John Holtz

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President, Star Incorporated

Class of 1970

The Sycamore community welcomed John Holtz from Sheboygan, WI in 1964 with his parents, Lester and Anne Holtz, along with their other five children. John began dating his future wife, Melody Rhodes, at the young age of 14 years old! After graduating from Sycamore High School in 1970, John and Melody married in 1972 and became the parents of two children, Brian Holtz and Cori (Holtz) Jarrett.

John began his career as a carpenter at Star Displays, Inc. in 1970. Through hard work and determination, he and his brother, Larry, became the owners of Star Displays, Inc. in 1982 and built it to be the successful, multi-million dollar corporation that it is today! Now known as Star Incorporated, the business serves the trade show and event industry nationwide, with several locations throughout the United States (Sycamore, Chicago, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and New York.)

John credits several community and school district mentors for helping to shape him into the man that he is today …

  • Leland Strombom was a teacher, father figure and friend. John says, “Leland taught me to communicate what I have to say in the fewest amount of words and to mean what I say.”
  • John credits Pete Johnson with getting him through high school and building his confidence in himself to succeed in life and business.
  • Ed Berg was a confidant and guided John through some tough times as a youth.
  • Gay Carley helped John formulate his business sense and management skills

John’s contributions to the Sycamore community and surrounding area have included serving as Chairman of the Congregation for St. John’s Lutheran Church from 2004-2007, and he and Melody attend Crossroads Church in Rochelle.

Many of John’s contributions to the school district and community have been made anonymously. This self-made man is not one that thrives on public accolades but be assured his contributions have been many! John is a great example to the students roaming the halls of Sycamore High School that hard work, initiative and perseverance will bring you success and fulfillment.

John is such a modest man; he was so touched by his induction into the Sycamore High School Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame! The committee had to convince him that his many contributions to the community and school district were worthy of this honor. He was especially pleased when informed that he was being inducted with one of his mentors, Pete Johnson!! John’s business philosophy is … “In order to succeed, you must surround yourself with some of the best people in their fields. You can only be as good as the people supporting you. You must choose intelligent, good people for your staff. That’s what’s going to make or break your company.”

John says his treasures are God, his wonderful wife and best friend, Melody, and his entire family. Looks like this humble man has all of his priorities in order!

Congratulations to John Holtz for his induction into the Sycamore High School Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame!!

Mr. John Holtz – 2014 Inductee SHS Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame