Russ Hopkins – Director

I grew up ages ago on the Northwest Side of Chicago and was certainly aware of the World War going on around me – rationing, mock air raids, etc. Lots of time devoted to Cowboys and Indians battles in the nearby Edgebrook Woods Attended and graduated from St. Tarcissus School while playing lots of baseball and hockey, much of it on the frozen Chicago River. A major Chicago sports fan who recalls Sid Luckman and attending one of the 1945 World Series games in Wrigley Field.

I attended Fenwick High School in Oak Park and graduate from St. George High School in Evanston after we moved to Skokie. Next academic stops were Notre Dame and Michigan State, where I majored in Marketing and earned an MBA. Mixed up in all of this, was an Army tour in Germany as a Medical Corpsman, which featured several other interested duties which included fostering German/American relations. Those were the days.

In terms of a career, I spend a few years with a Japanese importing company, featuring roller chain, bicycle equipment, and hand tools. After that, I spent a good amount of time representing members of the beer and wine industries with lots of national and some international travels.
Those positions gave me lots of experience with voluntary organization management and Federal Government relations activity. I guess you could say that I did some lobbying in Washington for awhile.

After that, I founded The Beverage Network which sought to assist beverage suppliers market their innovative new wave beverages in the USA. This included primarily non-alcoholic specialty beverages but also some food items, many imported. In general, we were ahead of our time and watched others capitalize on our brilliant ideas and discoveries.

The next phase is ongoing whereby I am just having lots of fun and much satisfaction as a poor private citizen. I founded the Blue Star Family Platoon and represented the National Military Family Association in Illinois. That was pretty much during Iraq/Afghan wars. At the same time I became involved with a number of children and family services organizations some of which are related in some way with the Department of Children and Family Services.

Due to several of health episodes during the past decade I have also become in projects associated with various community engagement committees of the University of Illinois at Chicago such as the UIC Cancer Center’s Patient Brigade which fosters clinical research and patient centered care within the UIC Healthcare System.

For years I have been spending as much time as possible at an old cottage in the woods in Wisconsin with Lake Michigan in the backyard. If you can’t find me in the summer, I am probably there Up North hiding from the Civilized Urban World.