending Team has decades of combined experience within the industry that has allowed us to build strong relationships with Real Estate Agencies, Appraisers, Home Inspectors and Attorneys; all to better service our clients and find the best type of loan for any individual situation. To ensure complete peace of mind for you and your family, our mortgage loan specialists are available 24/7 and will be happy to provide expert advice and support you throughout the whole process.

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Dmitry Bresler serves as the President of Cambridge Lending Group, a Residential Mortgage broker. Headquartered in Chicagoland, Cambridge Lending Group serves a broad range of products including but not limited to: Fixed and Adjustable Rate FHA & VA, JUMBO Loans, Permanent Construction Financing, Refinancing Options, Relocation Programs, First Time Home Buyers, Investment Properties, 2nd Home Purchases, Commercial and Rehab Loans. If you are in search of an industry-leading lender to guide you through your next property purchase with advice, subject matter expertise and an unwavering commitment to providing you the best loan product, look no further than Dmitry Bresler. The success realized by Dmitry is exemplified in the team he has built; all of which have the ultimate goal of finding the best loan that will not only fit your financial situation but secure your future as well. Dmitry has established his industry footprint by utilizing an honest approach coupled with a passion for helping his clients make the most of their real estate investments. He understands the need for an honest and unbiased source that can make your future endeavors come to fruition, especially during today's volatile housing market. A true leader in all aspects of the industry, Dmitry has helped thousands of people with low-fee, low rate home purchases and refinances by utilizing full service solutions and unparalleled customer service, assisting home buyers the way they choose – over the phone, face to face or online.

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Gibraltar Business Capital provides small- to medium-sized business owners fresh and accessible capital alternatives to a commercial bank loan, which is typically more restrictive. James Teppen, Co-President, and his team focus on customer service and making the customers the first priority. Teppen knows that you need to create some kind of space to work on the business and not in the business. What’s something that you may not know about this industry? Find out.

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Gibraltar Business Capital provides small- to medium-sized business owners fresh and accessible capital alternatives to a commercial bank loan, which is typically more restrictive. With fast, flexible asset based lending and factoring solutions, we act as a bridge to financial stability, delivering lines of credit and specialized small business funding in a highly reliable and always accommodating environment. Our perspective is that there is no one-size-fits-all solution. We look holistically first at the specific issues, history and people involved in a business and tailor capital solutions to fit, not the other way around. We work directly with business owners and their advisors to secure rapid, creative capital when companies need it most—and need it to grow. Meeting a strong demand in today’s shifting marketplace—when even once bankable customers may be faced with a net operating loss, financing before, during and after bankruptcy, or some other financial predicament—our resourceful, professional lending team delivers clear, quick and independent working capital to get businesses back on track. While our corporate office is located in the north suburbs of Chicago, IL, we have sales representation throughout the entire US.  Visit our website at www.gibraltarbc.com to find a sales representative in your area or contact our corporate office at 847-272-9618 to learn more about how we can help finance your business today.

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Confidence in capital. Gibraltar Business Capital (GBC) provides small- to medium-sized business owners fresh and accessible capital alternatives to a commercial bank loan, which is typically more restrictive. With fast, flexible asset based lending and factoring solutions, we act as a bridge to financial stability, delivering lines of credit and specialized small business funding in a highly reliable and always accommodating environment. Our perspective is that there is no one-size-fits-all solution. We look holistically first at the specific issues, history and people involved in a business and tailor capital solutions to fit, not the other way around. We work directly with business owners and their advisors to secure rapid, creative capital when companies need it most—and need it to grow. Meeting a strong demand in today’s shifting marketplace—when even once bankable customers may be faced with a net operating loss, financing before, during and after bankruptcy, or some other financial predicament—our resourceful, professional lending team delivers clear, quick and independent working capital to get businesses back on track.

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Chowly integrates Third-party Online Ordering Systems like Grubhub, Eat24, and many others’ orders into the restaurant’s current POS system so the staff doesn’t have to enter them manually. Co-Founder and CEO, Sterling Douglass, knows that you have to sell more and then build later. Douglass and his team focus on making sure that the restaurants that use their product have to do less work. What’s one piece of business advice that Sterling could give? Find out.

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Chowly integrates Third-party Online Ordering Systems (TOOS) like Grubhub, Eat24, and many others' orders into the restaurant's current POS system so the staff doesn't have to enter them manually. This saves the restaurant time, controls staffing costs, reduces errors and makes their customers happier. A tech company created by restaurant professionals for restaurant professionals, Chowly is focused on providing innovative solutions for the growing Third-party Online Ordering System (TOOS) industry. Efficiency focused, Chowly is constantly growing its services to provide TOOS to Point-Of-Sale (POS) integration services across a number of POS platforms. Based in Chicago, Chowly is centrally located to provide excellent service nationwide.

