25 Most Interesting People

Glasa Gottschalk

Glasa Gottschalk

Embrace the Journey Glasa Gottschalk considers herself a natural-born leader. Whether it’s working with a music shop, a bank or a startup furniture company, it seems every job or organization she’s worked with, she’s climbed the ladder into leadership. “Business has always been something I’ve been drawn into,” says Gottschalk. “It’s been really fun to…

Deanna Lacny

Deanna Lacny

A Walk by Faith She told God she wasn’t working with kids. He had other plans for Deanna Lacny. The former homeschooling mom was looking for easy work when she landed a part-time job at Rock House Kids. An easy job soon turned into a full-time gig, and, eventually, a leadership role – one that…

Jerry Paulson

Jerry Paulson

With Love for Our Wildlife Jerry Paulson retired as executive director of the Natural Land Institute in 2013, but he’s still a busy guy. “I’ve stayed involved with Natural Land Institute to help them get accreditation from the Land Trust Alliance, a national land trust group – going through old files and putting things together…

Joe Marek

Joe Marek

Seeing a Bigger Picture Family and support are severely needed when a loved one dies. But sometimes, people need something more. That’s where Joe Marek comes in. The bereavement coordinator at Mercyhealth Hospice can provide people with comfort and care for 13 months, sometimes longer, after their loved one dies from a terminal illness. “It…

Rick Barder

Rick Barder

A Man and His Bike Rick Barder made his living in the banking business as a commercial lender. But after retiring more than a decade ago, the Beloit resident now spends his time exploring southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois on his bike. Barder was a “jock” in school but turned to biking later in life….

Mary Ann Smith

Mary Ann Smith

For the Next Generation As a child visiting the Coronado Theatre, Mary Ann Smith fell in love with the magic of the stage. But by the 1990s, Rockford’s movie palace was looking like something “between the opulent Taj Mahal and a white elephant,” she says. Smith and her husband, Gordy, could see the deterioration firsthand…

Tiana McCall

Tiana McCall

  Like Mother, Like Daughter Tiana McCall credits her mother, Birdia Cooper, for instilling within her a passion for volunteer work. “My mother was a community advocate,” McCall says. “I remember every time it rained in the summertime, our streets would flood. And so I would hear my mother calling the alderman saying we deserved…

Joyce Gibbons

Joyce Gibbons

Following Her Roots For as long as she can remember, Joyce Gibbons has been interested in biology and the environment. “I had an aunt who lived up in Wisconsin. We used to go visit them when I was little,” says Gibbons. “She was very knowledgeable about the native plants and some of the medicinal qualities…

Annie Mohaupt

Annie Mohaupt

Walking Her Own Path After studying architecture at the University of Illinois-Chicago, Annie Mohaupt began her career in San Francisco with high hopes. But the Pecatonica, Ill., native quickly moved back home, which didn’t prove to be any easier for her career.  “Things can be hard in the construction industry, and I had done well…

Jay Allen

Jay Allen

Making Life More Colorful Belvidere is known as the City of Murals, and Jay Allen, owner and president of ShawCraft Sign Co., Inc., in Machesney Park, Ill., is a big reason why. Born and raised in Belvidere, Allen is an original member of the Walldogs, a passionate group of mural-painting artists. Since their founding in…

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