Emily A. Egan, AICP (presenter)
Director of Community Development, Village of Brookfield
Emily is from Michigan and received a bachelor’s degree in Liberal Studies from Grand Valley State University. After moving to Chicago, she earned her master’s degree in Urban Planning and Policy from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her work has centered on community driven economic development, placemaking, bicycle and pedestrian planning, and long-range zoning and planning projects.
Emily is the Secretary of the American Planning Association’s Illinois Chapter (APA-IL), on the APA-IL Membership Committee, the Municipal Design Review Network advisory committee, and a Women in Planning and Development Board alumna. She enjoys camping, cycling and learning the drums. She is AICP certified and currently works as the Director of Community Development in Brookfield, Illinois.
Katie Kaluzny (panelist)
Village Trustee, Village of Brookfield, IL
Katie Kaluzny is currently serving in her first term as Trustee for the Village of Brookfield. Prior to her role on the Village Board, Katie served as a Conservation Commissioner from 2016 to 2019 and continues to serve as a board liaison to the Brookfield Conservation Commission and the Brookfield Beautification Commission. In 2017, she also served on the steering committee for the Brookfield Comprehensive Plan. Katie is an active member of the Metropolitan Mayor's Caucus Environment Committee and a member of the Core Planning Team for GreenTown 2023.
Katie also is employed as the Associate Director at the Illinois Green Alliance, a nonprofit affiliate of the U.S. Green Building Council. She has spent the last 14 years at Illinois Green convening green building professionals and volunteers to develop and execute education programs and advocacy efforts for the green building community throughout Illinois. Prior to her role at Illinois Green, Katie was employed by the City of Chicago’s Department of Environment facilitating educational programming at the Chicago Center for Green Technology. Katie also served as the Volunteer Manager for several years at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum. Katie as a Bachelor's Degree in Environmental Policy and Natural Resources Management from the University of Michigan and a Master's Degree in Public Service Administration from DePaul University.
Karen Ann Miller (panelist)
Planning & Zoning Commissioner Village of Brookfield and Executive Planner Kane County
Karen Ann Miller, AICP has served on the Brookfield Planning and Zoning Commission for over 20 years. She has also been employed by the Kane County Development Dept. for over 22 years. Karen's projects include working with stakeholders along the Fox River to develop the Fabulous Fox! Water Trail; natural resources professionals to develop the Kane County Green Infrastructure Plan; and the Department of Energy to develop the Kane County Energy Plan. Other efforts include assisting several small Kane County communities to develop comprehensive land use plans and two townships to develop open space plans.
In her community of Brookfield, in addition to serving on the Planning and Zoning Commission and the Historical Commission Karen volunteered to implement a Main Street program and served on the Board of the Brookfield Historical Society as well as promote sustainable initiatives.
Kate Portillo, AICP (panelist)
Village Planner, Brookfield, IL
Kate transitioned to the field of Planning from a diverse professional background working in Parks and Recreation programming, social work and retail management. Prior to joining the team in Brookfield, she worked as a planning consultant to numerous regional municipalities where her experience included zoning analysis, case preparation and public hearing oversight for Planning and Zoning Commissions, code amendments, data visualization and modeling, and work on Comprehensive Plan updates with data visualization. She is dedicated to advancing new development, contemporary zoning practice, walkability and sustainability initiatives in Brookfield and has a passion for municipal planning work. She is also a Board member with Women in Planning + Development (WP+D).
Chris Valdez (panelist)
Co-founder, Cycle Brookfield
Christopher (Chris) Valadez is a healthcare entrepreneur and data analyst currently serving as COO of Thermatome, a medical device startup based out of Chicago. He is passionate about innovation and providing equitable healthcare to all. Chris is also passionate about cycling and co-founded Cycle Brookfield, a non-profit based in Brookfield, IL with a mission to make Brookfield more bikeable. In his current role as President of Cycle Brookfield, Chris focuses on cycling safety initiatives by public engagement and education efforts to Cycle Brookfield members. He also sits on commissions for Ride Illinois’s Regional Action Team and was the recipient of Active Transportations Advocate of the Year award in 2021. Chris has also been selected to sit on the newly formed Economic Development Commission in Brookfield.
As an avid cyclist, Chris enjoys road biking, gravel, and cyclocross. He dedicates his time off the bike to his wife and four kids.
Audrey Wennink (presenter)
Director of Transportation, Metropolitan Planning Council
Audrey directs MPC’s transportation efforts and coordinates transportation initiatives with other facets of planning including affordable housing, land use, equity and the environment. She leads transportation research and advocacy efforts including pursuing sustainable funding for transportation in Illinois, integration of performance-based planning methods into transportation practice, and developing efforts to boost transportation equity. Under her leadership, MPC developed the Toward Universal Mobility report defining needed improvements to the region’s transportation system to benefit people with disabilities and seniors. The Where the Sidewalk Ends report documents the state of municipal ADA transition planning in the Chicago Metropolitan Area. Her work on transportation equity includes contributing to research on understanding mobility barriers for marginalized communities, studying how equity is used as a project prioritization criterion by metropolitan planning organizations, and development of a toolkit for employers to support transportation needs of workers in disconnected communities. The Transit Means Business report she spearheaded highlights the need for transit investment to support jobs in the region. She also leads the MPC Transportation Advisory Committee, comprised of regional business and public policy leaders.
Prior to MPC, Audrey was a transportation planning and policy consultant for 12 years with national expertise in transit, traffic safety, freight and performance based planning. Prior to her planning career she served in various communications roles in Washington, D.C. and Chicago.
A Chicago resident for more than 20 years, Audrey is an advisory board member of the Greater Chicago chapter of WTS, a professional organization to advance women in the transportation industry. She also serves as member of the national advisory board of Young Professionals in Transportation. Additionally, she is a member of Lambda Alpha International, an honorary society focusing on land economics and planning issues. Audrey also serves on the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning’s transportation committee. She holds a B.A. in English and Spanish from Colby College and a Master’s in Urban Planning and Policy from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She is a fellow of the University of Chicago’s Harris School’s Civic Leadership Academy.
Kyle Whitehead (moderator)
Principal of Intergovernmental Policy, Regional Transportation Authority (RTA)
Kyle Whitehead is a principal of intergovernmental policy at the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA), a financial and oversight agency for public transit in the Chicago region. He provides policy analysis and advocacy on transit issues, helping manage agency relationships with elected and appointed officials at all levels of government. Kyle previously led policy and communications for the Active Transportation Alliance, where he advocated for policies and projects that advanced the safety, sustainability, and equity of Illinois’ transportation network. He is a Brookfield resident and serves on the village’s Parks and Recreation Commission.