Civic Leadership Academy Instructors

2020-21 Civic Leadership Academy Instructor Biographies

Jhmira Alexander, M.P.A.

Jhmira Alexander, M.P.A., is a connector of people and ideas. Jhmira brings a diversity of leadership experiences to her work. Alexander has facilitated leadership and media development workshops with the Chicago Police Department, the Chicago Foundation for Women, the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, the Latino Policy Forum and Metropolitan Family Services. Prior to her presidency at Public Narrative, Alexander served as the owner and principal of 29Eleven Consulting, a social media concern that engaged organizations including After School Matters and Loyola University’s Risk and Resiliency Lab, providing training to youth and adults in safe social media practices, content management, and user engagement. Alexander has also been a project director, youth developer, community engagement specialist, and program designer for the Wilmington Job Corps; and DC / Northern Virginia Career Transition Services. Here, she coordinated teams of board members, faculty, staff, students, parents and community partners around multiple educational objectives while cultivating organizational cultures toward performance and engagement. Alexander’s drive to cultivate communities through media is unwavering: she speaks and lectures widely and is a member of the National Association of Broadcast Journalists and Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated. Alexander holds a B.S. in Broadcast Communications from Bradley University and an M.P.A. from Strayer University.

Jedd Anderson, PWS, CWS, CPESC

Jedd Anderson, PWS, CWS, CPESC, Vice President, Head, Environmental Resources Department for Christopher B. Burke Engineering, Ltd. (CBBEL) has extensive Environmental Resources experience managing more than 8,000 environmental projects and obtaining more than 2,000 USACE Section 404 permits. He has over 30 years of practice in assisting in review of design, permitting and monitoring projects and their impact on wetland and natural areas. Responsibilities include the day-to-day coordination of 17 environmental professionals, coordination and completion of wetland and natural area assessments, delineations, design, permitting, maintenance and monitoring, as well as resolution of USACE/USEPA enforcement actions. In addition, performs mitigation design and development and technical tasks associated with civil and water resources engineering and geological analysis in Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin. He coordinates with clients on implementation of and compliance with NPDES Regulations. Jedd is a veteran in the design and installation of sediment and erosion control; hydro-geomorphologic studies to assist in stream restoration and re-meandering; soil bioengineering techniques for streambank stabilization.  He has expertise in NEPA, Endangered Species Act, and biological assessments for threatened and endangered species.

Jeanna Ballard, M.P.A.

Jeanna Ballard, M.P.A., Senior Research Specialist, at the Center for Governmental Studies at NIU has a varied background in strategic and comprehensive planning, technical assistance, and performance improvement studies. She has helped facilitate strategic planning workshops, focus groups, interviews, organizational design reviews, leadership development seminars, and compensation analyses. Jeanna has co-facilitated strategic planning for elected officials, non-profits, municipalities, counties, townships, park districts, libraries, council of governments, and institutes of higher education. For the past two years, Jeanna has provided staff support for funded projects for the Illinois Critical Access Hospital Network (ICAHN. Most recently, she has worked on local government strategic planning initiatives. These projects included coordinating online surveys, community focus groups, goal development sessions, identifying potential challenges and solutions, and distilling themes from a variety of quantitative and qualitative information to share with key stakeholders. Jeanna earned a dual M.P.A. degree via her joint studies at both NIU and Renmin University in China. She’s holds an undergraduate degree in Political Science from NIU.

Ed Barrett, B.A.

Ed Barrett, B.A., is Practice Leader - Fiber & Broadband Services at HR Green, Inc. Ed brings more than 10+ years of telecom and broadband services experience working with both carriers and local communities. He has worked with both U.S. and international clients to analyze client needs, develop detailed specifications, and prepare implementation strategies. Ed has led the creation of new and innovative partnerships between communities and the private sector to solve connectivity issues. Ed earned a B.A. from Iowa State University.

Bethany Cockburn, Ph.D.

Bethany Cockburn, Ph.D., earned her Ph.D. from the University of Iowa (2018). Her expertise and interests relate to workplace stress, work-related identities in the changing work world, and how being on a team affects individual and team outcomes. Specifically, she has studied the impact of stress on physical and mental health and mortality; the effect of retiring and returning to work on one’s identity; and how team membership affects helping behaviors, deviant behaviors, and performance. Her research has been published in journals such as Journal of Applied Psychology, Personnel Psychology, and Journal of Management Studies. Bethany has taught classes such as Managerial Negotiations, Strategic Human Resources, and Leadership and Personal Development.

