Georgetown University, late 1980s. History major/sailing team member Kevin Considine prepares sandwiches at the university’s student-run deli. Considine becomes better at preparing sandwiches.
Becomes one of the deli’s managers.
“That’s where I learned to make sandwiches,” Considine, after ordering scrambled eggs with spinach and tomatoes, breakfast potatoes and an English muffin at Egg Harbor Café in Lake Forest, recalls. “I take my sandwiches very seriously; I was a picky eater while growing up. My go-to sandwich now is a turkey and bacon Panini. You want to know Kevin’s Theory of better when you add cheese and bacon to it.’ Always.
Bring home the bacon. A big part of Considine’s occupation today is helping men and women fill open occupations at a variety of Lake County-based businesses to do just that for their families. The 52-year-old resident of Lake Bluff has been president and CEO of Lincolnshire-based Lake County Partners (LCP) for a little more than a year — after serving the go-to organization for economic development in Lake County as its managing director for three years.
LCP is a private, nonprofit that works to maintain economic vitality and quality of life in Lake County by attracting, retaining and expanding businesses, creating and maintaining quality jobs, stimulating capital investment, pursuing economic diversity and improving the county’s business climate.
“We play connector,” Considine, a 1984 Loyola Academy graduate, explains. “I’ll give you an example. A company in Lake County was looking for a welder. I had heard of a welder who had been laid off. We contacted the outof- work welder and told him about the opening. A connection was made.”
LCP and several of its partners, including the College of Lake County in Grayslake, held an internship and career fair at the college not too long ago. Young, curious career seekers entered a cavernous area full of booths and asked questions. Employers of Lake County businesses, mostly in the manufacturing and health sciences industries, answered them.
“We had created our Workforce Ecosystem at LCP to sponsor such an event, to stage a gathering beneficial to both the companies and attendees,” Considine says. “We worked with the Lake County Development Department in Waukegan, with schools and towns and local businesses.
“It’s important to Lake County that there is an ample talent pipeline in place as people with manufacturing jobs get closer to retirement age and the demand for technical skills rises,” he adds.
Lake County is home to more manufacturing jobs than most people in Lake County realize, Considine notes. Manufacturing jobs today are nothing like the manufacturing jobs in the 1970s and 1980s.
“Detroit, think of Detroit, think of the manufacturing jobs in that city and cities like it in those decades,” Considine says. “Those jobs were considered gritty, and they were gritty. Today they’re not; they’re cleaner, much cleaner. How many people know that? And a welder making $80,000 a year, $100,000 with overtime pay, is not unusual today.”
The youngest of nine children (he has seven sisters), Considine earned wages for the first time as a teen, stringing tennis rackets and re-lacing baseball gloves and helping young hockey players find gear that fit at Wilmette Bicycle & Sport Shop. Considine worked with two others from Loyola Academy at the time, along with three New Trier students. Rivalry? What rivalry?
“The shop also sold fishing gear, fishing licenses,” Considine says. “A tall man walked in one day, looking to purchase a fishing license. The customer looked familiar. It was Orlando Woolridge, the Chicago Bull, a professional basketball player walking around the shop, right near me. You don’t forget a day like that.”
Considine, in the summers during his Georgetown years, taught sailing to kids and adults who signed up for lessons at the Northwestern University Sailing Center, and he still can’t believe he was able to work without having to wear shoes.
Considine got his MBA at the Crummer Graduate School of Business at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida, and collected his master’s degree in spiritual direction at Loyola University in Chicago. He was a sales rep for the Orlando Sentinel newspaper when he met his future wife, Jami, then a marketing manager for the Sentinel’s magazine group.
“Funny story,” Considine says. “Our first date, if you could call it that, was in the Orlando Sentinel parking lot. On New Year’s Eve. We talked for two hours. She had made plans to be somewhere else on that night. She still ended up going, but she was late.”
Jami is an administrator with Assistance in Healthcare, a nonprofit in Zion. Kevin, a past president of the Lake Bluff Park District board of commissioners, and Jami have two daughters, Lake Forest High School senior-to-be Sarah (a standout field hockey and lacrosse player) and LFHS sophomore- to-be Mary (a dancer and poms member).
Their dad lifts a forkful of scrambled eggs — minus cheese, minus bacon — and consumes it at Egg Harbor Café. He’ll golf later this summer, I learn. He’ll enjoy watching Sarah play field hockey and Mary dance this fall. He’ll likely help Sarah move into a college dorm late next summer and do the same for Mary in 2021.
“Not every 18-year-old is ready for college; some want to work full-time, need to work full-time, right after high school,” Considine says. “We’re well aware of that at Lake County Partners. If that’s the case, our thinking is, ‘Fine, but let’s do what we can to make sure that 18-year-old gets on the right path and help him or her build a life through a job.’ When that 18-year-old becomes a 20-year-old and is still with the company, hoping to become, say, a supervisor? Maybe that company pays the employee’s college tuition.”
For more information about Lake County Partners please visit lakecountypartners.com.