Meet the Thrive Ally Team

The Thrive Ally team members are here to help you learn directly from our residents about what our community has to offer like the best parks, restaurants and breweries, networking events and volunteer organizations, kids activities, historic sites, faith-based organizations, the best events and festivals, and so much more!

Consider the Thrive Allies to be your connection to all the info about Springfield and Sangamon County. Scroll through the Thrive Ally photos below and you’ll find profiles with some of their favorite things and interests. Connect with an Ally that matches your interests to tap into all their knowledge about Springfield and Sangamon County. You never know, you might end up with a new best friend.


  • Sarah Adams

    Sarah Adams

    Springfield Art Association

    Sarah grew up an hour north in Rushville, Illinois but she achieved her goal to end up in Springfield a little more than three years ago when she moved here for her job.

    A graduate of the University of Kansas and Western Illinois University, Sarah works at the Springfield Art Association. She is a member of Local First, the Sangamon County Historical Society, and the American Association of State and Local History.

    SARAH'S VIEW FROM HERE

    What are the top three things a potential resident should know about Springfield & Sangamon County?

    We are like a big little town. We have really excellent local places to eat. We have a lot of great history here outside of Abraham Lincoln (although Lincoln is cool, too, of course).

    What do you love most about the Springfield & Sangamon County area?

    I really love central Illinois - the atmosphere is laid back in the heart of town, considering we live in a little city. People here are polite and go out of their way to help you out, at least in my experience. I like that I've lived here for 3 years, but feel I have a pretty good grasp on who does what in the town and am familiar with many names, even if I don't know them personally. I also love that people are super into their own history here (can't help it, history is my life).

    What makes the Springfield & Sangamon County area unique?

    Of course, Abraham Lincoln. But also - the horseshoe sandwich, cozy dogs, the State Fair, the arts, can I say the horseshoe again?

    How are you involved in the community?

    I am in a couple of volunteer concert bands, I volunteer through the Sangamon County Historical Society, I do history outreach with Compass for kids, I produce theatrical productions through Edwards Place with local actors and directors.

    What Springfield area neighborhood is your favorite?

    Probably Enos Park. Have you SEEN the houses up here? Woo-wie, they are fantastic. Plus, we have a YMCA now, which is pretty cool. Although, I used to live in Historic West Side, so I have a soft spot for that area too. My neighbors were great.

    What are your favorite things to do around the city and county?

    Honestly, eat. We have such good local restaurants here. I lived in a city three times this size, and I feel we have just as many good places here as we did there. And I love to go to Springfield Vintage and shop. Around Springfield, there are some cute shops, too. Auburn is surprisingly for what it offers. Plus, coming from a small town and also considering there's a pandemic, I like to drive around the outskirts and country. It really takes me back to get out in the country.

    Ask Me About

    • Fine Arts
    • Performing Arts
    • Restaurants
    • Community History
  • Amy Beadle

    Amy Beadle

    Visit Springfield

    In 1987, Amy moved to Springfield with her family from the suburbs of Chicago for her Father's job. At the time, she didn't intend on staying when she was older but after several years, working in the community and then starting a family of her own, she knew this was the perfect place to stay.

    Amy works for Visit Springfield, the City of Springfield's tourism and hospitality bureau. She is a member of the Illinois Women in Leadership, Association of Women in Communications, Central Illinois Customer Service Association, the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce, and Downtown Springfield, Inc.

    AMY'S VIEW FROM HERE

    What are the top three things a potential resident should know about Springfield & Sangamon County?

    1. The affordability of Springfield is tremendous. From housing to transportation, shopping, eating, and living, it is a financially easy community. 2. Traveling around the city is quick and convenient. You get the amenities of a larger city, without the headaches to traffic and congestion 3. The amount of sites, attractions, and family-friendly things to do are second to none! There literally is something for everyone!

    What do you love most about the Springfield & Sangamon County area?

    The feel of a community that is connected. The six degrees of separation is really more a two in Springfield. It is fantastic to live somewhere that you can find someone to help you, guide you, and mentor you around every corner.

    What makes the Springfield & Sangamon County area unique?

    The amount of historic sites and attractions really sets us apart from most other communities. Being the capital city makes us unique as well. To be the seat of government and home to historic leadership gives us depth and rich culture.

