Mary Cook is the Managing Director at Salo LLC, a staffing and consulting firm which specializes in driving business outcomes in finance, accounting and human resources. Being in the staffing and recruiting industry, allows Mary to see firsthand how finding talent has become a major challenge for everyone, regardless of the business they are in. Today’s significantly low unemployment rates, rapid increase of the gig economy, along with the shift in employees’ expectations of having more flexibility and opportunities to work in different ways, has undoubtedly raged a war on talent. Watch the full BizCastHQ video to learn more about Salo LLC and Mary Cook’s insight on industry trends, culture and why having a strong culture is vital for organizations.
Salo is the leader in driving business outcomes in finance, accounting and human resources by strategically placing senior-level professionals on a project or interim basis, as well as finance and accounting search services. Founded in 2002, our award-winning firm has offices in the Greater Chicago and Greater Minneapolis-St. Paul regions.
In my current role at Salo, I help connect people and ideas to have a positive impact. We make connections that solve problems and evolve business. The culture in which we work is collaborative and focused on finding creative new ways to elevate people and business performance. We align talent with work that fuels their fire. We are passionate about finding the best in people - understanding their motivation - and aligning that with meaningful work. We solve problems with high integrity. We are committed to working as trusted advisers and consultants determined to make a difference. Let's get solving.
Prior to Salo, I was a collaborative financial executive who worked with leadership teams to move businesses forward. My experience includes Chief Financial Officer at portfolio company of Berkshire Hathaway. I am a strategic, analytical, problem solving “gets things done” executive with experience in finance, operations, change management and information technology within the multi-level marketing (MLM), retail and automotive industries. I am effective in developing structure and process, defining strategy, setting direction, maintaining and ensuring controls, orchestrating change, and delivering profitable results in even the most complex of organizations. I am an accomplished financial leader, experienced cross functionally in merchandising, marketing and operations with demonstrated results in driving profitability in turnaround and transforming companies.
Matt O’Hare is the Co-Founder and VP of Builtech Critical Services, a general contracting and construction management firm that specializes in Concept Development, Program Management, Design/Build and General Contracting serving in Data Centers and other high technology environments. Twenty-five years of experience in the industry has thought Matt that there will always be extreme highs and extreme lows, but what is important to remember is not to react too strongly to either one. The key is to find a way to even the highs and lows out. Furthermore, Matt goes on to discuss the implications of new technologies and the challenges it presents not only for his company, but for the industry. Watch the full BizCastHQ video to get insight and advice on the industry and learn more about Matt O’Hare, as well as Builtech Critical Services.
Builtech Critical Services (BCS) specializes in Concept Development, Program Management, Design/Build and General Contracting serving in Data Centers and other high technology environments including labs and grow facilities. Our proven processes working in demanding high-tech environments dramatically limit exposure to failure and down-time allowing for the upgrade of the critical infrastructure, the addition of new equipment, or the construction of new facilities. With our rich experience and robust in-house knowledge, we provide best-in-class service for site development, building construction and MEP/BMS/EPMS/LV, DCIM system implementation. We also provide facility commissioning solutions from L1 to IST. Our experience in critical services spans over 23 years, and our team members have successfully completed containerized installs, ground-up and interior build-outs ranging in size from3,000 square feet to over 1,000,000 square feet.
Matthew O’Hare is responsible for operations and creates a comprehensive plan for the development, design and
implementation of a custom scope of work for each client. His team project approach ensures that projects are
delivered within clients’ budget parameters and schedule constraints. Throughout Matthew’s 25 years in the
technology construction marketplace, he has gained in-depth knowledge of the MEP/FP/BMS/EPMS/LV and DCIM
systems implementation and site commissioning.
While he has in-depth knowledge and experience, Matthew is the first person to identify that he is forever a pupil of new and emerging technologies – most recently being the rise of 5G, Edge Infrastructure and the corporate use of block chain.He is a trusted leader within the critical services sector and a published industry author.
Joseph Cassidy is the Assistant Vice President & Dean of Continuing Education of College of DuPage, the largest public community college in the state of Illinois. In this segment, Joseph discusses some of the challenges he has faced in his current role, and his advice on leadership, culture and the industry as whole. Joseph mentions that the biggest hurtle to overcome was understanding the right times to implement ideas. Waiting until you are sure an idea is fully ripened and not trying to force it, will greatly increase its success. To learn more about Joseph Cassidy and College of DuPage, watch the full BizCastHQ video!
