Don Schlorff is Executive Vice President of Corporate Administration and Director of Sustainability at Busey Bank. He currently serves as president of the board for the Illinois Green Business Association and chair of the Champaign County Chamber of Commerce Public Policy Committee. Schlorff also serves on the Project Impact Committee for the City of Urbana, East Central Illinois Workforce Development Commission, and the Illinois Bankers Operations School board of directors.
Don Schlorff a busy man, he's been active in this community for 30 years, and I got him to slow down long enough to tell me why Urbana is so great.
Smile Politely: How did you get introduced to the Urbana Business Association?
Don Schlorff: As a lifelong resident of Champaign County and having been raised in Urbana, I’m proud to have worked in this community for more than 30 years. Because of these ties, I have known about and been a longtime supporter of the UBA and local business. Late last year, I was honored to be approached by the UBA about becoming a board member. I’m excited about the opportunities before us and look forward to working with Urbana business.
SP: What are your hopes and plans for the community?
Schlorff: Urbana is already an ideal place to start and raise a family, launch your business, or expand your operations. The UBA and the businesses in the community have created a comfortable place in which people can work, live, and enjoy diverse opportunities for entertainment. With an emphasis on supporting local businesses, we are able to develop a strong, sustainable foundation to help our community continue to grow and prosper. Creating and supporting quality events like the Sweetcorn Festival and Market at the Square enhances the experiences that can be found in the community.
Champaign County Bikes encouraging fans of the Market at the Square to bike there
SP: Tell me a little about you.
Schlorff: As president of the board for the Illinois Green Business Association board, I am a proponent for sustainability -both personally and professionally. In whatever I do, I want to give back to this great community. In the past, I have also chaired the Illini Prairie Chapter of the American Red Cross and served for eight years at Parkland Community College teaching banking law. I am a graduate of the University of Illinois.
I live in Philo with my wife, Mary, and son, Robert, and enjoy cooking, hiking, gardening, and photography.
SP: Is your gardening hobby a part of that personal sustainability? Do you grow your own food or bee friendly plants? I'm interesting in starting that kind of thing myself, but I have a grey thumb.
Schlorff: The gardening is a holdover from growing up. My family always had a big garden. Besides, I really like eating things I have grown myself. I have a few bee friendly plants but am not into beekeeping. I even have some rhubarb that came from my great grandmother's garden, and I have moved it every time I have changed residences.
SP: How has this town changed, as far as youth and family opportunities go, in the past 30 years?
Schlorff: That is a good question. I have seen a lot more focus on family based events and restaurants... over the past 30 years. There are many more youth sports opportunities and a lot more family focused events, from art fairs to food based events. In short, there are numerous choices of things to do throughout the year. You can also take advantage of the parks throughout the community...
A barista makes a pour-over at Cafe Zojo, a member of the UBA
SP: I was born in Kankakee but raised here. I've been comparing the two my whole life, and Urbana/Champaign has so much more to offer for families! There are things for young people to do, instead of getting into trouble. In your personal opinion, what are some challenges that families might have, as far as affordable, healthy fun goes?
Schlorff: Some potential challenges that families could have when wanting to participate in fun activities could be items such as transportation, choices of events, admission fees, and proximity to home.
SP: How are those needs met in our community?
Schlorff: In our communities we have a good bus system, which provides routes throughout the community. We are a bicycle friendly community. Busey Bank has a designated drive-up lane for bicycles in our southeast Urbana location at The Pines. Parking is available throughout the communities. Our cities do a nice job of maintaining sidewalks for pedestrian traffic and streets for vehicular traffic.
With the transportation options we have available, most of the fun to be had is easy to get to and does not take a long time to make the trip.
SP: I agree about the bus system. There's really a lot out there to experience and it's so worth the trip!
Schlorff: There are always a number of events on almost every weekend that you can choose from, including farmers markets, concerts, food fairs, and the occasional marathon. The University has several annual open houses that are free and family friendly where you can learn about engineering, animals and other subjects. The libraries offer programs for children and adults. There are many sporting events to choose from including softball, baseball, soccer, basketball, football, track, and tennis to name a few. You can go and watch teams from grade school through college or you can participate yourself. A number of these events are free of charge. There are a good number of parks in the communities which offer space to play, hike, swim or just sit and relax.
SP: I always say, "If you're bored in CU, you're boring."
There are a lot of amazing things to do in this town. Don't be a loser. Just go check them out.