Board of Directors
TAMIKA JONES (President) is a Human Resources professional at Baxter Healthcare, specializing in early talent programs. She grew up in the 3rd ward of Waukegan and is a graduate of Waukegan High School and Illinois State University. She recently moved back to the area and began volunteering with Waukegan Main Street at the Wine and Art Stroll in 2013 and became Chair of the Promotions Committee shortly after. Her passion for community involvement stems from watching her father’s involvement at a young age with his national fraternity, church and other civic organizations in the Waukegan area. She is very excited to serve the community in this capacity and believes in giving her Time, Talent and Treasure.
MEGAN MCKENNA DE MEJIA (Vice President) has been a part of Waukegan Main Street since 2011, serving in a variety of different roles including Economic Development Committee Chair, Treasurer, Strategic Planning Chair, and now Vice President of the board. She has a masters degree in Community and Regional Planning from the University of New Mexico, with a concentration in Community and Economic Development. Born and raised in St. Louis, Megan is a transplant to Waukegan, but couldn’t be prouder or more excited to be a resident of the town she has come to love. She is thrilled to continue to be a part of Waukegan Main Street, working collaboratively with the many stakeholders in downtown and the city to leverage and build upon our many economic, historical, and cultural assets that make our community special. She is the executive director of Mano a Mano Family Resource Center in Round Lake Park and has extensive background working in the non-profit and public sectors. She also serves as a board member on: the Waukegan Economic Development Advisory Board, Latino Advisory Board to the Mayor of the City of Waukegan, Lake County Chamber of Commerce, The Alliance for Human Services of Lake County, and the Immigrant Integration Network of Lake County.
DULCE “CANDY” ORTIZ (Secretary) has called Waukegan her home for the majority of her life. Her mother, immigrated to the United States from Mexico with the dream of making a better life for her two children. Working at Waukegan Township instilled in her an appreciation for community involvement and a passion for public service. After graduating from Robert Morris University with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, she became involved by volunteering her time and efforts in various organizations such as the Waukegan Youth Football Association, the Waukegan Youth Wrestling Club, Waukegan Main Street Promotions Committee, The Coalition to Reduce Recidivism and Relay for Life Greater Waukegan/Far North Shore. In addition, she serves on the Coalicion Latinos Unidos de Lake County Board, was appointed to the Waukegan Park District Recreational Advisory Board and also served on the Kiwanis of Waukegan Board of Directors. Her motivation of the betterment of our community for future generations comes from her son, Ivan.
MATTHEW BURLESON (Treasurer) is a 1993 graduate of Waukegan High School, where he was enrolled in JROTC. He entered the Illinois Army National Guard in December 1992, beginning a decorated military career from which he recently retired. In March of 1999 Matthew Burleson became a Waukegan Firefighter and was promoted to Lieutenant in June of 2010. In January 2002 Matthew Burleson was mobilized in support of Operation Enduring Freedom to headquarters in Heidelburg, Germany, and deployed to Afghanistan in August 2008. Matthew Burleson received his Bachelor of Science in Workforce Education and Development from Southern Illinois University- Carbondale in August 2007. Matthew is married and has two children.
JOSH BEADLE is the Executive Director and Founder of Three Brothers Theatre. Originally from Iowa, he is proud to call Waukegan his new home and excited to continue the development of downtown Waukegan with Waukegan Main Street, especially through the implementation of the arts. He has a BA in Theatre from the University of Iowa, an MA in Arts Administration from Goucher College and currently sits on the board of the Waukegan Arts Council.
AARON CHERVIN is a life long resident of Waukegan. He graduated from Waukegan High School in 1993 and went on to study at University of Illinois, Drake University and the Milwaukee School of Engineering. Aaron managed operations at Veridian Health from 2002 to 2005. In 2006 he founded Mobile Therapy Centers of America, a pediatric therapy company that provides therapy to children in home, daycare and school settings. Aaron also is the proprietor of Booner’s Place on Washington St. in Waukegan, a favorite local spot to grab a cold beer and catch your favorite sporting event or local band.
MARC JONES is a life-long Waukegan resident and enthusiastic volunteer. After college, Marc began his employment with Waukegan Township where he is now the Eddie Washington Center Director. He is a Commissioner of the Waukegan Park District as well as a member of the Coalition to Reduce Recidivism, Lake County Homeless Coalition, Lake County Behavioral Health Court Treatment Collaborative and Shiloh Baptist Church. Marc and his wife Jazmin have three daughters.
TOM LEBARON was born in Waukegan and has lived and worked here most of his life. He is currently the Managing Partner of TR’s Front Row at 219 W. Greenwood and 17 North Bar & Grill at 17 N. Genesee Street in the Main Street District. Tom has been a Broker with Callahan Blandings Schaper Realtors for 20 years, specializing in commercial real estate, and holding a CCIM Designation. He was previously Wisconsin State Manager for Goose Island Beer Company. Tom graduated of Northern Illinois University with a BS in Marketing.
JACK M. LINN was born and raised in Waukegan, graduating from Waukegan High School in 2008. He attended the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and Northwestern University School of Law. He joined the Waukegan based firm of Linn, Campe & Rizzo, Ltd. in 2015. Jack is committed to supporting Waukegan Main Street and seeing further economic development in Waukegan.
CHRISTOPHER LUX grew up in Wadsworth, attended Gurnee schools and graduated from the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana. Chris has 25 years of experience working in the Power Generation field beginning with his first post-college job with Commonwealth Edison Company. Throughout his career he worked as a Construction Engineer with Midwest Generation, Waukegan Station, as a Project Manager and Maintenance Manager. Chris has three daughters and lives with his significant other in Spring Grove. Growing up and working in the Waukegan area for the last 45+ years, Chris has observed the economic decline in Waukegan and is encouraged and excited to be involved with the activities being taken to turn that around.
ANTON MATHEWS had a life-altering experience in 2001 that led to his decision to live a purpose-driven life. The next year, he moved back to Waukegan, fell in love with the community and decided to assist with its betterment. In addition to Waukegan Main Street, he is Waukegan Historical Society Member, Eddie Washington Center Advisory Board Member, and Vice President of Member of the Daniel Wright Toastmasters in Waukegan. Anton is excited about this opportunity to make a difference and serve the community.
KAREN NYSTROM was raised in the north suburbs and serves as the director of advocacy for the Financial Planning Association, a national membership organization for financial planning professionals with 23,000 members and 93 chapters. Previous to that she was the manager of public policy and advocacy for the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors in Arlington Heights. She also served as the Chief Professional Officer for North Suburban United Way. Karen has 15 years of experience in both the 501c3 and 501c6 non-profit areas and in state government legislative work. She enjoys biking, running and writing and serves as a board member for Clockwise Theatre. She has two grown daughters and lives in Waukegan with her husband.
MIKE PURTELL (Ex-Officio Board Member) received a Bachelor’s Degree in Community and Regional Planning from Iowa State University, and is currently enrolled in the Masters Degree Program in Community Development at Iowa State University. He has worked in the Planning & Zoning Department for the City of Waukegan since 2004. Mike has also been volunteering with Main Street since 2004 and is a member of the Design Committee. He believes that improving the downtown Main Street district is of great benefit to Waukegan as a whole and something that the entire community can be proud of.