OPEDC is a not-for-profit 501(c)4 economic development organization working to bring business investment to the Village of Oak Park. Our mission is to enhance the quality of life and economic health by:
- Expanding the property tax base
- Increasing sales tax revenue
- Creating jobs in the Village
- Retaining jobs in the Village
Since 1974, OPEDC has assisted developers, property owners, and businesses in the purchase, sale, leasing, development and rehabilitation of commercial property.
Our organization’s primary functions include:
- Supporting context-sensitive real estate development and investment in the Village
- Attracting new business & expanded business development
- Supporting & promoting business districts
- Helping businesses find commercial locations via LocationOne
John Lynch, Executive Director
John Lynch joined OPEDC in 2015, bringing more than 20 years of experience in real estate, infrastructure, and economic development with firms including JLL and U.S. Equities Realty (now part of CBRE). As executive director, Lynch works with developers, retailers, brokers, and public stakeholders to promote and implement a new urbanist vision for Oak Park. Lynch holds an MBA from Northwestern University, an M.S. in Civil Engineering for Purdue University, and a B.S. in in Civil Engineering from the University of Notre Dame.
Viktor Schrader, Economic Dev. Manager
Viktor Schrader joined OPEDC in 2011, obtaining five years of experience in development and business recruitment, and management operations. As economic development manager, Schrader works with Oak Park’s business districts and various local business organizations to provide the business community with the support they need to grow and be successful in Oak Park. Schrader holds an M.A. in Applied Economics and Economic Development from Illinois State University, a B.A. in Economics from Northeastern University, and completed work in the Peace Corps as a volunteer in Western Samoa.
Cameron Gearen, Marketing Manager
Cameron Gearen joined OPEDC in 2016. Cameron is a professional writer who has earned her marketing chops as a freelancer the past five years with clients such as JP Morgan Chase, The Kellogg Company, Rand McNally and others. She is a native of Oak Park, now raising her teen daughters here. Cameron is the author of Some Perfect Year (Shearsman, 2016) and has essays up in The Washington Post and elsewhere. She has taught writing at Yale University. At OPEDC, she is in charge of marketing and social media. Cameron holds an MFA in writing from Indiana University and a BA in English from Wesleyan University.
Allison Marola, Office Manager
Allison (Allie) Marola joined OPEDC in 2016. She has over ten years of experience in her role as office administrator. Allie is also a visual artist. She creates paintings and exhibits them in local galleries such as the Oak Park Art League as well as in her native (greater) DeKalb.
Board of Directors
One of the strengths of OPEDC is its Board of Directors. From the beginning, community leaders have graciously donated their time and talents to the organization.
- Martin J. Noll, Chairman Marty Noll is Chairman and Founder of Community Bank of Oak Park River Forest. He is Chairman of the EDC Board. He serves on several local not-for-profits’ boards.
- Thomas Gallagher, Vice Chairman Tom Gallagher is Chief Credit Officer at Community Bank Oak Park River Forest. Since 1972, he has focused his career in commercial real estate development and finance. He is a lifelong resident of the community, and has been active in many organizations.
- Frank Pellegrini, Secretary Frank Pellegrini is President and CEO of Prairie Title Services, Inc. A graduate of DePaul University College of Law, he has practiced law in Illinois since 1976, and has been in the title insurance business since 1978. Frank is active in the legal profession, in the title industry, in his community, and in social organizations.
- Mary K. Ludgin, Treasurer Mary Ludgin is a Managing Director and Partner at Heitman, where she serves as the firm’s Director of Global Investment Research. Among her professional affiliations, Mary is a Global Trustee of the Urban Land Institute and she is a member of the board of the Real Estate Research Institute. She holds an AB from Vassar College and an MA and Ph.D. from Northwestern University.
- Anan Abu-Taleb, Village Mayor Anan Abu-Taleb is Oak Park’s Mayor and owner of Maya Del Sol, a successful local restaurant. Anan was born in the Gaza Strip as the second-oldest of 13 children. He immigrated to the Chicago area at the age of 18 to attend college. He holds degrees from University of Illinois—Chicago (BA) and the University of Chicago (MBA). With his wife Margi, he has raised four children in Oak Park.
- Cara Pavlicek, Village Manager Cara Pavlicek joined the Village of Oak Park as parking manager in 2008. She was named interim village manager in March 2012, then unanimously approved as village manager in January 2013. She holds a B.A. from the University of Washington and a Master of Arts in Public Affairs from University of Iowa.
- Everett Ward, Director A resident of Oak Park since 1990 and a member of the OPEDC board since its reorganization in 2013, Everett Ward is a partner in the National Real Estate Group of the Quarles & Brady LLP law firm. Everett is a graduate of Princeton University (1983) and Harvard Law School (1986).
- Cathy Yen, Director Cathy Yen is the Executive Director of the Oak Park River Forest Chamber of Commerce. She has lived in Oak Park for 21 years and done business locally as a retailer and consultant; additionally, she has had careers in large corporate finance, budgeting and strategy. Cathy holds degrees from the University of Chicago (MBA), UC Berkeley (MA) and Princeton (AB).
- Dan Moroney, Director Born and raised in Oak Park, Dan Moroney works as a real estate broker, buying, renovating and selling homes in Oak Park. He also founded Moroney Homes, LLC, which acquired rental property and built new construction projects. Dan holds a political science degree from the University of Dayton and was elected to the Village of Oak Park Board of Trustees in 2017.
- Village Liaison: Tammie Grossman
- Alternate Trustee Representative: Robert Tucker
- Gregory P. Melnyk, Counsel
To contact any and all Board members, please send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org