    How are you involved in the community?

    Besides the organizations listed above, I am an active volunteer in the community. Organizations include United Way, Habitat for Humanity, Fishing Has No Boundaries I make a conscious effort to spread the word of events, needs, and the like for many community organizations through my LinkedIn profile. My previous position at SCHEELS and now my position at Visit Springfield allow me to be closely linked to our community in many ways.

    What Springfield area neighborhood is your favorite?

    Washington Park area. The historic nature and beautiful homes make it a place I love to wander. (I do not live there but like to dream!)

    What are your favorite things to do around the city and county?

    I love our outdoor areas like Washington Park & the Carillon, Lincoln Memorial Gardens, and Southwind Park. I enjoy boutique shopping in our unique shops and most of all I thoroughly enjoy eating! Springfield has some incredible local eats.

    Ask Me About

    • Tourism
    • Hospitality
    • Attractions
    • Philanthropy
  • Mark Birtch

    Mark Birtch

    Capitol Radio Group & Keller Williams

    Mark moved to Springfield with his family in 1971 for a unique reason that has had a significant effect on our community. His father was one of the physicians that started Southern Illinois University School of Medicine.

    A graduate of Drake University, Mark is a media representative for Capitol Radio Group and also sells real estate with the Keller Williams team. He has been a member of the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce, its Q5 initiative, the Springfield Art Association board, the Old Capital Art Fair board, and Springfield Road Runners Club. 

    Mark is a Thrive Ally because he loves Springfield and wants it to continue to thrive. He enjoys promoting our community and all it has to offer.

    MARK'S VIEW FROM HERE

    What are the top three things a potential resident should know about Springfield & Sangamon County?

    • All the amazing & diverse opportunities to enjoy and get involved in
    • Strong Arts community
    • Great place to be active outdoors

    What do you love most about the Springfield & Sangamon County area?

    It's large enough to have a huge diversity in things to do but small enough to establish close lifelong friendships.

    What makes the Springfield & Sangamon County area unique?

    Our location between two major cities - Chicago & STL. The community is a mash-up of old & new, rural & urban, conservative & liberal, locally raised & transplants, multiple cultures, religions, beliefs, love for the horseshoe, outdoor music events & Illinois State Fair.

    What Springfield area neighborhood is your favorite?

    Washington Park & Lake Springfield

    What are your favorite things to do around the city and county?

    Enjoy the outdoors, art events, live music, local restaurants, run & play tennis in Washington park, walk LMG, kayaking in Lake Springfield, local beer gardens, make art at the Springfield Art Association, cycle country roads

    Ask Me About

    • Local Radio
    • Real Estate
    • Outdoor Activities
    • Arts Community
  • Josh Collins

    Josh Collins

    Lincoln Land Community College

    Originally from a small town in Central Illinois, Josh moved to Springfield to attend the University of Illinois Springfield and stayed to begin his career in economic development. Currently Josh works in business relations at Lincoln Land Community College and is a member of the International Economic Development Council.

    JOSH'S VIEW FROM HERE

    What are the top three things a potential resident should know about Springfield & Sangamon County?

    1. Go try Mekong, if you're a halfway interesting person you'll love it. 2. It's a very comfortable place that is convenient and affordable. 3. There are opportunities for different types of living here. Every town has suburbs, Sangamon County has good urban neighborhoods along with country and rural opportunities with easy and quick assess to amenities.

    What do you love most about the Springfield & Sangamon County area?

    The affordability and convenience.

    How are you involved in the community?

    Springfield Public schools, Neighborhood association

    What Springfield area neighborhood is your favorite?

    Hawthorne Place.

    What are your favorite things to do around the city and county?

    Go to the parks.


    Ask Me About

    • Business Dev.
    • Spfld Public Schools
    • Local Breweries
    • Parks
  • Scott Dahl

    Scott Dahl

    Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau

    Scott's already a PRO when it comes to knowing all the many activities, events, and attractions in the Springfield & Sangamon County area. He moved here in 1996 to continue his career in the hotel industry and is now overseeing tourism, travel, and hospitality for the City of Springfield through the Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau. Scott is a member of the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce, Illinois Hotel & Lodging Association, US Travel Association, and Destinations International.

    SCOTT'S VIEW FROM HERE

    What are the top three things a potential resident should know about Springfield & Sangamon County?

