Yes, the guy pictured here in the blue shirt is Kane County’s very own Carl Schoedel, who my friend described as “the smartest guy in the room” before introducing him.
Carl is a curve-breaker, for sure, but he’s also as nice a person as you’ll find, and he cares — a lot — about big issues in Kane County. Which works out well when you think about it, because he is, after all, the director of Kane County’s Division of Transportation as well as the county engineer.
It also works out well because Carl was invited to participate in Chicago Community Trust’s “On the Table” dialogue hosted by Sun-Times Media on Monday morning at Harner’s Bakery and Restaurant in North Aurora.
As I understand it, the idea of “On the Table” is to get people together — “diverse and passionate voices” is the way my friend Denise Crosby describes it in her column — for discussions on quality-of-life issues in our neck of the woods. Apparently, Chicago Community Trust hosted hundreds of these local get-togethers Monday morning and plans to follow up with additional surveys to collect the information and share it at a date-to-be-named-later.
In addition to Carl, participants in this particular coffee talk included Naperville Chamber of Commerce President Nicki Anderson; Naperville Loaves & Fishes CEO Charles McLimans; Elgin activist Danise Habun; Elgin Mayor Dave Kaptain; Aurora Police Cmdr. Kristen Ziman; and VNA Outreach Coordinator Nidya Garcia, according to Crosby’s column.
We’re spotlighting the breakfast excursion here because it is a lot like Kane County Connects — getting good people from one end of the county to the other to engage, think about issues and maybe even find solutions. We know Kane County Connects isn’t “there” yet, but it’s a place we might want to be someday.
It’s probably worthy of note that the folks at that table weren’t pie-in-the-sky dreamers, in my opinion. They were more the nuts-and-bolts, get-stuff-done types, and a lot of what they said made sense — to me any way. That collaboration isn’t just a feel-good exercise, it’s a way to become more effective. That a lot of problems are best solved locally. That “small steps really can change the world,” as Ziman said.
The jury’s still out on what was accomplished Monday morning — as it is on Kane County Connects, when you think about it — but the conclusion might be of more than passing interest to all of us.