The Katharine W. Hoffman Little Kids Rock Chicago Area Advisory Board

In 2012, the Chicago Chapter of Little Kids Rock was named in honor of Kathy Hoffman. Kathy was a talented pianist, teacher and mother who personally understood the value of a creative outlet in music. She was also a teacher. Whether earning “Teacher of the Year” as a middle school math teacher, giving piano lessons to neighborhood kids, or raising her two sons, her passion in life was teaching. To Kathy, making the learning process fun and creative would encourage kids to seek knowledge on their own, while building self-esteem and discovering lifelong passions. One of Kathy’s aspirations was to help bring music education into the lives of children who would not normally have the opportunity. Little Kids Rock embodies Kathy’s aspiration in a fun and creative way, while empowering kids in multiple facets of life. Little Kids Rock is honored to serve children in Kathy’s memory. Please direct membership inquiries to Chicago Area Advisory Board Secretary

Perry Bump (Emeritus)

Perry is an owner and member of the Board of Directors of Assurance, an insurance and risk management broker.  Assurance is among the largest and most awarded independent brokers in the United States.   Perry directly oversees the strategy development and service delivery for his commercial clients by identifying companies risk, managing their expenses and reducing their costs. FULL BIO

David Callan

David is Vice President and Partner with McGuire Engineers, Inc., a design, engineering and consulting firm serving the greater Chicagoland area.  McGuire Engineers Inc. (MEPC) specializes in full range of in-house engineering services including mechanical, electrical, plumbing, sprinkler and life safety systems. While David’s career is centered on the built environment and sustainable design, his college career started with a performing arts scholarship to the University of Maryland for voice.  In his spare time, David is guitarist and singer/songwriter active in the Chicago folk and Americana music scene who performs at folk festivals and local events, and hosts a monthly community song circle.  David is also proud to serve as a board member of a local folk music preservation non-for-profit organization. FULL BIO

Blake Croson

Blake Croson is a Vice President at Assurance who focuses on the construction and manufacturing industries. With over 10 years of experience, Blake’s primary responsibility is to present solutions for clients regarding contractual risk transfer, general liability and workers’ compensation. Blake takes an analytical approach with clients, where he understands what’s driving claim activity and the root cause of those claims. By focusing on the actions or omissions that lead to claims, Blake can help reduce losses and, ultimately, premiums. An avid musician, Blake has playing bass, guitar and drums for 20+ years. FULL BIO

Michael Hoffman

Mike Hoffman is a Vice President in Corporate & Investment Banking at BNP Paribas, the world’s fourth largest bank ranked by assets as of December 31, 2011. Working closely with all areas of the bank, he focuses on developing and managing long-term relationships with the Bank’s multinational corporate clients in the Pharmaceutical and Chemical industries. Prior to BNP Paribas, Mike held various positions with LaSalle Bank, prior to being acquired by Bank of America. FULL BIO

Richard Hoffman

Dick Hoffman is President and CEO of Atomatic Mechanical Services, Inc. Atomatic was founded in 1945 as a design/build mechanical contracting firm serving the greater Chicagoland area. Dick obtained his finance degree from the University of Miami, then began his career with Motorola, where he worked on the pilot cell phone project. He started his career in HVAC in 1979 with is father’s company, Hoffman Trane Service. In 1993 he purchased Atomatic. FULL BIO 

Ron Onesti

Ron Onesti is the President of Onesti Entertainment Corporation and the owner of the historic Arcada Theatre, which is located on the Fox River in downtown St. Charles. Its stage has been graced by legends including George Burns, Mickey Rooney and Jerry Lewis. In addition, today’s headliners like Martin Short, Bret Michaels and The BoDeans have also starred at the theatre, which seats 900 and offers a premium bar, private events, and a 40 foot screen. Onesti Entertainment produces up to 50 shows annually at the venue. From live concerts to community theatre and fundraisers, the Arcada Theatre’s events have shaped the community and Fox Valley region, and have been recognized for contributing to the economic health of the downtown entertainment district.

Steve Stachorek (co-chair)

Steve Stachorek is the President Atomatic Mechanical Services, Inc.. Atomatic is a mechanical contracting firm serving the greater Chicagoland area. After Graduating with a Mechanical Engineering degree from Marquette University, Steve went to work for a large Mechanical Contractor where he had a successful career for 19 years. Looking to expand his responsibilities, Steve was introduced to Dick Hoffman (Chairman of Little Kids Rock Chicago Area Advisory Board) who he is currently partners with at Atomatic.

Steve was introduced to Little Kids Rock by Dick in 2014 after being asked to participate in the inaugural Chicago “Big Kids Rock” Battle of the Bands with his band Subcool. The event was a great success, exceeding the financial goals for the evening. More importantly, the vision of Little Kids Rock was made loud and clear to the event’s participants. Having been around music most of his life, Steve knows the benefits music can have to a child and is extremely motivated and excited to help less fortunate families see this impact in their lives.