Janelle Crowley, Ph.D.

Janelle Crowley, Ph.D., is currently the Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) for the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, where she is responsible for the leadership and management of the Office of Human Resources and Diversity. As a human resources professional, she previously served as the CHRO of a community college in Illinois, the Director of Human Resources, Ethics, including Emergency Preparedness for a northwest suburb in Illinois and served as the Diversity Chair for Stateline SHRM. Janelle honed her craft as a human resources professional at Northwestern University, with the Center for Public Safety, where she served as an adjunct faculty member for fifteen years. Recognized by the Woodstock Women’s Business and Professional Association as Woman of the Year, McHenry County College as a Distinguished Alumni, and served as an Ambassador for the eradication of Polio throughout India with Rotary International. Janelle was nominated and awarded the “Breaking the Glass Ceiling Award” by the National Center for Women and Policing in Los Angeles, CA; the recipient of the prestigious “Doc Wilson” award for her vision of training through the University of Illinois, where she also served on the advisory board for the Police Training Institute.

Janelle holds a bachelor’s degree in business and public administration, two graduate degrees – human resources development and business administration in finance, plus a Doctorate of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in applied management and decision sciences. She has completed all four Labor Relations Academies with the National Public Employers Labor Relations Association [IPELRA], is a certified senior professional with the International Public Management Association [IPMA] and holds numerous certifications through FEMA and Homeland Security, coupled with her certification of Conflict Resolution and Mediation through DePaul University.

Sam Ferguson, M.S.Ed.

Sam Ferguson, M.S.Ed., retired Municipal Director of Information Technology: Village of Palatine; Village of Schaumburg; Interim CIO for the City of Joliet has over 30 plus years of governmental Information Technology experience. Starting in 1983 as an Army Data Processing officer, Sam saw the rise of the PC and the Microsoft genesis along with the shift from “dumb terminals” and main frame systems to the PC on the desktops. He was one of the first IT directors in the Northwest suburbs with his first position being at the Village of Palatine in 1989 and retiring from the Village of Schaumburg in 2012. His experience includes: building IT departmental teams to service municipal customers, and specifically, working on projects dealing with GIS, E911, Asset Management, ERP implementations, phone systems, topology changes, office automation and data security and overall IT management including governance practices. Recently, Sam has been involved in consulting engagements helping municipalities assess their IT departments and hire new CIO’s. Sam is an emeritus member of Illinois and International GMIS, an organization of governmental IT leaders from across the globe who share best practices so all can benefit. Sam graduated from Monmouth College in Illinois with a B.A. in Physical Education and Biology and received his M.S.Ed. from Southern Illinois University – Carbondale and got the majority of his early IT education from the US Army.

Timothy J. Gavin, CPA, M.B.A.

Timothy J. Gavin, CPA, M.B.A., is both an expert auditor and consultant for Lauterbach and Amen, LLP, with over 14 years of experience leading staff and performing audits, accounting services, financial reporting, agreed-upon procedures, and other consulting engagements for a wide range of clients in the Chicagoland area. Tim serves on the firm’s governmental audits, including municipalities, villages, park districts, school districts, and other special districts. He serves as one of the firm’s quality control leaders, ensuring the company is up to date with the most current standards and best practices. He is directly involved in both staff training and final audit review and has highly specialized skills in accounting/auditing software. Apart from working with some of the best and most financially progressive Illinois governments, Tim continues to be an educator and presenter on various topics related to governmental accounting and financial reporting. He has been featured in industry publications such as Accounting Today and CPA Practice Advisor. Additionally, Tim serves on the Social Media Task Force for IGFOA, as a reviewer for GFOA’s Financial Reporting Certificate Program, and has helped a large number of clients obtain both GFOA and ASBO certificates for excellence in financial reporting. Tim earned his M.B.A. from Northern Illinois University and his B.A. in Accounting from North Central College.

Logan Gilbertsen, PE, CFM

Logan Gilbertsen, PE, CFM, specializes in Water Resources and Environmental Engineering for HR Green. He has led a variety of projects ranging from stream bank stabilization and naturalization to the design of storm water Best Management Practices (BMPs) in urban and rural settings. He has worked to update and prepare the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) storm water permits for municipalities and serves as the coordinator between the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) and municipalities. He has worked on many projects for IDOT, road districts and municipalities located in DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry, Will, and Winnebago Counties. Logan earned a B.S. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of Illinois.

