Landmarks Illinois will celebrate 50 years and the people who shaped them at March event

February 23, 2021

(This article was originally published in the February 2021 edition of The Arch newsletter.)

As part of our 50th Anniversary celebration in 2021, Landmarks Illinois is dedicating our upcoming spring fundraiser, 50Forward, to the people who have shaped our organization thus far and who we believe will play a pivotal role in our future. These 20 “Landmarks Illinois Influencers” have given their time, resources and expertise to ensure places of the past remain part of our state’s future. They have each helped grow the preservation movement in Illinois and have made our organization one that is recognized not only throughout the state, but nationwide.

We will pay tribute to our Landmarks Illinois Influencers at 50Forward, scheduled for Thursday, March 25, 2021. The hour-long, virtual fundraising event will include live entertainment, inspiring videos focused on our past, present and future and features of our 20 influencers. Please visit for more information!

Who are the Landmarks Illinois Influencers?

Landmarks Illinois Influencers are people from a variety of backgrounds, professions and places across Illinois. Some are preservationists by trade while others came into the field through volunteer and philanthropic efforts. They are architects, planners, engineers, developers, historians, photographers, community organizers and advocates dedicated to our mission. These 20 preservation leaders include people who were part of our founding in 1971 or have served on our Board of Directors for many years as well as emerging professionals just beginning to make their mark on the preservation field.

“Our diverse Landmarks Illinois Influencers represent the immense growth and evolution of the preservation movement throughout our 50 years,” said Bonnie McDonald, President & CEO of Landmarks Illinois. “Each one of them deserves to be recognized for their vision, passion, generosity and dedication to our mission of saving places for people.”

How we selected the Influencers

Last fall, Landmarks Illinois welcomed nominations for “Landmarks Illinois Influencers.” We asked for people of any age who have had or will have a profound effect on Illinois’ historic preservation movement and who have helped shape Landmarks Illinois. They could be people whose preservation efforts included advocacy and policy campaigns, public engagement, organizational development, leadership, creating new preservation tools and more. Ultimately, we wanted to highlight the people who represent our organizational values and the broad reach of our state’s preservation movement.

“We received an impressive and long list of nominations,” said McDonald. “While this made our task of selecting only a handful of people even more difficult than expected, it also reminded us of just how many people have played a role in our 50-year history. Without these influencers — and our many volunteers, partners and members — Landmarks Illinois would not be the preservation powerhouse it is today, carrying out its mission to positively impact people all across the state.”

Landmarks Illinois is excited to celebrate these 20 Landmarks Illinois Influencers at 50Forward and the organization’s 50th anniversary on March 25. The event will be hosted virtually, and registration is required. In lieu of a set ticket price, Landmarks Illinois will accept donations from registered guests. All registrants will receive a custom link to the event prior to the event date. Visit to learn more and to register.

Landmarks Illinois Influencers

To read more about each influencer, visit

  • Joe Antunovich, Landmarks Illinois Board Chair (2003-2005), Founding Principal and President, Antunovich Associates
  • David Bahlman, Former Landmarks Illinois President (1999-2008)
  • Lee Bey, Journalist, Photographer, Editorial Board Member, Chicago Sun-Times
  • Erika Block, Landmarks Illinois Board Member, Skyline Council Co-Chair (2014-2016)
  • Ciere Boatright, Landmarks Illinois 50th Anniversary Task Force Member,
    Vice President of Real Estate and Inclusion, Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives
  • Jean Follett, Landmarks Illinois Board Member, Interim Executive Director (1998, 2011-2012), Historic Preservation Consultant
  • Ed Gerns, Landmarks Illinois Emeritus Board Member, Senior Principal, Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc.
  • Shelley Gorson, Landmarks Illinois Board Chair (2011-2013)
  • Stacy Grundy, Vice President, Route History
  • Allen Johnson, Partner and Director, Chicago Office, MacRostie Historic Advisors LLC
  • Katie Kim, Landmarks Illinois Board Member, CEO & Designated Managing Broker, The Kim Group
  • Richard Miller, Landmarks Illinois Founder and Board President (1971 – 1976), Attorney
  • Emilio Padilla, Landmarks Illinois Board Member, Landmarks Illinois 50th Anniversary Task Force Member, Project Designer, JGMA
  • Sandra Rand, Landmarks Illinois Board Chair, Purchasing Professional
  • Erica Ruggiero, Skyline Council Member, Principal, McGuire Igleski and Associates
  • Martin Tangora, Landmarks Illinois Board Member (1971-present) and Board President (1976), Mathematician
  • Allison Toonen-Talamo, Landmarks Illinois Board Member, Skyline Council Chair (2018-2020), Associate III, Klein & Hoffman
  • Jack Tribbia, Landmarks Illinois Board Member, President – Restoration Division, Berglund Construction
  • Anne Voshel, Longtime Landmarks Illinois Board Member, Current Emeritus Board Member, Principal, AVA Consultants, LLC
  • Gail White, Former Landmarks Illinois Board Member, Current Regional Advisor, Partner & Principal, White & Borgognoni Architects

Photo captions (from top to bottom)

1. Skyline Council Member and Landmarks Illinois Influencer Erica Ruggiero is interviewed by NBC 5 Chicago before a heartbombing event.
2. Landmarks Illinois Influencer Edward Gerns inspects Randolph Tower in Chicago
3. Landmarks Illinois Board Member & Landmarks Illinois Influencer Jean Follett (right) talks to Ophelia Niemann, owner of 2010 Most Endangered site, the Manske-Niemann Farm in Litchfield.
4. Landmarks Illinois President & CEO Bonnie McDonald, Landmarks Illinois Board Member Marty Tangora and Joan & Richard Miller, who founded Landmarks Illinois in 1971.

Learn more about 50Forward


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