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2021 State Conference - Drum roll please… your Keynote Speaker is...

Keynote Speaker Representative Emanuel "Chris" Welch

October 7, 2021 at 2:00 pm

The APA-IL is honored to have Speaker Emanuel "Chris" Welch as this year's Keynote Speaker.

Speaker Welch has served as the 7th District's State Representative in the Illinois General Assembly since January 2013. On January 13, 2021, he became the Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives. The first Black lawmaker to hold such position. You may also know Speaker Welch from past APA-IL State Conferences and Legislative Advocacy sessions or through his work as a Partner at Ancel Glink.

After the keynote, please join Speaker Emanuel "Chris" Welch, APA-IL Legislative Chair, David Silverman, AICP, and Legislative Committee member Ben LeRoy for the Planning and Legislative Advocacy Session. The session will demystify the legislative process and demonstrate why planners need to engage in that process to make their voices the only voices that matter on land use and zoning policy in Illinois.


Plan Commissioner Training

We are excited to bring back Plan Commissioner Training this year -- but we're doing it a little different...

  • Commissioners can register for 1, 2, or all 3 conference days.

  • Plan Commissioner Training will take place virtually after the conference, on November 17th from 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm.

Commissioners will be able to fit a lot more planning education into their schedules this year and Plan Commissioner Training will be held at a time convenient for them. Win-Win. Commissioners who register to attend #APAIL21 will receive a voucher to attend the November 17th training.


Mobile Workshops

Are you itching to get out and see new things? Have a desire to explore? Gosh - aren't we all after a year of staying at home! Luckily #APAIL21 has exactly what you’re looking for with our Mobile Workshops:

  • A Tale of Two Neighborhoods – Community Driven Recalibration of Urban Renewal Era Policy

  • Uptown South - A Living Community Challenge Pilot Community

  • CNU Illinois' Better Suburban Design: Field Tour


October 5 - Let's Get Social

8:00 pm Meet Up || 8:30 pm Uptown Trivia Tour

Do you remember how to shake hands? Greet someone when you're face-to-face? Neither do we. Let's work on our social skills (while adhering to COVID guidelines) on October 5th! Come get settled in at the Marriott and join your peers for a casual meet up at Jesse's Lounge (the Marriott's bar), starting at 8:00 pm.

Do you remember all the fun of trivia from the 2020 APA-IL Virtual State Conference? Neither do your hosts, Glen & Phil. Come join them as they try to recreate the madness, I mean magic, in Normal. Find out if they still have chemistry as they meet in person for the very first time (like on 90 Day Fiancé). Bring your walking shoes because this trivia is going to take you around Uptown Normal!


Schedule Overview

3 days of urban planning education for Illinois planners:

  • Tues., Oct. 5 -- Arrive in the evening, get socially re-acquainted & enjoy everyone's favorite pastime - trivia!

  • Wed., Oct. 6 -- Check-in. Get ready to start your in-person sessions

  • Thurs., Oct. 7-- More in-person sessions

  • Fri., Oct. 8 -- Put those pajamas back on and enjoy virtual sessions + Lowdown Happy Hour (Lowdown registration is open to all)!

  • Wed., Nov. 17 -- virtual Plan Commissioner Training

Don't forget that FREE AICP Exam Prep will be offered virtually the morning of October 8th from 9:00 am - noon. No conference registration necessary! If you're taking the AICP Exam soon don't miss this annual session!


Thank You Sponsors!

We are thankful to have the support of these sponsors! If you or your company would like to join the APA-IL in supporting and improving communities in Illinois during 2021-22, please consider joining our growing list of sponsors.

The prospectus is out! Take your pick of both in-person and virtual opportunities this year.

Sponsors and exhibitors have the opportunity to show their services, successful plans, and professional qualifications and experience.

If you or your organization is interested in becoming a 2021-22 sponsor or exhibitor please call or email email Shelly Greenwood at CGi, 501-303-4732.



The first Steak-n-Shake was in Normal.

ISU's Watterson Towers is the tallest student dormitory in the country.

Normal is the only community with a university at both ends of University Street (Illinois State and Illinois Wesleyan).


What else should I know about the State Conference?

  • APA-IL Rates at the Bloomington-Normal Marriott end Friday 9/24/21! Don't miss out!



If you have a question about the 2021 APA-IL State Conference, please reach out us!

  • 2021 Conference Chairs: Mercy Davison, AICP & Lauren Gibson, AICP

  • APA-IL Professional Development Officer: Stephanie Brown, AICP

  • APA-IL Executive Director: Paula Freeze

  • 2021-22 Sponsorship: Shelly Greenwood, CGi, 501-303-4732

If you have registration questions please reach out to our event planners, CGi, at


Credits: Elbow bump photo by Thirdman from Pexels || Google Street Maps view of Uptown South || Google Street Maps view of Main Street


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