Julie Gommel Bailey, M.P.H.

Julie Gommel Bailey, M.P.H., has been a Research Specialist with NIU’s Center for Governmental Studies for 13 years and has 16 years of survey research experience, designing and managing custom research projects with governmental and public service organizations, including schools, libraries, park districts, and health organizations. Her focus is on conducting research which provides actionable information to be used in decision-making and planning processes by these entities. She has expertise with multiple modes of survey research, including telephone, internet, mail, focus groups, and multi-modal research. Ms. Gommel Bailey holds an M.P.H. with a focus in health promotion from Northern Illinois University.

Jeana Gowin, PE, CFM

Jeana Gowin, PE, CFM, is a Water Resources Project Manager at Christopher B. Burke Engineering, Ltd. (CBBEL). She has 18 years of experience in water resources project analysis and design. She has prepared numerous permit applications and received permits for both water resources projects from various agencies, including local, countywide, statewide, and federal. She has prepared several successful grant applications to assist in the funding of infrastructure for combined sewer separation, flood control, and green infrastructure projects. She is a Certified Floodplain Manager (CFM) and a Certified Professional in Storm Water Quality (CPSWQ). She is the current chair of the Environmental Resources Technical Institute of ASCE and was recently appointed to the ASCE board as a director for 2020-2022.

Jim Halverson, AICP

Jim Halverson, AICP, has an extensive background in urban planning, economic development, growth management and brownfield redevelopment. He has been responsible for planning and economic development activities for both governmental agencies and private organizations. As the former Director of the Cedar Rapids Department of Development and the Linn County Regional Planning Commission. Jim’s responsibilities and experiences have included oversight of city and regional long-range planning activities, economic/land development efforts, as well as grant and program initiatives including administration of federal entitlement programs. Additionally, Jim helped develop alternative service delivery models that have provide increased efficiencies in community development operations. Jim also serves as the Vice-Chair of the Cedar Rapids IA, City Planning Commission. Jim earned an MUP in Urban Planning from the University of Illinois and a BS in Political Science from the University of Wisconsin.

Tim Hartnett, Practice Leader

Tim Hartnett, Practice Leader, for more than 30 years Tim has provided ongoing municipal engineering services for dozens of municipalities in Northern Illinois. His experience includes the overall management of municipality operations including subdivision and site improvement review and approval process from concept plan through the final plat in accordance with the municipality’s Municipal Code, Engineering Standards, applicable development agreements and annexation agreements. Tim has also helped develop alternative service delivery models for efficiently providing plan review and inspection services for local governments. These models and templets have been used by numerous cities to improve efficiencies and reduce costs. Tim is the Vice President and Practice Leader for HR Green’s Governmental Services – Midwest and holds a B.S. in Civil Engineering Design from Northern Illinois University.

Melissa Henriksen, MPP

Melissa Henriksen, MPP, is the Assistant Director for Public Management and Training at the Center for Governmental Studies at NIU. Mel has a diverse background including economic and community development, technical assistance, strategic and comprehensive planning, and grant writing. She has provided staff support for several projects including strategic planning facilitation, focus groups, wage and benefit studies and asset/needs assessments. Melissa has co-facilitated strategic planning for elected officials, school districts, boards of directors, municipalities, foundations, and institutes of higher education. For the past eight and half years, she has managed funded projects for the Illinois Critical Access Hospital Network (ICAHN), the National Association of Development Agencies (NADO), the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA), and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), as well as state and local organizations focused on economic and community development and healthcare. Most recently, she has worked on city and countywide economic and community development planning. These projects included coordinating surveys, community focus groups, strategic planning to identify potential challenges and solutions, and distilling themes and findings from a variety of qualitative information to share with key stakeholders. Mel holds a B.A. in Political Communication/Public Relations and an M.P.P. from the University of Northern Iowa. Melissa is a board member for the Illinois Rural Health Association and is the chair of its Research and Education and Conference Committee. In addition, she is a Kettering Foundation Research Fellow and recently received the ICAHN Service Award for her research in rural health care and its economic impact on rural communities.

Betsy Hull, CPA, M.P.A.

