Class of 1956
Dennis Kessler is the President and founder of Midwest Family Business Advisors a firm specializing in helping families to overcome the challenges inherent in mixing business with family. www.midwestfamilybusinessadvisors.com. He advises clients on cyber security succession planning, conflict resolution, strategic planning, employee recruitment and retention strategies, work/life benefits and Family and Business Governance structures. Dennis is the former Co-President of Fel‑Pro Inc., which was in his family for 80 years.
Fortune Magazine ranked Fel-Pro fourth in their list of best companies to work for in America. Fel-Pro is listed as one of the ten best companies in the book entitled, "The 100 Best Companies to Work for in America." Fel‑Pro was chosen as one of the 10 best employers for women in the country by "Working Mother" magazine for twelve straight years. Fel-Pro was also chosen as the "Employer of the Year" in Illinois. The Business Enterprise Trust founded by Norman Lear, awarded Fel-Pro special recognition for its programs that enhance the quality of life for employees.
Dennis earned an Industrial Engineering and a Masters degree in Engineering Administration from Washington University in St. Louis. He worked for DuPont, Union Electric and Orchard Paper prior to joining Fel‑Pro. At Fel‑Pro he held several managerial positions including: Vice President of Engineering, VP of Operations, and VP of Original Equipment Sales, as well as President of; the Ventures Group of companies, including Fel-Pro Realty Inc. and Fel-Pro Chemical Products LLP.
Dennis currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors and Advisors of three Private Company Boards: SWANK Motion Pictures, O’Neil Industries and QuesTek Innovations. He is a Founding member of the Private Directors Association. Dennis serves on the Board of Directors of several non-profit organizations including the Dystonia Medical Research Foundation, and Michael Rolfe Pancreatic Cancer Foundation. He currently serves as a member of the advisory board of DePaul University’s College of Commerce, and Washington University’s Engineering School Council in St. Louis. He formerly served as a member of the Board of Directors of Fel-Pro, Loyola Family Business Center, and Ideal Industries, Inc., and as Chairman of the Workforce Development Committee of Lake County Partners, IL. The Board of Directors of the Northern Illinois Business Association and as Chairman of Northwestern University’s School of Engineering and Applied Science Advisory Council and others.
He has served as guest lecturer for numerous organizations including: Loyola Family Business Center, Family Firm Institute, Northwestern University - Kellogg Graduate School, University of Chicago, University of Pennsylvania-Wharton School of Management and the Southeastern Family Office Forum. He has previously served on a volunteer basis as President of the Dystonia Medical Research Foundation, the North Suburban Housing Center and Vice President of Congregation Solel. Kessler has also received the Outstanding Alumni Achievement Award from Washington University Engineering School.
Dennis and his wife, Barbara, live in Highland Park, Illinois, and have 3 grown children.
Barbara and me in Galapagos