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Mara Maas

Mara responded to a help wanted ad placed by Steve Schoop for “General Office” help. They talked by phone, and while he had already hired someone, she did manage to secure an interview none the less. While she thought the interview went well, Steve being Steve remained committed to the person he had already hired. "As luck would have it, I heard back from him when the new hire failed to show up on their first day. The job was mine! I started with ADE on November 6, 1991."

Mara started working in 1979 during her first year in high school. "When I graduated in 1983, I had no clear clue what I wanted to do with my life other than to experience the exciting and glamorous life and freedoms of finally being considered an adult. Ha!" Mara knew she liked earning money, so she started working full-time while she figured things out. This journey took her to the retail, banking, clerical, and manufacturing industries over the next eight years. While she still hadn't figured out exactly what field she wanted to end up in, her work experiences helped to determine that she preferred to work in an office environment.

"In 1991, I bought my first home, in Addison, and wanted to find a better job closer to home. As mentioned earlier, I was grateful for the opportunity to join the ADE team on November 6, 1991." 

Mara spent the first day being trained by a temp. On day two, she was on her own! Mara was one of six employees at that time. Steve Schoop and the late Raymond Hickey were the owners, salesmen, and her direct bosses. They also had two other salesmen, one being Bob Zak, and a draftsman. Mara sat at the front desk, greeting walk-ins, answering the phone, and handling bookkeeping and clerical tasks.

Some of her experiences from the early years include being coerced (twice!) by a coworker to run in a 10K that used to be held as part of the annual National Restaurant Show in Chicago. Mara says running period is something she would never have done otherwise. She also attended two SEFA Conferences, one at Delfield in Mt. Pleasant, MI, and another at Vollrath in Sheboygan, WI. "These conferences are an excellent tool for sales professionals to network and hone their craft. Knowledge is power!"

Some things Mara remembers from the early years include how the salesperson would handwrite specs and purchase orders and sometimes place them by mail or by fax. The typewriter got a lot of use. Payable checks were written by hand. 

When Mara started, there were two computers in the office. Steve had one, and she had the other one. It didn't have a hard drive, so anything important had to be saved to a floppy disk. When it was time for a new computer, Mara received it. Mara installed their first accounting program on it. As a result, she was also the first to try out a "new" quoting program specifically designed for the industry. Eventually, AutoQuotes, AutoCAD, e-mail, and mobile phones improved their work world.

"I was promoted to General Manager on March 26, 2004. It came as a complete surprise, and I was thrilled! I have taken my role very seriously over the years, and the responsibility has been a priority in my life."

While Mara directly manages their front office department, she wears several hats, including management of IT needs, accounting functions, insurance, human resources, and payroll. She has hired, fired, and performed a lot
of training and monitors their building and property maintenance. However, she says she leaves sales to
the professionals. 

As is typical, several employees have come and gone over the years for various reasons. One was the loss of Raymond Hickey in 1999, and another was the sudden death of Mike Hill in 2007. Mara says, "All employees, past and present, have played a role in helping ADE move forward and become what it is today. Several ADE team members have been with ADE for many years, proving that ADE is a great workplace. Satisfied employees will work harder to make sure customers are happy as well. We survived Y2K, the Great Recession of 2008/2009, and the COVID-19 pandemic. It is Steve's positive vision that has guided ADE from the very beginning back in 1982. Steve has always treated everyone fairly. I'd like to think I do too!"

"When I think about my many years with ADE, I'm always surprised and wonder where the time has gone. Perhaps that means I am getting closer to figuring out what I want to do with my life."  

Contact Mara

phone: 630-628-0811

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