Betsy Hull, CPA, M.P.A., joined the DeKalb County Community Foundation in 2016 as their inaugural Finance Director, bringing over 26 years of experience in both the public and nonprofit sectors. Betsy is a proud NIU Huskie - she earned her B.S. in Accountancy and her M.P.A., both from NIU. In addition to her role at the Foundation, she is also the Finance Lead for NIU’s Division of Information Technology. Serving in dual roles provides Betsy the opportunity to connect and serve her community and her alma mater.

Ravi Jayaraman

Ravi Jayaraman, PE, ENV SP

Ravi Jayaraman, PE, ENV SP, brings 29 years of project management experience from a variety of public and private sector utility infrastructure projects. These projects have included design and construction of water treatment and distribution systems; wastewater collection and treatment systems; sewer collection system improvements and sewer rehabilitation projects; and other municipal infrastructure projects. He has managed high-profile water projects for the Villages of Mundelein and Antioch and the cities of Wood Dale and Marengo, among others. He has extensive experience working with contractors, elected officials and other community stakeholders involved with infrastructure construction projects. Ravi received his M.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of Oklahoma. He received an M.S. in Biological Sciences and a B.S. in Civil Engineering from Birla Institute of Tech and Services.

Gregory T. Kuhn, Ph.D.

Gregory T. Kuhn, Ph.D., is the Interim Director of the Center for Governmental Studies at NIU. He has over 35 years of combined experience in government administration, consulting, and academics. In addition to serving at CGS for good portions of his career, Greg has also served in city management assignments as Village Manager in Clarendon Hills and Assistant to the Manager in Skokie, both Illinois communities in the Chicago area. Greg has also provided services to governments on a consulting basis as Director of Local Government Management Services at Sikich, LLP., Managing Vice-President of the PAR Group, and Sr. Associate in Governmental Services at Korn-Ferry International. Dr. Kuhn specializes in organizational development, design and training, strategic planning, leadership, urban management and public policy formulation. He serves as a lecturer/adjunct faculty member in NIU’s Department of Public Administration and Northwestern University’s Graduate Program in Public Policy and Public Administration. He earned a Bachelor’s degree in political science from Marquette University and an M.P.A. and a Ph.D. in Public Administration and Political Science from NIU.

Sean LaDieu, PE

Sean LaDieu, PE, joined HR Green in 2011, bringing 21 years of transportation and environmental experience to the company. As a pre-qualified Environmental Lead with the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), he has managed the environmental portions of multiple roadway and rail projects. As environmental lead, he oversaw the projects' environmental evaluation, including resources such as socio-economic, agricultural, air quality, biological, cultural, noise, special waste, vegetation, water quality, special lands, and wetlands. His involvement in the environmental aspects of the project included participation in the public involvement process, including being part of Context Sensitive Solutions (CSS). He also served as project manager for the IDOT Statewide Noise Contract from 2003 to 2011. Sean earned his B.S. in Civil Engineering from Purdue University.

Mike Liska, GISP

Mike Liska, GISP, is a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Practice Advisor and sets the standards for templates and databases for all HR Green GIS projects. He has served as the GIS Specialist for scores of projects that integrate all types of data into a GIS database. Mike’s extensive experience in GIS has helped develop geodatabases for recording and capturing asset information from the office and field. He has developed and managed geospatial databases for water, wastewater, storm water, gas, electric, and fiber utilities. Mike has performed over 10,000 Level 1 NASSCO inspections on manholes and has performed QA/QC on CCTV Inspections using NASSCO Grading. He is an Administrator for HR Green’s ArcGIS Online Organization, which provides Web Maps and Web Applications to HR Green staff. Mike earned his B.S. in Information Systems-GIS from American Sentinel University and holds an FAA license for operating unmanned aircraft systems.

Russ Loebe, ICMA-CM

Russ Loebe, ICMA-CM, Russ has vast experience in City Management and is Vice President Governmental Services for HR Green. Before joining HR Green, Russ spent 33 years in local government serving 25 years as the Village Administrator and 8 years as the Director of Public Works. As administrator, he was responsible for the management of all aspects of municipal government including major capital projects, budgets, labor contracts and scores of annexations and development projects. Since joining HR Green, Mr. Loebe has led numerous projects and studies for local government including organizational and staffing studies, an analysis of multi-government Shared Services/Joint Purchasing opportunities, Alternative Service Delivery efficiency and cost reduction analysis of Public Works and Building Department operations. Russ also spearheaded the effort in development of the first of its kind “Handbook of Alternative Service Delivery for Local Government” in conjunction with Northern Illinois University. He has published numerous professional articles and has been a frequent instructor/presenter on local government issues. Russ is a Credentialed City Manager and holds a BS in Environmental Technology from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville.

