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Meet the presidents of CIACO, West Suburban UNICO and the Arcolians

Robert Urbinati
President, Chicagoland Italian American Charitable Organization

How long have you been a member?

I have been a member for approximately 13 years.

Why did you join?

CIACO was having a membership drive and I was invited by a current member and personal friend to attend the meeting. I remember there being a lot of people I already knew at the meeting. Due to the number of friends and acquaintances that were already members, I felt comfortable and decided to join. They’re very enthusiastic about celebrating their Italian American heritage and giving back to the community.

What do you like about the organization?

One of the things I like best about CIACO is the diversity. We have members from every walk of life. We have businessmen, tradesmen, politicians, accountants, doctors and lawyers. But no matter what a person’s background is, we all come together to raise funds to help those in need.

What other leadership positions have you held in the organization?

Since joining CIACO, I have served on several committees, sometimes as chairman or co-chairman or simply one of the many volunteers. My first responsibility was given to me by our past president, Lou Scaramuzzo. He asked me to chair the apparel committee. At the time, I didn’t realize it was the first of many tests to come.

As time passed I served on the Baskets of Love, Donations, Golf Outing and Social Committees. In 2013 I had the opportunity to co-chair the Baskets of Love Committee with another board member, Dan Senese. After stepping down as president, board member Frank Saverino stepped up to co-chair with Danny.

Baskets of Love is an event that CIACO members take tremendous pride in. The committee is responsible for acquiring donations to purchase enough food items to assemble 600 crates that are distributed to families in need across the Chicago area.

The event has grown over the years from donating 50 turkeys in 1995 to 600 crates of food in 2016. Each year on the Sunday before Thanksgiving CIACO members, family and friends come together to assemble these baskets of love. This is a huge event with hundred’s of details and Co-Chairs Danny and Frank and all people on their committee make it look easy. It’s a lot of hard work but when you see all of the children placing the food items in boxes as they go by on the assembly line it’s all worth it!

I believe it was 2010 that I took on the role of secretary and continued to serve until May of 2017.

How does it feel to ascend to the presidency?

When I was first approached to take on the role of president, I wasn’t sure I was the right person for the job. It wasn’t that I didn’t want the responsibility. I knew that it was going to take time away from my family and a lot of hard work. I am very happy with my decision to serve as president of CIACO. It’s been a very fulfilling experience.

What are your plans for your term?

CIACO is really an amazing organization. Our board of directors is very open to new ideas. I believe this is why CIACO has been successful. My background is in IT (Information Technology). I hope to use my experience and knowledge to move CIACO forward by simplifying management and recordkeeping and broadening the lines of communication between the board, committees and membership.

What do you do professionally?

I started an IT company in the early ’90s. I provided onsite computer maintenance, repair and installation services. Over the years, like any business, you need to evolve. Although we still provide onsite service most of our work is now done remotely over the internet. We also have a low-voltage installation team that provides data network and IP camera installations.

Do you have any other civic involvements?

In addition to CIACO, I,m also a member of the West Suburban Chapter of UNICO National.

Are there any personal details you’d like to share?

I grew up in Franklin Park and graduated from West Leyden High School. Once married, we decided to stay in the area close to family and friends. My beautiful wife, Samantha, and I are blessed with two amazing boys. Fortunately my wife is an extremely generous and charitable person and understands the amount of time it takes to serve on the board of organization like CIACO. Having the support of family is key when serving any civic organization.

Mario Veltri
President, Chicago West Suburban Chapter, UNICO National

How long have you been a member?

I’ve been a member of the Chicago West Suburban UNICO for the past 5 years.

Why did you join?

Friends of mine were members and asked if I would like to join UNICO. After attending my first meeting, I was very impressed and loved what the organization stands for. I am overwhelmed and blessed with all the friendships I have made.

What do you like about the organization?

The organization does wonderful things with fundraising. Since I have joined I have been a part of helping to raise tens of thousands of dollars for scholarships and charitable cause. It’s a good feeling.

What other leadership positions have you held in the organization?

Before I was elected president of the chapter, I was the secretary and first vice president.

How does it feel to ascend to the presidency?

It’s a great feeling knowing that I can help make a difference in the organization. I didn’t realize how much time and effort it takes being president, but I realize it’s all for good causes.

What are your plans for your term?

I’m going on my second year as president and I am working hard to grow our chapter. I would like to see us hit 100 members. We are also planning our 60th anniversary, and that’s exciting.

What do you do professionally?

I am retired after 31 years with the City of Chicago, where I wore many hats. I started as a laborer and worked my way up to being in charge of Internal Investigations Unit. From there, I was appointed the 36th Ward Superintendent and then Deputy Commissioner of Street and Sanitation. I finished my career as head of District 2 Department of Streets and Sanitation. It was a fulfilling time in my life, but it was time to retire in 2009.

