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Jeremy Smith

Athletico fosters growth with core workplace culture

Athletico fosters growth with core workplace culture

In 1991, Mark Kaufman was a physical therapist and athletic trainer with a receptionist, a small space at Clark and Oak streets, and an idea.

He became the trainer for local schools, sometimes for free, sometimes for a small stipend, as a way of marketing himself and his fledgling business to athletes, their parents and school coaches.

Today, his Oak Brook-based company, Athletico Physical Therapy, employs 1,343 people at about 75 locations in Illinois, Wisconsin and Indiana, and has affiliations with Chicago's major professional sports teams, the Big Ten Conference and others.

Managing that growth has required a keen eye for hiring — and then keeping — therapists and...