Highland News Leader

Know Your Neighbor in Highland: Rob Bowman

One quick glance at the curriculum vitae of Rob Bowman reads much like a “Who’s Who.” His education, work experience and accomplishments are lengthy and there is no indication he intends to stop anytime soon.

Rob began his life on May 15, 1961, in Oak Park, Illinois. He was the youngest child born to Richard and Ethel Bowman. His elder siblings included two sisters, Judy and Ann, and one brother, Rich. Even though Oak Park was sizable, Rob’s growing-up days were at a time when it was relatively safe to ride a bicycle or walk wherever he wished to go.

He played football and has special memories of Halloween. Additionally, he had a close network of friends, so he was not particularly pleased when, at age 12, he and his family relocated to Berkeley, Illinois. Because of being the youngest child by seven years, Rob said his parents were probably less strict with him than his siblings.

In high school, Rob was drawn to arithmetic and science and noted all students in the English class were required to compose no less than seven themes each semester. It was during this time Rob met Gary Geraci, who would end up being a life-long friend. Rob graduated from Proviso West High School in Hillside in 1979.

He, like most other kids, had a curfew. One evening after the time had passed for him to return home, his mother locked the house, including screen doors. Rob was not really late at all, but sitting in the driveway visiting with Gary. Around 2 a.m. Gary left and Rob attempted to gain entry to his home.

Realizing everything was locked, he peeked into a window and could see his mother sitting up wide awake reading a book. He tapped on the window to get her attention. She finally acquiesced and granted him entry. It is with great certainty Rob was on time after that.

He then began attending the University of Illinois, UOI, in pursuit of an engineering degree. While there, Rob’s roommate, Brian, was dating Stephanie Hammond, the roommate of Susan Korte. Brian and Stephanie decided to be matchmakers and introduced Rob and Susan to each other. “We took one look at each other and both of us said, ‘nope, I don’t think so,’” recalled Rob.

The very next summer in 1982, they again met up with each other while in summer school and both were living in the same apartment building. Susan and her roommate were hosting a party but had no stereo equipment for music. Knowing Rob did, Susan meekly asked Rob if they could borrow his stereo. He was willing, but along with the request came an obligatory invite to the shindig.

While at the gathering and with Susan’s escort in attendance, Rob was standing beside Susan and simply asked her, “so, when are we going out?” They began hanging out at Ye Olde Donut Shop and continued courting four years until they married May 25, 1986.

Susan became a certified public accountant and Rob started selling roofing and building supplies where they lived in Chicago for three years. Susan became homesick for Highland; they relocated to Highland in May 1989. Both became employees of Susan’s father, Ralph Korte, who was in the construction business. The couple bought Korte Real Estate and changed the name to “Terra Properties.”

Terra, a full-service real estate firm, has developed a wide variety of properties throughout the metropolitan St. Louis area. These properties include apartments, warehouses, commercial offices, distribution facilities, residential condominiums, self storage facilities, retail space and restaurants.

Rob has a bachelors degree in psychology from UOI and a master of business administration from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. He is a licensed real estate managing broker, a certified property manager, a member of the National Association of Realtors and Illinois Association of Realtors Institute or Real Estate Management, IREM, and has served on their board as a director.

Deep community involvement

At St. Paul Catholic Church, where the Bowmans are members, Rob has served in the Knights of Columbus Council 1580, Third Degree, Eucharistic Minister, Kirchenfest Executive Committee and General Chairman and Pre-Cana presenter.

He has been a member of Highland Junior Chamber of Commerce, Junior Chamber International Senator and Local Chapter President and Schweizerfest Chairman. He spent six years on First Mid Illinois Bank and Trust Advisory Board, is a Highland Kiwanis Club charter member and served as Charter Chapter President, and was a member of St. Joseph’s Hospital Advisory Council and a Board member for Highland Area Community Foundation.

Rob has served on Hard Roads Theater Productions, Highland Community Chorus Board of Directors, Highland Area Arts Council, Cub Scout Pack 43, American Cancer Society, Todd Arnold Member of the Year, Southwestern Illinois Council of Mayors and the International Facility Management Assoc. of St. Louis.

He was elected to Highland City Council and became Mayor of Highland in 2001. Rob served on Highland’s Entrepreneur Program, Regional Development Commission, Lake Advisory Committee, Police Dept. Citizens Board, Silver Lake Advisory Committee, Glik Park Committee, Chamber of Commerce, Community Unit School District #5, and the Business Education Alliance.

Why is he deeply involved in so many facets of the community?

“I love Highland,” said Rob. “And I love giving back. I firmly believe when you give, you receive back 10 fold.”

The Bowman family includes one daughter, Marissa; two sons, Alex and Ryan; and one great-granddaughter, Maelia. When not working or volunteering, Rob said he enjoys reading, snow skiing and working out via bicycle riding.