Since retirement with the City of Chicago, I drive for the St. Charles Bus Transportation Department, I’ve been doing this for the past fuve years now.

Are there any personal details you’d like to share?

I live in Geneva with my finance Cathie and 5-year-old son Vinny. We built our home on the 9th hole of Mill Creek Golf Course. We are very happy that we made Geneva our home. Life can get busy with a 5-year-old, so when we do get some free time we love to golf and take family vacations.

Do you have any other civic involvements?

I love Geneva. We want to volunteer with the local chamber of commerce to get more involved in our community. Also, my son will start kindergarten this fall so we plan to be very active with the PTO.

Dr. Stephen Esposito
President, Arcolian Dental Arts Society

Tell me about your professional education and career.

I graduated from the University of Detroit-Mercy School of Dentistry. I have an undergraduate degree in economics from Loyola University Chicago. I’m part of Associates for Family Dentistry in Gurnee.

How long have you been a member?

I’ve been a member for 6 years.

Why did you join?

I was raised in Chicago but attended dental school in Detroit, so I wasn’t a regular on the Chicago dental scene. Several friends of mine told me that it was a great group to join for fellowship, mentorship, and continuing education. I was reluctant to join at first, but I became hooked after my very first meeting. Little did I realize that I’d be heading the organization only a few years later!

What do you like about the organization?

The members here are all quintessential professionals, very accomplished, and excellent in their particular specialties. Despite lists of accolades, every member is warm, humble, welcoming and fun to be with in a way that is reminiscent of home.

Everyone is included and everyone has a great time learning and socializing. I’ve heard seasoned doctors in the organization time and time again say, “The Arcolians are my favorite social and continuing-education organization.” It’s difficult to disagree with this statement. I feel rejuvenated at the end of every meeting: full of smiles, ideas for my practice, and great Italian food.

How does it feel to ascend to the presidency?

It’s an honor to say the least. It’s work, and a responsibility, but it’s exciting being able to serve great folks who have hearts as big as their talents. I am really proud of all of our members and the credit for our success all goes to them.

Though being president is special, it pales in comparison to the accomplishments achieved through the hard work and sacrifice by many of our members outside of the organization. We have members who serve in significant roles in organized dentistry on boards and political action committees; who teach; who are included in insurance negotiations; who are leaders in the Chicago Dental Society; who provide charity; and who work tirelessly to assure that oral health is promoted, emphasized as a function of general health, and is achievable for all people.

These members fight daily to assure that delivering quality care is firmly maintained while preserving the dignity of the profession. As president, I stand on the shoulders of giants, and I’m grateful for that.

What are your plans for your term?

Our goals are to continue to grow the organization through promotional efforts aimed at local dental schools and practices. There are many dentists in the Chicago area who are of Italian descent but for one reason or another aren’t regular participants. We want to include everyone!

We provide scholarships for students who have demonstrated excellence. For practicing dentists, we’ve now turned our website into a secure membership website (www.arcoliandentalarts.com) which will both streamline operations while making it easier for interested dentists to sign up and donate.

The membership site is perhaps our most exciting accomplishment this year so far, as we are able to take membership dues, donations and promote our annual raffle, which supports the charitable mission of the Arcolians.

Additionally, member dentists will have access to an exclusive online membership directory putting nearly 100 general dentists and specialists in the Chicago area at their fingertips. It’s easier than ever to join the Arcolians, and the benefits are well worth the membership.

As always, we are proud to have the approval and certification of the Academy of General Dentistry for our continuing education, giving solid strength and value to our continuing education programs through to the year 2021.

Additionally we are striving to help members utilize the collective strength of the Arcolians to help cut costs at their offices, including introducing insurance and dental supply negotiators, consultants, and technology firms that can help dentists with the administrative aspects of running a dental business.

Arcolians Lou Imburgia and Mike Biasiello will be installed as president and general chair respectively at the Chicago Dental Society’s installation ceremony on November 11, 2017.

The Arcolian Christmas Party will be on December 12, 2017, tentatively scheduled at the Park Ridge Country Club.

And the CDS President’s Dinner Dance will take place on February 24, 2018.

We’ve also been welcoming increased sponsorship to help keep the costs of being an Arcolian low while simultaneously strengthening the value of membership by bringing businesses, ideas and bargaining power directly to our doctor members.

Ultimately, it means the patients will benefit in the long run. In return, our only hope is continued growth, fellowship, and good memories between members.

About Fra Noi

Fra Noi produces a magazine and website that serve the Chicago-area Italian-American community. Our magazine offers our readers a monthly feast of news and views, culture and entertainment that keeps our diverse and widely scattered readers in touch with each other and their heritage. Our website offers a dizzying array of information drawn from every corner of the local community.

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