The ASPIRE Dealmakers Conference brought together hundreds of dealmakers, investors and entrepreneurs at the Palmer House Hilton Hotel in Chicago on June 19. During the conference, Smart Business Dealmakers recognized a few top deals and dealmakers in the Chicago region. Here are the 2019 Dealmaker of the Year Award winners.

Business Services

John Rowady, president and founder, rEvolution

Creating a fully integrated sports marketing and media agency that serves leading sports brands around the globe while maintaining independence, John Rowady continues to expand both its sports expertise and international reach —most recently through the 2018 strategic acquisition of London-based sports marketing agency Revolution Sports Marketing


Scott Yelvington, president and CEO of Northern States Financial Corp.

As leader of the holding company for NorStates Bank, Scott Yelvington grew the organization to eight offices in Lake County and about $500 million in total assets. He sold NorStates Bank to First Midwest Bank in 2018 as part of First Midwest’s expansion efforts in the greater Chicagoland area.Yelvington now serves as senior vice president and director of retail small business banking for First Midwest Bank.

Health Care

Glen Tullman, founder and executive chairman, Livongo Health

Livongo Health is a whole-person platform founded by Glen Tullman that empowers people with chronic conditions to live better and healthier lives. Committed to providing care and ultimately finding a cure for chronic conditions, Livongo has broadened its capabilities in weight-management and disease-prevention programs with the 2017 acquisition of Retrofit, and in behavioral health with the 2019 acquisition of myStrength.

Retail & Consumer Products

Pat Vihtelic, founder and CEO, Home Chef

Home Chef is one of the nation’s leading meal kit companies providing weekly deliveries of fresh, pre-portioned ingredients and easy-to-follow recipes. Initially coding the technology behind the business himself, Pat Vihtelic has strategically grown the organization since and brokered its acquisition by leading supermarket chain The Kroger Co. in 2018. This deal has seen Home Chef meal kits rolled out to Kroger customers in stores and online, with plans to expand into different markets and product offerings.


Kyle Nakatsuji, Founder and CEO, Clearcover

Kyle Nakatsuji started Clearcover with a vision of leveraging artificial intelligence to more effectively market auto insurance through an online platform. To realize this vision and continue Clearcover’s subsequent rapid growth, Nakatsuji initially led an $11.5 million Series A round in 2017—which he followed with a successful $43 million Series B round at the start of 2019.