About Jon Broadbooks

Jon Broadbooks is Vice President/Communications for Illinois REALTORS®. He serves as editor of online and print content for the association's communications including the Illinois REALTOR® magazine and e-newsletters. He conducts spokesperson training seminars and oversees website development for the Association.

Bicentennial Plaza transformation begins

A steam shovel operator starts knocking down an old bank building Friday as part of the Bicentennial Plaza project. (Bill Kozar Photo)

Construction crews have begun dismantling an old bank branch building and chiseling up pavement to make way for the Bicentennial Plaza – A REALTOR® Community Partnership in downtown Springfield.

The demolition launches the $2 million project which will be part of a vision to link the Abraham Lincoln National Historic Site to the state Capitol with a pedestrian mall. Once completed, the space will be available for public use for events ranging from performances to craft shows.

Bicentennial Plaza is being built on land owned by Illinois REALTORS®, a century-old trade association representing more than 47,000 real estate professionals. The association saw the creation of the public space as a way to give back to the community and the state.

The former bank building is on Sixth St., east of the Illinois REALTORS® headquarters. (Bill Kozar Photo)

“Illinois REALTORS® wanted to do something significant to celebrate the state that has provided so much to our members and those who rely on them,” said the association’s 2018 president, Matt Difanis. “Since our headquarters is located in the heart of Springfield’s historic district, our members felt it was important to play a supporting role in the bicentennial celebration.”

The plaza will extend from South Fifth Street to South Sixth Street. As part of the work, a former bank building will be demolished to make way for a space which will feature interpretive panels celebrating the people, places and events that complement Lincoln’s vision for society with equality and opportunity for all.

The association formed a task force nearly two years ago to begin planning for the project which is located on the north side of the association’s Springfield headquarters. Bicentennial Plaza is listed as a “Signature Project” by the state’s Bicentennial Commission, and will be part of festivities celebrating the 200th birthday in 2018. Chicago REALTOR® Jim Kinney is on the commission, and has been a longtime advocate for preserving the state’s heritage.

“Illinois REALTORS® work with heart in every community, so it’s only natural that we want to play a role in celebrating the state’s rich history,” said Jim Kinney, who is also a past president of Illinois REALTORS®.

The association is working with local REALTOR® associations throughout Illinois to commemorate the Bicentennial. More than 30 projects are being undertaken by these associations ranging from funding long-needed improvements to providing labor for clean-up days.

The pavement in the Illinois REALTORS® north parking lot has been torn up so that a pedestrian mall for public gatherings can replace it.  (Bill Kozar Photo)

Shinners, Borgwald remembered for association leadership

Illinois REALTORS® paused last week to remember the life and work of two association executives who died in 2017.

Margery Shinners, former CEO of the Mainstreet Organization of REALTORS®, and Debra Borgwald, association executive of the Danville Board of REALTORS® were honored with proclamations noting their contributions to the real estate industry and Illinois REALTORS®.

The ceremony was held at a meeting of Illinois REALTORS®’ Board of Directors during its meeting at the Chicago Mariott Naperville.

Shinners, who died in April, joined Mainstreet in 1996, serving as technology director and deputy CEO before she was promoted in 2016 to CEO.

Borgwald served the Danville board for more than 15 years and served on a number of Illinois REALTOR® committees.

Both were recognized with Illinois REALTORS® Rhino Award, given to association executives who serve as role models and leaders within the profession.

Illinois REALTORS® approves three-year strategic plan

The Illinois REALTORS® Board of Directors gave its approval to a plan that will guide the association for the next three years at its business meetings in Naperville last week.

The outline is the result of more than a year of work which included a comprehensive member survey, and which involved scores of members aiding in the crafting of the 101-year-old organization’s priorities.

The work identifies five core areas the association will focus on in the years ahead:

  • Advocacy: Protect private property and promote the value of REALTORS®.
  • Education: Create professional development programs that help REALTORS® strengthen their businesses.
  • Ethics: Advance ethics enforcement programs that increase REALTOR® professionalism.
  • Legal: Protect REALTORS® by providing legal guidance and education.
  • Outreach: Share the story of the association and its role in helping REALTORS® succeed.