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When it comes to building something from scratch, Sterling thrives in environments defined by ambiguity. Constructing models and putting together processes where they’ve never been before is where he excels. Beginning his career deep in data analytics as an actuary gave him the foundation to grow. Transitioning into account management allowed him to understand both the technical and business sides of the deal. Sterling is a natural at bringing people together, and his ability to develop and grow a team is unparalleled. With a focus on lean start-ups, he takes challenges head on and doesn’t let any obstacle stand in his team’s way.

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First Communications is a leading technology solutions provider offering data networking, voice, and managed services throughout the Midwest. Margi Shaw, President, says it’s important to really understand the customer’s requirements. Shaw says it’s exciting in the industry right now because of how technology changes. How is Margi and her team focusing on her customers? Find out.

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First Communications is a leading technology solutions provider offering data networking, voice, and managed services throughout the Midwest. Founded in 1998, First Communications network has grown to include more than 600 on-net wire centers and supports over 35,000 customers. Headquartered in Akron, Ohio and a 24x7x365 Network Management Center in Chicago, First Communications is dedicated to pairing effective customer communications with next generation technology. We create solutions to align with your business objectives, while our built-in scalability accommodates for the future. Combined with a strong focus on the customer experience and operational expertise, First Communications bridges technology with world class customer service.

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Margi has been a key leader and driving force at high growth CLECs providing high quality services to organizations ranging in size from SMB to Enterprise. The CLECs were successfully acquired by other organizations resulting in substantial financial benefit to the shareholders. She has been highly effective in her many roles, including leadership functions in business development, product strategy and marketing, network operations and engineering, customer operations, information technology, and strategic planning.

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Vacations By Rail is the trusted authority on rail vacations. Vacations By Rail offers the largest selection of independent rail vacations, escorted rail tours, luxury rail journeys and custom train vacations to destinations in North America, Europe and beyond, as well as a comprehensive selection of European Rail Passes and European City to City train tickets. Todd Powell, Co-Founder & President, is learning that there is a lot of responsibility because not only are you responsible about the business but your customers as well. Powell always wants to make sure that his customers are always satisfied and his team focuses heavily on customer service. How does Todd and his team stay focused? Find out.

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Vacations By Rail is the trusted authority on rail vacations. Vacations By Rail offers the largest selection of independent rail vacations, escorted rail tours, luxury rail journeys and custom train vacations to destinations in North America, Europe and beyond, as well as a comprehensive selection of European Rail Passes and European City to City train tickets. Vacations By Rail provides its customers with expert, independent advice when planning rail vacations. Our goal is to bridge the gap between the allure of rail travel and the knowledge required to plan and enjoy a rail vacation. We strive to provide customers with frank, candid information based on prior customer feedback, in-depth product knowledge and first hand rail travel experience. Our Rail Specialists act as advisors and educators assisting customers with researching, planning and booking rail vacations best suited for the individual travelers. Vacations By Rail was founded by travel industry professionals with a combined 25 years in the specialty of booking train travel and rail vacations. Vacations by Rail quickly became a leader and trusted authority on rail vacations because of its in-depth knowledge of rail travel and first-class customer service.

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Todd Powell co-founded Vacations By Rail in 2004, bootstrapping the start-up to becoming one of the United States’ largest producers of rail vacations and train tours throughout the world. In 2011, he and his business partner expanded overseas with the launch of Holidays By Rail, the company’s UK-based subsidiary. In 2016, Powell spearheaded the acquisition of Canada à la Carte, a travel and tour brand specializing in custom travel packages to Canada.   Powell fell in love with rail travel while studying abroad in Rome, Italy.  He has traveled by train extensively throughout Europe, USA and Canada experiencing everything from long distance overnight trains, modern high-speed trains, scenic and luxury trains.  Powell, with the support of the Vacations By Rail staff, evaluates rail journeys based on personal experience, Vacations By Rail staff experience and extensive customer feedback.  Powell has been featured in radio, television and print to give his perspective on leisure rail journeys and experiential travel.   Prior to starting his own company, Powell held management and executive team appointments inside and outside of the travel industry.  Starting his career at DER Travel Services/German Rail, he quickly moved into supervisory roles and call center management, where he implemented cost savings and efficiency procedures.  During the dot-com explosion, Powell drafted business plans for presentation to venture capital firms.  He continued his career at Accenture in its high-tech communications and human performance practice group where he worked on CRM and call center projects for Fortune 500 companies, such as PepsiCo, Ameritech (AT&T) and Washington Mutual Bank.  Following Accenture, he was hired by Private Label Travel, Inc. to oversee Amtrak Vacations marketing and the Amtrak relationship before moving into a business development role. Mr. Powell is an attorney and a member of the Illinois State Bar. He is an active participant of the IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law Entrepreneurial Advisory Board.