    Springfield/Sangamon County is friendly, affordable, and has an abundance of recreational opportunities available.

    What do you love most about the Springfield & Sangamon County area?

    The ease of moving around the city, the affordability, the people, the history, and the culinary scene.

    What makes the Springfield & Sangamon County area unique?

    The area's deep historic roots from Abraham Lincoln to the Capitol.

    What Springfield area neighborhood is your favorite?

    Downtown

    What are your favorite things to do around the city and county?

    Eating out, attending local events, logging miles on the Sangamon Valley and Interurban trails, and working to bring visitors to Springfield to experience our historic city.

    Ask Me About

    • Tourism
    • Outdoor Recreation
    • Hospitality Industry
    • Running
  • Destiny Nance-Evans

    Destiny Nance-Evans

    Security Bank

    Destiny is originally from Auburn, a small town in Sangamon County. She moved to Springfield in 2005 after college. A graduate of Southern Illinois University, Destiny works in banking and finance at Security Bank. She is a board member of Downtown Springfield, Inc., a graduate of Leadership Springfield, a member of the Illinois Society of Association Executives and serves on the Rochester Elementary School Board.

    DESTINY'S VIEW FROM HERE

    What are the top three things a potential resident should know about Springfield & Sangamon County?

    1. Great place to raise a family. 2. Low cost of living. 3. Friendly community and there are plenty of opportunities to get involved and meet others.

    What do you love most about the Springfield & Sangamon County area?

    I love that I grew up here and we are starting to see positive change and attractions that make our city a destination. It is a great place to raise my family and be involved with different organizations.

    What makes the Springfield & Sangamon County area unique?

    I would say being the state capital we offer a low cost of living with great amenities and wonderful health care.

    What Springfield area neighborhood is your favorite?

    I have to go with the downtown district. It is a great place to go on a Saturday with my family to the farmers market and visit all the shops. My family loves coming downtown and my boys have grown fond of it as well. They are very familiar with the area.

    What are your favorite things to do around the city and county?

    With my family: Farmers Market Southwind Park Taking our boat out on Lake Springfield Hiking the trails at Lincoln Memorial Garden Trips to the Apple Barn Running/walking on the Lost Bridge Trail Out with my husband and friends: DFV Slaughterhouse Brewery Anvil and Forge

    Ask Me About

    • Banking
    • Downtown Springfield
    • Schools
    • Trails
  • Pamela Lewis-Frazier

    Pamela Lewis-Frazier

    All In One Laundry Center & Services

    In Pam's own words, she is "a homegrown member of our beloved Capital City of Springfield, Illinois" for all of her life. She is a member of the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce, Local First Springfield, Downtown Springfield, Inc., and Illinois Women in Leadership.

    PAM'S VIEW FROM HERE

    What are the top three things a potential resident should know about Springfield & Sangamon County?

    A dense suburban feel, cost of living and public schools in Springfield are above average.

    What do you love most about the Springfield & Sangamon County area?

    I am amazed at how many people travel across the globe to celebrate Lincoln's life and legacy.

    What makes the Springfield & Sangamon County area unique?

    Nowhere else in the world can OUR story be told of Lincoln and our collection of sites!

    How are you involved in the community?

    As the owner of a laundry center and with hygiene being a key component to slowing the spread of COVID-19, we remained open to ensure members of the community have access to clean laundry. Board involvement SIU School of Medicine, Springfield Area Home Builders Association and FBI Springfield Citizens Academy Alumni Association.

    What Springfield area neighborhood is your favorite? Why?

    Eastside born and raised very PROUD of my blue and gold Southeast High School Class of 1988.

    What are your favorite things to do around the city and county?

    Shop local, visit Washington Park and frequent the YMCA

    Ask Me About

    • Networking
    • Dining Out
    • Community Resources
    • Laundry & Cleaning Services
  • Aaron Gurnsey

    Aaron Gurnsey

    Central IL Building & Construction Trades Council

    Aaron is a life-long central Illinois resident and active in the Springfield & Sangamon County construction trades industry. A graduate of Illinois State University, Aaron is the President of the Central Illinois Building & Construction Trades Council and Business Manager for the Plumbers and Steamfitters Local 137. 

