Scott Schoeller, Board Chairman
Contour Landscaping and Snow Removal, Inc.
Scott grew up in Skokie, attending Cleveland School, Oakview (changed to McCracken) and Niles East. He has long worked in Skokie, starting at a Tool and Die Company, both local Dominick’s Food Stores and for the Village of Skokie on public works crews and in the Sanitation Department. He started Contour Landscaping in 1976 with a car and a trailer, working out of a neighbor’s garage. Today Contour is based at 3501 Jarvis Ave in Skokie (across from the emissions station), where it has been for nearly 25 years, and has approximately 30 to 35 employees. Contour does landscape maintenance, design, construction and commercial and industrial snow removal. Their scope of work is approximately 80% residential and 20% commercial in the landscape sector. All of their snow removal is of a commercial nature. Their average client has been with them for several years and their company averages approximately $1.5- 2million in sales a year. Scott is the Past President of the IL Professional Lawn Care Association, Former Certified Arborist of the International Society of Arboriculture, Instructor for the Motorcycle Safety Foundation, and Past Introduction Leader for Landmark Education, a personal and professional training/development company. He lives in Lake Forest, with wife Mary, a 25 year-old son, and a 18 year-old daughter. His hobbies are motorcycling, camping and hanging out with the family.
Heather Jackson, Executive Vice-Chairperson
Kaleidoscope Dance and Movement Center
Heather has been instructing and choreographing professionally for over 20 years, with an emphasis on children’s dance. Heather received her formal dance training from Claudette Soltis (former dancer of the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo) of the Joliet Ballet Society. The Ballet Society gave her the opportunity to work with many other ballet greats such as Irina Kolpakova of the American Ballet Theatre and Dace Dindonis, formerly of the Indianapolis Ballet. She is a graduate of Millikin University and holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts Performance degree in Dance & Musical Theatre. She is the former Director of Dance at the Mayer Kaplan JCC in Skokie. Heather also established the Kaleidoscope Dance Ensemble in the Northshore area in 2001, for which she is the Artistic Director. Heather teaches all forms of dance and several classes at the studio. Heather’s choreography credits include Kaleidoscope Dance Ensemble, West Side Story, Fiddler on the Roof, Annie, Yours Anne, Sound of Music, Elixir of Love, Amahl and the Night Visitors, and several works with Millikin University Dance Ensemble. She has also danced with the Indianapolis Ballet Theatre and performed with Chicago’s Timestep Players Children’s Theatre. Performance credits include Steppin’ Out, Pippin, Bye Bye Birdie, Guys and Dolls, Bartered Bride, Little Shop of Horrors and Millikin Dance Ensemble. She has owned Kaleidoscope Dance Studio for the past 16 years and currently serves as the Skokie Chamber Board Secretary.
Dr. Ruben Howard II, Public Sector Vice-Chairperson
Oakton Community College
Ruben Howard is the Director of Continuing Education and Workforce Development for Oakton Community College. Ruben has a diverse background of experience including career services, auto manufacturing, supply chain management, warehousing and distribution, third party logistics (3PL), and military traffic management. Prior to joining Oakton Community College, Ruben was the Dean of College to Careers with City Colleges of Chicago and Professor of Logistics with Lone Star College in Cy-Fair, Texas. He currently serves on the National Experts Panel for Production and Logistics for the Manufacturing Skills Standards Council (MSSC). Dr. Howard holds a Ph.D. in Business/Organization and Management from Capella University, M.S.B.A in Business Administration from Texas A&M University, M.S. in Transportation Management from Texas Southern University, and a B.S. in Airway Science from Jackson State University.
Randy Usen, Board Treasurer
Randy Usen has been a Commercial Banking Executive for 40+ years, an Auditor/Credit Analyst for 6 years and a Commercial Lender/Advisor to Businesses for 35 years. He is a Senior VP in the Skokie / Evanston Byline Bank organization and serves as a Division Head for Commercial Banking (F/K/A First Bank & Trust), specializing in providing loans and commercial banking services to privately held companies and not for profit organizations. Randy’s work experience includes Continental Illinois National Bank, Unibanctrust (F/K/A Sears Bank & Trust), and Bank One NA (combined with First Chicago and now JP Morgan Chase). Randy holds a B.S. in Finance from Northern Illinois University and an M.B.A. in Finance from DePaul University. He also attended St. Xavier University’s Professional Financial Planning Program. Growing up in Skokie he graduated from Niles North H.S. In addition to serving on the Skokie Chamber of Commerce’s Board of Directors, Randy has participated in the Evanston Chamber of Commerce and served as their President. He was also a Board Member of SomerCor 504 and is a Rotarian in the Lighthouse Rotary Club of Rotary International. Randy enjoys golf, softball, cycling, skiing, canoeing and spending time with his wife and two children.
