Donald Brinkman -- Safety-Kleen Systems, Inc.

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Donald Wesley Brinckman

Born: March 17th , 1931 Died: June 11, 2018 Donald was born March 17, 1931 to Emil and Elsie Brinckman in Chicago, IL. He grew up in Park Ridge, IL. and attended Maine East High School. As a young man, Donald was an Andy Frain usher at Wrigley Field where he learned to love the Chicago Cubs and remained a fan for life. Donald attended the University of IL. Urbana-Champaign where he earned a Bachelor's degree in business and later went on to receive an MBA from Northwestern University. While attending the University of IL., Donald met his wife Beverly during a summer job at Jewel Tea Company in Barrington, IL. where Beverly was working as a receptionist. They were married Feb. 6th , 1954 and started a family that ultimately included five children (Scott, Bonny, Barbara, Donna & Dawn).

Donald began his career in marketing research. In 1960 he joined CR Industries of Elgin, Illinois and by 1966 was vice president and general manager of the replacement division. While searching for additional products to supplement the line of automotive parts sold by the replacement division, Donald found a small parts washer company located in Milwaukee that had a unique marketing strategy, but no resources to implement it. He recommended that CR Industries purchase Safety¬Kleen, and the acquisition was completed in 1968. He became Saftey-Kleen's President and CEO.

Under Donald's leadership, Safety-Kleen became a leading provider of environmental services to commercial, industrial and automotive customers worldwide, as well as the largest re-refiner of used oil and provider of parts cleaning services in North America. Safety-Kleen went on to become the first American company to post 17 straight years of earnings growth of more than 20 percent. Safety-Kleen was named to the Fortune 500 list in 1991.

Donald's success and ultimately the company's, stemmed from his belief that everybody in the organization was critical to its health and success. He never lost sight of the fact that the route drivers were the face of the company (to its customers) and that the process started when they placed a key in the ignition. Donald retired from Safety-Kleen in 1998.

Donald was a founding member of the American Business Conference. He served on the Board of Managers of Sherman Hospital and as a trustee of Coe College in Cedar Rapids, IA. He was actively involved in the Elgin United Way and served as a board member of the Elgin YMCA and the Illinois State Chamber of Commerce. In addition, he served on the board of directors of Johnson Worldwide Associates, Paychex, Snap-On Tool Corp and Sun Electric. Following his retirement from Safety¬Kleen, he served as a Director of Heritage Crystal Clean Inc. from 2002 to 2012. Donald loved his wife and children. He enjoyed golf and travelled extensively for business and pleasure throughout his life. He was very philanthropic and gave to many charities in and outside of the community, almost always anonymously. He read the bible daily.

He is survived by his wife Beverly, his sister, Shirley Modelhammer, and his 5 children: Scott, Bonny (Paul) Putney, Barbara (Jeffrey) Ladd, Donna (Greggory) Spethman, Dawn (Dana) Walters. He has 11 grandchildren and one great grandchild. A funeral service will be held in Donald's memory on Saturday, July 14, 2018 at St Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church in Crystal Lake, IL at 10:30am.

Published by Chicago Tribune on Jun. 21, 2018.

President and Chief Executive Officer Safety-Kleen Corp. Current: Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Safety-Kleen Corp. - Elgin, Illinois

Donald W. Brinckman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Safety-Kleen Corp. since 1968, has guided the company's growth from initial year revenues approximating $100,000 to 1987 revenues of over $333 million. Mr. Brinckman holds a B.S. degree in marketing and an M.B.A. from Northwestern University and received an honorary doctorate from Judson College. Early in his business career, he was employed by Crane Company and Outboard Marine Corporation, primarily in marketing research. In 1960, he joined CR Industries, Elgin, Illinois, as Market Research Manager. He became Manager of Planning and Distribution in 1962 and was promoted to Vice President of the Replacement Division in 1966. He recommended that CR Industries purchase Safety-Kleen in 1968. Mr. Brinckman became President of Safety-Kleen, retaining his position as Vice President of the parent company until Safety-Kleen's spin-off from CR in 1974. Mr. Brinckman is a founding member of the American Business Conference, a coalition of emerging growth companies. In 1984, he and the company were selected to receive the first annual “Excellence in Corporate Growth Award” by the Chicago Chapter of the Association for Corporate Growth. He was inducted into the Illinois Business Hall of Fame in September of 1986. “I believe that within our American system of free enterprise, almost anything is possible.”

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