Andra Medea

Andra Medea is the developer of C3 De-escalation® and the author of Conflict Unraveled. C3 is available in Illinois, Iowa and Nebraska, and has been taught to public employees of entire cities. Andra developed her system while teaching conflict management at Northwestern University and the University of Chicago. Articles and interviews about her innovative techniques have appeared in The Washington Post, Entrepreneur, and National Public Radio.

Darren Olson, PE, CFM, D.WRE

Darren Olson, PE, CFM, D.WRE, is the Assistant Department Head of the Water Resources Department at Christopher B. Burke Engineering, Ltd. (CBBEL). He has 22 years of experience in water resources engineering and is responsible for engineering studies and design that include complex roadway drainage projects, watershed studies, floodplain/floodway delineation studies and permitting, steady and unsteady urban hydraulic analyses, stormwater management studies and permitting, and flood control project feasibility, design, and funding. He is the Stormwater Consultant for several municipalities including Crystal Lake, Cary, Oak Brook, and Hawthorn Woods. Darren is recognized by ASCE as a Diplomate Water Resources Engineer (D.WRE) and holds many certifications including Certified Floodplain Manager (CFM), Certified Professional in Erosion and Sediment Control (CPESC), and Certified Professional in Storm Water Quality (CPSWQ). He is actively involved in ASCE as a Region 3 Governor and recently appointed to the Committee on Americas Infrastructure. He is also a recipient of the 2014 IAFSM Stormwater Management Award.

Judy Santacaterina, M.A.

Judy Santacaterina, M.A., has served as the coach of the award winning NIU Forensics team for the last 38 years. In that time she has coached numerous national and state champions. Ms. Santacaterina holds both a B.A. and M.A. in Communication Education from Northern Illinois University. She has conducted workshops for student, faculty, and staff on the NIU campus as well as other universities throughout the country and has served as a communication consultant for both public and private businesses and organizations. She is the current Executive Director of the Illinois Intercollegiate Forensics Association as well as a past president of the Illinois Communication and Theater Association. She is the recipient of numerous awards including NIU’ College of LA&S Golden Alumni Award, the American Forensics Association’s Distinguished Service Award, and the Illinois Communication and Theater’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Ms. Santacaterina also serves as the Director of NIU’s College of Liberal Arts & Sciences’ B.G.S. baccalaureate degree program.

Alicia Schatteman, Ph.D.

Alicia Schatteman, PhD, is a nonprofit scholar, practitioner, and educator. She is currently an Associate Professor and Director of the Center for Nonprofit and NGO Studies at NIU. For 10 years, Alicia worked in local government and then the nonprofit sector, including four years as an executive director. She is an active academic researcher with more than 13 journal articles and seven book chapters to her name, and she uses that academic research to engage in conversations on social media, through her podcast (All Things Local) and a new blog. She holds a Ph.D. in public administration from the School of Public Affairs and Administration at Rutgers University; an M.S. in Communications Management from Syracuse University; an M.A. in Canadian Studies from Trent University and a B.Soc.Science in public policy and public management from the University of Ottawa. She has taught in higher education since 2002 including Kean University, Rutgers University, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and Northern Illinois University. She was hired as the Center for Nonprofit and NGO Studies’ first faculty member in 2010, and holds a joint appointment with the Department of Public Administration, where she served as acting chair from January-June 2019. She is currently an Associate Professor and Director of the Center for Nonprofit and NGO Studies. Alicia has received several teaching and research awards at her institution and within her academic professional organizations. Her practical experience brings a different perspective to her teaching and research, as well as the consulting and training she does for nonprofit organizations in the northern Illinois region. She currently serves as the President of the Sugar Grove Library Foundation, a board member of St. Mary’s School in DeKalb, and a board member of the I.N.C. Board, a community mental health funding nonprofit in Kane County.