College of DuPage is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Serving approximately 25,000 students each term, College of DuPage is the largest public community college in the state of Illinois. The College grants seven associate degrees and offers more than 170 career and technical certificates in over 50 areas of study.
From our faculty through to our Board of Trustees, we understand the importance of remaining relevant on multiple levels: interpersonal, academic, civic, cultural and economic. With a steady eye on regional, national and international developments, College of DuPage fulfills its mission as an educational and economic agent of change for the residents it serves.
Beyond all other considerations, though, we are educators, devoted to the idea that knowledge is transformative. We believe there are few things more powerful than a mind engaged. We are excited by the possibilities ignited when knowledge is imparted through meaningful discourse, in the service of realizing each and every one of our community member's full potential.
A professional leader with extensive project management experience in a variety of industries. Key strengths include: directing complex programs and events, resource and facilities management, mentoring and advocacy, implementing business plans and contract negotiations. Possesses excellent communication skills with a history of commitment to personal and institutional growth. A constant contributor to product evolution and process refinement.
Mike Wychocki is the Chairman and CEO of Egalrail, a custom technical-solutions provider as well as long-term operating dedicated to automating container transportation in and around ports, rail yards and container handling facilities through the use of overhead rail/guideway systems. Mike discusses the challenges he faces as an innovator in the industry and how he goes about overcoming them. According to him, getting people in the marketplace to see the bigger vision and getting different groups to care about each other as a network are the greatest roadblocks to overcome. To find out what advice and tips Mike Wychocki has to offer and learn more about Egalrail, watch the full BizCastHQ video!
EagleRail is both a custom technical-solutions provider as well as long-term operating partners. We can integrate into your unique business model with specifically-designed CAPEX solutions, and/or can partner with your operations in a variety of OPEX models to alleviate container congestion on a unitary basis. We understand regional PPP models and can assist with project financing. Localized partnerships assure proper legal and regulatory compliance in all markets, and in-market supply-chain and resourcing, as well as job creation, are two of our most important core business values.
Mike has spent 30 years in marketing, advertising and business development and became the lead investor and head evangelist for EagleRail in 2014 after the sale of the marketing agency in which he was a senior partner. Mike travelled the world for 6-months seeking a new business venture that would have a positive and sustainable impact on the planet, its people and the environment. He has found that mission in the all-electric and automated, overhead shipping-container concept and believes that the time has come to move 60,000-lb. shipping containers around like 60-lb. packages in a common warehouse.
Arona Martin is the Owner of Because Love, a collection of thoughtful and compassionate gifts designed specifically for individuals who have been diagnosed with cancer or are going through difficult times. It helps family and friends show their care and support for their loved ones. Arona talks about how she has come to create this line of products and the challenges she faced as an entrepreneur. Her experience has thought her that a positive attitude and hard work is all that is needed to overcome any obstacle. Furthermore, she discusses the importance of relentlessly pursuing connections and paying attention to gaps in the marketplace. To learn more about Arona Martin and Because Love, watch the full BizCastHQ video!
Because Love is a collection of thoughtful and compassionate gifts specifically designed for loved ones who have been diagnosed with cancer or are going through a difficult time in their life. These gifts not only show them they are supported and cared for, but offer a personalized way for the gifter to help navigate the journey of a cancer diagnosis and treatment in a positive and healing way - especially when you don’t know what to say or do or how to show support for a loved one. Through the Love Heals Journal, the gifter can add a personal touch in a way that will make an impact forever and offer comfort during the most painful and difficult of times.
Arona Martin is a lightning bolt of energy who thrives on creating memorable experiences for her clients and friends. Her creative intuition paved her early success in branding and entertainment, and her drive for living an authentic life makes her a bold voice to those looking for a passionate shift in theirs. A former student of Art Therapy, Arona’s knowledge of the power of creative healing provides a solid foundation for the content of her products and their exercises. She is recognized as a trendsetter in the event planning industry, and is now raising the bar for comforting those going through life altering challenges. Arona started her career working in TV and film with recognized names like Lifetime, Viacom and Nickelodeon. With experience that ranges from feature films and celebrity styling to full-scale events for Subaru, HBO and the City of Las Vegas, her artistic vision continues to expand. Most recently, Arona created, Because Love, a collection of thoughtful and compassionate gifts made specifically for those that are diagnosed with cancer or are going though a rough time in their lives.