    AARON'S VIEW FROM HERE

    What are the top three things a potential resident should know about Springfield & Sangamon County?

    Great health care, the right mix of rural and urban environments within minutes of one another, big enough for amenities but small enough to raise a family.

    What do you love most about the Springfield & Sangamon County area?

    The friendly and welcoming people.


    What Springfield area neighborhood is your favorite?

    I can't pick a favorite. It really comes down to what a person is in the mood for.

    What are your favorite things to do around the city and county?

    Spending time with friends at all of the different venues in Sangamon County (bars, restaurants, wineries, athletic events, etc.)

    Ask Me About

    • Construction Trades
    • Local Sports
    • Bars
    • Golf
  • Josh Hester

    Josh Hester

    The Storyteller Studios, Inc.

    Josh is a native Springfieldian! Born and raised in Springfield, Josh now owns a small business right here in our community called The Storyteller Studios, Inc.  The Storyteller Team creates compelling corporate films, online marketing video, television commercials, and more for businesses and causes throughout the midwest and beyond.

    An alumna of Full Sail University, Columbia College Chicago, and the University of Illinois Springfield, Josh is active in many professional organizations including, Local First Springfield, Illinois Local, The Young Philanthropists, Hope Ambassadors, and the National Academy for Television Arts & Sciences (Emmy).

    JOSH'S VIEW FROM HERE

    What are the top three things a potential resident should know about Springfield & Sangamon County?

    There is a very reasonable cost of living here. There is a surprisingly strong cultural community for a city of our size. It's a great place to raise a family. And we get all the seasons! (but not for toooo long).

    What do you love most about the Springfield & Sangamon County area?

    It's affordable. It's the right size. There is opportunity for improvement!

    How are you involved in the community?

    I am a business owner. My wife and I are regular attenders at Cherry Hills Church. We enjoy visiting the best restaurants in town. Our daughter is into Dance Arts. She attends Springfield Christian School.

    What Springfield area neighborhood is your favorite?

    Washington Park area.

    What are your favorite things to do around the city and county?

    Dine out, walks at Lincoln Memorial Gardens and Washington Park with the kids. The Presidential museum. Outdoor summer festivals. Farmer's market.

    Ask Me About

    • Marketing & Videos
    • Local Small Business 
    • Spfld Christian School
    • Washington Park
  • Tina Jannazzo

    Tina Jannazzo

    Springfield Southeast High School

    Born and raised in Springfield, Tina has served the community as a former Park Board member and current employee of the Springfield District 186 Public Schools. She is also a member of the IL Association for College Admission Counseling, Springfield Education Association, Illinois Stewardship Alliance, and Friends of Sangamon Valley. Tina is a graduate of Illinois State University and the University of Illinois Springfield.

    TINA'S VIEW FROM HERE

    What are the top three things a potential resident should know about Springfield & Sangamon County?

    1. Plenty of room for growth and innovation 2. Get involved 3. So much potential

    What do you love most about the Springfield & Sangamon County area?

    We have our own utility, natural areas and parks, my family, neighborhood establishments, proximity to larger cities, transportation access (external - highways, trains, planes).

    What makes the Springfield & Sangamon County area unique?

    Government hub, so much room to improve older areas, infrastructure, great dirt

    What Springfield area neighborhood is your favorite?

    Washington Park area and grand central neighborhood

    What are your favorite things to do around the city and county?

    Eat, wander through the parks, participate in events

    Ask Me About

    • Schools
    • Parks
    • Local Events
    • Neighborhoods
  • Sara Wojcicki Jimenez

    Sara Wojcicki Jimenez

    KIND Consulting, LLC

    Sara has lived in Springfield since she was 5 years old when she moved here with her family. She left to attend college and at the start of her career but returned to settle down and start a family.

    A graduate of UIS and SIUE, Sara's consulting firm, KIND Consulting, LLC, specializes in government relations, advocacy and communications. She is a board member of the Illinois Governor's Mansion Association and the Capitol Historic Preservation.  

    SARA'S VIEW FROM HERE

    What are the top three things a potential resident should know about Springfield & Sangamon County?

    1. It has a small town, friendly vibe with all of the amenities you would need. 2. Great school choices. 3. Great people.

    What do you love most about the Springfield & Sangamon County area?

