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Communications and Marketing

Alumna praised for her success in business

Courtney Wright ’88 was recently featured in the Chicago Sun-Times for the innovation of her manufacturing company.

A Chicago-area businesswoman hopes to make manufacturing cool again.

By Shia Kapos

Courtney Wright, who counts business titan Andrew McKenna as a mentor, is ramping up work at Gemini Builds It, a 40-year-old maker of picture frames. She bought the Elgin business six months ago from original owner Fred Campbell, who retired.

Wright has beefed up employee ranks from 50 to 65, added profit-sharing, pay raises, a retirement plan, town hall meetings and doughnut days (nice).

“I want to make it a great manufacturing company,” says the Rhode Island native who earned a business degree from Lake Forest College.

Wright spent nearly two decades working with McKenna at Schwarz Supply Source, a Morton Grove-based paper company that supplied McDonald’s. She went on to found CDW Merchants.

Wright and McKenna, a retired chairman of McDonald’s Corp., remain in touch and now that she’s building another company, she says she finds herself referring to his management tips.

“He told us ‘Be easy to buy from.’ I use the same quote. I think about him every day when I’m helping develop my team,” Wright says. “He taught me how to make a small business big — and to do it fast.”

—Chicago Sun-Times (IL) - March 28, 2017