2021 Board of Directors


Karen Brozynski (President)
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. She previously served as Vice-President, Illinois and Secretary.

Kevin Brown (Vice President, Illinois)
Kevin Brown is a lifelong resident of the Calumet Region, both in Illinois & Northwest Indiana, and co-owns a marketing & communications firm with his wife Sara. In his hometown of Blue Island, IL, he serves as Executive Director of the Blue Island Historical Society, Chairman of the Blue Island Arts Alliance, and Secretary of Blue Island’s Historic Preservation Commission. He and his wife also produce an award-winning documentary series on Blue Island — My B.I. — a video portrait of the people, places, and stories that make their city so special.

Gary Johnson (Vice President, Indiana)
Gary Johnson is a Gary native.  He and his wife currently reside in Gary’s Miller Beach community.  Gary graduated from Horace Mann High School.  He earned a BS Electrical Engineering degree at Purdue University in West Lafayette, then after a three-year work break, returned to earn an MS in Industrial Administration. In 1979 he was recruited to Cleveland, Ohio.  In 1990 he was elected chairman, president and ceo of this producer of electronic materials. As a result of his work to improve the quality of the materials produced, he was elevated to Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers.  He left in 2004 and affiliated with three technology-based venture capital funds focus on strategies to commercialize technology.  He relocated from Cleveland to Northwest Indiana in 2012 to become president of Mortar Net Solutions (Burns Harbor, IN).  He holds four patents and was recognized as a member of the Northwest Indiana Society of Innovators in 2015. Gary became a director of the Cleveland Institute of Art in 1992 and served as chairman from 2005 to 2012.  He continues as a director of the Cleveland Council on World Affairs.  In Northwest Indiana, in addition to serving on the board of the Calumet Heritage Partnership, he is a director and treasurer of the Crisis Center in Gary and a governor of the Northwest Indiana Society of Innovators.

David Klein (Treasurer)

David attended the first meeting of the Calumet Heritage Partnership when it was founded twenty years ago. He has been a Board member since 2005, serving as treasurer. For most of his career, David has worked in theater as a stagehand in Chicago, including a twenty-year stint at Lyric Opera. His career path, though, has taken a couple of detours through the Calumet Region. In northwest Indiana, he served for three years as Executive Director of the Calumet Project, a labor-community-religious coalition that worked on social, economic, and environmental justice issues. Following this, he spent a decade with a Service Employees International Union local based in Gary, where he worked as a researcher, organizer, union rep, and finally as the administrative manager for the Local’s health and welfare fund. Career shifting again, recently he has returned to theater work and is currently the shop carpenter for the Joffrey Ballet. David is a member of the Board and Treasurer of the League of Women Voters of the Calumet Area. He is also a member of the US Coast Guard Auxiliary. In his spare time he takes full advantage of the Calumet Region’s recreational natural resources as a cyclist, boater, and kayaker. David lives in Whiting with his spouse Susan Duncan, a researcher in global health, and a number of cats that may slightly exceed what’s permitted by city ordinance.

Kathleen Tobin (Secretary)
Dr. Kathleen Tobin is Professor of History and Chair of the Department of History and Philosophy at Purdue University Northwest. She earned her Ph.D. from the University of Chicago and currently teaches 20th century U.S. History. Her research addresses population issues, migration, and birth control history. Her publications include  “People, Not Property: Population Issues and the Neutron Bomb, in Cold War History (2016), “Manning the Enemy: U.S. Perspectives on International Birth Rates during the Cold War,” in Philip Muehlenbeck, ed., Sex, Gender, and the Cold War: A Global Perspective (2016), “Feeding a Population: Agricultural Education Priorities in Haitian History,” in Journal of the Indiana Academy of the Social Sciences, (2015), “Population Density and Housing in Port-au-Prince: Historical Construction of Vulnerability,” in the Journal of Urban History in November, (2013), and “The Reduction of Urban Vulnerability: Revisiting 1950s American Suburbanization as Civil Defense,” Cold War History (2002). Her books include The American Religious Debate over Birth Control, 1907-1937 and Politics and Population Control, A Documentary History. Dr. Tobin is a lifelong resident of the Calumet Region.

