Press Release
January 31, 2013

Mayor Emanuel Meets with Inaugural Class of Chicago Economics Growth Fellows

Chicago Companies Providing Employees to Serve City Pro Bono
Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

Chicago Economic Growth Fellowship

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel met today with the inaugural class of Fellows on loan from Chicago area companies to support implementation of Chicago’s Plan for Economic Growth and Jobs (PEGJ). This month, Fellows began their full-time, three-to-six-month commitment working with World Business Chicago (WBC) on launching initiatives from PEGJ’s ten transformative strategies.

“I am grateful to our business community for lending us some of their top talent to help shape Chicago’s economic development,” said Mayor Emanuel. “This inaugural class brings new resources and knowledge to accelerate the Plan’s key economic growth initiatives, which are essential for Chicago to compete in the global economy.”

The first round of Fellows and the strategies they will implement include (full bios below):

Steven F. Brown, DeVry Inc.; Workforce Development

Elliot Kadar, United Airlines; Transportation & Logistics

Gregory Karczewski, Mesirow Financial; Infrastructure

Christopher Nelson, Comcast; Neighborhood Assets (broadband)

Jennifer Nowacki, Zurich in North America; Headquarters

Jeff Schaffer, Ernst & Young LLP; Transportation & Logistics

Kevin Schumm, Deloitte Consulting LLP; Exports

Kenneth R. Shogren, The PrivateBank; Neighborhood Assets (crowdfunding) 

The group will gain unique access to public and private sector networks and have the chance to greatly impact Chicago as they work with the Plan’s strategy leadership teams, along with full-time staff within WBC, and leadership from the Civic Consulting Alliance, Metropolis Strategies and other key organizations. In turn, the city will benefit from highly-skilled talent, with the proven ability to enact significant plans and initiatives. Former director of the White House Internship Program, Melissa McNeal, leads the Fellowship Program.

“We welcome the inaugural class of Fellows and look forward to utilizing their expertise as we continue to develop and implement initiatives inside the various strategies," said Michael Sacks, Vice Chairman of World Business Chicago. “The Plan serves as a blueprint for the region’s economic development efforts and by contributing these Fellows, companies are providing us with the critical resources needed to make a real impact for economic growth and job creation.”

The first round of Fellows was chosen after a significant application process including an essay, letter of support from current employers, three letters of recommendation, and an interview. Applications are currently being accepted for the second class of Fellows, who will start in May. The application deadline is March 1; application materials can be found on the WBC website. Ideal applicants are manager-level “rising stars” within sponsor organizations, with distinctive overall performance and a graduate degree or three-to-five years of experience in an industry related to one of the strategies. Fellows must possess excellent project management skills; experience presenting to and leading discussions with senior leadership; strong analytical, problem-solving, influencing, interpersonal, oral communications and writing skills; and a passion for civic engagement.

Sponsor organizations can include corporations and businesses, non-profits, public sector entities, or universities and must commit to an in-kind donation of full-time pro bono support for three-to-six months.

The Fellows’ commitment will be centered on launching WBC initiatives from PEGJ’s ten transformative strategies:

  • Become a leading manufacturing hub
  • Increase attractiveness as a center for business services and headquarters
  • Become more competitive as a leading transportation and logistics hub
  • Make Chicago a premier destination for tourism and entertainment
  • Make Chicago a nationally leading exporter
  • Create demand-driven and targeted workforce development
  • Foster innovation in mature and emerging sectors and support entrepreneurship
  • Invest to create next-generation infrastructure
  • Develop and deploy neighborhood assets to align with regional economic growth
  • Create an environment in which businesses can flourish

For more information about the Fellowship Program, or a copy of the Plan, visit www.ChicagoGrowthAndJobs.com.

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Photo Caption: Mayor Emanuel Meets with Inaugural Class of Chicago Economic Growth Fellows 

Photo Credit: Brooke Collins - City of Chicago

Chicago Economic Growth Fellows’ Bios:

Steven F. Brown

President of the Orlando, Florida Metro locations of DeVry University from March 2000 through November 2011, Mr. Brown is now an Executive Consultant for DeVry Inc., providing leadership coaching throughout the U.S. Before assuming his responsibilities in Florida, Brown served in a variety of administrative capacities throughout his 38-year career with DeVry.  He has held positions in admissions, student and career services, training and development, and finance and administration.         

Brown has participated on the Board of Directors for:  TechAmerica (formerly, the American Electronics Association) (FL), the Foundation for Orange County Public Schools and Seniors First.  He presently sits on the Board of Trustees for the Orlando Science Center and on the Board of Directors for the PRISM Project (Promoting Regional Improvement in Science and Math in Central Florida).  Brown has also been a member of the Tampa Bay Partnership, the Brevard Space Coast Economic Development Commission and the Metro Orlando Economic Development Commission.

Brown holds a Master of Arts degree in Educational Administration from Rider University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in English literature from Princeton University.  He resides in Winter Springs, Florida, with his wife, Patricia, and four sons, Adam, Stewart, Gregory and Bryan.

