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DeKalb names business leaders to hall of fame

Published: Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2014 5:30 a.m. CDT

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DeKALB – The DeKalb Chamber inducted five new Hall of Fame members at the 2014 Annual Dinner Jan. 23. The Hall of Fame program is designed to honor prominent business leaders, both past and present, who have made extraordinary contributions to the DeKalb area, earned the respect of the local community, and added value to our county and citizens in shaping our local way of life.

Michael Embrey

Embrey is the chief hospitality officer of FunME Events Entertainment and Excursions. He is also the creator and artist director of the NICE Society, Music Festivals to You and Broadway to You, and creator of Kishwaukee Fest. Embrey has also been the band director at Northern Illinois University, is a frequent speaker in the area of tour and travel enhancement, and has a professional background that includes work as an entertainer, musician, event planner and show producer.

Carme Gregory

Gregory is a 41-year member of the Chamber Ambassadors Committee and has served on various ad hoc committees for the chamber. She spent 50 years teaching in public schools, business community, community colleges, and professional certification associations. Gregory is also a past recipient of Kishwaukee College Instructor of Year.

Michael Larson

Larson is a board member of KishHealth System, DeKalb County Building & Development Association, Re:New DeKalb, and the Castle Bank Advisory Board. He is also a member of the finance advisory committee for the DeKalb City Council, DeKalb County Public Building Commission,past chairman of the board of Kish Health System, and president of the DeKalb County Building & Development Association. Michael is the executive director of the Northern Illinois Material Producers Association and president of DeKalb Hotel Group, LLC, building the Hampton Inn on Annie Glidden Road. He is also on the board of the Illinois Aggregate Association, treasurer and a member of the church council of St. Mary Sycamore, and on the board of the National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association.

Tom Smith

Smith started The Confectionary in 1982 with his wife, Sharon, and retired in 2012. He has held editorial positions at The Chicago Tribune, Pierre Capital Journal, Beloit Daily News and Freeport Journal Standard. Smith was in the US Navy during the Korean Conflict.

Bob Brown Sr. (Pioneer Award)

Brown and his wife, Rita, owned and operated Uncle Bob’s Kiddie Korner in downtown DeKalb. He was involved in many roles at WLBK for 50 years providing news, farm and community service programming for DeKalb and the surrounding area. He was committed to bettering DeKalb by promoting businesses, organizations and causes on the radio through featuring them during community service programs.

Brown was also known for serving as master of ceremonies, humorist, entertainer and public speaker at local events.

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