Jeffrey T. Baker is Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Illinois REALTORS®, a 50,000-member state voluntary trade association whose members are engaged in all facets of the real estate industry. He is just the fourth full-time leader of the association in its more than 100-year history.
Baker has worked in various capacities with the association since 2014, including serving as the association’s associate general counsel and most recently deputy CEO before becoming the leader in January 2021.
Prior to joining Illinois REALTORS®, Baker had his own law practice and worked for the Sorling Northrup law firm in Springfield. His career also includes extensive experience working on state and congressional campaigns.
Meena Beyers is vice president of Business and Community Development for Nicor Gas where she leads strategies to strengthen customer and community engagement and drive growth and economic impact. She oversees Community and Economic Development, Community Affairs, Customer Solutions, Energy Efficiency Services and Energy Efficiency Strategy and serves as Vice Chair of Nicor Gas’ foundation, Northern Illinois Community Initiatives. Meena is a Leadership Greater Chicago fellow and graduate of the Signature Leaders program. She serves on the boards for Metropolitan Planning Council, Chicago Coalition for the Homeless and the Women’s Energy Summit and founded Soar, Southern Company’s employee resource group for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. She earned a bachelor’s degree in urban planning and development from Ball State University and a master’s degree in public service management from DePaul University.
David Boulay is President of IMEC. David’s experiences in family-owned business, manufacturing, universities and non-profits have helped guide IMEC in serving as a catalyst for small and mid-sized company competitiveness. Boulay grew up in a family-owned business, learning first-hand about the trial, challenges, and pride that he sees in companies IMEC works with today. He has also worked in various manufacturing roles in companies such as Frito-Lay and Pillsbury. Boulay has a PhD focusing on high performance work practices in small and mid-sized companies and career pathways for workers. At IMEC he has helped create and implement initiatives to increase the flow of state and federal funding to manufacturers for projects, update worker skills, and help smaller manufacturers adopt new technology and business practices and to improve energy efficiency.
Jennifer joined the University of Illinois in March 2014, recently stepping into the role of Assistant Vice President, External and State Relations. In this role she is responsible for working with the president’s cabinet in developing and executing long-term strategic legislative and communication plans for the three university, U of I System. She also manages a distributed team of professionals responsible for coordinating and implementing state government relations, communications and advocacy strategies and activities that advance the University of Illinois system’s mission and strategic priorities. With over eighteen years of legislative experience and relationships, Jennifer represents the University of Illinois System cultivating strategic partnerships with external facing stakeholders across the state.
James Reynolds, Jr. is founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Loop Capital. A 30-year veteran of the financial services industry, Mr. Reynolds established and led the Midwest Municipal Bond Sales Desk at PaineWebber in Chicago early in his career. In 1997, Mr. Reynolds collaborated with Albert R. Grace, Jr. to form Loop Capital, where he has led the firm to becoming the largest minority-owned financial services firm and one of the largest privately-held investment banks in the United States.
James C. Leonard, MD, is president and CEO of The Carle Foundation, the non‐profit parent company of an integrated network of health care services based in Urbana, Ill. Prior to becoming CEO in 2000, Dr. Leonard served in various administrative leadership roles for the Foundation. He graduated from the University of Illinois College of Medicine in 1981. Dr. Leonard is one of the Becker’s Hospital Review 100 great leaders in healthcare for 2018. He is past chair of and current member of the Illinois Hospital Association Board and served on the American Hospital Association board of trustees.
Juan R. Luciano is Chairman of the Board of Directors, President and Chief Executive Officer of Archer Daniels Midland Company. Mr. Luciano joined ADM in 2011 as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. He was named President in February 2014, and in January 2015 became the ninth Chief Executive in ADM’s 112-year history. He became Chairman of the Board in January 2016. Before joining ADM, Luciano had a successful 25-year tenure at The Dow Chemical Company, where he last served as Executive Vice President and President of the Performance division.
Richard Mark is Chairman and President of Ameren Illinois, which has over $3.2 billion in annual revenue and delivers energy to 1.4 million electric and natural gas customers. Joining Ameren in 2002 as Vice President of Customer Service, he quickly rose to the position of Senior Vice President of Ameren Missouri Energy Delivery, becoming the first African American in that position. He was appointed President of Ameren Illinois in 2012. His prior experience includes six years as President and Chief Executive Officer and five years as Chief Operating Officer of St. Mary’s Hospital in East St. Louis. He also led the East St. Louis District 189 Financial Oversight Panel. Richard has been instrumental in shaping regulatory policy that is transforming the energy sector in Illinois.
