2017 Board of Directors

Michael Longan (President)
Michael Longan is a Professor of Geography at Valparaiso University. He has a Ph.D. in Geography from the University of Colorado at Boulder and earned his masters in geography at the University of Arizona. Mike serves as the webmaster for the Calumet Heritage Partnership website, www.calumetheritage.org.

Sherry Meyer (Vice-President, Illinois)
Sherry Meyer is a granddaughter of the Calumet – her grandfather having worked at Wisconsin Steel for 40 years.  Though she learned early on the challenges of having a family member on the swing shift, the Calumet was a mythical land she never saw until she learned to drive.  She’s been exploring the Calumet ever since, now as a community builder and urban guide for InSites, where – in addition to presenting experiential tours inspired by all sorts of topics — she also researches and consults on matters of human health, built environments and policy.  Both for work and graduate school, she’s been known to regularly drive the Lake Michigan crescent from the Indiana Dunes to Milwaukee (and points outside the watershed).  Sherry has been a member of the Calumet Heritage Partnership board since 2002.  In 2003 she married a nice boy from Hammond; theirs was the first marriage to come out of the Bi-State Gathering on Wolf Lake.  They have a bi-state house: out the back door they can see Indiana, and out the front door they can see Illinois.

Tiffany Tolbert (Vice-President, Indiana)
Tiffany Tolbert currently serves a Director of Indiana Landmarks Northwest Field Office. A native of Montgomery, Alabama she received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science and History from Huntingdon College (Montgomery, AL) and a Master of Arts in Historic Preservation from Georgia State University (Atlanta, GA). Previously she has served as an intern with the Alabama Historical Commission and served as African American Programs Assistant at the Georgia Historic Preservation Division. She has completed research on rural African American History in Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi, African American Women in the Civil Rights Movement and African American History in Gary, IN. Her research has been published in Reflections, a publication of the Georgia Historic Preservation Division and Traces, the quarterly magazine of the Indiana Historical Society.

Karen Brozynski (Secretary)
Karen Brozynski graduated with a BA in History from Chicago State University in 1982. In 1985, Karen joined the Chicago Police Department and in 2001 was promoted to Sergeant. She retired in 2008. Karen has been a Docent with the Chicago Architecture Foundation and was President of the Docent Council. She is now the Secretary of the Southeast Chicago Historical Society and a volunteer at the Museum.

David Klein (Treasurer)
David Klein has long been engaged in Calumet regional affairs. David served as the Executive Director of the Calumet Project, a Hammond – based community – labor – religious coalition. Among David’s priorities while at the Calumet Project was guiding Northwest Indiana in acknowledging the inequitable effects of polluting industries on the poor and communities of color. David also volunteers on the Board of the Calumet Area League of Women Voters. In that position he developed the League’s Campaign Finance Online project in which all Lake County Indiana Campaign Finance Reports have been published on the League’s website; a first for Northwest Indiana. He is also the local League’s webmaster. David lives in Hammond, Indiana with his spouse Susan Duncan, a researcher in psychology and linguistics, and their undisclosed number of cats.

Mark Bouman (Past President)
Mark Bouman’s association with the Calumet Heritage Partnership dates to the opening presentation he gave at the first Calumet Heritage Conference in 1999, although it was not until 2005 that he joined the board when CHP became formally affiliated with Chicago’s Steel Heritage Project. Since 2007, he has served as CHP’s President. Mark has been closely involved with several Calumet regional efforts, including the Lake Calumet Ecosystem Partnership, Calumet Stewardship Initiative, and the Calumet Environmental Resource Center at Chicago State University. He was the Project Director for a widely distributed map of the Calumet region that originally appeared in the Spring, 2009 issue of Chicago Wilderness magazine. Mark’s association with the Calumet region dates to his undergraduate days at Valparaiso University, where the classic geomorphology field trip from the Kankakee sand islands, across the Valparaiso Moraine, and to the lakefront at Mt. Baldy set the hook for a professional lifetime in geography, and, as it turns out, the Calumet region. Mark’s graduate work in geography at the University of Minnesota focused on the relationship between cities and technology, and his work in that area has appeared in the Journal of Urban History, the Journal of American History, and The Cities and Technology Reader. He was a Professor of Geography at Chicago State University from 1984 to 2012. Since 2012, he is the Chicago Region Program Director in the Division of Environment, Culture, and Conservation at The Field Museum.

Amanda Aguilera (Board Member)
Amanda Aguilera has had strong, lifelong ties to the Calumet Region and Northwest Indiana. A graduate of Munster High School, Amanda spent many years traveling and living both domestically and abroad. Once she returned to the region, Amanda completed her Bachelor’s degree at Purdue University Calumet and went on to pursue a Master’s degree in Library & Information Studies with Syracuse University in New York. Due to her heritage and passion for human rights and diversity, Amanda graduated as a Ronald E. McNair Scholar in her undergrad and has had the distinction of being named both a Syracuse University Diversity Scholar as well as an American Library Association Spectrum Scholar during her pursuit of her Master’s degree. Descended from one of Hammond’s first founding families on one side and Mexican immigrants on the other, Amanda is in a unique position to be a passionate advocate of protecting our region’s diverse cultural and historical heritage for future generations. In her new role as Hammond’s Local History Librarian and Archivist at the Hammond Public Library, Amanda intends to proactively expand the library’s historical collections to include a more diverse representation of the area’s incredibly rich demographic in order to more fully connect the people of the Calumet Region. When not studying or working, Amanda still enjoys traveling and spending time with loved ones.

