Dorian Bezanis, RPBG Director

Dorian Bezanis is a lot of things, but if there is one word that just keeps coming back, it’s irrepressible. Anyone who knows him (and that is quite a lot of people) will agree, he is sort of the Energizer Bunny come to life.

Dorian just became a Director of RPBG at the end of 2021. If you (like I) find that surprising, it’s because Dorian just seems like he has always been around. And, in lots of important ways, he has. Dorian will tell you that, long before accepting Mike Glasser’s invitation to become a Director of RPBG, he maintained a strong connection with RPBG.

Probably not a lot of people know that Dorian was one of the people who, along with Carol Goldman, Paul Goguen and other, committed Rogers Park property owners, met for lunch at Morse Avenue restaurant one fateful day in 1991 and came up with the idea that an association of area property owners might be a good thing for the neighborhood. Out of this meeting, the future RPBG was born – and still going strong 30 years later! Dorian was at the table where the idea first took flight.

Dorian was already living on the North Side at the time. Fresh out of Augustana College with a degree in economics, Dorian was busy working for his dad who had acquired a 32-unit, fire damaged building in Edgewater. The year was 1977 and the purchase price was $30,000. Today, it’s hard to believe such a building could ever have sold for so little money. But back then, a more typical reaction might have been the belief that Dorian’s dad was crazy and was just throwing his money away.

To put it politely, the building needed some work and the neighborhood was a bit rough. That did not deter Dorian who threw himself into the renovation – as he describes it – doing little more for the first two years than working and sleeping. Dorian learned a lot about construction and became very handy as the de facto plumber and electrician, not to mention painter, plasterer, and everything else. This was to prove very useful when he eventually got into fire restoration and, later, adjusting.

Dorian would live in a variety of locations across Edgewater including, for the past 27 years, his current home in one of the two apartment buildings he owns with business partner, Curt Yearwood. Over those many years, Dorian has always had the pulse of Edgewater and the far North Side, expanding his social and business network with the many people who share his vision of a better future for an area of the city that had fallen on hard times. That effort has largely been successful, and the tireless work and commitment of Dorian and other like-minded people is an important reason why.

Dorian has a varied and interesting background. Besides learning the apartment business from his trial-by-fire beginnings, Dorian worked briefly in the hotel business and at a fire restoration company before starting his own construction company. While Dorian loved the trades and the construction business, he found that his own high standards ended up costing him more than what he charged his clients. This is the problem when you are a perfectionist like Dorian.

But his experience in construction led Dorian to his current field where he and his long-time business partner, Curt Yearwood, have been so successful. Dorian’s extensive background in renovation and construction gave him a detailed knowledge of buildings and how they work. His incredible social skills and extroverted personality made him a natural marketer and salesman. Adjusting turned out to be the perfect fit for his technical and social skills. Over the years, Dorian has been an invaluable partner to countless building owners who have had to deal with the aftermath of fire or other damage that requires insurance company involvement.

Dorian and Curt have been friends, associates and business partners since at least the early 1980s. They continue to operate the successful and highly regarded Alpha Adjusting Company. As the two business partners get closer to retirement, they know the company will be in good hands when Curt’s daughter, Traci, takes control of the company. Dorian is usually the first person to get the call when a property owner gets the dreaded news that there has been a fire or a flood in a building. Dorian’s work ethic and reputation for results is well-known. People know that Dorian will get the best results for his clients when disaster strikes.

Given Dorian’s Edgewater center of gravity, it is not surprising that he has been very involved in the Edgewater Uptown Builders Association (EUBA). Dorian even served as president for a time during the early 2000s. But he always managed to stay involved with RPBG, as much for the great relationships he had with RPBG members as for the concern he had for the area.

And, let’s be honest, Dorian likes a good social event. Let’s be even more honest and acknowledge that social events are always better and more fun when Dorian is there.  (Case in point: see picture of him photobombing a group picture at the NBOA Summer Soiree last Summer.) Dorian is just one of those people who seems to feel most at home when in the company of a couple hundred of his closest friends! This is a big part of his success, and why he is so invaluable at EUBA, RPBG or just about any place he goes.

So, after all those years of hard work and close affiliation with the far North Side of Chicago, it seems both natural and overdue that he has finally become a Director of RPBG. It’s hard to imagine someone with more to contribute or deeper roots in the area.

Dorian said he wants to be the guy at RPBG to “stir the pot” and play devil’s advocate from time to time. We, as housing providers, have lots of legitimate grievances these days with all the legislation and cost increases that the city, county and state are constantly throwing at us. But, Dorian wants us to remember, tenants have grievances too and need to be treated with the respect and consideration they deserve.

He is very concerned about growing income inequality and believes it is the reason why a lot of the current political climate has turned so hostile to housing providers and to corporate America writ large. He believes focusing on the physical environment and providing attractive and safe housing is our best antidote to the current anti-housing provider atmosphere.

He practices what he preaches, constantly reinvesting in his properties and making them shine. You will know you’re in front of Dorian’s Rogers Park property in the spring when you see the hundreds of tulips Dorian planted in bloom – just one small example of how Dorian makes the world a little better for us all.

Of course, being the renaissance man that he is, he’s not content to just be about work and sleep anymore. When asked what he likes to do when he’s not working or networking, he had a one-word answer – Tango!

Dorian has been seriously studying the art of the Argentinian tango dancing for the past five years and has gotten to the point where, he says, he’s pretty good at it! He gives full credit to the surprisingly deep bench of Argentinians and tango dancers in the Chicago area and has studied under some of the best teachers the city has to offer!

Now, I’m not for a minute going to second-guess Dorian’s motivations in choosing this particular hobby, or take anything away from the seriousness with which he has pursued this endeavor. But I will say, when asked why he loves to Tango, Dorian said he is now good enough that “most women in the room will dance with me!” Yes, Dorian is enjoying his status as single bachelor about town (he was twice married but is currently unhitched) and as the passionate tango dancer he has become.

In addition to dancing Tango, Dorian has resolved to enjoy some of the fruits of his long labors and many successes. He is trying to take a trip every month to a gathering of tango enthusiasts, a music festival or a dance marathon in some fun or exotic locale. He may be in Portland by the time you read this, spending 8 to 10 hours a day on the dance floor. And he’s looking forward to going to Turkey in May.

Life is never boring when you are Dorian Bezanis. He may be the local guy done good – but his world is as big as his dance card is long!