Frank Hosticka has a firm grasp of McHenry’s geography, down to the postal routes. He retired last summer after 16 years as postmaster in McHenry. Before that, Hosticka was a mail carrier and postal clerk, totaling 31 years with the U.S. Postal Service.
Since retirement, Hosticka, 55, works as an independent associate for LegalShield, a network of law firms offering identity theft protection services.
He also has been busy networking as the membership director for the Wonder Lake Chamber of Commerce, a volunteer position to which he was appointed in November.
Hosticka, of McHenry, spoke with reporter Jane Huh recently about his postal service career and his role with the Chamber.
Huh: What were your responsibilities as postmaster of McHenry?
Hosticka: I was in charge of the mail delivery operation in McHenry and the surrounding areas, including Johnsburg, Lakemoor, Holiday Hills and the unincorporated land in the area. Before that, during the first half of my career, I was a carrier, then clerk. I joined their management program until I was promoted to postmaster in McHenry, which was in 1996.
Huh: Why did you choose to work for the U.S. Postal Service?
Hosticka: I was going to college, working part-time jobs. I was looking for a job when a position with the U.S. Postal Service opened up, so I applied.
It wasn’t my chosen career path at the time; I wanted to be an architect. But you start working, making decent money, and you realize that time flies by and you’ve never left. I’ve had a very rewarding career with the Postal Service. Obviously, it’s provided for my family very well, and it’s been an enjoyable career.
Huh: What do you not miss about the job?
Hosticka: I’m glad I don’t have to worry about having 40 or so people on the road anymore, worry about how many are going to slip and fall. It’s part of the job. You get those hazards on the job. As postmaster, you’re responsible for the people out there.
Huh: What have you learned or gained from your career after 31 years?
Hosticka: I learned how to be patient. Certainly, understanding the value of being nice to people. You treat people well, they’ll treat you well. [Through previous experience as an McHenry Area Chamber of Commerce ambassador], I learned the importance of networking, making friends and associations within people in the community.
Huh: How does the Wonder Lake Chamber generally serve local businesses?
Hosticka: These small communities need the small-business owners to keep the community healthy. In Wonder Lake, there are no big-box chains like Walmart, Starbucks and Burger King in town.
They’re all small, independent business owners, and they need support. When economic times get tough, they don’t have a big corporation to keep them in business. This is where the Chamber plays a part in offering help.
For instance, there’s an insurance agency nearby but not in Wonder Lake. Are there potential customers for them in Wonder Lake? Certainly. So we encourage those businesses to join the Chamber and make their presence known.
As membership director, I’m able to connect business people together so they can mutually benefit from the relationship.
The Chamber is an organization where the more you put into it, the more you get out of it.
Huh: What is LegalShield?
Hosticka: LegalShield offers affordable access to a nationwide network of law firms to help families and small businesses protect their rights. ... We take billable hours out of the equation. [LegalShield] also offers identity theft protection services with resources through its network of law firms and licensed identification theft restoration specialists to restore your identity in the event it is stolen.
Huh: When did you start working for LegalShield?
Hosticka: I began working part time while I was at the Postal Service [about four years ago]. As a full-timer, I spend the majority of the time meeting people, talking to people, networking. Building relationships with people. People like to do business with those they like, know and trust.
The Hosticka lowdown
Reading: Personal development books. Titles from Jim Rohn and Brian Tracy
Movies: “Mary Poppins,” “The Wizard of Oz”
Sports: Football and hockey. “I’m a big Chicago Blackhawks fan.”
Leisure: “I enjoy live music of any kind.”