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CLC grad finds path in Health and Wellness

by Public Relations and Marketing | Published Feb 21, 2022

Fitness has always been a part of Randi Dey’s life since he played football in high school and then joined the Army. Health and Wellness Promotion was the perfect program for him to enroll in at College of Lake County (CLC), but it took him some time and guidance from instructor Dr. Frank Ardito to find his path. 

“When I got out of the Army, I went to Illinois State (ISU) for a little bit, but I came out of there confused and lost,” Dey said. “I had no idea what I wanted to do. I had no direction. I was better guided by Dr. Ardito than anyone there.” 

Randi Dey working with a player

CLC was a much better fit for Dey because it offered smaller class sizes. When he was at ISU, he was one of 100 in some classes, and he found it harder to ask questions when he needed help. Smaller classes at CLC provide personalized teaching and interactions. 

Dey learned a lot during the program, but he found the lessons on biomechanics and kinesiology to be the most beneficial to his career. 

“You can prevent injuries in ways by just knowing how to move properly, which I didn't realize was a thing until I took those courses,” he said. 

After graduating, Dey had no trouble finding work. He went to different gyms, and thanks to the credentials he earned at CLC, many businesses wanted to work with him. 

“The program transferred over to the real world really, really well,” Dey said. “It would’ve been easy to just get certified online, but because of my time at CLC, there was a difference in my training. I see it, and my clients see it.” 

Dey attributes a lot of this to the CLC curriculum. Graduates from the program must obtain certain certifications to find jobs in their field, and Dey said everything about how he was taught was to prepare him for the exams, especially by Department Chair and Instructor Dr. Joana Pabedinskas. 

“Dr. Pabedinskas would use these big, crazy words,” he said. “I used to think she wanted to see if she could use these words to confuse us or try to impress us. Then I went to my certification test, and I said to myself, ‘all these big, crazy words she uses are right here.’ If she didn't use all of them, I'd be confused because on those tests, if you don't understand certain words, you're likely to fail.” 

Before becoming a personal trainer, Dey was friends with former Chicago Bears fullback and current Carmel Catholic High School Head Football Coach Jason McKie. McKie also partners with the Bears through his own gym All Pro Sports Performance in Lake Bluff. 

McKie offered Dey a job to help with hiring trainers for events, and later asked him to join him at the high school. 

"He’s reliable, and he’s able to relate to people,” McKie said. “If you can't relate and be personal with your client, you’re not going to get the most out of them. He has that ability to adapt to different people's personalities. He knows how to push people in ways they need to be pushed.” 

Dey helps student athletes with weightlifting, conditioning, footwork and strength at the high school. 

Dey’s current work isn’t limited to only to his day job. He continues to connect with CLC by partnering with McKie’s gym and the Bears. Dey helps bring CLC students in as interns with the training staff. 

McKie’s gym hosts football camps for the Bears’ corporate sponsors and their families. During these events, CLC students get experience working with professionals in their field as well as with high-level athletes. McKie said it’s an experience many can’t get until they’ve worked for a few years. 

Dey gives CLC a lot of credit for his success, and he’s happy he has a chance to give back to the college. 

“We love CLC students,” he said. “I would love to eventually create a bridge from CLC to All Pro Sports and the Bears.” 

About College of Lake County

College of Lake County is a comprehensive community college committed to equitable high-quality education, cultural enrichment and partnerships to advance the diverse communities it serves in northeastern Illinois. Offered at three campuses in Grayslake, Vernon Hills and Waukegan or online, college classes are affordable and accessible to help each student achieve academic, career and personal goals. More than 70,000 students graduated with degrees and certificates since the college opened in 1969. College of Lake County is the only higher-education institution ranked among the top 15 best places to work in Illinois by Forbes and is a national leader in many areas, including sustainability and conservation.