I was at a donor reception this past week for the McHenry County Community Foundation, where I sit on the Board. During the evening one of the attendees that I did not know was talking with my wife Julie, and as he looked at her name tag he made note of the last name and asked if she knew of another person named Schildgen. Well in fact it was my dad – Bob Schildgen that he referenced, and upon being introduced to myself, Al Van Maren and I enjoyed a long conversation about his growing up and attending the high school – Maine East, where my father had taught and coached.
It really was very interesting to hear Al talk about his early years and what all he had done since then. He also very much relayed what an influence my father had been on him and his brother. You could just tell that this was a very special remembrance for him and that it was in fact a very important part of what all he had achieved in a very successful teaching career and as a business owner as well!
Going backwards from this chance meeting, to last weekend when I had the opportunity to give recognition to those who had influenced me during my time at Illinois State University (see my last blog post), I am struck by how so many of us are truly impacted by others. Obviously our parents have a great amount of influence on who we are and what we become. In addition to this, we also can credit the many teachers that guided us through our education – some more than others, and those who truly made a difference we tend to remember over time. Beyond these individuals, there are many others too – specific friends, siblings, and perhaps neighbors too.
There are also our first bosses or managers – some of whom helped shape our eventual career paths. I know I was impacted in this manner, and to bring this post around full circle, I would like to mention another individual – Tony Kurowski. Tony is an employee here at C L Graphics that started with us some 8 years ago – straight out of high school. Not only is Tony a great guy that is genuinely sincere and caring, but he has a strong work ethic and was willing to jump into just about anything – all for the sake of learning! Over time he chose to pursue an Associate degree at Rock Valley College where my wife Julie had the pleasure of teaching him, and then continued on learning new skills at our company.
Well it is with sadness that Tony came to me last week and announced that he was leaving us. He had a great opportunity to work at a larger company that would be able to offer him advancement and the chance to run larger presses. This was not an easy decision for him he suggested, and I know this to be true. I believe that myself and all the others at C L Graphics did have a big impact on Tony’s career, and for that I am thankful. Interestingly enough though, I also believe that Tony had a big impact on all of us as well – what goes around comes around!
Who has had an impact on your life, and then who have you been able to pay it forward to?