Many of the plan’s details were worked out by a Strategic Thinkers Working Group, which provided the information to the Strategic Planning Committee.

REALTORS® honored with Presidential Medallions for service at board meeting

REALTOR® Lynn Madison was honored with Presidential Medallions for her work on education and for association support. Photos: Jon Broadbooks

Six Illinois REALTORS´® were honored for service to the association on Thursday as recipients of Presidential Medallions.

The awards are given by the outgoing association president at their final board meeting. 2017 President Doug Carpenter announced the awards at the Illinois REALTORS® Board of Directors meeting held at the Chicago Marriott Naperville.

Those honored on Thursday were:

REALTOR® Vicky Turner is honored for her work with the Bicentennial Task Force.

  • Vicky Turner, Vicky Turner-Crawford Real Estate, of Dixon, who led the association’s Bicentennial Task Force. Her work has played a key role in shaping the association’s plans for the state’s 200th birthday in 2018.

    Sonia Anaya is recognized for her work in political fundraising and on the Bicentennial Task Force.

  • Sonia Anaya, America Real Estate of Chicago, was recognized for her work to raise money for the REALTORS® Political Action Committee. She’s also spearheading efforts on the Bicentennial Plaza Legacy Project where members can purchase bricks which will be prominently installed at the public space being constructed outside the association’s Springfield headquarters.

    REALTOR® Alex Ruggieri of Champaign is honored for commercial and global leadership.

  • Alex Ruggieri, Sperry Van Ness, Champaign, for his leadership with Illinois REALTORS® commercial and global efforts. Ruggieri has represented the state at the annual MIPIM Conference in Cannes, France, and was chair of the Global Business Council.

    REALTOR® Chris Read is honored with a Presidential Medallion for work furthering education.

  • Chris Read with CR Strategies, Woodstock was honored for her work on creating a new Broker Management Continuing Education course, and for her work on behalf of the association to further member education.

    REALTOR® Deborah Prodehl was recognized for her work on behalf of the association and its members.

  • Deb Prodehl, With Coldwell Banker The Real Estate Group, Homer Glen, was recognized for her support and work on behalf of the association throughout the year. She was in charge of the Inaugural Banquet in 2016.
  • Lynn Madison, (pictured at top) with Lynn Madison Seminars, Schaumburg, was recognized with two medallions for work on the Broker Management Continuing Education Course, and for her support of Carpenter through the year.

Illinois REALTORS® meets key benchmarks for political involvement

Illinois REALTORS® Political Involvement Committee meets on Thursday, Oct. 12, 2017 at the Chicago Marriott Naperville. Pictured are Treasurer Nominee Ed Neaves,  Local Government Affairs Director Jim Clayton, Vice Chair Tom Krettler, Chair Christopher Tenggren, Manager of Grassroots and Political Programs Neil Malone and Nykea Pippion-McGriff.

Illinois REALTORS®’ Political Involvement Committee met Thursday in Naperville to discuss successes in the past year. Among highlights.

  • Illinois REALTORS® are more likely to be registered voters when compared to the overall voting age population. Eighty-six percent of REALTORS® are registered in the state; versus an overall registration of 82.7 percent. Nationally, 83 percent of REALTORS® are registered, versus 82.7 overall.
  • The Broker Involvement Program for Illinois REALTORS® continues to lead the nation, with more than 3,700 brokers registered.
  • Illinois REALTORS® saw more than 20 percent of its members participate in a Call for Action on the National Flood Insurance Program. NFIP was extended three more months, so the fight to preserve it will be revisited in December.
  • Tax reform continues to be a hot-button issue. Efforts to get rid of or gut the effectiveness of the Mortgage Interest Deduction likely will prompt efforts on the part of the Federal Political Coordinators to get the message out that the policy is essential for the health of the housing industry.
  • Illinois REALTORS® looks to be in line with meeting all requirements for the coveted Triple Crown Award that is given to associations which meet involvement and RPAC goals.

The chair for the committee is REALTOR® Christopher Tenggren.