Joy Schaefer, Acting Board Secretary, Immediate Past Board Chairperson
Home Helpers of Northeastern Illinois
Joy Schaefer is the co-owner of Home Helpers of Northeastern Illinois along with business partner and friend Tom Merlin. Home Helpers provides the service of “Making Life Easier” for their clients and loved ones by providing in-home caregivers. Joy is the Executive Vice President of the Skokie Chamber of Commerce & Industry Board of Directors as well as secretary of PRO: Professional Referral Organization. Joy has had a long affiliation with the Skokie community and Chamber of Commerce. Her family-owned party business, Le Potpourri, provided decorating services in Skokie from 1981 until 2008. Joy also lived in Skokie for 16 years.
Board Members at Large:
Graff, Ballauer & Blanski, P.C.
Michael has been a member of this firm of certified public accountants for more than 30 years, and its President since 1995. He is in charge of certified audits, while also overseeing tax planning, research and review. Michael is experienced in litigation support services having served numerous times as an expert witness. He works with closely-held corporations as well as the not-for-profit sector. In addition, his expertise also spans pension and welfare funds, as well as unions, where he has expedited and certified election results. During his work as a CPA, Michael has concentrated on commercial and not-for-profit audits. His tax work has also included partnerships, personal, and consolidated corporate tax returns. Michael received his Masters of Science in taxation from DePaul University, while also earning his B.S. from DePaul, where he was an Illinois State Scholarship recipient. He is a member of Delta Sigma Pi, National Business Fraternity, the Illinois CPA Society, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans and an Associate Member of the Chicago Chapter of Certified Fraud Examiners.
American Landmark Properties, Illinois
Barbara Carley is a Senior Vice President with American Landmark Properties, with over 25 years of commercial management and leasing experience in the greater Chicago, Boston and Indianapolis markets. In addition to coordinating the corporate operations for American Landmark Properties, Ms. Carley is integrally involved in all property investments with extensive experience in the management and leasing of office, industrial, retail and residential properties across all classes. Carley was formerly managing director at Cushman & Wakefield, CB Richard Ellis and Equity Office Properties, with responsibility for the business development, marketing, operations and financial performance of portfolios in excess of 52 million square feet. In addition to her corporate leadership roles, Ms. Carley also served as director of the Willis Tower and has spearheaded property management and/or leasing efforts at many noteworthy developments including Windham Lakes, Woodfield Corporate Center, Macy’s Chicago Warehouse, 311 South Wacker Drive, NBC Tower, Oakbrook Terrace Tower, the Boeing HQ at 100 North Riverside Plaza, and the Glen Town Center. Ms. Carley received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Valparaiso University and went on to do her Master’s work in Public Policy (MPP) at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, as part of a joint program with the Law School. She is a past member of the Board of Directors for BOMA Chicago and earned the RPA® designation from BOMI International.
Baker Hartley Law Offices
David counsels individuals and closely held business owners by solving problems, identifying opportunities and helping his clients attain their goals. He concentrates his practice in the areas of (i) legal matters for closely held businesses; (ii) taxation; (iii) estate planning & administration; and (iv) residential & commercial real estate transfers. He has experience facilitating all stages of million dollar sales and acquisitions of closely held businesses from negotiation, contracting, implementation, and all the way through closing. David also regularly makes appearances in Cook and Lake County Probate Court on behalf of our clients.
David joined the firm in early 2014 after graduating cum laude from the Temple University Beasley School of Law in Philadelphia. David was an editor of the Temple International & Comparative Law Journal, and he also participated in Temple’s highly ranked trial advocacy program where he won the Barrister’s Award for outstanding advocacy. He was also chosen to participate in a select program allowing him to serve as an intern judicial clerk with the Honorable Judge Robert B. Kugler in the District of New Jersey. While in law school David also served as the President of the Environmental Law Society and a member of Students for Students, a group helping public school students facing expulsion.
