Getting Personal: Chris Kaler

Getting Personal: Chris Kaler

Getting Personal is an email Q&A with a local personality. Here, Meg Dickinson chats with Chris Kaler, executive director of the Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce.

Getting Personal appears first in print, in Sunday editions of The News-Gazette. In the Oct. 30 newspaper, we'll have a chat with Sue Grey of Champaign.

What time do you typically get up? What do you do the first hour of the morning?

I get up at 5:15 a.m. and go for a 4-mile run with my wife and best friend, Robin Kaler, and Jazzy, the wonder dog.

What did you have for lunch today? Where? With whom?

Grilled tenderloin sandwich with a piece of cheese at Ott's Drive In on North Century in Rantoul. For the last 15 years once a week I've have lunch with the same group of guys, Dave, Brian, Jeff, Neil and Tim, to work on international, domestic and athletic related issues important to the human race.

Best high school memory?

The Rantoul High School Superintendent Fred Reifsteck telling me that I seemed to have more free periods than he does and he is supposed to have the most and could I explain that. I really liked Mr. Reifsteck.

Tell me about your favorite pair of shoes.

Asics GT 2150 running shoes. I used to have a nagging knee problem when I ran. Turns out, I just needed a front-end alignment, so I got fitted with my 2150s at Body N'Sole and, presto, I've been running smoothly ever since. I have about eight pair lying around that I wear for all occasions.

What does a perfect Sunday afternoon include?

Hanging out with my wife, Robin, and daughters Zoe and Emily, then watching the Chicago Bears game and playing a little golf at Brookhill.

Was there one book you read as a child that you still cherish? Own? Read?

"Curious George."

Where on Earth are you dying to go? Why?

Grand Canyon and Alaska, to just sit, relax and take in the natural beauty of the landscape.

Tell me about your favorite pet.

Jazzy, our long-haired Dachshund, because she is such a loyal running partner, and our yellow lab Marshall Tucker, God rest her soul because she was so lovable.

Have you discovered as you matured that you are becoming like one of your parents?

Wait. What? Turn that music down; I can't hear you. What did you say? Back in my day, we didn't have this kind of fancy stuff like extra long receiver cords on the telephone. Oh, yeah, I think we all eventually become our parents.

Which one and how?

I see a little of both: my dad because he always had a smile and my mother because she liked to have a good time.

What would you order for your last meal?

I would order the Ott's Hay Stack because it's not the kind of meal your doctor would approve of but it tastes so good. What better time to treat yourself to the forbidden fruit of the Hay Stack then your last meal?

Bon Appetit!

What can you NOT live without?

Robin, Zoe, Emily and music.

Who do you have on your iPod?

Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jack Johnson, Marshall Tucker, Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen and Dire Straits.

What's the happiest memory of your life?

My wedding day: 12-14-1985.

If you could host a dinner party with any three living people in the world, whom would you invite?

My wife Robin, Albert Pujols and Bruce Springsteen.

What's the best advice you've ever been given?

Treat people the way you would want to be treated.

What's your best piece of advice?

Concentrate on the things you can control and not on the things you can't. If you love someone, tell them. Every day!

What was your first job, and how much did you make an hour?

Working for Sarge Vetter at the Schwinn bicycle shop patching tire tubes and cleaning up. Fifty cents a day seemed like a lot in 1967.

What was a pivotal decision in your career, and how did you arrive at that decision?

My decision to not move out of state to keep my job when the regional marketing office I was working at closed. My father had just passed away and we had a new baby girl named Zoe. I thought it was more important to stay close to my mom so she could see her granddaughter grow up.

Do you have a bad habit? What is it?

Yes, I do. I enjoy baked goods way too much.

How do you handle a stressful situation?

Try to stay calm and carry on.

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