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Irony Abounds in Return to Willis Tower

Thirty-one years ago, when I was in college, I used to work in the summer at Weisser Optical. Upon graduating, I wanted to get out of central Illinois and move to the big city. My very first job? Sears Optical in the Sears Tower. My parents were so proud that I was working in the world’s tallest building. 

Bob Weber has always commented that I have a memory like a sponge.  I’ll never forget coming into work on LL1 and discovering a black liquid all over the floor.  The sprinkler adjacent to the optical store had frozen and busted.  I called the building manager, and he stated for me to stay and wait for Viking Fire Protection — and ESD. 

Yes, ESD. I don’t remember who from ESD came to inspect the sprinkler, but it may have been Sam Salawan. I specifically remembered ESD because I had to fill out a report.

Upon leaving the Sears Tower, I opened my own optical store named Glenbrook Optical. I owned two stores for about four years until LensCrafters moved down the street. They could make glasses in an hour, so I got out of the business. My next job was in marketing for Data Center Design and Development in Palatine. The rest is history.

I find it ironic that I started my career at the Sears Tower and, through God’s graces, will finish my career at the Willis Tower after we move in April 16. A further irony is that I briefly met ESD, having no idea that I would eventually work for the firm.

I started in the basement … and now I’m moving toward the top.