Prior to law school David worked in New York City for a boutique plaintiff’s firm on large pharmaceutical litigation and he also spent a year in South Korea teaching English. David graduated magna cum laude from Seton Hall University in New Jersey with a B.S. in International Relations where he was a member of the ice hockey team and honors program.
David is an active member of the Chicago Bar Association where he formally served as the Vice-Chair of the Young Lawyers Environmental Law Section. David is also an active member of the Constitutional Law Society and a regular volunteer for Wills for Heroes where he helps prepare estate planning documents for Chicago area police officers, fire fighters, emergency responders, and active duty military. David is also a member of Rotary International, Skokie Valley Chapter.
Westfield Old Orchard
Serge Khalimsky became the General Manager of Westfield Old Orchard in 2016, after serving as Assistant General Manager for 3 years. Serge has a professional background that spans across multiple industries including financial services, insurance, and commercial real estate. Serge also participates in a national veteran mentorship program, providing professional guidance to veterans transitioning from active duty to civilian life as they search for meaningful and rewarding careers. In his free time, Serge likes to play basketball and has a passion for traveling.
UltraMed Urgent Care, Ltd.
Biography Coming Soon!
Richard Kong (Public Sector)
Skokie Public Library (Community Representative)
Richard Kong is the director of Skokie Public Library. His library career includes work in Michigan, California, and Illinois, and he contributes actively to the library profession at both state and national levels. He was recently elected to the Public library Association’s Board of Directors and chairs that organization’s National Conference Committee. He is a member of the Executive Board of the Illinois Library Association and the American Library Association Center for the Future of Libraries Working Group. Richard holds a Bachelor of Arts from Oberlin College, a Master of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary, and a Master of Science in Information from the University of Michigan.
LegalShield Independent Representative
Linda is an Independent Associate, Director and Field Trainer for LegalShield and LegalShield Business Solutions. She started her LegalShield Business in 2008 providing outstanding legal coverage from established law firms in 50 states, Canada and the UK. Our plans offer the most complete and affordable legal assistance available. We also provide a comprehensive solution for Identity Theft issues through monitoring and complete restoration. She works with companies providing these services as employee benefits at no out-of-pocket cost to the employer. The services increase productivity, decrease stress and absenteeism for the companies she serves. As one of the Skokie Chamber’s Affinity Partners, the services are discounted for its members. Linda is known as a connector; runs the B2B Power Networking Lunch and is committed to helping Small Businesses grow. She believes small businesses are the job creation machines for the World. Throughout her careers as a Computer Programmer, Association Executive and Corporate Program Manager; Linda has always been passionate about helping people. A lifelong learner and lover of education, she graduated Summa Cum Laude in Computer Information Systems and continues to take classes in many topics. A renaissance woman; Linda is a passionate volunteer, Speaker, Mom to Sandy a 50-pound Basenji Mix; World Traveler; has lived in many cities and is extremely happy to be back home.
Levin Insurance Group
Biography Coming Soon!
John Lockerby (Public Sector)
Village of Skokie (Community Representative)
John Lockerby has served as the Village Manager of Skokie since 2014 after serving as Assistant Village Manager for nine years. Prior to coming to Skokie, John worked in the City of McHenry and Village of Woodridge. The Village of Skokie strives to provide high quality services, excellent customer service, and foster a business-friendly atmosphere that supports economic growth. The Village’s vibrant, diverse business community is impressive and among the community’s assets. John is an active member and Past President of the Kiwanis Club of Skokie Valley. He lives in Skokie with his wife Kate and two children.
First Bank Chicago
David Putrus is VP/Market Manager for First Bank Chicago. He brings over 20 years of financial experience from the banking industry including Personal, Non-Profit and Business Banking. Born and raised in Skokie, David is actively involved in the Community. He is the former President of the Skokie Chamber of Commerce and currently serves on the Village of Skokie Economic Development Commission, District 219 Education Foundation and the Skokie Community Foundation.
David comes to us from First Bank & Trust.
