Bridging the divide
Northbrook's Vass is an Internet service provider but his passion is for building bridges - the technological kind. He wants to help minorities and people with disabilities plug into the Internet. "I started looking at how technology impacts the differences between the 'haves' and 'have-nots' and I thought about the lack of Internet access for minorities - particularly blacks and Hispanics - and the disabled." President of Northshore InfoRamp, Inc., Vass teamed up with a number of like-minded business and community leaders to found The Digital Opportunity Coalition. "We want to take the Internet to places that don't have it." The group is setting up community technology centers where minorities and the disabled can learn how to navigate the Internet. The coalition also solicits donations of used computers from corporations and recycles the equipment for the community centers, with help from the Jim Mullen Foundation, named for the Chicago police officer paralyzed in the line of duty. Vass also hopes to bring more computers into homes in low-income neighborhoods.

Perfect Partnership
The son of Holocaust survivors, Vass says he's eager to make a difference in the world. "The children of Holocaust survivors always want to try to fix things. If you empower people, it builds human capital." He also believes corporations that provide trainers and used computers also stand to benefit from an increase in skilled potential employees. For more information, call Vass at 847.909.7500 or see Vass and his wife Judy, have three children. He is on the board of Am Shalom Synagogue.