Men of Distinction 5

Mike Marr, Owner & Head Brewer of Buffalo Creek Brewery

Tell us about your business.

Our brewery celebrates its first anniversary in July. We’re Lake County’s only destination brewery featuring German and Belgium style ales (which we love as they’ve stood the test of time). Previously, I founded (and sold) a company that developed software for the financial industry.

Your mentors?

Mentors have always been people who work hard, play harder. My dad’s at the top of the list.

How do you relax?

Ski trips with old friends, including a recent European trip where we hung out with Olympic great Bode Miller. I also enjoy traveling to taste different beers, including Octoberfest 2018 in Munich.

Steve Gritman, Musician (Fiddle, Guitar, Vocals)

Share a favorite recent moment?

Playing soothing music for an old friend in hospice who woke up to say, “That was beautiful!” before dozing off again. It was the last thing I ever heard him say.

Tell us about your family.

I grew up in a musical family, and am married to a wonderful woman, Lisa, who loves and encourages my music. The rest of my family lives out of state. We love hosting an annual Christmas Eve dinner for those like us who are distant from family.

Favorite cause?

It’s very important that we all work together to keep the arts in public schools.

Oscar Im, Owner, Mathnasium Wauconda

What’s your business about?

Mathnasium is a learning center that teaches math to kids in a way that makes sense.

How’d you get here?

I was a 20-year IT professional before becoming a stay-at-home dad for my daughters. Recently I began a new chapter doing something that provides personal gratification. I love working with kids, teaching and mentoring. 

Recent favorite moment?

One of my students was struggling with fractions and the concept of ratios. After several different approaches, we were pretty frustrated… but suddenly something clicked, and it was like finding that one piece of the jigsaw puzzle that you’ve long been searching for. 

Brian Thomson, Owner, Honey Lake Bee Co.

Who were your mentors?

Norton Williams (retired master beekeeper) introduced me to beekeeping when I was 10 years old. Jon Schechter (Naturalist, writer of nature) showed me how great nature is. Ted Whorle and Lee Record (golf course superintendents) taught me how to observe your surroundings, and never stop learning.

A favorite recent memory?

Our family visited a small town in the Swiss Alps and went “sledging” down the the mountains. Sledging is kind of like sledding, but takes 2-3 hours to get to the bottom of the “hill” on an old wooden style sled. Highly recommended for anyone traveling to Switzerland!

Nick Deignan, Owner, Deignan Chiropractic

How did you get into your current line of work?

I earned a rugby scholarship to study at Life University in Marietta, Georgia. There I saw the lifestyle and the amazing healing that happens through Chiropractic. Mom’s favorite saying is, “You are rich in love.” I saw this is what I was made for.

Describe your business.

A place for hope, healing, and health. To give, love, and serve the community.

Share a favorite recent experience?

There is no better feeling than giving a life changing adjustment. Every time we adjust a patient we remove interference from their nervous system and their bodies function better.

Ken Wasko, Owner, Zippy Shell

Describe your business.

Zippy Shell is moving and storage made simple. A storage unit comes to you for convenient storing on your location, or in our climate-controlled warehouse.

Who do you consider your mentor?

My most impactful mentor was my father, John. He was a Seabee in WWII and had a long career with IBM working the Mobile Launcher for all the Apollo Missions. His work ethic, servant leadership and strong faith made a big impact.

Your favorite moment?

Opening this new business, seeing it grow, and helping our customers through one of the most stressful moments in their lives: moving.