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The 2019 APA-IL State Conference was a success!

Updated: Dec 30, 2019

Our 2019 State Conference brought us back to Evanston, IL for a 3rd time, September 25-27, 2019! We were delighted to be back at the Hilton Orrington Evanston, right in the middle of beautiful downtown Evanston. We hope you enjoyed reminiscing as you earned CMs. Please visit the 2018 APA-IL State Conference webpage for videos and more photos!

When conference planning begins, one of the first things the Chapter tackles is naming a conference chair. For 2019 it was easy. During the 2018 State Conference, Marcy Knysz, AICP, Village of Wheeling, was a co-chair for our programming committee and voiced interest in becoming our 2019 Chair. Thank you Marcy, for your enthusiasm and the countless hours of volunteer time you dedicated to the conference and our members.

While a dynamic conference chair can make an impact on a conference, we decided to include a few new experiences for attendees to take advantage of.

We were delighted that GovHR was able to join us as a new sponsor this year and provide on-site resume reviews and mock interviews. Talk about building your skills! We hope you were able to take advantage of this opportunity. Thank you, GovHr USA!

Over 80 of you brought your best suit and smile to the conference and grabbed a free headshot. We've been watching your LinkedIn profiles and we are excited to see many of you flaunting your new photos. Thank you to Muse Community + Design and Oracle Public Sector for sponsoring this amenity.

One law session a day keeps the layers at bay? We tested this theory at the conference this year -- 3 law sessions for attendees to take advantage of. No worries, we still had our traditional Ancel Glink session with the dynamic team of Dan Bolin, Greg Jones, and David Silverman, AICP along with their trusty PDO side-kick Trevor Dick, AICP. How could we top Babraham Lincoln from 2018? Well, it was a top-secret competition so we can't say much except there were costumes, planning law, and lots of laughs. A big thanks to our Mystery Planners - you know who you are.

While many firsts were had, the conference remained true to what brings planners back each year - our incredible speakers and session topics. Thank you to the many speakers and most of all, Charlotte O'Donnell Obodzinski, AICP, Pace Bus, for once again spearheading the Programming Committee along with Chris Heinen, Rolf Campbell, and Vitaliy Vladimirov, Muse Community + Design. A big thanks also goes out to Drew Awsumb, AICP, City of Highland Park for organizing the mobile workshops. Our traditional offerings included:

The Awards Program - Each year we bring together the best planning in Illinois and this year was no exception. After a brief greeting by Evanston Mayor Steve Hagerty, we recognized 2019 project award winners and then announced our service award winners. Congratulations to all! After the fanfare, everyone adjourned to the Exhibitor Hall for hors d'oeuvres, drinks,and networking. Thank you to our Awards Chair, Christina Bader, AICP, CTA, for an eloquently honoring everyone and another well executed ceremony! A list of 2019 Awards recipients are available at

The Speed Planning - Thank you to Tim Gustafson, AICP, Epstein, for another well-executed ballet of planners, tables and topics. Everyone was able to cram a tremendous amount of information on a variety of topics in a short amount of time. Thanks to our presenters!

The Plan Commissioner Training - Michael Blue, FAICP and Laurie Marston, FAICP have held 100+ training sessions with plan commissioners throughout the state. Each year, they set aside time to make the training session at our state conference a little special by including just a little extra. In this case, the "extra" was an afternoon mock hearing open to all attendees. Commissioners learn a lot from our trainers but also from each other. Attendees at the conference ranged from 1-15 years experience, from committee member to chairman. For some, they have attended our training in the past and wanted to go through the training again as a refresher or to have new questions answered. With the addition of an afternoon mock hearing open to all attendees, it boosted the quality and amount of knowledge shared by commissioners, lawyers, and planners alike. Thank you Michael and Laurie as well as the mock hearing lawyers David Silverman, AICP and Greg Jones from Ancel Glink.

The Ethics Case of the Year - Thank you Lee Brown, FAICP, Teska Associates, and APA Ethics Officer Jim Peters, FAICP for posing difficult, and complicated, ethical questions to Friday’s attendees.

There was hardly an empty seat in the room for this year's AICP Exam Training, generously held by John Houseal, AICP, Devin Lavigne, AICP, Houseal Lavigne Associates, and Trevor Dick, AICP, City of Aurora. The APA-IL was proud to once again offer this valuable, half-day session for free. Good luck to all those that are taking the exam - may the odds forever be in your favor!

Our last round of conference thank yous go to some of the “behind-the-scenes” folks that put the cherry on top of all that we do at APA-IL.

A shout out to our great group of volunteers that generously gave their time and took pictures during sessions. We could not have done the conference without you! Glen Cole, Village of Lake Bluff, rounded-up and organized our volunteers and encouraged them to make your time in Evanston just a little smoother. Glen also generously helped wherever an extra hand was needed.

Marketing gurus Francie Sallinger, Teska Associates, and Trisha Parks, AICP, Houseal Lavigne, had fun with word bubbles and churning out creative marketing material that was fun to read even if you were not planning on attending the conference. Thank you for sharing your creativity, Francie & Trisha!

Trevor Dick, AICP, APA-IL Professional Development Officer extraordinaire, City of Aurora, once again helped to bring a vision to reality. Trevor has had a hand in our state conferences for a while now and every year he's always looking for ways to improve what the conference is and how we do it. Thank you for serving APA-IL members, Trevor, you're awesome.

Thank you to I3 Events, Keith and Neela Johnston. The APA-IL appreciates all that you put into our conferences and we were happy to work with you to produce another great conference this year.

Finally, the APA-IL would like to thank the many exhibitors, speakers and sponsors who helped make this Conference a success. While some sponsors were new, most were longtime advocates of the Chapter. The entire Chapter Executive Committee appreciates your continued support. It’s important to stress that sponsorships not only help support the annual conference, but also support other Chapter activities and programs that occur throughout the year. Thank you to Stephanie Brown, AICP, Chastain & Associates, and Brandon Nolin, AICP, Houseal Lavigne Associates, for helping the APA-IL foster long-lasting relationships with many of our sponsors.

We look forward to taking the show, for the first time ever, to Rosemont for the 2020 State Conference! We hope you will consider joining us Sept 16-18, 2020. Hotel and registration rates will be posted soon.

On behalf of APA-IL, we thank you for joining us in Evanston.

A big thank you to all our 2019 Sponsors!

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