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Join us VIRTUALLY for...

sessions and CM credits!


2020 APA-IL State Conference

September 16-18, 2020


Our state conferences showcase the BEST in Illinois urban planning. The 2020 APA-IL VIRTUAL State Conference will be no exception! Join hundreds of urban planners and allied professionals from all across the country for an event that draws the best and brightest minds together to embrace challenges, shape solutions, and define the future of communities in Illinois.

While our virtual platform is new, #APAIL2020 features all the classics, including:

  • Ethics & Law

  • Plan Commissioner Training

  • AICP Exam Prep

  • Awards Ceremony

  • Thursday evening social event

Please click here for the full schedule.

This link will take you to the APA-IL Conference platform.

We hope you can join us! Registration is open.


Virtual Agenda at a Glance

All events will be held virtually through the APA-IL Conference platform.

Please click here for the full schedule.

Wed., September 16, 2020

  • 9:30a-10:30a - Opening Session: Joel Albizo, FASAE, CAE, APA CEO

  • 10:45a-11:45a - Sessions

  • 11:45a-1:30p - Lunch on Own

  • 12:00p-1:00p - Sponsorship Networking Hour

  • 1:30p-2:30p - Sessions

  • 2:30p-2:45p - Break

  • 2:45p-3:45p - Sessions

  • 3:45p-4:45p - Break

  • 4:30p-5:30p - Awards Ceremony

  • 5:30p-6:30p - Lockdown Lowdown Virtual Happy Hour

Thurs., September 17, 2020

  • 7:00a-8:00a - Boot Camp Workout with Wesley Hamilton

  • 9:30a-10:30a - Sessions

  • 10:30a-10:45a - Break

  • 10:45a-11:45a - Sessions

  • 11:45a-1:30p - Keynote Address: Wesley Hamilton

  • 1:30p-2:30p - Sessions

  • 2:30p-2:45p - Break

  • 2:45p-3:45p - Sessions

  • 3:45p-4:00p - Break

  • 4:00p-5:00p - Sessions

  • 5:00p-6:00p - Sponsor Networking Hour

Fri., September 18, 2020

  • 8:30a-9:30a - Sponsor Networking Hour

  • 9:00a-12:00p - AICP Training

  • 9:30a-12:00p - Sessions

  • 11:45a-12:00p - Break

  • 12:00p-1:00p - Sessions

  • 1:00p-2:00p - Lunch on Own

  • 2:00p-3:00p - Sessions


Keynote Speaker: Wesley Hamilton

The APA-IL is proud to announce their 2020 Keynote Address will be on September 17th and will feature Wesley Hamilton, founder of Disabled but Not Really.

Wesley Hamilton was born and raised on the east side of Kansas City, Mo., where it was difficult for a young African American male to find opportunity outside of the streets. By the age of 16, he became too much for his mother to handle and moved out to be on his own. By the age of 22, he became a father to his daughter, Nevaeh. 

Two years later, at only 5-foot-4 and 230-pounds, Wes was non-athletic and vastly overweight as a single father, working full time at an auto finance company and had just won sole custody of his then 2-year-old daughter. But only 5 days after his 24th birthday, everything about Wes’s life changed dramatically. As he was walking back to his car, Wes was shot multiple times, with one bullet slicing through his chest and fracturing a rib. The other entered his abdomen, partially severing his spine and paralyzing him below the waist. The shooter was a guy he’d never met. 

Wes spent the next three years in recovery, which also included two of those years fighting the severe emotional depression that arose from his belief that his life would forever be bedeviled by medications, surgeries and limitations.

But for the overwhelming love he had for his daughter, Wes knew he had to set an example for Nevaeh. He started down a path of taking ownership back in his life. He started a fitness and nutrition regiment, which was completely foreign to him – as he never ate healthy a day in his life, nor had any experience exercising. Wes learned everything he could about nutrition and started cooking (and now is known for his culinary skills). The fitness side of everything also took off, and in the first year lead him to lose 100 pounds – which is incredible, especially for a man who doesn’t have the use of his legs. He became a powerhouse of inspiration and felt his transformation had the potential to help others who are struggling similar battles, so he founded a non-profit called, Disabled But Not Really (DBNR).


DBNR has helped so many individuals with disabilities (not just physical) to feel empowered and has helped so many lives overcome any mental limitations they may have – which is the driving force of the organization. The passion Wes has for DBNR is  passion for DBNR is evident by its expansion. DBNR joins community events to raise awareness about the role of good mental and physical health in overcoming life’s challenges. It has expanded a scholarship program for disabled individuals who learn ways to improve their nutrition and fitness, as well as support the homeless population in his hometown of Kansas City providing dignity care packages, water, and food. Wes has been recognized many times for his entrepreneurial success, and has been honored with a number of philanthropic awards. 

