10th District Leadership Awards
The Tenth Congressional District has many advantages - great schools, beautiful natural resources, and a transportation hub at the intersection of our nation (to name just a few) - but undoubtedly our greatest resource is the people.
That's what the Tenth District Leadership Awards is all about - recognizing the every day heroes that make our community an amazing place to live, work and raise children.
The Tenth District Leadership Awards promote the public good and civic service by recognizing leaders in our community.
Nominations and voting for the 2015 awards are now over. Thanks to all who participated. The winners were recognized at an awards ceremony on November 9th!
Read more about this year's finalists and winners:
Entrepreneurial Excellence Award
The Entrepreneurial Excellence Award is given to a businessman or businesswoman who has demonstrated entrepreneurial excellence as part of a small business or start-up in our community that has succeeded in implanting innovative strategies to establish a thriving local business.
Troy Livingston (Buffalo Grove, Ill.) has been the president of Livingston Products, Inc. in Buffalo Grove since it was founded in 1987. Troy is credited with over 50 patents and years of experience designing and building original products. Troy routinely speaks to high school students about engineering and innovation and has inspired many to become engineers. His newest product is Freedom Trax, a motorized system that transforms nearly any manual wheelchair into an off-road vehicle that can traverse rough terrain.
Marcia Tazioli (Highland Park, Ill.) founded the Shri Yoga Center in Highland Park in 2011. She has provided jobs for 30 local women and has strengthened the community with her services. Her business is devoted to improving the health and wellness of everyone who walks through its doors. The Shri Yoga Center has worked with the Cancer Wellness Center, Prentice Women’s Hospital, the American Lung Association, the Moraine Township Food Pantry, and Beacon Place.
Sam Cunningham (Waukegan, Ill.) founded Cunningham Insurance in 2010 after working for 10 years with Allstate Insurance. Cunningham Insurance serves the people and businesses of Lake County in auto, home, life, renters and health insurance. Sam currently serves as Waukegan’s First Ward Alderman, Chairman of the Insurance Committee for the City of Waukegan and member of the Economic Development Committee. He also volunteers in his free time with local churches and organizations.
Helping Heroes Award
The Helping Heroes Award is given to a resident of the Tenth District who has answered the call to help America's heroes by bettering the lives of our veterans and their families. The nominee can be a veteran themselves or simply a dedicated community member.
Paula Carballido (North Chicago, Ill.) is the program director for Lake County Honor Flight and president of the Exchange Club of North Chicago. Honor Flight flies veterans to Washington, D.C. to visit memorials dedicated to their service. The Exchange Club of North Chicago is the first and only Exchange Club to initiate an Honor Flight Hub. Paula also serves on the Lake County State's Attorney Citizen's Advisory Board and was recently appointed as the first Hispanic to serve on the Zoning Board of Appeals for North Chicago.
Mary Comody (North Chicago, Ill.) is the founder of Midwest Veterans Closet in North Chicago. Midwest Veterans Closet provides free clothing, household items, furniture, in addition to occasional job leads and housing at no cost to veterans. One of the very important roles Midwest Veterans Closet plays is helping patients exiting treatment at Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center emerge into successful independent living.
Paul Baffico (Lake Forest, Ill.) is a Vietnam veteran in recovery from PTSD. He has used that experience as a catalyst to build a community to help military men, women and families address their issues. Paul was appointed chairman of the governing council for a 5-year federal grant and later created a foundation to improve Lake County's response to service men and women and their families. The foundation now has a drop-in center where veteran peers greet and assist active duty, guard, reserve, veterans and their families.
Exceptional Educator Award
The Exceptional Educator Award is given to a teacher at any level who has dedicated themself to helping our students achieve success in and out of the classroom. This individual will have effectively implemented innovative methods in their classroom and created a positive learning environment.
Kirk Humphreys (Deerfield, Ill.) is a teacher at Caruso Middle School and has made an impressive and powerful impression on the students. He "flips" the classroom by using video to share information with students at home and then he supports learning in class. Kirk's classroom is highly engaging: students know they can count on Mr. H. and he uses technology to facilitate their learning. Kirk never uses a lecture style approach - he uses a personalized learning technique for all students every day.
Kevin O’Neill (Libertyville, Ill.) is an AP European History teacher at Libertyville High School. Kevin sets extremely high standards and expects his students to deliver college level performances. Because of his highly motivating teaching style, Kevin's students have consistently achieved the top scores on the AP European History test. Kevin teaches all of his students to set high standards for themselves, to challenge themselves with goals that they think are never possible and to work hard to achieve them.
