Military veteran Joseph W. Strzelczyk is best known as a “team player” who has spent much of his life working with young people as a baseball coach. That passion to help others moved him to seek public office in 1990 when he was elected to a position of Trustee in the Village of Summit, serving two terms.
In 1997, Strzelczyk has elected as Summit’s Mayor and is currently seeking re-election to his 4th term in office.
Strzelczyk’s public service began in 1978 working as a Special Recreation Instructor for the Chicago Park District.
“I enjoy public service and I enjoy working with people, especially young people and senior citizens,” Strzelczyk explains.
“My background gives me a wide range of experience that helps me as the Mayor of Summit to maintain the village as one of the best in the Chicagoland suburbs.”
But before that, Strzelczyk launched his own business as a young man working as a self-employed “trader” at the Chicago Board of Options Exchange in 1976 where he also owned a prestigious Trading Seat.
Strzelczyk is an experienced writer, working for the Daily Southtown beginning in 1985 writing columns on softball and sports, and later writing articles for the popular Chicago Softball Magazine beginning in 1987.
He hosted the popular “Let’s Talk Softball” on Cable TV for Jones and Multimedia and Metrovision cable systems, and was a sports commentator for 1570 AM sports radio’s “Miller Sports Report” in the 1980s. He also coached for the North American Pro Softball league in 1980.
Strzelczyk continued his writing avocation, completing background reports that were used in court judicial proceedings for Cook County. He also worked as a county probation officer.
Strzelczyk served honorably in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War, 1962-1963, and served five years in the US Army Reserves until 1968.
As Mayor of Summit, Strzelczyk said he is committed to the goals of the Democratic Party.
“I am a proud Democrat. And I have always strived to carry the ideals of the Democratic Party throughout my career. For me, Democrats were always the people who helped people, the Party that looked out for the Working Man and Woman. Democrats work together to make our communities strong so that we can live the American Dream and our children can have an even brighter future,” Strzelczyk explained.
“I was instrumental in helping the Village of Summit become a Pro-Union and Labor shop. This has helped our people raise families with job security with a fair wage. As a lifelong resident of Summit, I celebrate our working class roots and families working towards the great American Dream. I will continue to do everything in my power to help those families and especially the children of Summit achieve those dreams.”
Strzelczyk says his key achievements include reducing the village debt and making Summit profitable in the last two years, for the first time in more than two decades.
His tough management of finances and public spending is reflected in his frugal office surroundings in his own office.
Strzelczyk said that he is most proud of attracting new businesses to Summit including Advance Auto, Family Dollar, Portillos, Summit Cold Storage and La Finka, a new restaurant. He was able to also bring in Krispy Kreme Donuts, which unfortunately closed several years ago. A key to the community’s success, he said, is “making people believe that they can achieve what they seek and also that we can fight and defeat crime.”
During his term in office, crime has made a steady decline.
Describing himself as a “straight talker,” Strzelczyk is proud of the balance and diversity in the community with strong representation from many of the regions ethnic groups including Albanians, Hispanics, African Americans and Whites.
Over the years, he has secured more than $2.5 million in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding which he has used to improve streets and strengthen the Village’s infra-structure. In 2001, under his direction, Summit was able to bring in a 78-unit, $14 million Senior Housing Development.
And last year, Summit was included in the revenue sharing agreement with the Rivers Casino in Des Plaines which this year brought in more than $604,000 in added revenue to off-set the burden on taxpayers.
Patricia H. Tichacek was the first woman elected as a Village Trustee in Summit in 1989. She was later elected as the Village Clerk of Summit in 2005.
As Village Clerk, Tichacek is responsible for keeping all records of the proceedings of the Village Board and for the publication of meetings and agendas, and recording and filing all ordinances and resolutions. The Village Clerk is the official custodian of village records. Her responsibilities also include issuing and receiving fees from the various village licenses. And, Tichacek serves the Village’s Freedom of Information Officer for all FOIA requests. Additionally, Tichacek records all foreclosures, processes liens, and is the secretary of the 911 Board.
In addition to serving as the Village Clerk, Tichacek has served as a commissioner of the Summit Park for the past 25 years. Pat received her 25 year plaque from Illinois Park District Association.
Tichacek volunteers at various village functions including the popular St. Joseph carnival and after retiring from Palos Community Hospital, Pat organized senior trips through Archer bank.
“Mayor Joe has always put the needs of Summit residents above all else, has worked hard to bring new businesses, continues to push economic growth. I am very proud of supporting the various projects he has accomplished for the Village of Summit,” Tichacek said.
