Finance director Nowak leaves Skokie after 28 years
Skokie Finance Director Robert Nowak, who recently resigned to work for Oakton Community College, is honored this month at a Skokie Village Board meeting. | Mike Isaacs~Sun-Times Media
Updated: January 21, 2013 2:05PM
Skokie Finance Director Robert Nowak worked for the village for 28 years before he resigned to accept a job as Oakton Community College’s vice president of business finance.
Before he finished up his work for Skokie on Friday, the Village Board approved a resolution in his honor.
The Skokie resident served as treasurer and finance director for the village for more than 21 years. He helped Skokie achieve the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting from the Government Finance Officers Association for 24 consecutive years.
Nowak also served on the Board of Directors and as treasurer for the Illinois Retirement Investment Fund. He served on the village’s Fire Pension Board and assisted and guided the Skokie Police Pension Board.
Nowak, 54, served on the Centre East Authority Board from 2004 to 2006 and contributed to the development and success of the North Shore Center For the Performing Arts in Skokie.
Q: When you were hired in Skokie, did you ever think you’d be here for 28 years?
A: No, I must admit I never thought I’d work for any employer for that long. I had come from a small accounting firm in Park Ridge where I had been working for nine months, so I could not have imagined working for one employer that long.
Q: What kept you in Skokie for nearly three decades?
A: I really think it was the integrity of the people I worked with. That included the mayor, the (Village) Board, the staff and really everyone in the finance department. Working with people of such integrity kept me here for a long time.
Q: What are some of the biggest differences between when you first arrived and now?
A: When I first walked in the door here, the village did not have one PC. Not one. I remember when we got our first one, it had 10 megabytes, and we all wondered how we would ever fill it up. It’s a different world now.
Q: What are some of the highlights when you look back on your career in Skokie?
A: The way Old Orchard (shopping center) was transformed was a big highlight. I played a part in the redevelopment plan in the ’90s and was a consultant on that project. The redevelopment of Old Orchard was a major boon to the village. The Illinois Science + Technology Park was a big addition to Skokie, and we spent a long time working on that.
Q: What made you accept a job with Oakton Community College?
A: Being in the same job for many years, I was ready for some change. You work budget to audit to budget to audit to budget to audit. You do that to some degree at (Oakton), too, but a totally new venue working in education got my curiosity.
Q: How will the experience you had in Skokie help in your new job?
A: I’m going from a village that has had a tax freeze for so many years to a college that is very conscious about providing quality education while keeping tuition down. So I think I’ll be able to bring some of my experience with the village to Oakton to try to achieve similar goals.
Q: What are some of your hobbies when you’re not working?
A: I’m very active in our church – Skokie Valley Baptist Church. I also like to do household projects in wood working. I work with my brains here and with my hands at home. In fact, we have a joke around here. Whenever I’m working on a project, my boss (Village Manager Al Rigoni) likes to count my fingers when I return to make sure all the digits are still there. ~.