    I love the fact that I feel safe and live close to family and friends. The people who live here are friendly and I find that whatever you're looking to do, wanting to do you can reach out and people will help you! I also love that you have access to many things that you might want in a bigger city and can get there in 10 to 15 minutes or less with no traffic! We have universities, bike trails, great parks, great schools, wonderful local businesses and awesome people.

    What makes the Springfield & Sangamon County area unique?

    When you say you're from Illinois, many people instantly think you live in Chicago. Springfield and Sangamon County are unique because outside of the maybe better-known city of Chicago, Springfield and Sangamon County are home to the state capitol, Lincoln's Home and other Lincoln attractions, a wonderful medical district with two major hospitals and very highly respected clinics, beautiful parks, safe neighborhoods and NO commutes! And if larger cities are what you like, both St. Louis and Chicago are just a short train or car ride away -- but then you can come home to Springfield!

    How are you involved in the community?

    I serve on a couple of boards and have recently started my own business. I also like to help out friends and family with the projects they are working on to make our community a better place to live.

    What Springfield area neighborhood is your favorite?

    Where we live! We live in a neighborhood that is close to Washington Park, near the school that my kids go to and 10 minutes to everywhere!

    What are your favorite things to do around the city and county?

    Right now with younger kids, (and when we get back into the post-COVID swing of things), I like attending their soccer games out at the University campus on Saturday mornings, going for bike rides on the bike trails, visiting the parks and when we have a sitter-going out to dinner with friends at one of the wonderful local restaurants and visiting one of the local wineries.


    Ask Me About

    • Local & State Government
    • Parks
    • Kids Activities
    • Networking
  • John Kelker

    John Kelker

    United Way of Central Illinois

    John moved to Springfield in 1996 to take a position with the United Way of Central Illinois. A graduate of MacMurray College, he is a member of the Midtown Springfield Rotary Club, American Business Club, Springfield Citizen's Club, and Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce.

    JOHN'S VIEW FROM HERE

    What are the top three things a potential resident should know about Springfield & Sangamon County?

    Great schools, tremendous health care, a very caring and compassionate community.

    What do you love most about the Springfield & Sangamon County area?

    Small town feel with many big town advantages.

    What makes the Springfield & Sangamon County area unique?

    Lincoln heritage, State Capitol, and its location in the middle of the country.

    How are you involved in the community?

    Primarily through my participation in civic clubs and the Chamber of Commerce and as a blood donor.

    What Springfield area neighborhood is your favorite?

    Any of the areas around Washington Park and the Blessed Sacrament area.

    What are your favorite things to do around the city and county?

    State Fair, cultural and sporting events.

    Ask Me About

    • Social Services
    • Sports
    • Networking
    • Civic Clubs
  • Marilyn Kushak

    Marilyn Kushak

    Mid-West Family Broadcasting

    Marilyn moved to Springfield with her husband 43 years ago for a business opportunity. They thought they would stay for a few years but they loved the Springfield area and decided it was where they wanted to stay to work, raise their family and get involved in the community.

    A graduate of Michigan State University and the University of Illinois Springfield, Marilyn and her husband purchased WMAY radio station and overtime with their partners, added WNNS, WQLZ and two additional broadcast signals, creating Mid-West Family Broadcasting. Marilyn is a member of the National Association of Broadcasters, Illinois Broadcasters Association and Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce.

    MARILYN'S VIEW FROM HERE

    What are the top three things a potential resident should know about Springfield & Sangamon County?

    The award winning health care facilities, including a medical university and research presence; Abraham Lincoln's home town and world-class Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum and vibrant tourism; and our Lake Springfield jewel for recreation with surrounding hiking, walking, and biking trails.

    What do you love most about the Springfield & Sangamon County area?

    The opportunities to be involved in charitable causes, business-economic growth potential, and recreational activities.

    What makes the Springfield & Sangamon County area unique?

    Low cost of living, superior health care, strategic location, and Lake Springfield recreational opportunities.

    How are you involved in the community?

    Currently Chairman of Mid-West Family Broadcasting Springfield Board, Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce member, Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum Charter/Life-time member, Springfield Road Runners Club member, Fit Club member, and Illinois Broadcasters Association Foundation Board member.

    What Springfield area neighborhood is your favorite?

    Lake Springfield area.

    What are your favorite things to do around the city and county?

