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Continuing Education Department
Bldg E, Room E210, ECC Campus
Tel: 847-622-3036
Fax: 847-608-5470  

Hours: M-F 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Closed most Fridays June - Aug.

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Trainer Bios

Jill Ballard has 20+ years of programming and teaching experience with computers and computer software. She has experience in both college and business environments. Her goal is to help people increase their productivity through the use of computers. She has an MS degree in computer science. She has been teaching as adjunct faculty at ECC and for ECC’s Office of Continuing Education for 15 years.

Judy Beaver has more than 20 years experience as an office manager and consumer affairs manager. Judy is an adjunct faculty member at ECC and teaches software, business and business writing. Judy has an MBA from Keller Graduate School of Management in information systems.

Diane Decker has extensive experience in training and coaching groups and individuals in team building, communication skills, customer service and supervisory topics. She is a certified DDI® (Development Dimensions International) instructor. Her results–oriented approach helps people and organizations improve their effectiveness. She has worked with a diverse group of clients, including service and manufacturing firms, government agencies and not-for-profit organizations. Diane has an MBA from Xavier University and has served as an examiner for the Lincoln Award for Business Excellence.

Darrell Katz helps leaders focus on the real elements needed to bring their organization to its maximum potential. Darrell transforms the training room into a learning laboratory to explore innovative leadership concepts and management approaches. Learners emerge ready to apply their new leadership skills immediately in the workplace. Darrell assists major companies, such as Walgreens, Kraft Foods and Brunswick; government agencies including the Department of Homeland Security, Centers for Disease Control and the CIA; in addition to working with several community colleges and universities. Darrell has a B.A. and B.S. degree from Indiana University and a Master’s degree from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University.

Andy Kaufman has a rich background of over 25 years of experience in project management, team leadership, executive management and coaching. He is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP®) and a member of the project Management Institute (PMI®). He works with local and international organizations, helping them improve their ability to deliver projects and lead teams. His clients include Credit Suisse, Microsoft, Northern Trust, United Nations, and Volkswagen. He also partners with the College of DuPage, College of Lake County, Elgin Community College and Loyola University. Andy has a B.S. degree from Northern Michigan University.

Dan Kocher brings nearly 40 years of industry experience to his classroom.  A graduate of the University of Illinois with a BS in electrical engineering and computer science, Dan started his 30 year career in telecommunications with Illinois Bell as a special services data design engineer. He retired in 2000 from SBC (now AT&T) as senior director, marketing product management. He’s worked as adjunct faculty at ECC since 1985, teaching first in the electronics program and, more recently, in integrated systems technology where he conducts credit and non-credit classes in electric controls, hydraulics, pneumatics, mechanical drives and programmable logic controllers (PLCs). In addition, he operates a small consulting practice serving local industry.

Raymond Lacek brings 36 years of industrial experience to his classrooms. A graduate of Northern Illinois University with a degree in electronic engineering, Ray’s career started at Reynold’s Metals Co. in McCook (IL) in the electrical department. He served as an engineering tech, pyrometric department head and as project planning coordinator. His years of experience in trouble-shooting heavy mill equipment gave him invaluable experience with hydraulic, pneumatic and mechanical systems. He operated his own engineering firm for a time, worked as chief automation engineer at Anatol Manufacturing, head engineer at General Packaging Products, and design engineer at Chicago Electric. Ray is a certified level I hazmat incident commander.

Laura Lewis Barr has been teaching and training adults for over 15 years.  Her specialties include dynamic presentation skills, emotional intelligence, time management, conflict resolution, customer service, critical thinking and developing creativity. Laura is a DDI® (Development Dimensions International) certified trainer and a Six Seconds Emotional Intelligence certified trainer. Laura has an MA in performance studies from San Francisco State University. In addition to her previous work in academia, Laura also worked as a playwright (award-winning) and theatre director.

Charles Nemer is a manufacturing professional with 28 years of industry experience. He is a proven performer in the supply chain, materials and manufacturing functions of a business. He has held positions as a materials manager, business systems analyst, purchasing agent and manager. Chuck has a degree in accounting from the University of Minnesota, a master’s degree in leadership from Augsburg College and is certified to train APIC’s CPIM classes and DDI® (Development Dimensions International) leadership, team and customer service classes. Chuck is also fairly fluent in Spanish.

Chip Rose has been designing and teaching software classes for over 25 years. He has the ability to make even the most complicated software easy to understand and use. He is able to inject humor and real-world experience into all of the classes that he teaches. He helps students streamline their work day by teaching them how to use software correctly. He is proficient in many software programs, including Adobe Acrobat, Crystal Reports, MS Office, MS Project, VISIO and many more. His clients include Ace Hardware, Caterpillar, Firestone, Johnson and Johnson and Siemens Medical Systems. He also partners with community colleges and universities. Andy is a graduate of Northern Illinois University.

Gary Salvador is a certified instructor in first aid, CPR, AED and OSHA training, including forklift certification. Gary also has 15+ years of experience as a firefighter and paramedic. Gary was recently one of 29 Illinois residents to receive a Heartsaver Hero Award from Governor Pat Quinn for having trained and certified over 2,000 people in CPR.

Michael Serpe has 20 years experience in industrial and construction safety. He spent 12 years with Klein Tool in Chicago as the health and safety director. He also trained nationally for four years for Turner Construction and is currently a national trainer for NiSource Utility Corporation. Michael achieved the designation of associate safety professional, has taught at the OSHA National Training Institute, and is a member of the ANSI A10 Construction Standards Committee and ASSE Greater Chicago Chapter.  Michael holds a BS degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago with a major in engineering management.

Bob Squires is an independent trainer and consultant with 30 years progressive experience in both staff and management positions in electronics, assembly, molding, machining and stamping manufacturing environment. Bob hold a BS in management along with technical degrees in electronics and quality. Bob trains in ISO quality systems, Lean, shop math, blueprint reading, GD&T, MS project, SPC, gauging and measurement, and other technical topics.

Allen Softley has 30+ years of experience in engineering, quality management, Six Sigma and Lean manufacturing. He is a certified Six Sigma Master Black Belt and, for the last seven years, has been applying Six Sigma and Lean methodologies to improve manufacturing and transactional processes. He recently completed a project with AT&T as a Master Black Belt guiding their enterprise-wide deployment of Six Sigma. Al has a BS in mechanical engineering from Iowa State University.

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