Jason Berry (Board Member)
Jason Berry, AICP, lives and works in Blue Island, Illinois. As Deputy Director of Community Development for the City of Blue Island, Jason’s work is focused on economic development through historic preservation, placemaking, active transportation policy, transit-oriented development, green infrastructure, brownfields and community health. Berry is a board member of the Blue Island Arts Alliance, Blue Island Historical Society, the Illinois Association for Historic Preservation Commissions and a founding member of the Calumet Waterway Stewards, an organization dedicated to promoting recreation opportunities on the Little Calumet River and Cal-Sag Channel. Jason’s work for Blue Island has been recognized with awards from the Blue Island Chamber of Commerce, the Active Transportation Alliance and Friends of the Chicago River.

John Cain (Board Member)
John Cain has served South Shore Arts as executive director since 1993 and as executive director of the Northwest Indiana Symphony since 2008. Leading South Shore Arts through an evolutionary phase that culminated in the opening of two branch locations and its designation by the Indiana Arts Commission as a Regional Arts Partner, he has been instrumental in the organization’s rise as a leader in the cultural life of the Calumet region. He has curated exhibits in Chicago for Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art and the Carl Hammer Gallery. For South Shore Arts he has curated “The Artist As Collector” (2004), “Two Bucks to Pony Up: Curiosities from the Midway” (2012), and “Baby Boom or Bust” (2014). He created the Outstanding Midwest Artist Series and curated solo exhibits for Michael Noland, Lorraine Peltz, Margaret Wharton, and Chris Cosnowski. John serves as a consultant to the Miller Beach Arts & Creative District and Theatre at the Center. He was the founding chairman of the Mayor’s Hammond Commission for the Arts and Humanities. He has served as a board member of Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art in Chicago and as a grant panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts. 

Benjamin Cox (Board Member)
Benjamin Cox became Friends of the Forest Preserves first Executive Director in 2004. Benjamin graduated from Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis with a degree in journalism and minors in Spanish and Environmental Studies. After working as a newspaper reporter, he served in several non-profit roles, including Director of the International Tibet Independence Movement and a Facilitator for the Peace Learning Center through AmeriCorps. But environmental defense is his real passion. As President and CEO of Friends, Benjamin addresses a range of policy issues, works to bring resources to the Forest Preserves District, advises the Board of Commissioners, advises and works for stewards, bikers, birders and other constituency groups, and more

La’Kisha Girder (Board Member)
La’Kisha Girder is the Deputy Director of Planning for the City of Gary, Indiana, where she currently assists and coordinates in the planning and implementation of numerous development and transportation projects. A native of Gary, her areas of expertise include public outreach, environmental justice, comprehensive planning and economic development planning. La’Kisha obtained her Master of Community Planning from the University of Cincinnati, and also has undergraduate degrees in History and Political Science with distinction from Indiana University. She also serves as the Personal and Professional Development Chair for the Urban League of Northwest Indiana Young Professionals.

David Holmberg (Board Member)
David Holmberg currently serves as the EHS Director at the Calumet Area Industrial Commission, a 501(c)3 industrial advocacy business association located in the Pullman area. Prior to joining CAIC in 2005, he was employed at Interlake / Acme Steel Company / Acme Packaging Corporation as their Environmental Director beginning in 1979.  He holds an MS Degree in Environmental Chemistry & Technology from the Civil & Environmental Engineering Department at the University of Wisconsin (Madison), and is a Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH), Certified Hazardous Materials Manager (CHMM) and Certified Safety Professional (CSP). He has long been engaged in Calumet Area environmental activities and resides in Riverdale, Illinois. 

Diane Pugh (Board Member)
Diane Pugh is a Certified Archivist who has worked and lived in the Chicago area since 1995, with the exception of two years spent in Arizona (2000-2002). A native of the Puget Sound area of Washington State, she has a bachelor’s degree with a focus on social science and English literature from The Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA, and a master’s in library and information science from the University of Pittsburgh. Previously she has held archives positions at the Chicago Historical Society (now the Chicago History Museum), the national archives of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), and Rush Medical Center. She has also served as an archives consultant for Harris Bank, Chicago; Gerber Hart Library and Archives, Chicago; Sisters of the Living Word, Arlington Heights, IL; Girl’s Best Friend Foundation, Chicago; and the Berwyn Historical Society, Berwyn, IL. Most recently she has done project work for the CHP’s steel heritage archives and the Southeast Chicago Historical Museum. From 2002-2012, Ms. Pugh worked in the Preservation Program of the American Theological Library Association (ATLA), eventually becoming Manager of Preservation Projects there, and serving as the association’s Archives Liaison with the Yale Divinity Archives that houses ATLA’s archives. Since November of 2008, Diane has lived with her husband, Ralph (also an archivist of long-standing in the Chicago area), in the Calumet Region village of Homewood, IL. Their son, Daniel, was born in nearby Hazel Crest in August 2009.

Thomas Shepherd (Board Member)
Tom Shepherd has served on the Calumet Heritage Partnership board almost since CHP’s inception. A lifelong resident of the Calumet region, Tom has been involved in community affairs at many levels, and has worked in government as well as being active on social, labor,  and political issues. Tom resides in Historic Pullman, having served three terms as president of the Pullman Civic Organization. He’s led tours and events in the Pullman  neighborhood and the surrounding region for many years. Tom is a life-member of the Southeast Chicago Historical Society, and as a member of the local Steelworker Retirees chapter helped to spearhead an effort to preserve the legacy of Big Steel and the ACME Steel Coke Plant on the city’s southeast side. He is also a board member of the Southeast Environmental Task Force and Chicago Recycling Coalition. As a member of Governor Quinn’s Millennium Reserve Steering Committee, Tom helped lead the effort to open Lake Calumet to the public, and was part of teams to help Pullman achieve National Monument status, and to gain national recognition of the Calumet Heritage Corridor.

Past Board of Directors Lists

2016 Board of Directors
2015 Board of Directors
2014 Board of Directors
2013 Board of Directors