    Running, jogging, walking the many hiking trails and engaging in community races while encouraging others to be active.

    Ask Me About

    • Tourism
    • Marketing
    • Running
    • Outdoor recreation
  • Jim Leach

    Jim Leach

    Mid-West Family Broadcasting

    Born and raised in Springfield, Jim literally spends his time telling the story of his hometown and what it has to offer as a radio broadcaster. He is an esteemed member of the local media working for Mid-West Family Broadcasting.

    A graduate of Illinois State University and the University of Illinois Springfield, Jim serves on a few local non-profit boards in between the time he often spends singing and dancing in various local theatre productions. 

    JIM'S VIEW FROM HERE

    What are the top three things a potential resident should know about Springfield & Sangamon County?

    1) Our excellent schools 2) Our thriving arts community 3) Our rich history

    What do you love most about the Springfield & Sangamon County area?

    It's a great place to raise children (and now for my grandchildren to grow up).

    What makes the Springfield & Sangamon County area unique?

    Affordability, opportunity, quality of life

    How are you involved in the community?

    As a broadcaster; I also serve on a couple of non-profit boards

    What Springfield area neighborhood is your favorite?

    I'm partial to Northgate, where I live.

    What are your favorite things to do around the city and county?

    The Muni; Hoogland Center for the Arts; dining at our terrific restaurants

    Ask Me About

    • Media
    • Performing arts
    • Local politics
    • Volunteering
  • David Lee

    David Lee

    Stryker

    A Springfield native, David moved away from the area post-college and didn't expect he'd ever return. But his career brought him back to Springfield in 2015 and coming home has become a defining part of his own story. David has inserted himself into efforts to revitalize Springfield's downtown area as a volunteer and committee chair for Downtown Springfield, Inc. (DSI) and is a member of Innovate Springfield. A graduate of Augustana College, David is a territory manager for Stryker Medical Devices.

    DAVID'S VIEW FROM HERE

    What are the top three things a potential resident should know about Springfield & Sangamon County?

    1) There's a lot going on here. Outdoors, arts, festivals, music, fitness, sports, craft beer, etc. Whatever you like, there's a way to plug yourself into that community with similar likes. Don't be afraid to put yourself out there. 2) We have big city amenities without the hassles. But keep in mind, you may have to insert yourself or look for opportunities more than if you lived in a big city like Chicago. But once you get involved, it is so much easier to foster relationships here in Springfield. 3) Choose a side- Cubs/Cardinals is a big rivalry here. You better take your stance!

    What do you love most about the Springfield & Sangamon County area?

    For me, it starts with my own family all being in the area, but that has branched out to amazing friends and community. The size of Springfield is one of my favorite things about it. You have all the activities of larger areas, but also the small town USA feel. This can be very advantageous in business, social interactions, meeting people, etc. I'm amazed at the connections and relationships I've been able to build in Springfield. This town is no small potatoes. There are legitimate movers and shakers here, and it is much more accessible to interact with and connect with others. Even though I am from here, it is the people I've met and connected with since I've moved back that has made the last few years especially extraordinary.

    What makes the Springfield & Sangamon County area unique?

    I've kind of hammered this home but the small CITY, and emphasis on CITY, atmosphere that we have here provides a lot of opportunities. This is not a small town. There are big things happening here and a lot of social and cultural attractions. I think the size of ~200k in the area creates enough opportunity for advancement and critical mass but also provides a different type of exposure that you may not get in a large city. Also, what makes us truly unique is the designation of being the state capital and the HUGE historic implications of being the home of Lincoln. No other community in Illinois can claim they have Lincoln's home or the capital. This leads to a huge influx of government-related activities and jobs and tourism advantages.

    How are you involved in the community?

    I am deeply involved in the revitalization efforts of Downtown Springfield. I have personally acquired Downtown buildings that I am working on renovating and am also part of the Public Market project. I have committed numerous hours to DSI as a volunteer and founded the Momentum on Main Street committee, which I also currently sit on as Chair. I am a member of two Lake clubs and participate in several local sports leagues. I am also deeply involved in my community at Hope Church.

    What Springfield area neighborhood is your favorite?