Sean McCarthy is vice president of Business Development and Strategic Initiatives for Comcast’s Greater Chicago Region, which spans Illinois, including the Chicago area, Northwest Indiana, and Southwest Michigan. Before coming to Comcast, McCarthy served as director of the Illinois Department of Commerce. Prior to that, McCarthy served as a policy adviser for Economic Development in the Office of the Governor, where he oversaw policy development for five state agencies, including the Department of Commerce. McCarthy earned his Bachelor’s degree in Political Science at Stonehill College in Easton, MA, and his Master of Business Administration degree in General Management from Dominican University in River Forest, IL. He currently lives in Geneva, IL.
Douglas (Doug) Oberhelman was elected Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Caterpillar in 2010 and previously held the role of Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Caterpillar from 1995 to 1998. Mr. Oberhelman has extensive philanthropic interests and has served as Vice President of Wetlands America Trust, Chairman of the Easter Seals Foundation of Central Illinois, Director of the Gilmore Foundation, a member of the Board of Directors of World Resources Institute and is a member of the Nature Conservancy’s Latin America Conservation Council.
Carmen Rossi was born and raised in Frankfort, Illinois. Mr. Rossi received his B.S. and Master’s Degree from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Mr. Rossi completed his academic career at Northern Illinois University, where he received his Juris Doctorate and currently practices commercial law, focusing on contracts and appellate court drafting. Mr. Rossi is also a restauranteur and entrepreneur. In 2015, Mr. Rossi proudly introduced 8 | A Hospitality Company, which manages twelve restaurants and employs over 400 individuals in the Chicagoland area.
Bob Sehring is the CEO OSF HealthCare, where he oversees all inpatient, outpatient, and ambulatory operations. Sehring joined OSF in 2002 as Vice President of Business Support Services at OSF HealthPlans, and since has held positions including CEO of HealthPlans, CEO of Ambulatory Services, Chief Ministry Services Officer, and Central Region CEO. Prior to OSF, Sehring held various executive positions with Aetna, New York Life, and Metropolitan Life Insurance. He earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Public Accounting from Hofstra University, Uniondale, NY.
Melissa Y. Washington serves as Senior Vice President of Governmental and External Affairs at ComEd, leading legislative affairs, external affairs, large customer services and economic development and overseeing civic and charitable organization relationships. Washington joined Exelon in 2003 and has held several roles of increasing responsibility for Exelon and ComEd throughout her tenure with the company. She most recently served as Vice President of Governmental and External Affairs. Washington is a board member of the Metropolitan Planning Council, Illinois Manufacturing Association (IMA), the Chicago Children’s Advocacy Center and Intersect Illinois and board member/fellow of Leadership Greater Chicago. Washington earned her MBA from Keller Graduate School of Management and a Bachelor of Arts degree in finance from Lewis University.
As president of A. Lucas & Sons, Margaret Williams is responsible for the financial, management and personnel decisions within one of the oldest steel fabricators in the country, where she has been employed since 2004. For the past four years, Williams has successfully run and grown her family business, which is the oldest business in the city of Peoria, founded in 1857. Earning three degrees from Bradley University, Williams balances the responsibilities of running a multi-million-dollar company with her commitments to volunteerism and her family. Williams is a graduate of the Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce Community Leadership School and serves on Bradley University’s Department of Civil Engineering and Construction Advisory Board. She was also the first woman elected to the board of the Central Fabricators Association.
The State of Illinois is honored to host the 52nd Annual Midwest US Japan (MWJA) Conference, which is jointly held by the Midwest U.S.-Japan and Japan-Midwest U.S. Associations in Chicago. The MWJA Conference brings together Governors from Midwestern states as well as Japan, leading international companies, and executives. The conference serves as a unique venue […]
Pending regulatory approval, the joint ventures will manufacture ingredients for a variety of plant-based products, including eco-friendly bioplastics; project expected to create more than 125 new jobs (Decatur, IL) — Governor Pritzker along with leading global diversified chemical company LG Chem, and ADM, a global leader in nutrition and BioSolutions, today announced that pending regulatory […]
Tyson to invest $180 million and create 250 new jobs at expanded Caseyville facility (Caseyville, IL) Governor JB Pritzker joined Tyson Foods, Inc., as well as state and local officials, to announce a new expansion of Tyson’s Caseyville facility, which will expand the production of Hillshire Farm® and Jimmy Dean® products. The company’s commitment to […]
North America’s largest roofing manufacturer to build 450,000 Sq. Ft. plant, employ more than 70 workers. (Peru, IL) GAF, a Standard Industries company and North America’s largest roofing and waterproofing manufacturer, has announced an $80 Million, 450,000 sq ft manufacturing facility in Peru just north of I-80 and west of Plank Road on the OmniTRAX […]
By Dennis Grubaugh A state economic development association that has spent months studying Southwestern Illinois concludes the area is ripe for growth. Intersect Illinois is focused on bringing new businesses, jobs and investment to the state by collaborating with industry, academic, civic, and government partners to deliver a unified approach. Representatives focused intently this past […]