Vitals: Ryan Neumann, 34, lives in Morrison, Ill., with his wife Cheryl and their children Molly and Adam. Neumann is from Chicago, where he attended Brother Rice High School. He earned his bachelor’s degree in music education from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He manages the retail store GraniteWorks in Byron.
1. If you could choose any elected official – local, state or national – to speak with one-on-one, who would it be, and what would you say? As neat as it would be to speak with some of our national leaders (President, Secretary of Defense, etc.), I find it more interesting to sit down with some of our local leaders as well. Our local aldermen, mayors, senators and congressmen seem to have a good feeling of what their local constituents are going through. Speaking with them seems to have a larger impact on our everyday lives.
2. If you were to move away from the Rock River Valley, what three things would you miss the most? The slower pace. I grew up in Chicago, and the first thing I noticed when I moved out here was that everything has a much slower, leisurely pace to it. It was a huge culture shock at first, but now my wife and I have really grown to enjoy it. We visit family in Chicago every month or so, and we are always glad to get back here.
3. What is the most unique request for a granite monument you have had thus far? We specialize in personalized memorials. So, we have books and books filled with different art and pictures people can use to decorate their monuments. We have done many stones with backhoes, trailers, tractors, farm scenes, pets; the list goes on. As for the most unique, hard to say. Each one we do is unique.
4. What are some of the benefits of having granite counter tops as opposed to laminate counter tops? First of all, the look. Granite has that “wow” factor that other surfaces (laminates, solid surfaces) just can’t match. With the high gloss and the natural look, granite has something special about it that only Mother Nature could create. Secondly, the price compared to other materials. People have this idea that granite counter tops are super expensive. Truth is, most people are surprised when we quote them a price – they always think it was going to be more expensive. Thirdly, granite has a longevity that other surfaces don’t have. Nothing is completely bulletproof, but granite is such a hard surface, you’d have to work pretty hard to break it. People ask me if you can cut on a granite counter top. I always answer: “Your knives can’t hurt granite. However, the granite will kill your knives.” People don’t always realize the fact that the hard granite will take the sharp edge right off your knives.
5. Question from last week’s “This week in The Times” participant John Todd Petitt: Do you support a helmet law for Illinois motorcycle riders? I am not a motorcycle rider, so I really don’t have an opinion. I am in favor of any law that prevents injury, and I am also in favor of people making their own decisions.
“This week in The Times” is a weekly survey of people selected by The Rock River Times staff. The column does not accept unsolicited submissions.
From the September 16-22, 2009 issue