Wes has also spent the past four years being recognized role-model in the Crossfit Community, winning a number of bodybuilding competitions, even being featured in Men’s Health Magazine climbing a rope with his wheelchair. He has had the opportunity to speak to many community groups, schools, universities, organizations and associations sharing his story and inspiring so many lives. He has a stack of hero letters from all ages thanking him for sharing his story. Wes transformed yet again when working with the Fab Five on Netflix’s hit show Queer Eye (Season 4, Episode 2) who taught him how to be true to himself, leaving him humbled by the experience. Wes believes that the highest human act is to inspire – and knows that is his purpose in life.



Date: Friday, September 17, 2020

Time: 9:00a-12:00p

Cost: Illinois Members FREE / Non-Illinois members $25


The APA-IL is proud to once again provide the widely successful AICP Exam Prep Workshop. The session will be led by the same trainers who have conducted AICP training throughout the country for over a decade and the past 8 National APA Conferences including the 2018 National APA Conference in New Orleans: John Houseal, FAICP, Devin Lavigne, AICP, LEED AP, founders of Houseal Lavigne Associates, and Trevor Dick, AICP, LEED AP, Illinois Chapter APA Professional Development Officer. Each registrant will be provided a course booklet .pdf.


Plan Commissioner Training

Date: training sessions will occur during 2 sessions on Wed. Sept 16th and Thur. Sept 17th. 

Cost: $50

For our 2020 State Conference, the Plan Commissioner Training also includes access to several outstanding sessions that touch on the topics of law, housing, equity, engagement. We're also give you access to our the Open Session, Keynote Address, Awards Ceremony, and we'll throw in an APA-IL Chapter Only membership (worth $50)!

Plan commissioners work hard reading packets, reviewing cases, conducting public hearings, and considering policy matters; but they rarely get the chance to sit back and look at the big picture of what they do and the significance it has to the communities in which they live. That will be the focus of this track.

Most commissioners are not professionals in the planning or development field and can benefit from a bit of extra training on the topic. Even seasoned commissioners appreciate the chance to step back from the task of plan review and approval, learn what’s new in planning, and discuss their role with fellow commissioners.

All planning officials, boards, and commissions are welcome. Professional planners are welcome to attend both the morning and afternoon sessions. Planners will likely find the Thursday developer's panel session the most useful.

Session 1:  Wednesday, September 16th, 1:00pm - 3:45pm - Live Panel Discussion with Planners and Attorneys (commissioners only)

  • This session includes two planners and an attorney who will discuss the responsibilities of commissioners, how to run an effective, fair public hearing and how to make objective, defensible decisions.

Session 2: Thursday, September 17th, 2:30 - 5:00pm - Live Developer's Panel (open to all attendees - CM eligible)

  • Developers, architects, traffic engineers, attorneys, city managers and Mayors will discuss their roles in the development review process and how they work with the Plan Commission.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Learn about the concepts and standards of planning.

  2. Learn about the roles and responsibilities of a plan commissioner.

  3. Learn about the roles and perspectives of others involved in the development approval process.


Michael Blue, FAICP, Teska Associates

Greg Jones, AICP Ancel Glink
Laurie Marston, FAICP, Chaddick Institute

David Silverman, AICP, Ancel Glink

Social Events


Lockdown Lowdown Virtual Happy Hour

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

TIME: 5:30-6:30p 

This complimentary event is open to all attendees. 

This reception joins you and other attendees, sponsors, and exhibitors for some virtual networking and socializing!

Image by Sean Benesh

Thursday Evening Social Event - Virtual Trivia Night

Thursday, September 17, 2020
Time: 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm

This complimentary event is open to all attendees. 


Come get socially quiz-dant with us as we bring the Thursday Night Social live to your living room! 

When your conference is virtual, EVERY hour can be a happy hour, so grab a tipple, gather your team and get ready for trivia! From urban planning to performing arts, no subject is off-limits in this “highly” (not very) competitive, “super-serious” (laid back and fun) quiz night.


Just check the box for fun when you register.


Details for the evening will be emailed to those that opt in for the Trivia Night.

Thursday Morning Boot Camp Workout with Wesley Hamilton

Thursday, September 17, 2020
Time: 7:00 am - 8:00 am

Not only is Wesley a powerful, positive speaker - he is also a powerful athlete! Wes has been gracious enough to partner with the APA-IL and Chicagoland gyms to bring a virtual workout to conference attendees the morning of September 17th. No special equipment is needed and Wesley will suggest accommodations for a wide range of abilities. You won't want to miss this challenging, adaptive boot camp-style workout!!

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