One of the greatest champions of local business is Ed Wehmer, the founder and CEO of Wintrust Financial. When Ed opened Lake Forest Bank and Trust in 1991, he had about 1,200 square feet, a card table, and a mobile phone the size of a boot. Today, Ed presides over Wintrust Financial Corporation, the second largest bank group headquartered in Illinois, with over $18 billion in assets. Through Ed’s leadership, his banks have provided the much needed capital to countless entrepreneurs and business owners to help them get their start, expand their efforts, hire new people, and grow their businesses. Wintrust has been a financial lifeline to many innovators in Chicago, and Ed himself has been a pillar of the Chicago community for years. In addition to running Wintrust, Ed also serves as the chairman of the Board of Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital, on the audit committee of Northwestern Memorial Health Care, as a trustee for Lurie Children’s Hospital and Foundation, and on the Board of the Archdiocese of Chicago.