Burr Ridge man works to clear algae from pond
Earl Perlman recently won a preservation award for his efforts to protect and improve wetlands in his subdivision. Perlman gives much of the credit to Tuthill Corporation, whose headquarters sit on the banks of the shallow pond behind him. | Jon Langham~
Updated: November 13, 2012 12:00PM
BURR RIDGE — Earl Pearlman and his wife, Madelon, designed their home with many windows so they could enjoy the view of the pond.
But it wasn’t long before the runoff of fertilizer used on lawns in the exclusive Madison Club subdivision made the algae grow out of control and unsightly.
“When the algae starts to die, it smells,” Pearlman said. “It was going to have a very, very negative impact on the real estate value.”
A retired entrepreneur, who will say only that he’s in his 60s, Pearlman did as he always had and took matters into his own hands. He not only attended neighborhood association meetings, he made his way onto the wetlands committee that oversees the neighborhood’s two ponds.
Pearlman’s effort recently earned the neighborhood association an award from the village of Burr Ridge.
The Windy City native, who earned a master’s degree in math and an executive MBA, both from the University of Chicago, is a study in contrasts. A serial technology entrepreneur who once partnered with Ray Noorda at high-tech pioneer Novell, Pearlman serves on the advisory boards of several privately held companies.
But the father of one and grandfather of one also likes to leave behind the urban landscape and escape the world of high technology to vacation in the wilds of Canada and Alaska, where he likes to fish.
It took nearly a decade for the association, to persuade the county to vacuum dredge the pond. With Pearlman’s leadership, the association was able to raise the money to pull sediment from the bottom to deepen the pond, allowing movement of water which discourages algae growth.
In addition to improving the view and the smell, Pearlman said, maintaining a balanced ecosystem was a priority. The improvement, he added, was immediate as herrons, egrets and osprey came to roost and feed on the minnows.
But the Chicago native is modest about the accomplishment, generously sharing the credit with association president Dehn Grunsten, village engineer Paul May and Dave Groever Sr., facilities manager at Tuthill Corporation, which owns about 10 acres on the northern side of the pond.
Madelon Pearlman, his wife of 43 years, said it’s no surprise her husband’s quest was a success.
“If he’s interested in something and wants it to change or improve it, he studies about it, goes to people and asks questions about it,” she said. “He was always trying to find information so he’s ahead of the curb. I guess he did that in business, and he does that in doing the wetlands, too.”