Marina Berrones is the RA, LEED BD+C, NCARB, Project Manager & Project Architect at DLR Group, an integrated design firm delivering architecture, engineering, interiors, planning, and building optimization for new construction, renovation, and adaptive reuse. Marina discusses the importance of costing exercises early on and the challenges the industry faces in regards to the availability of workforce both in design and construction and the speed of technology. According to Marina, the path to success and fulfillment is to always put in 100% of your effort and do what you love to do. To learn more about Marina Berrones’s and DLR Group, watch the full BizCastHQ video!
DLR Group is an integrated design firm delivering architecture, engineering, interiors, planning, and building optimization for new construction, renovation, and adaptive reuse. Our promise is to elevate the human experience through design. This promise inspires sustainable design for a diverse group of public and private sector clients; local communities; and our planet. DLR Group is 100 percent employee-owned and fully supports the initiatives and goals of the 2030 Challenge, and is an initial signatory to the China Accord and the AIA 2030 Commitment.
Since launching her career in 2003, Marina has grown expertise in managing retail and mixed-use development projects. She believes the connection between the user and the community requires a thorough understanding of the environment, and acute attention to detail. Spaces become destinations, creating places where people want to be.
As a project manager, her responsibilities include coordinating with clients and consultants to develop a project’s design. Marina believes establishing a team environment based on collaboration is important to successfully deliver all projects. This dynamic of ideas shared between clients and DLR Group keeps her projects on time and on budget.
Shirley Yang is the Founder & CEO of Muses, an app that connects freelancers, entrepreneurs and business around the world. Muses focuses on making the process of hiring and getting hired quick and simple for both businesses and freelancers. Shirley talks about the trends and growth in the gig economy, the importance of organic user acquisition, and not being afraid of change to scale the company. To learn more about Shirley Yang and Muses, watch the full BizCastHQ video!
Muses is a professional network for entrepreneurs and freelancers. People join Muses to meet potential business prospects, hire, and get hired for work. Muses has 45,000 members in 121 countries, and is the best place to hire creative and digital talents.
Shirley Yang is the Founder and CEO of Muses, a professional network for entrepreneurs and freelancers. Muses is in 121 countries and is the best place to hire Creative and Digital talents. Shirley has led teams at NBC Universal, Amazon, and have worked with thousands of YouTube stars and brands to propel them to fame. Her previous clients include fortune 100: NIKE, Walmart, Amazon, etc. to thousands of startups and small businesses. Shirley is a startup mentor at TechStars, 1871, and an advisor at Women Tech Founders and DePaul University Center for Entrepreneurship.
Gillian Ryan is the President and CEO at ROLD, a design firm specializing in physical and digital experiences. She discusses the value of her background in growth and strategy, finding clients who are ready to make a change, and why she prefers to recruit from team referrals. To learn more about Gillian Ryan and ROLD, watch the full BizCastHQ video!
ROLD is an experience design firm specializing in creating bespoke physical and digital guest experiences managing the entire process required to bring something special to life.
We believe that each business needs to tell a unique story to its consumers in order to grow and stand out from the competition and we do that through distinctive experience design.
We partner with our clients at the enterprise level in order to deliver a truly end-to-end service including the strategy for the creation and delivery of physical design elements, digital elements and everything in between. This unique approach ensures ease and efficiency for our clients and a consistent experience for the end consumer.
We believe that fortune favors the bold. ROLD clients make bold moves in the pursuit of something truly original and transformational.
Gillian is an experienced business leader with the vision, creativity and tenacity it takes to bring revolutionary business concepts to market.
With almost 20 years of experience in business, Gillian brings strong corporate and commercial intellect and expertise to her thinking and approach. But what sets Gillian apart is her ability to use creativity to think big and unlock unique ideas - ideas that don’t just set you apart from the competition but ones that disrupt the marketplace by rewriting the rules.
Gillian combines this creative thinking with a passion for turning vision into reality. Her commitment to delivering an experience that sets you apart is relentless. All of this is fueled by the respect she has for her clients and her desire to give them an unrivaled result.
Jack Lavin, President and CEO of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, discusses the importance of promoting a collaborative environment, trusting team members, and constantly changing to stay relevant. Watch the full BizCastHQ video to learn more about Jack Lavin and the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce.
The Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce combines the power of people, with our legacy of leadership and business advocacy, to drive a dynamic economy. We focus on delivering value for our members, making Chicagoland a world-class place to live and work.
The Chamber represents 1,000 companies from all major industries, half of which do business internationally. With more than 150 events each year, the Chamber is Chicagoland’s most influential business organization.
Jack Lavin is the sixth President and Chief Executive Officer of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce since the organization’s founding in 1904. He has more than thirty years of financial and management experience in both the public and private sectors. Throughout his career, Jack has focused on economic and business development in order to create jobs and improve the quality of life for people in Chicago and Illinois.
Jack served as Director of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, the State’s economic and workforce development agency. He revamped and rebranded the organization to incorporate technology and entrepreneurship into the overall mission. He worked closely at the time with the Chicagoland Chamber to incubate the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center and developed an early stage venture capital fund, which led to the founding of 1871. His work with the Chamber also established the award-winning Disabilityworks program, which provides job training for people with disabilities and promotes their hiring.
Jack also served as Chief of Staff for Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, and Chief Operating Officer of the State of Illinois. He led the passage and implementation of the largest capital infrastructure bill in Illinois history and was responsible for managing the operations of the Governor’s office and all State government agencies. Prior to that, he served in financial leadership positions for Abbott Laboratories and a private restaurant company.
Jack serves on boards for the Chicago Children’s Theatre, the University YMCA, and the Chicago Leadership Alliance. He has also served on the City of Chicago’s 2016 Olympic Bid Committee, Navy Pier’s Long Range Strategic Plan Committee as Co-Chair, and the BIO Convention Steering Committee. Jack is a strong advocate for people with disabilities. He led a Task Force for Mayor Daley on Special Education in the Chicago Public Schools and serves on the advisory board of the Adult Down Syndrome Center.
Jack holds an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, a master’s degree in International Relations from the University of Chicago, and a bachelor’s degree in Finance from the University of Illinois. He lives in Chicago with his wife and three children
Tony Iannessa is the Founder & CEO of BIG Construction, a general contractor and construction management firm specializing in corporate interiors. BIG Construction’s collaborative approach to project management offers clients tailored solutions resulting in successful project delivery. Tony discusses the main challenges construction companies face today and offers insightful advice on how to grow within the industry. According to him, the only way to grow is by having the right people to manage the work, which is why human capital is currently the largest constrainment. Furthermore, he goes on to talk about the importance of keeping your word and doing what it is you say you are going to do. Tony believes that is the key to success, especially in the construction industry. It helps build trusting, lifelong relationships with both clients and staff. To learn more about Tony Iannessa and BIG Construction, watch the full BizCastHQ video!
BIG Construction is a Chicago-based general contractor and construction management firm specializing in corporate interiors. We believe that strong relationships drive meaningful accomplishments and pride ourselves on talented people who collaborate to guide our clients’ through the process of turning their vision into reality.
Tony Iannessa founded BIG with the desire to do things differently. He envisioned a company where people come first. Where collaboration builds strong relationships, and achievements are for sharing. A place where right-fit solutions trump legacy processes, and clients feel at ease as they’re guided through their projects. Though we will continue to grow and evolve, we are firmly rooted in the foundation of our values: ideas, experience, drive and trust.
Born in Chicago, Tony Iannessa is driven by the work ethic he inherited from his family, who immigrated from Italy in the early 1950s. Having built a foundation working in the trades, Tony’s roots in construction trace back to his youth, when he spent summers as a concrete laborer and interning with an electrical contractor.
After graduating from Indiana University, he gained over a decade of experience in Chicago’s construction industry, which he leveraged to form BIG in 2016. As founder and CEO of BIG, Tony leads the firm’s strategic direction and is responsible for organization’s sustainable growth.