Kelly O’Connor (North Chicago, Ill.) is a teacher at the Neal Math & Science Academy. She is in her first year of teaching at the academy, but she has already made a tremendous impact. She started and runs an after school activity centered on STEM, Makey-Makey, and Makerspace. Kelly found the materials and raised money online, which was then matched by the National Education Association. She has taken a leadership role among the teachers and her students are amazed by her passion and willingness to help.
Community Service Award
The Community Service Award is given to an individual who has positively impacted the welfare of our community through volunteerism. This individual will be committed to focusing on the needs of the region and enhancing the quality of life for members of our community.
Jamie Epstein (Vernon Hills, Ill.) is the founder of the Stand Strong Coalition and helped the organization receive a federal grant for $625,000 to prevent substance abuse. She also encouraged Lincolnshire to add a prescription drug drop box and to change their social host ordinance. Jamie is the Court Appointed Special Advocate for Lake County and the vice president of the Patriot Parents Association at Stevenson High School. She has also organized numerous other campaigns to prevent substance abuse.
Pam Weiss (Grayslake, Ill.) is the founder and executive director of The Book Bridge, a nonprofit organization that promotes literacy for kids in crisis in Lake County since 2011. The Book Bridge serves youth in physical, economical, emotional or mental health crisis situations. Pam is actively involved with one-on-one meetings with youth and has become a valued partner with many local organizations to promote literacy for kids in crisis.
Brian Floriani (Lake Forest, Ill.) is the Founder and Executive Director of Bernie’s Book Bank, which serves 110,000 at-risk children throughout Chicagoland with 12 quality books per year. By applying sound, logical business principles to the operations and structure of a non-profit, Brian has inspired corporate and private supporters and partners. Brian believes strongly in ensuring at-risk children have every opportunity for success when they begin school through book ownership.
Young Leader Award
The Young Leader Award is given to a young person who has demonstrated leadership and is an outstanding example to their peers. This individual will have proven their exceptional character in their school and/or local community. Their leadership experience can come through a variety of different experiences, including but not limited to: athletics, arts, science, clubs, volunteering and academics.
Bradley Wilinski (Gurnee, Ill.) is a Youth Ambassador for the Tourette Association. Diagnosed at age 7 with Tourette Syndrome, Bradley soon realized the best way to combat ignorance was to educate others. He was named the Illinois Tourette Syndrome Ambassador for Illinois in 2013 and was trained to go to schools to speak and help others with TS. Bradley has spoken at a Congressional luncheon in Washington, D.C., won the Red Cross Youth Hero Award and won the Governor's Award for Volunteerism and Service.
Erin Williams (Waukegan, Ill.) is a Crew Leader at Green Youth Farms, a job preparation program located within the Greenbelt Forest Preserve that trains high school students from the surrounding areas in agriculture. She is also extremely dedicated to her position of medic with Waukegan High School's JROTC and a member of WHS's Robotics Club. Erin is motivated by being a woman in the engineering field.
Jamie Schlacter (Lincolnshire, Ill.) is team captain of two athletic teams at Stevenson High School, a freshman advisory leader and Freshman Leadership Academy Director. She is a National Honor Society inductee mentor and president of a student run organization called Unseen Cuisine, which delivers food to homeless shelters. Jamie is also a classroom leader for the school's Give-a-Thon and a member of the Diller Teen Fellowship Chicago Cohort 1, which brings together teens from North America and Israel.
The Friend of the Environment Award
The Friend of the Environment Award is given to somebody who has worked diligently to keeping our air, water and habitat clean for future generations. This individual works to improve our environment and encourages others to join the cause.
Ann Maine (Lincolnshire, Ill.) represents Lake County Board District 21. She is a Biology Senior Lecturer at Lake Forest College and a member of Conserve Lake County, the Lincolnshire Garden Club and the Ryerson Woods Board. She founded Gardening for Incarcerated Youth at Depke Center in Vernon Hills and also helped create the Green Youth Farm. The Green Youth Farm helps less fortunate students to work, grow food and sell it. Ann has inspired young and old by being very hands on and personally working side by side.
Keith Gray (Mettawa, Ill.) is the owner and president of Integrated Lake Management. He has also served as board president and acting executive director of Conserve Lake County, which has preserved over 300 acres including Casey Farm. He also participated in the Open Space Vision which is a collaborative effort with 17 private and public organizations and started the local food initiative. Keith is also on the board of the Mettawa Open Lands Association and participates in volunteer days in the Village.
Debbie Maurer (Libertyville, Ill.) is the lead restoration ecologist for Lake County Forest Preserve and the lead conservationist in the Northeast Illinois region. She restored high quality wetlands from the Chiwaukee Priairie to across the Wisconsin border down through Bowen Park in Waukegan. The collective ecological wetland lake plain unit is recognized as a designated RAMSAR international wetland, making it the 38th site in the United States and providing international recognition for the area.