Larry Saint Germain

Larry Saint Germain is a Senior Project Manager at CBRE, Inc as well as a licensed architect. Larry has led major corporate relocations such as Google and McDonald’s, in the Fulton Market neighborhood of Chicago and has also worked internationally. His projects have won many awards including US Green Building Mission Award, CORENET Sustainable Leadership Award and personally, the Chicago Commercial Real Estate Project Manager of the Year. Starting his music “career” at the age of 7, he has played drums in every conceivable type of band and continues today with CBRE Speedwagon. He is passionate about music’s ability to build a child’s self esteem and confidence

Paul Thenstedt

Paul Thenstedt is a marketing and technology consultant who provides business vision and creates data‐focused strategies that drive growth and success in the rapidly changing media and advertising industry. Paul has worked in the media and entertainment business for 30 years. Starting as a television production and live news director at WIFR‐TV in Rockford, IL, he moved to New York to work as a national television buyer at McCann Erickson working on the Coca‐Cola account. That was followed by 12 years at CNN, first as a TV sales executive, then in 1997 as an internet pioneer while serving as VP, Interactive. Paul spent 8 years at NBCUniversal managing national digital sales teams, driving advertising revenue and generating innovative, social, consumer driven marketing programs across a variety of platforms including desktop, mobile, tablet, linear TV, video on demand, interactive TV, and connected TV. FULL BIO

Rob Tovar

Rob is the Co-Founder of ‘The Hangar’ film stage, and currently serves as Director of Operations at 2112 incubator within Fort Knox Studios Chicago, and has been instrumental in it’s continued growth. In the last decade Rob has been involved with multi-media sales, operations and productions. Some of Rob’s recent projects have included: Location’s stage manager for the acclaimed TV series CBS Redline, NBC’s Chicago Fire TV show, Film ‘Come as you are’, Film ‘Chasing the Blues’, Film ‘Signature move’, New pilot series Showtime network ‘Work in Progress’. Production show runs for various artist’s and bands which most recently have included; Chance the Rapper, Smashing Pumpkins, Spite, Non-point, Night Ranger, Chevelle, and Louis the Child. Rob also has a diverse background and relationship within the Sporting community (NBA, NFL, NHL, and MLB) his most recent accomplishment, as a marketing partner with ‘Elite Amateur Fight League’ a Mixed Martial Arts competition which is the minor’s to MMA sports, and is on NBC Sports.

On his spare time Rob likes to spend time with family, friends, exercise, travel and volunteering at local food pantries, also catch Rob on some of Chicago TV shows Chicago PD, Chicago Fire, Chicago Med, Mancow TV show, and in the new hit film Chasing the Blues.

Dan Ulbricht (co-chair)

Dan Ulbricht works at Skender as Vice President. A 19-year commercial construction and real estate industry expert, He works with Skender’s executive leadership team to augment partnerships and expand new markets.

Dan also runs Fort Knox Studio, a 160,000 square foot music rehearsal and recording studio facility located on the north side of Chicago, IL.

Prior to joining Skender, Ulbricht served as Vice President of Strategic Accounts for Leopardo Construction, where he was a trusted advisor in facilitating communication and working with CEOs, CFOs and real estate directors. In 2014, he was named to Building Design + Construction’s 40 Under 40 class. Ulbricht is a partner at Fort Knox Studios, a premier rehearsal, production and recording facility with locations in Chicago and Nashville. Ulbricht is also a past president of the Chicago Chapter of CoreNet Global and an active participant in Beacon Therapeutic and City of Hope.

Mark Weisbard

Mark Weisbard is an attorney and Member of the law firm Dykema Gossett PLLC. He has been practicing law in Chicago for almost 40 years, working primarily in the estate planning and employee benefits areas. While Mark grew up playing classical music, he has always been a big fan of rock music since the Beatles first performed on the Ed Sullivan show. Currently, he plays keyboard with a local band, In Time Out, which performs covers from 60s to current, and some original music as well. Mark has also been active in educational issues with his synagogue, participating in a tutoring program in Lawndale. Mark became an instant fan of Little Kids Rock watching students perform at the Big Kids Rock benefit in 2018.

Norm Winer

For more than forty years, Norm Winer has been one of North America’s most respected and celebrated radio programmers and media strategists, most notably serving as director of programming at WXRT Chicago (1979-2016). Norm has earned numerous industry accolades, including Program Director of the Year and Station of the Year.
In 2015, Norm was named recipient of Chicago’s Fifth Star Award, the first media figure to be so honored, for contributions to the arts and culture of the City of Chicago. Thousands attended the public presentation in Millennium Park, which included personal testimonials from U2’s Bono (sharing the revelation that “…if it weren’t for Norm Winer, there would be no U2!”), The Smashing Pumpkins’ Billy Corgan, and other musicians and members of Chicago’s arts community. Mayor Richard M. Daley declared “Norm Winer Day” on July 4, 1997 in the City of Chicago. That same year, The Chicago Tribune named Norm one of the “Chicago 100” most notable contributors to the city’s rich tradition of the arts, for his role at WXRT, “…for decades the last bastion of free-form commercial rock radio in the country.”

Mr. Winer now devotes most of his time to help launch Noteworthy, a curated, streaming entertainment network, a venture targeted for early 2020 with the hope it will maintain the high standards, sense of ideals, innovation, creativity, and respect for the public that have been the hallmark of his career thus far. FULL BIO.