Traci Scherck, M.P.A., SPHR, SHRM-SCP, NHA

Traci Scherck, M.P.A., SPHR, SHRM-SCP, NHA, is a Strategy Consultant and owner of Elevated Talent Consulting. She is a certified human resources professional with over 15 years’ experience in employee development and engagement, performance consulting, and training facilitation. Traci began her career in retail and non-profit organizations building inclusive teams to best serve the client base. She was responsible for building an HR department from the ground up including training and talent development programs. Each of these programs had a focus on culture and organizational impact. She then transitioned into healthcare consulting with long term care centers on developing and creating talent pathways into and through their organizations. Traci has worked one-on-one with business owners and management teams to improve manager effectiveness in communication, coaching, motivation, conflict resolution, and performance management. Traci uses her consulting expertise to serve clients in effectively applying behavioral concepts to hiring and selection, designing and implementing talent pathways, coaching, motivation, and more.

Mindy Schneiderman, Ph.D.

Mindy Schneiderman, Ph.D., is an Assistant Director of the Center for Governmental Studies at NIU and is responsible for the survey research team. Mindy has over 26 years of survey research experience. She has experience managing projects using telephone, mail, Internet, and mixed-mode survey data collection methodologies, as well as focus group and in-person interviewing experience. She has managed numerous community survey projects for municipalities, libraries, school districts, park districts, county health departments, and nonprofit organizations. She was the Associate Director of NIU’s Public Opinion Laboratory from 2008-2013. Previously she worked at the American Medical Association for 18 years, the last 11 years as the Director of Survey Research overseeing all health care and strategic issue research. Mindy received her doctorate in Cognitive Psychology from Rutgers University in 1990. She has numerous publications on survey research methodology. Her survey research has been cited in the New York Times and Wall Street Journal and has been used in U.S. Congressional testimony.

Marc Thorson, M.B.A.

Marc Thorson, M.B.A., is the Executive Director of Regional Technology Services in the Division of Information Technology (DoIT). He oversees all aspects of NIU’s broadband, Internet service, and technology service offerings to communities, school districts, and other government and nonprofits organizations. Prior to joining NIU, Marc has worked in the local government Information Technology field in just about every capacity for over 20 years including desktop support, application developer, network administrator, network engineer, compliance lead, and director.  He is passionate about Information Security and data-driven decision making in environments with resource challenges.  Marc is also an adjunct instructor for the nationally-ranked Northern Illinois University Master of Public Administration program. The course focus is educating future local government and nonprofit leadership on what Information Technology does, why it is a critical competency for public organizations, and how to utilize it to its greatest potential in an era of shrinking budgets. Marc has an M.B.A. from Northern Illinois University with a focus on Management of Information Services and Marketing.  He is the Marketing Director GMIS International, Committee Chairperson for GMIS Accreditation, and Past President for GMIS Illinois.

Kurt Thurmaier, Ph.D.

Kurt Thurmaier, Ph.D., is Distinguished Engagement Professor and Chair of the Department of Public Administration at Northern Illinois University, and Founding Director of the School of Public and Global Affairs at Northern Illinois University. In between his graduate degrees, he served as the economic development and local government budget analyst in the Wisconsin State Budget Office. He is also President and Co-founder of Tanzania Development Support (501c3). Founded in 2008, TDS supports community-identified educational improvements for youth, especially girls, in the Mara region of Tanzania as a way for them to escape poverty. TDS partners with indigenous organizations in Tanzania, and other supporting organizations, to achieve its objectives. He also is a founding director of Opportunity DeKalb, a CDC created to revitalize the Anne Glidden North neighborhood in DeKalb. He has a long history of serving on nonprofit boards with various missions, and enjoys public service very much.

Roxana M. Underwood, J.D.