Niles Township High School District 219
Dr. Steven Isoye, Superintendent
District 219 Website
Steven T. Isoye was named Superintendent of Niles Township High School District 219 in May 2016. Before that, Isoye served as Superintendent of Oak Park and River Forest High School District 200 for six years. While at Oak Park and River Forest High School, he: kept a focus on supports to assist students who struggle; built better relationships throughout the community; supported efforts to decrease suspensions; moved the district towards a 1:1 technology environment; and continued the district‘s work on equity. Isoye was principal of Maine East High School in Park Ridge from 2007 to 2010; during that time, he was named 2010-2011 Illinois High School Principal of the Year by the Horace Mann/Illinois Principals Association. Since 1998, he has served on the Board of Trustees for the Illinois Math and Science Academy. Before his leadership at Maine East, Isoye was principal of Warren Township High School’s freshman-sophomore campus in Gurnee, where he also served as head of the Division of Science, Industrial Technology, and Family and Consumer Sciences from 2000 through 2003. While at Highland Park High School from 1997 to 2000, he served as science department chair. In 1998, he was named the Illinois State Teacher of the Year by the Illinois State Board of Education and received the Milken Educator Award. Prior to taking on administrative leadership roles, Isoye taught science at Deerfield High School, The Latin School in Chicago, and Loyola Academy in Wilmette. Isoye has an Ed.D., Ed.S., and M.S.Ed. from Northern Illinois University; an M.A. in curriculum and instruction from Concordia University; and a B.S. magna cum laude in biology, with a minor in chemistry, from Northern Illinois University.
Biography Coming Soon!
Joel Raynes, SVR Representative
Baird and Warner Real Estate
“Building Relationships, Solving Problems, and Having Fun”
Joel Raynes of Baird & Warner Glenbrook, Real Estate Broker, Coach and Mentor describes his real estate practice this way: “My business is building relationships and helping your real estate dreams come true.” Besides helping clients buy or sell, Joel coaches and mentors new real estate agents. Outside of his real estate business, Joel Raynes is active in the local real estate board, volunteers at several chambers of commerce, enjoys exercising and plays the occasional round of golf. Mr. Raynes currently resides in Wilmette, graduated from Niles West High School and received a B.A. in sociology from Drake University, CFP from College of Financial Planning. Prior to starting his real estate practice, he worked in banking and finance. Board Member North Shore Barrington Association of REALTORS® ,Member Illinois Association of REALTORS® Member National Association of REALTORS® ,2019 President North Shore Barrington Board of REALTORS® , Board member of North Shore Center of Performing Arts Foundation Board, Task Force Member of Midwest Real Estate Data Financial Oversight Council Community Involvement Past Coach Wilmette Eagle’s Youth Travel Football, Past Coach Wilmette Baseball Association, Former School Board Director Avoca School District 37
Glen Roter, SVR Representative, Past Board President
Edward Jones Investments- Glen Roter
Biography Coming Soon!
NorthShore University HealthSystem Skokie Hospital
Mark Schroeder serves as Manager of Community Relations for NorthShore University HealthSystem managing the organization’s community benefits programs that work to improve the health of NorthShore’s communities. Prior to NorthShore, Mr. Schroeder served as Vice President of The Global Consulting Group where he provided a wide range of public affairs consulting services for clients that included numerous Fortune 500, nonprofit organizations and government agencies. Mr. Schroeder holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Northeastern Illinois University. His post-graduate in public affairs was done at DePaul University. He is a member of the Public Relations Society of America, and past Chairman of its Public Affairs and Government Section. Mr. Schroeder is certified by the Institute of Crisis Management.
Skokie Community Foundation
became Executive Director of the Skokie Community Foundation in September 2021. He was a member of the original steering committee of the Skokie Community Fund in 2014 and has been a member of the Board of Directors since that time. He served Niles Township High School District 219 as Director of Strategic Partnerships & Community Relations from 2006 until his retirement in June 2021. He has been part of the Skokie and Niles Township community since 1985, when he started as a reporter for Pioneer Press, covering Skokie. He was also Public Information Officer for the Village of Skokie from 1988 to 1996. Between his public sector stints at the Village of Skokie and D219, Jim was Public Affairs Director for Ameritech New Media/SBC. Jim holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and German Studies from Northwestern University and a Master’s in Written Communication from National-Louis University.