    By far the Downtown. Downtown is the heartbeat of any community, and ours is one of (if not the only) walkable neighborhoods that truly has a neighborly feel. It is the business center, medical center, and social center of the city. In my opinion, Downtown should be the first place people look to for entertainment, business activity, and cultural attractions.

    What are your favorite things to do around the city and county?

    Buying a boat and enjoying the Lake has totally changed my summer experience of Springfield. This is a hidden gem in our community that unfortunately has a high barrier to entry due to the lack of publicly accessible space, but it has enhanced my summer fun experience immensely. I also own a kayak and paddleboard and these are available for rent at the marina too. The south side of the lake, without the houses and boats, is a water getaway that makes it feel like you're miles from a city. I highly recommend people get more active on the water. I also enjoy a good local brew, and Buzz Bomb, Anvil & Forge, and Obed's are all within walking distance of each other Downtown. I also enjoy playing in local sports leagues (sand volleyball is #1) and playing golf.

    Ask Me About

    • Young Professionals
    • Downtown Springfield
    • Lake Springfield
    • Sports Leagues
  • Kevin Lust

    Kevin Lust

    IL Small Business Dev. Center for Central IL

    Kevin arrived in Springfield in 1984 by way of his first job after college at Marine Bank of Springfield. Founded by the Bunn family and patronized by Abraham Lincoln, Marine Bank of Springfield was the largest bank in the state outside of Chicago at the time and an original innovator in the new world of electronic funds transfer. Through his experience at the bank, Kevin witnessed the possibilities for a local business to have a national impact and saw first-hand the value of commitment to one's community. 

    A graduate of Illinois Wesleyan University, Kevin currently serves as Director of the Illinois Small Business Development Center for Central Illinois. He is a member of the American Business Club of Springfield, Illinois Entrepreneurship and Small Business Growth Association, Local First Springfield, the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Springfield, Inc., and President of the Boys and Girls Club of Springfield Foundation.

    KEVIN'S VIEW FROM HERE

    What are the top three things a potential resident should know about Springfield & Sangamon County?

    Excellent schools and employment opportunities. You can choose your lifestyle. We're a couple of hours away from "big-city" entertainment options while at the same time you can live a few minutes from your daily work. If your child has a soccer game or dance class at 6:00pm, you can leave work at 5:00pm and get them there on time--and probably have time to pick up treats for after the game. You can be as involved in the community as you would like to be. You don't have to be from here to make an impact here. For anyone who supports a cause, you can find a group that will welcome you and your contributions--or you can create your own!

    What Springfield area neighborhood is your favorite?

    Blessed Sacrament area

    What are your favorite things to do around the city and county?

    Enjoy the Illinois State Fair! Eat at the many great restaurants in the area. Attend High School sporting events. Watch live music at local venues and bars. Volunteer with our favorite civic and charitable causes.

    Ask Me About

    • Small Businesses
    • Banking & Finance
    • IL State Fair
    • Volunteering
  • John Maynerich

    John Maynerich

    BLDD Architects, Inc.

    Greg grew up just south of Springfield in Virden, Illinois. After attending Lincoln Land Community College and graduating from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, he and his wife decided to buy a house in Springfield in an effort to be close to both of their extended families who have made Springfield their home. Greg works for BLDD Architects, Inc. and is a member of the American Institute of Architects US Green Building Council and LEED Associated Professional.

    GREG'S VIEW FROM HERE

    What are the top three things a potential resident should know about Springfield & Sangamon County?

    This area is filled with kind, good-hearted people. People in Springfield and Sangamon County work hard and play hard. There are so many fun things to do within a short drive.

    What do you love most about the Springfield & Sangamon County area?

    I love being close to family and being able to enjoy life at many of the local restaurants, parks, and attractions.

    What makes the Springfield & Sangamon County area unique?

    This area is in the heart of not only Illinois but the United States. It is within a short drive to multiple major US cities. It has all the indoor and outdoor attractions you can find anywhere in the country.

    How are you involved in the community?

    Glen Aire Neighborhood Association, Little Flower and Sacred Heart-Griffin schools, Knights of Columbus, Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception parishioner

    What Springfield area neighborhood is your favorite?

    Southeast - Glen Aire neighborhood is my favorite. This is where my wife and I call home. The people are courteous, friendly, and go out of their way for you.

    What are your favorite things to do around the city and county?