“Several important changes have been made within the clerk's office such as updated a vehicle sticker program; revised the business licenses; payments for licenses or tickets are now on line. We have also upgraded the telephone system.”
Tichacek, who is 74 years old, was born and raised in Summit. She has lived in Summit most of her life. She is a member of St. Joseph Church
She and her late husband George raised three children, Kim (Ken), George (Janet) and Colleen (Jerry), and she is the proud grandmother of 14 grand children and the great-grandmother of three.
Tichacek attended St. Joseph School, and Nazareth Academy and later earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Roosevelt University and was certified in Telecommunications at DeVry Institute. She worked 24 years Palos Community Hospital as Director of Communications.
Tichacek says that the mayor and board continue to address important issues and goals including addressing the rise in home foreclosures and how the Village can assist in helping to keep families in their homes. She also said that gang violence, which is a nationwide challenge, is also a priority for the village. She said that the board is constantly looking for ways to ease the tax burden on residents and especially seniors, including seeking grants to underwrite Village projects.
Sergio Rodriguez is a lifelong resident of the Village of Summit and was elected to serve as a Trustee on the Summit Village Board in 2005.
An educator and teacher, Rodriguez was recently hired as a Special Service Coordinator for the Downers Grove North school district. He served more than nine years at the Morton High School District as a special education instructor, and as a Dean of Students.
Rodriguez, 35, attended Walsh school and later St. Joseph Elementary School where he graduated. He graduated from Argo High school and attended Columbia College of Chicago where he earned his bachelor’s degree while working at Fox’s Pizza and also part-time in the maintenance department in Summit School District 104. He received his Masters of Education Degree from Lewis University.
“I have lived all my life in Summit and I love this community,” Rodriguez said. He further qualified he is most particularly proud of serving on the Board with the current administration and successfully bringing new Senior homes to 63rd Place, the ongoing beautification project throughout the village, and the continued infrastructure improvements allowed through the CDBG program. There are so many projects we examine, but few have had as much of an impact within our community. By taking pride in the projects we have chosen and delivered in our community, we will see dividends in the very near future. By investing in our community, others will also see benefit.
“While working professionally as an educator and teacher, I always spent my after-work time volunteering in Summit to help our children. I believe education is very important and that every child deserves a good education. That’s what makes our community strong.”
Sevdat “Steve Memishi is a veteran successful businessman who has managed dozens of retail clients and hundreds of employees over his extensive career.
He began as a longtime, former restaurant owner who has extensive business experience in general insurance management and as an honored Operations Manager at Midway Airport on Chicago’s Southwest Side.
Memishi owned and operated the popular Halim’s Restaurant and worked there as the primary chef, until it was sold in 1984.
In 1984, Memishi managed more than 17 food and restaurant operations at Midway Airport until 1991. The retail stores he managed included full service restaurants, snack shops and full service bars as well as limited bar locations.
Memishi supervised a staff of more than 75 people during his shift and oversaw and managed scheduling and hiring.
In 1991, Memishi worked as an account executive for a major insurance company working his way up and building his own base of clients. He managed insurance not only for individuals and families but also for businesses and larger clients, becoming part owner in 1997.
Memishi credits his career success to his years as a student at Argo Community High school in Summit.
“I was lucky to be inspired to pursue my business skills by great mentors at Argo High school who encouraged me as I worked towards graduation,” Memishi said.
Marvel McCain Parker is an newly appointed trustee in the Village of Summit and has also served in various positions for the Village starting in 1998.
Trustee Parker served in many other positions for the village including as the Director of Community Development, Enterprise Zone Administrator, Chairman of the Summit Youth Commission, and Weed and Seed Program Administrator.
Trustee Parker previously served as the Executive Director of the Summit Community Task Force, 1992-2004, a 501C (3) community and faith-based initiative she and her husband, Pastor Wheeler Parker, organized in 1992. In 1984 she established Vel’s Travel Agency Inc. where she works as the company’s President.
Trustee Parker has an extensive educational resume. A Graduate of Northeastern Illinois University, Parker holds a Bachelors of Arts with majors in Nonprofit Administration and Social and Community Studies. She completed graduate work at Lewis University in the Masters of Arts in Organizational Leadership Program.
A graduate of Harvard University Divinity School “Summer Leadership Institute” (SLI) class of 2004; an intensive Community and Economic Development Leadership Program. A graduate of Grace Theological Seminary, she received a Masters of Divinity and a Doctorate of Divinity.
Trustee Parker also served as a member of the West Angeles Community Development Corporation, in Los Angeles, California, from 2008 until 2012. She is a board member of the Mamie Till Moberly Memorial Foundation.