Roxana M. Underwood, J.D., is a partner at Clark Baird Smith. She counsels employers regarding traditional labor and employment law matters. She assists clients with collective bargaining, grievance and interest arbitrations, unfair labor practice charges, and representation issues. Roxana also advises and represents employers in matters under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, the Illinois Human Rights Act, the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act, the Illinois Military Leave of Absence Act, and the Fair Labor Standards Act. In addition, Roxana has experience conducting neutral workplace investigations on behalf of public and private sector employers in various industries. Roxana is also a regular contributor to the National Public Employer Labor Relations Association Legal Corner Newsletter and to The Developing Labor Law (BNA). She has also recently authored a chapter on the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments in the Municipal Law Deskbook published by the American Bar Association. Roxana received her law degree from Chicago-Kent College of Law where she earned a certificate from Chicago-Kent’s Labor and Employment Law Certificate Program. She was selected as a Student Editor of the Employee Rights and Employment Policy Journal. Roxana was also selected as a member of the Chicago-Kent Labor and Employment Law Trial Team, which competed in the ABA Section of Labor and Employment Law Regional Competition. Roxana earned a CALI Excellence for the Future Award in Legal Writing for receiving the top grade in the class, and was on the Dean’s List for several consecutive semesters. Roxana was also a finalist in the Charles Evans Hughes Moot Court Competition.

David Van Vooren, M.B.A.

David Van Vooren, M.B.A., has been the Executive Director of the Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County, “SWANCC”, since September 2011. SWANCC is a regional solid waste agency comprised of 23 municipal members serving a population of approximately 750,000 residents. SWANCC provides solid waste disposal services to its member communities along with specialty collection services for: e-waste, sharps, non-controlled medicines, batteries, mercury, florescent bulbs and document destruction. In additional SWANCC provides educational support for residential recycling programs. Mr. Van Vooren, has worked in numerous local government positions over the course of his 40 year career with highlights being he was the village administrator in Plainfield, Illinois, executive director for the northwest water commission and most recently the public works director for the City of Naperville, Illinois. He holds an M.B.A. from Eastern Illinois University with a B.A. in Finance and a B.S. in Economics also from Eastern Illinois.

Anna Mary L. Walker, MAM

Anna Mary L. Walker, MAM, is a native of Louisiana who holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Louisiana State University and a Master of Arts Management degree from Columbia College Chicago. She began her nonprofit consulting business, AM/PM Solutions & Services in 2013, which provides expertise in nonprofit administration, management, and fund development. She believes the most valuable asset anyone can bring to the table is being coachable and accepting of new information. To that end, she is always eager to learn more, because “You don’t know, what you don’t know!”

P. Kay Whitlock, PE, D.WRE, F.ASCE, Vice President

P. Kay Whitlock, PE, D.WRE, F.ASCE, Vice President, manages multi-disciplinary water resource projects for Christopher B. Burke Engineering, Ltd. (CBBEL), a full service civil engineering firm specializing in municipal, water resources, traffic, construction, environmental, and mechanical engineering with eight offices in Illinois and Indiana. Ms. Whitlock was the water resources lead for the Master Civil Engineer team for the O’Hare Modernization Program (OMP) from 2003-2019. She now handles drainage and permitting for the new terminal development. Ms. Whitlock is a proud Illini and holds a B.S. and M.A. from the University of Illinois and is a graduate of the Management Training Institute at the University of Mississippi. She is a Registered Professional Engineer in Illinois and a Diplomate Water Resources Engineer.

Walter S. Willis, M.P.A.

Walter S. Willis, M.P.A., has been the Executive Director of the Solid Waste Agency of Lake County since 2007 and is responsible for overseeing the Agency’s solid waste and resource management programs, and implementing the Lake County Solid Waste Management Plan. Mr. Willis is a board member of the Illinois Chapter of SWANA, an honorary board member of the Product Stewardship Institute, and was selected as Chairman of the IL Food Scrap Coalition for 2016 and 2017. Prior to joining SWALCO, Mr. Willis worked in the waste industry as a consultant for approximately 21 years developing solid waste management plans and assisting with solid waste facility development projects throughout the United States. He began his solid waste career with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency in 1987 after receiving his M.P.A. from Southern Illinois University.

Dave Zelenok, PE

Dave Zelenok, PE, is Manager Local Governmental Services, at HR Green, Inc. Dave is an internationally recognized civic innovator, speaker and licensed civil engineer who founded the nation’s first municipal Innovation Team to focus on emerging transportation and smart cities technologies. Dave has thirty years of senior management experience at the municipal, state and federal levels as well as a consulting engineer managing the “full spectrum” of transportation service delivery and public works, including Aviation, Mass Transit, Civil Engineering, Toll Highway, Public Works operations. He is now the Manager of Local Government Services for HR Green, Inc. He consults with public sector agencies and the private sector on smart cities technologies, innovation processes, transportation infrastructure and Public-Private Partnerships. Dave earned a M.S. in Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin.

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