Directors (in alphabetical order)

Emiliano Aguilar Jr (Director)
A lifelong Hoosier, Emiliano Aguilar Jr is a native to East Chicago, IN. Emiliano has a bachelor’s degree in English and History from Wabash College, a master’s degree in History from Purdue University Northwest and Northwestern University. Currently, Emiliano is a Ph.D. Candidate in History at Northwestern University. His dissertation, “Building a Latino Machine,” focuses on how the ethnic Mexican and Puerto Rican communities of East Chicago, Indiana, navigated corrupt machine politics to pursue their inclusion into the city. The narrative will trace Latinos’ transition from cogs in the political machine to eventually becoming the machine itself. During this transition, these communities engaged in unethical political behavior, including kickbacks, ghost payrolls, patronage politics, and vote tampering. His work has been featured in Belt Magazine, Cleveland Review of Books, Immigration and Ethnic History Society’s Blogand Indiana Historical Society BlogHe has spoken about his work and Latinx History in the Midwest on PATV Channel 18 and Valparaiso University’s Welcome Project.

Tyrell Anderson (Director)

Mark Bouman (Director)
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. Between 2007 and 2017, he 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.

Benjamin Cox (Director)
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.

Kirsten Markusic (Director)
Growing up in the small town of Whiting, Kirsten Markusic was raised in a close-knit community where everyone knows everyone. After graduating from Bishop Noll Institute, Kirsten expanded her horizons and pursued a bachelor’s degree in sociology at Purdue University Northwest. There, she became a community activist and developed a passion for history. She stayed at PNW and pursued a master’s degree in history where she learned about the importance of access to information and decided she would pursue a second master’s degree in library science online with Wayne State University. She was forwarded an opportunity to gain library science experience at Centier Bank where she began inventorying items dating back to the mid-1800s as part of the bank’s 125th anniversary celebration. She continues this initiative while also remaining an active member of the community through serving on the board of the Whiting-Robertsdale Historical Society, coaching middle school basketball at Whiting Middle School, and umpiring softball. She continues to live in Whiting with her partner, Lisa (an amazing person), and their three cats Gatsby (after the book), DiMaggio (after the baseball player), and Lemon (after the fruit). In her free time, which I’m sure you’ve determined now is scarce, she watches baseball and spends time with her family.

Brad Miller (Director)
Brad Miller is the Director of Indiana Landmarks Northwest Field Office. As Director, he assists communities, local governments, and property owners in preserving historic buildings and places across Lake, Porter, Jasper, and Newton Counties. Brad grew up in central Pennsylvania where he attended Gettysburg College, earning a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History. He then headed south to earn his M.A. in Public History from Middle Tennessee State University, where he focused his studies on historic preservation and African American history. His thesis focused on 19th and 20th century African American funeral homes in Tennessee as windows into southern death culture, black entrepreneurship, and spatial segregation. Previously, Brad has served as a graduate assistant with the Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area, preservation planner intern with the Somerville, MA, Historic Preservation Commission, and community preservation specialist with Indiana Landmarks Northern Regional Office in South Bend. Brad resides in Gary’s Miller Beach community with his partner Emily and their rescue pup, Delta.

Lauren Pacheco (Director)
Lauren M. Pacheco is a Mexican-American born and raised on Chicago’s southwest side. She is a civic practice artist and cultural worker with over fifteen years of arts administration, curation, and project management experience. Her background is grounded in social practice and public engagement with a personal mandate to responsibly and respectfully invest in targeted communities. Many of her projects are interested in space, people, and social impact. Today, Pacheco serves as a resource to policymakers and institutions in the public dialogue about issues that impact artists and creative enterprises. Lauren holds degrees from Northwestern University and the School of the Art Institute and is an associate faculty lecturer and director of arts programming and engagement at Indiana University Northwest. Lauren lives in Gary, Indiana.  

Diane Pugh (Director)
Diane Pugh is a Certified Archivist who has worked and lived in the Chicago area since 1995, except for 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 (Director)
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.

Julie Zasada (Director)
Julie Zasada is a College of Business graduate of University of St. Francis in Joliet, Illinois. She held positions in human resources, employment staffing, and college admissions, prior to embarking upon her child-rearing career and many appointments to non-profit boards in Lake County, Indiana.  She was inducted into the Society of Innovators of Northwest Indiana in 2007 for her project to bring a children’s museum to Cedar Lake. She completed Purdue University Northwest’s Leadership Northwest Indiana program in 2019 (LNI43). Julie has been volunteering with the Cedar Lake Historical Association (CLHA) since 2008 as a board member, and most active as the CLHA Executive Director since 2015. The CLHA museum is housed in the 100-year old Lassen’s Resort Hotel on the shore of Cedar Lake, and restoring and returning the building to its 1920’s glory is her absolute passion.  She was born and raised in the Chicagoland suburbs, but since 2002, the Calumet region has been home for her family, which includes husband, Todd, and their five children, whom Julie also homeschools. 

Past Board of Directors Lists

2020 Board of Directors
2019 Board of Directors
2018 Board of Directors
2017 Board of Directors 
2016 Board of Directors
2015 Board of Directors
2014 Board of Directors
2013 Board of Directors