Next Home Elite
Second-generation Real Estate Managing Broker Arlyn Tratt has become a go-to guru in assisting buyers and sellers throughout the Skokie and greater Chicago metro area, as well as a savvy investor in real estate properties of all shapes and sizes. Arlyn has been featured on Fox News showcasing a million-dollar home in Oak Park, as well as “Chicago Tonight,” sharing expertise about the city’s Gold Coast neighborhood.
Tratt’s father owned and operated several Century 21 offices in the northwest suburbs of Chicago, which inspired Arlyn to follow in his footsteps. Today, he is based in Skokie, Illinois, and is associated with NextHome Elite. He offers a robust roster of specialties, including: the buying and selling of single family homes, condos/townhomes, multi-family dwellings, land, lots, residential rentals and luxury homes; first time buyers, distressed properties, staging and relocation; and REO/bank-owned, foreclosures and short sales.Alongside, Tratt’s services comprise: contract negotiations, comparative market analysis, market statistics, online marketing, direct marketing, rent to own, lease to own and creative financing. He is certified in ABR, SFR and GREEN, and was named 2012 New Member of the Year by the Skokie Chamber of Commerce. Arlyn is currently the President of the Proferral Networking group, and serves on the board of directors of the Skokie Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Michelle Tuft (Public Sector)
Skokie Park District
Michelle Tuft is the Executive Director of the Skokie Park District. She oversees the district’s comprehensive management, planning and operation of the public agency.
Michelle worked as the district’s superintendent of recreation and facilities since 2012, after serving as its superintendent of recreation from 2006 to 2012. She was an integral part of administrating the district during the modernization of many of the district’s 12 facilities over the past decade. Michelle also was instrumental in creating the district’s largest event, Skokie’s Backlot Bash, an event that she has chaired since its inception in 2007. She also served as the chair of the iconic Skokie Festival of Cultures from 2007 to 2012. She previously worked as the facility manager of the district’s Weber Leisure Center and its Oakton Community Center, after recreation supervisor stints at three other suburban park districts in the 1990s.
Michelle received her bachelor’s degree in leisure studies from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She is recognized as a certified park and recreation executive (CPRE) by the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), and is a member of the Illinois Parks and Recreation Association (IPRA) and NRPA, having served the national association as an exam committee member.
Michelle has also served as the district’s Freedom of Information Act officer, as a past president of the Rotary Club of Skokie Valley, as a past member of the Illinois Arts Council Ethnic & Folk Arts grant selection committee, and as a past committee member of the University of Illinois Alumni Board. She is also Open Meetings Act certified by the Illinois Attorney General’s Office.
In addition to enjoying the many offerings of the Skokie Park District, Michelle is an avid Cubs fan. She also enjoys biking, gardening, reading, pottery and traveling with her partner Max and their friends.
Dr. Cindy Whittaker
Skokie School District 72-Fairview
Dr. Cindy Whittaker is the Superintendent of Fairview School District 72. The District is located in the southwest corner of Skokie and is supported through a substantial commercial base with over 250 businesses, including the Village Crossing shopping center and the Walmart Plaza. Fairview students come from a wide variety of cultural backgrounds, with over forty different languages spoken within the school community. Fairview District 72 is known for offering outstanding educational programs for all students, including those with disabilities, unique talents and learning english for the first time. Dr. Whittaker holds a Bachelor’s in Elementary Education from Loyola University, a Master’s of Science in Education from National Louis University and a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Loyola University. She has served the Skokie community for the past 16 years through her work at Fairview and in the community. She serves as the co-chair to the Niles Township English Language Learner Parent Center and as the Board President for the North Cook Regional Office of Education.
Designated Board Alternates:
Niles Township High School District 219:
Lisa Edelson is the Education to Careers (ETC) coordinator for Niles North, Niles West and Niles Central High Schools. The ETC program aims to help D219’s 4,800 students understand how they can take advantage of their high school experiences, including their academic classes and extra-curricular activities, to investigate potential career choices. Lisa cultivates partnerships with businesses and community professionals who help students make informed decisions about college and careers. Lisa’s own career path has included positions with Baltimore County, MD’s Planning and Zoning Department, the Hilton and Hyatt Corporations and the Back of the Yards Business Association. She served as Executive Director of the Skokie Chamber of Commerce from 1988 to 2000. Lisa earned a Bachelor’s degree in City and Environmental Planning and a Master’s degree in Corporate Employee Life & Wellness Benefits Programming.