She has received numerous awards for her commitment to education and advocacy for the poor. She has been honored with awards which include Citizen of the Year; from the Summit Chamber of Commerce, Woman of Distinction; from the Whispering Oaks Girl Scouts, Outstanding Service To The Community; from Northeastern Illinois University, Community Service Award; from Cook County Housing Authority.
A self-published author, in 2006 Dr. Parker published her thesis, “Breaking the Silence; The Impact of HIV/AIDS on African American Women and the Silence of the Church”, and in 2010 a HIV/AIDS Behavioral Intervention curriculum entitled, “LISTEN-LEARN-LIVE”.
In furtherance to her commitment to educate communities about the impact of this disease, she created in 2008 “AIDS Awareness Advocacy Inc.,” a US not-for-profit and NGO in Belize Central America where she serves as Executive Director and CEO.
“I really believe in working for the benefit of humanity, beginning locally to help our residents, and also internationally to take on the challenges that challenge humanity,” Parker said.
Colleen M. Lambert
Colleen M. Lambert was appointed to the board of trustees in 2004 and elected the following year in 2005. She currently serves as a member of the Committee on Fire, Ambulance & Community Development.
A longtime resident of summit for a quarter century, Lambert has always been involved in the community, including in education. She volunteers St. Joseph's Parish Elementary School and has served as in many positions including as treasurer of the Parent Club, as chairman of the St. Joseph's Carnival, and two years as a member of the Parish Council.
Trustee Lambert is very proud of the accomplishments the Village Board has attained since her appointment. A few of the priorities undertaken by the Mayor and the Board is insuring services to Summit’s senior community, the Summit Senior Homes project, the new Kronos payroll system, the Spillman Technologies software for Police, and most recently the 63rd Street TIF Beautification Project.
Other commitments have included shepherding NIMS Training for elected officials, the expansion of the business community in the Village and participating on the Village of Summit Emergency Operations Plan with Emergency Services Coordinator and Fire Chief Rich Gallaga.
Lambert said she hopes to continue to pursue her commitment to energize a beautification campaign for the Village, and establishing a system to recognize the hard work and performances of the village’s department heads and employees.
“I think we always are watchful to find ways to attract more businesses to Summit and to also encourage more people to make Summit their home,” Lambert added. “Another priority is ensuring the safety of our residents against street gangs and violence. We must ensure safety at our schools for all of our children be it public or private schools.”
Lambert and her husband Jerome Sr. have four children, Megan (20), Jerome Jr. "JP" (18), Elyse (15) and Emma (11). They attend local schools including at St. Joseph's Elementary School and Argo Community High School. Megan, a sophomore at MVCC, also coaches Volleyball at St. Joseph’s Elementary School. Jerome is a senior at Argo and currently looking at future in the Navy. Elyse plays volleyball of Argo and currently is member of the CEP Leadership Group. Emma working hard with school, volleyball and soccer.
The Lamberts have owned a local excavation business JEM Development, Inc. which was named after their children, for 23 years.
Lambert graduated from St. Alexander's Elementary School, and went on to Mt. Assisi Academy and later Fox Secretarial College. She is a recognized “VIP Member” of the Cambridge Who's Who in business and also Woman in Business.
Tyrone Modiest was elected as a Trustee in 2002. Tyrone graduated from Argo Community High School and started working at Corn Products in the mail room for 10 years. Afterwards he worked the next 30 years for Golden Grain Macaroni Company in Bridgeview.
A lifelong resident of summit, Trustee Modiest has always been involved in the community, including in education. Tyrone was a School Board member for District 104 for 12 years, CEDA Board member, Lions Club Board member, Old Timers Club, and former member of the Summit Task Force.
Trustee Modiest is very proud of the accomplishments the Village Board has attained. A few of the priorities undertaken by the Mayor and the Board is insuring services to Summit’s senior community, the Summit Senior Homes project, the new Kronos payroll system, the Spillman Technologies software for Police, and most recently the 63rd Street TIF Beautification Project. Although these accomplishments may resonate with all Board members, Tyrone's role as committee member of Community Development and License and Businesses drives the success of these projects.
Trustee Modiest and his wife Gloria were married in 1967 and have three children, Robert (45), Raquel (43), and Ryan (41). Between Tyrone and his children, they have lived in Summit collectively for over 130 years.
Tyrone is also a veteran and served with the United States Army from 1965 to 1967.
Tyrone looks forward to the challenges to identify new revenue streams while also reducing expenses. "With the experience of this Mayor and Board, I am excited to see what we can accomplish over the next several years".