Tony is an active member of Vistage and Chicago’s Economic Club, and serves as a board member of Susan G. Komen and the Sports and Pastimes committee of Riverside Golf Club. He is a founding member of an FMI Peer Group helping interior construction firms across the country sustainably expand their businesses profitably. He has been featured in Crain’s Chicago Business numerous times and has served in various board positions with Leukemia Lymphoma Society, National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame, Greater Chicago Food Depository and City of Hope.
When he isn’t working, Tony lives in Chicago’s Ukrainian Village neighborhood with his wife and daughter. He enjoys golf, cooking/dining, working out, and relaxing in Harbor Country, Michigan with his family.
William W. Towns is the Executive Director of Benefit Chicago, an impact investment fund that focuses on social enterprises. Benefit Chicago’s mission is raise capital in order to provide patient, flexible and risk-tolerant capital to organizations that drive both profits and purpose. Dr. Towns talks about some of the challenges he has experience while trying to create something new as well as industry specific challenges. The most challenging aspect of introducing a new idea in the investment world, according to DR. Williams, is lack of knowledge and awareness that can only be overcome through patience and continuously educating the partners and market. To get the full insight on industry challenges, leadership, company culture and trends and learn more about William W. Towns and Benefit Chicago, watch the full BizCastHQ video!
Benefit Chicago is mobilizing $100 million in impact investments to finance the growth of impact enterprises throughout the Chicago region.
Our goals are to:
1. Build Wealth in or for communities through economic development, growth of community assets, and support for community-based entrepreneurs.
2. Create jobs that are accessible to community residents, particularly those for whom access to employment can be a challenge.
3. Enhance job readiness and skills for those seeking to find, maintain, and advance in employment.
Dr. William W. Towns is a scholar, activist, and practitioner, dedicated to helping solve civic and urban issues at the structural level. He is the Executive Director of Benefit Chicago and an Adjunct Lecturer of Social Impact at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.
Benefit Chicago is mobilizing $100 million in impact investments targeting the social enterprise sector in the Chicago region. He came to Benefit Chicago from the University of Chicago, where he was an Assistant Vice President and led the Office of Civic Engagement’s Anchor Strategy, which looked to understand how a university could support equitable economic change.
Dr. Towns serves on numerous boards and committees, within the housing, health care, banking and education sectors, including the Chicago Community Land Trust Board, the Advisory Council on Agriculture, Small Business and Labor for the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, and Chicago Innovation. He is a frequent speaker on topics ranging from impact investing, corporate social innovation, women in the workplace and civic engagement.
He received a BA from Loyola University Chicago, an MBA from the University of Notre Dame, and a Ph.D., from Benedictine University.
Gary Walter is the President of Infutor Data Solutions, a Consumer Identity Management company that focuses on helping brands learn all there is to know about their consumers. Gary discusses importance and process of how to best implement and maintaining values through setting goals for sales efficiency, growth and employee appreciation. He also bring light on the challenges that Infutor and the industry as a whole is currently facing. One of the challenges mentioned by Gary, is the issue of security and privacy around data. Watch the full BizCastHQ video to learn more about Gary Walter and Infutor Data Solution.
Infutor is the expert in Consumer Identity Management, focused on enabling brands to know everything they need to about consumers, exactly when they need it. Infutor delivers solutions that give brands a secure, privacy compliant foundation to improve inbound engagements and outbound marketing reach and to minimize risk.
Infutor has ranked on three Inc. 5000 lists and was ranked No. 11 on Crain’sTop Places to Work in 2019 and ranked No. 7 in the Small Businesses category.
Gary Walter is the President and CEO of Infutor Data Solutions. Gary stepped into his current role in 2012 at the age of 28 and has led Infutor to become the preeminent provider of consumer identity management and driver of predictive intelligence for marketers. Gary holds degrees in both Business and Industrial Technology from Western Michigan University. After his time at WMU, he spent more than two years teaching college courses. Outside of the office, Gary is an avid supporter and actively involved in fundraising for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital; Gigi’s Playhouse (Down Syndrome Achievement Centers) and Southeastern Guide Dogs (Guide Dogs for Veterans).