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Family environment makes Taylor feel right at home at Thelen

Chad R. Taylor

Chad R. Taylor

Perhaps it’s because Chad R. Taylor was one of five children that he feels so at home in-house at Thelen Sand & Gravel.

If, like Taylor, you grew up in a large Catholic family, no explanation is necessary. If not, suffice it to say that Taylor was surrounded by loving, opinionated family members. With two full-time working parents, the Taylor children learned early on that they were expected to help out, each one playing a part to achieve a greater good.

In other words, he was born into being part of a team — and that mindset serves him well today at Thelen.

Headquartered in Antioch, Ill., Thelen is a provider of construction materials to customers throughout northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin. It has expanded to seven locations, two in Wisconsin.  Straddling two states means Taylor must keep up with both state’s laws.

Taylor became Thelen’s first general counsel and environmental manager in March 2007, after several years’ service as the company’s outside legal counsel on several matters, including a high-profile, contentious case that ultimately concluded with one of Wisconsin’s largest annexations.

“The annexation, siting and permitting of a 1,200-acres gravel pit for Thelen in the village of Twin Lakes was definitely a highlight and one that probably opened the door for me eventually going in-house,” Taylor says.

The best part of working in-house, according to Taylor, is, “the feeling I get from being directly involved with and part of a single client — in my case, a third-generation, family-owned business.

“When you serve as outside counsel for a company you definitely take pride in the work you’ve done to help the company, but when you actually work in-house for that same company it’s a completely different experience,” Taylor said. “Your entire perspective changes; you definitely become more cognizant of the company’s success and dollars and cents. You become directly involved in every aspect of the business, from HR to sales to environmental compliance — not just legal.”

Before private practice, Taylor worked as a lobbyist, and as chief legal counsel to both the Offices of the Governor and the Speaker of the State Assembly.

His public-sector work was an amazing opportunity for a new lawyer. “During that time I met the Dalai Lama, served as chairperson of the State Pardons Board, flew on Blackhawk helicopters to survey flood damage, and helped deal with the issues associated with the 9/11 attacks and anthrax scares,” he said.

Employer: Thelen Sand & Gravel Inc., general counsel and environmental manager

Education: J.D., University of    Wisconsin Law School, 1996

Professional affiliations: State bar associations of both Illinois and Wisconsin; The Association of Corporate Counsel; Illinois Association of Aggregate Producers Environmental Committee

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