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The 2021 APA-IL State Conference was a success!

Updated: Jan 7, 2022


Speaker Emanuel "Chris" Welch standing at podium delivering his keynote speech.

Our 2021 State Conference brought us back to Normal, IL for a 3rd time, October 6-7, 2021! We were delighted to be back at the Bloomington-Normal Marriot Hotel and Convention Center, right in the middle of beautiful Uptown Normal. We hope you enjoyed reminiscing as you earned CMs. For the first time, we also held a day of virtual sessions on October 8, 2021. All in, we are absolutely delighted that 292 of you could join us in-person or virtually this year! Please visit the 2021 APA-IL State Conference webpage for more photos!

When conference planning begins, one of the first things the Chapter tackles is naming a conference chair. For 2021it was double our pleasure. We looked to our local friends Mercy Davison, AICP and Lauren Gibson, AICP. Mercy and Lauren had their work cut out for themselves in the face of a global pandemic! Thank to you to these fantastic co-chairs for your enthusiasm and the countless hours of volunteer time you dedicated to the conference and our members.


"It's good to see you in person."

The cry heard throughout the Marriott on October 6th and 7th.

While this year's in-person conference was a little different due to the COVID-19 pandemic, 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, Niki Nutter, AICP, PMCS Consulting, for once again spearheading the Programming Committee along with Kalindi Parikh, Current, and Katie Simpson, Village of Savoy. Our traditional offerings included:

people sitting in audience with santa, elf, and one person standing in front of display with APA-IL logos

What would our conference be without an Ancel Glink law session? This year, Santa and his elves made a special visit to all the good little planners via the dynamic team of attorneys: Dan Bolin, Greg Jones, AICP, and Carissa Townsend along with their trusty planner side-kick Trevor Dick, AICP.


The Speed Planning - Thank you to Jaemi Jackson, AICP, CMAP, 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 Awards Program - Each year we bring together the best planning in Illinois and this year was no exception. We recognized 2021 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, Tim Gustafson, AICP, Epstein, for an eloquently honoring everyone and another well executed ceremony! Click here for list of 2021 Awards recipients.

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 attendees.


We were also delighted to have Illinois Speaker of the House, Emanuel Chris Welch as our Keynote Speaker! Thank you Speaker Welch for taking time out of your busy schedule to not only be our 2021 Keynote Speaker but also talk with us during the APA-IL Legislative Committee Advocacy Session.


"I was happy to put my pajamas back on"

After 2 days of in-person interaction and fancy clothes, it was nice to have my camera off and comfy clothes back on for the October 8th sessions.


Instead of a typical 3rd day of in-person sessions, for 2021 the APA-IL pivoted the 3rd day of programing to a day of virtual sessions. The APA-IL is grateful that we the flexibility to meet attendees where they were comfortable. Friday's program included 5 sessions, AICP Exam Prep, and 2 networking opportunities followed by the APA-IL Membership Committee's "The Lowdown" happy hour. Thanks to our virtual speakers and AICP Exam Prep instructors John Houseal, AICP, Devin Lavigne, AICP, Houseal Lavigne Associates, and Trevor Dick, AICP, City of Aurora. Good luck to all those that are taking the exam - may the odds forever be in your favor!


The Cherry on Top

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!

Thank you to the CGi events team, Randall Archer, Katie Choma, and Kris Mayo. 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 APA-IL Sponsorship Chairs Carrie Davis, AICP, Wallin Gomez Architects, and Brandon Nolin, AICP, Houseal Lavigne Associates along with CGi's Director of Sales Shelly Greenwood for helping the APA-IL foster long-lasting relationships with many of our sponsors.

We look forward to taking the show back to the Chicago area in 2022. Hotel and registration rates will be posted soon.

On behalf of APA-IL, we thank you for joining us in 2021.

A big thank you to all our 2021 Sponsors!


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