An Interview with Mark and Karla Keilman

Updated: May 27, 2018

By Gordan Nary

Gordon: Karla. I envy you for working at Herman Miller.  The Herman Miller Aeron Chairs must have been divinely inspired. What interested you in studying design and where did you study?

Karla: It started in high school when I worked at a retail store in my hometown of Galena.  My favorite task was designing the window displays.  When I attended Illinois State University in 1991 I started taking classes in Interior design and took a special interest in the technical aspect of design.  Understanding spatial requirements, building and accessibility codes, and equipment specifics fascinated me.  I am not particularly skilled with designing residential interiors but prefer commercial and healthcare design.


Gordon: Karla. When did you join Herman Miller and what have been some of your most enjoyable projects.

Karla: I’ve been with Herman Miller since 2007 working in the Healthcare division.  Most people do not know Herman Miller has a healthcare division.  I’ve worked with the University of Chicago Medical Center, University of Illinois Health System, Rush University Medical Center, Northwestern Memorial Hospital, as well as a few of the local VA hospitals such as Jesse Brown and Edward Hines.  Our capabilities extend throughout the hospital from laboratories and pharmacies to patient rooms and caregiver work areas.  The most rewarding aspect of my job is working with clinicians and helping provide better spaces for them to work and for patients to heal.


Gordon: Mark, I understand that you are an Electrical Engineering consultant. Could you give us an overview of some of the projects on  which you have consulted?

Mark: For the past two years I have been working on high voltage transmission control upgrade projects for ComEd, and electrical preventive maintenance programs for Microsoft Data Center. Previous to this, I have managed large Health Care and Institutional construction projects, including RUSH Medical Center replacement hospital, University of Illinois Medical Center Capital Program, and Chicago Public Schools Renovation Program projects.


Gordon: When and why did you join OLMC parish? 

Mark: I moved to Lakeview in 1994 and began attending mass at various parishes in the area. Based on many aspects, including parish staff, parishioner make-up, and connection with worship, we became parishioners in 2001.


Gordon: Karla. If you were suggesting to friends that they consider joining OLMC, what would be your three top reasons? 

Karla: The choir is lovely, the sanctuary is very calm and serene, and of course the parishioners are always warm and welcoming.

Gordon: Mark, Are there any other reasons that you might suggest?

Mark: With the Parish Transformation program under way, this is a perfect opportunity for new members to engage in a vibrant and dynamic community.


Gordon: Mark, you are on the OLMC Parish Transformation Finance Committee. What are some of your suggestions for increasing parish financial support?

Mark: I believe as new programs (worship, communication, education, community) are added, and existing programs refined, we will reengage many idle parishioners, and accordingly attract many new parishioners.


Gordon: Mark, in your opinion, what are some of the more important initiatives in the OLMC Parish Transformation Plan?

Mark: I truly believe all of the initiatives are critical to the parish as collectively they provide an avenue for all to  engage in what is most individually fulfilling, and an opportunity for the parish to recognize & utilize the individual talents of parishioners.

Gordon: Karla. Are there other parish activities in which you and Mark participate? 


Karla: Both of our children, Greta and Marian. attend the Religious Education classes on Thursday evenings at OLMC. Mark is a member of the Parish Transformation Committee, and Parish Finance Committee.


Gordon: What Mass do you usually attend? 


Karla: 8, 9:30, or 4:30 based on convenience or whether our children are alter serving.


Gordon: Do you have a favorite restaurant in the Lakeview area?

Mark & Karla: Big & Littles, Hutch, Crisp, Brazilian Bowl., Cozy, Joy’s and Wakamon


Gordon: What are some of Chicago's cultural events that you enjoy the most? 

Mark & Karla: We enjoy Jazz fest, Blues fest, and of course our local festivals such as the East Lakeview Festival of the Arts.


Gordon: I appreciated your and Karla's help in completing this interview and for your beautiful family portrait.

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