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 from Purdue University, and a B.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of Notre Dame.
Viktor Schrader, Economic Development Director
Viktor Schrader joined OPEDC in 2011, bringing 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.
Allison Marola, Office Manager
Allison Marola joined OPEDC in 2016. She has worked in an Administrative role in the Real Estate and Healthcare industries for over 15 years. As office manager, Marola handles all HR, finance, and document maintenance functions, she provides support for the Executive Director and Economic Development Director and assists in marketing functions. In addition to her OPEDC role, Allie is a visual artist and dance teacher. She has two daughters and lives in Georgia with her family.
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.
- Thomas Gallagher, 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, Vice Chairman 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.
- Bill Rogalla, Secretary Bill Rogalla is President of Zeller Investment Corporation, where he handles oversight of the acquisition and disposition activities of the firm. He is active as a member and speaker for real estate organizations including Urban Land Institute (ULI) and National Association of Industrial and Office Properties (NAIOP) as well as several charitable and civic organizations.
- 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.
- Jackie Barlow, Director Jackie Barlow is part of the leadership team for CIBC Bank USA’s Commercial Real Estate business – currently serving as co-head of the offices outside of Chicago. In her 30+ year commercial banking career, she has financed many different types of commercial real estate across the US. Jackie moved to Oak Park in 1992 and has been active member of the community, serving a several boards and participating in a variety of community forums. She holds degrees from the University of Wisconsin (BBA) and Northwestern University (MBA).
- Susan Buchanan, M.D., M.P.H., Director Susan Buchanan is an attending physician and clinical associate professor of occupational and environmental health sciences with UIC’s Health and Hospital System and School of Public Health. She is also the director of the Great Lakes Center for Children’s Environmental Health and a recent past member of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Children’s Health Protection Advisory Committee. Susan was elected to the Village of Oak Park Board of Trustees in 2019, and was previously a volunteer on the Village of Oak Park Board of Health.
- Cory J. Wesley, Director Cory J. Wesley runs his own software consulting firm called TekVoyant. He is a ServiceNow Solutions Architect and Business Consultant who partners with companies looking to modernize their IT and business operations. In addition to his extensive IT, Management, and Business Process experience, Cory is a certified ServiceNow Implementation Specialist, a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer, and ITIL v3 certified. He has lived in Oak Park with his wife and two children since 2011.
- Village Liaison: Tammie Grossman
- Counsel: Gregory P. Melnyk
To contact any and all Board members, please send an email to: email@example.com