Elliot Kadar

Elliot Kadar was an Economic Growth Fellow for the Transportation and Logistics strategy. His Fellowship concludes in February of 2013.

Elliot is a manager in the Corporate Strategy and Business Development group at United Airlines.  He joined United’s Emerging Leaders Program after received an MBA from the Johnson School at Cornell University.  His prior experience is as a consultant to private equity firms and government agencies.  Prior to business school he was a public sector consultant and worked primarily for the Federal Emergency Management Agency. In the immediate aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, Elliot worked on the ground in Louisiana to manage the temporary housing mission for southwest Louisiana. He attended Trinity College in Hartford, CT majoring in Public Policy and was selected as a Coro Fellow in Public Affairs upon graduation.

Gregory Karczewski

Karczewski is a Managing Director in Mesirow Financial’s real estate consulting practice. His direct experiences in real estate development, investment, restructuring, engineering design and education all contribute to his perspectives related to economic development. As a consultant, Karczewski provides real estate strategy, finance, project management, planning and marketing services for clients ranging from corporations to institutional investors and private owners.  In addition to his work at Mesirow Financial, Karczewski also serves as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Notre Dame Mendoza College of Business. Earlier in his career, Karczewski developed resort projects for Hines and designed civil engineering infrastructure for metro Chicago real estate projects.

Karczewski has a MBA with concentrations in finance, marketing and real estate from the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University and a BS in Civil Engineering from the University of Notre Dame. He is a licensed real estate broker and Professional Engineer in Illinois. 

Christopher Nelson

Christopher Nelson serves at Comcast as Manager of Government and Regulatory Affairs for the Greater Chicago Region. Having been with the company since 2003, Christopher coordinates relations between Comcast and communities in the North and Northwest suburbs of Chicago, in addition to a multitude of legislative districts. Christopher’s duties have also included a number of notable projects, including participating in the merger of Comcast and NBC Universal in 2011.

Prior to coming to Comcast, Chris worked as an administrator in local government for a decade, specifically in the communities of Sycamore, Schaumburg, and Hoffman Estates. He is also a board member of the Dundee Township Boys and Girls Club, the Northern Illinois University Alumni Association, and the NIU Political Science Department Advisory Commission.

A native of the Chicago area, Christopher received both his Bachelor of Arts Degree and Master's in Municipal Management from Northern Illinois University.

Jennifer Nowacki

Jennifer Nowacki is Media and Public Relations Manager for Zurich in North America. She is a part of the public relations team responsible for protecting and enhancing the reputation of Zurich. In her current role, she works closely with Zurich’s senior leadership team members in North America to develop and execute a media relations strategy that supports the business in achieving its short and long term growth targets, as well as positions Zurich as the best global insurer as measured by its customers, shareholders and employees.

Jennifer started her career as a news writer at WGN-TV in Chicago and worked as an associate producer and assignment desk editor at TV stations in Minneapolis and Rockford, Ill. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Radio / Television News Writing from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale and Master of Business Administration with a concentration in International Business from Roosevelt University’s Walter E. Heller College of Business in Chicago.

Jeff Schaffer

Jeff Schaffer joined Ernst & Young Transaction Advisory Services in 2006 and is experienced in both financial due diligence and divestiture advisory services. In his role at Ernst & Young LLP, he provides advisory services related to all aspects of financial and business due diligence, including the quality and sustainability of earnings, the quality of net assets, and working capital requirements of target businesses. 

Prior to joining Ernst & Young’s transaction group, Jeff spent three years in Ernst & Young’s Accounting, Auditing and Business Advisory Services group, where he served a variety of public companies in the manufacturing and business service industries. 

Jeff received a Bachelor of Business Administration, Magna Cum Laude, from the University of Notre Dame and is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

Kenneth R. Shogren

Kenneth began his professional career in the Commercial Banking Training Program at LaSalle Bank NA. Upon completion of this training and rotational program in 2007, he joined The PrivateBank as an Associate where he was initially responsible for analysis and the underwriting of middle market companies, acquisitions, and corporate financing. Kenneth helped this bank grow from $4bln in assets in 2007 to the current level of $13bln. In 2009, Kenneth was promoted from an analytical role to a relationship management role in the Architecture, Construction & Engineering Division where he is now responsible for the day-to-day activities of a 15-client portfolio and approximately $100mln in credit commitments.

Kenneth graduated with a B.S. in Finance and a B.S. in Accountancy from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. He is currently completing his MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University with an anticipated completion date in 2014.

Kevin Schumm 

Kevin Schumm was the Economic Growth Fellow tasked with implementation of the Exports and Trade initiative. His Fellowship concluded in December of 2012.

Kevin is now a senior consultant in the Strategy & Operations practice of Deloitte Consulting LLP, focused principally on growth and M&A strategy across a variety of industries. He has managed projects and staff at Deloitte since 2007, previously in the merger and acquisition practice as a buy-and-sell side advisor to companies ranging from $10M to $2B in revenue. He holds an MBA from the University of Chicago and dual degrees from the University of Notre Dame (BBA, MSA). He is an Illinois licensed CPA and real estate broker and has lived abroad in both England and Germany.