The Evanston Chamber of Commerce will honor the head of a plumbing company and a top university official at its annual meeting next week.

The chamber announced today that it has named John Cahill, president of John J. Cahill, Inc. of Evanston, as its businessperson of the year and Eugene Sunshine, senior vice president for business and finance at Northwestern University as its honoree in the community service and non-profit sector.

The 93rd annual chamber meeting will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 30, at 27Live, the new entertainment/restaurant complex at 1012 Church St.

Cahill’s family-owned firm is even older than the chamber. Founded in 1890, it’s the oldest family-owned plumbing, heating and cooling business in the state.

Cahill says he’s particularly proud that over 20 of his current and past employees have worked for the company for over 30 years.

A former chamber board member, Cahill serves on the advisory board of the Mitchell Museum of the American Indian, the Grandmother Park initiative and the Business Advisory Council of Mental Health America North Shore.

Sunshine, for many years a member of the chamber’s executive committee, has been with Northwestern for 16 years as its chief business, financial, administrative and personnel officer and the principal advisor to NU’s president on non-academic affairs.

He previously held a similar position at The John Hopkins University and before that was the state treasurer of New York.

Tickets for the event are $45 per person. For reservations, email or call 847-328-1500 x22.

Top: John Cahill and Eugene Sunshine.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Cahill doesn’t bother with plumbing parts anymore
    I went to Cahill on Church the other day to get parts for a plumbing repair as I’ve done in the past. There was a note on the door: “we no longer sell plumbing parts and supplies”. An employee said to me “blame it on Home Depot, we can’t make any money on it”.

    So I was directed not to Home Depot, but to a plumbing supply place in Skokie, which had what I needed.

    Cahill is now into home renovation, so what used to be a plumbing supply place is now filled with upscale bathroom fixtures. It’s not that there isn’t any money to be made in plumbing parts or nobody would sell them, it’s that there is much much more money to be made in bathroom makeovers. The business may have been founded in 1890 but it isn’t the place it was.

    A business exists to make money, nothing wrong with that, but heaping praise on businessmen/women as if they were really putting themselves second for all of us is a bit much.

    1. Plumbing Parts?

      Clif – I have lived in Evanston almost 30 years, I have used Cahill, through out that time, I found them to be honest and stand by the work they do.  They will correct a problem, without charging you, if it was their issue.

      The plumbing business as well as other construction trades are way down for work, almost 50% unemployment. Your point they don't sell parts, why should they if they can make a profit?  If they operated like the city of evanston they would have been out of business years ago.

    2. What I gather

      What I gather from your post is that we should not honor Mr. Cahill, because he is turning a profit in a manner that doesn't suit your plumbing repair problem.

    3. Great job

      What a nonsensical post. I use Cahill all the time for plumbing/HVAC maintenance, repairs and replacement, you know, real plumbing work.

      The idea that they must stock a few thousand little thingy's, and virtually no plumbers do, to qualify for such an award is absurd. In fact, the very decision to change by dropping all the little junk, because virtually every plumber around uses the Skokie supply house, and upgrading your business as they have done is exactly why a business deserves to win such an award.

      Great job Cahill, the reason you've been around since 1890 is because you don't get stuck in the past and adapt, outstanding.

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