    I love eating at the local restaurants, visiting the Springfield area attractions, and exploring the parks. I love Abraham Lincoln so having so much of his legacy so close is satisfying.


    Ask Me About

    • Architecture
    • Knights of Columbus
    • Restaurants
    • Senior Living
  • Greg Pacelli

    Greg Pacelli

    Mid-West Family Broadcasting

    Greg moved to Springfield to attend the University of Illinois Springfield and got more than just his degree. During his final semester, he met his wife who happened to be a Springfield native. They decided to build their life together in Springfield because it is such a great place to raise a family.

    Greg works in sales and promotions at Mid-West Family Broadcasting and is a member of the Illinois Broadcaster's Association, Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Springfield, Inc., BNI, and Calvary Academy Auction Board.

    GREG'S VIEW FROM HERE

    What are the top three things a potential resident should know about Springfield & Sangamon County?

    There are plenty of things to do: museums, outdoors, music and nightlife, Hoogland Center for the Arts, Prairie Art Alliance, Legacy Theatre, etc. Real Estate is inexpensive when compared to surrounding larger metropolitan areas. It's a great place to raise a family.

    What do you love most about the Springfield & Sangamon County area?

    It's my home. I can fly out of Abraham Lincoln Capital Airport and go anywhere in the world, but I will still come back to the quiet comfort of Springfield.

    What makes the Springfield & Sangamon County area unique?

    We sit in the heart of the state with opportunities all around us. Need big city time? 3 hours to Chicago, 2.5 hours to Indy, or 1.5 hours to St. Louis. From a business perspective, there isn't anything you can't get brought into the area without much hassle. Transportation and technology abound.

    What Springfield area neighborhood is your favorite?

    Blessed Sacrament neighborhood

    What are your favorite things to do around the city and county?

    Washington Park is the best place to walk yourself and your dog. Lincoln Memorial Gardens is without a doubt the most underappreciated quiet place in Springfield. The Henson Robinson Zoo is a great place to spend a summer afternoon. Lake Springfield, there are plenty of good, off-the-path fishing spots in Sangamon County. You just need someone to show you where they are. Performances at Hoogland or Legacy Theatre, Lunch/dinner outdoors downtown.

    Ask Me About

    • Media Sales & Promotion
    • Lincoln Memorial Gardens
    • Fishing
    • Washington Park
  • Lisa Peterson

    Lisa Peterson

    City of Springfield

    Lisa moved to Springfield in 2018 when she married her husband. As a transplant herself, Lisa says she was graciously welcomed to our community and is excited to do the same for other new residents as a Thrive Ally.

    A graduate of Eureka College and Bradley University, Lisa works in the Office of Planning & Economic Development at the City of Springfield. She is a member of the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce, the Junior League of Springfield and the Illinois Enterprise Zone Association.  

    LISA'S VIEW FROM HERE

    What are the top three things a potential resident should know about Springfield & Sangamon County?

    1. People here are very friendly and welcoming. You'll get out of this community (or any community) what you put in, so jump in and get involved! 2. SO. MANY. FOOD. OPTIONS! If you are a foodie, you'll like it here! 3. This area really has everything you'll ever need and more - plus, the location is great!

    What do you love most about the Springfield & Sangamon County area?

    The people - very welcoming and kind :)

    What makes the Springfield & Sangamon County area unique?

    I think we are uniquely situated - although we have everything one might ever need, if you want to check out a larger city Chicago is only a 3 hour train ride away and St. Louis is only a 1.5 hour drive. It is always nice to have additional options nearby if you're looking for a "big city" getaway.

    How are you involved in the community?

    Moderately involved - looking to get more involved in the community. My biggest "connectors" have been working for the City, being a Chamber Ambassador, and being a Junior League Member.

    What Springfield area neighborhood is your favorite?

    I really like Enos Park - seeing the growth and improvements that have been made there over the last 3 years has been fun to watch.

    What are your favorite things to do around the city and county?

    Stroll downtown - so many cute shops and restaurants to explore! Also catching a show at the Hoogland or the Muni is a favorite pastime. Plus, the holiday walk is something really special to check out in December!


    Ask Me About

    • City Government
    • Local Cuisine
    • Local Theatre
    • Volunteering
  • Linda Renehan

    Linda Renehan

    Springfield Vintage

    Linda moved to Springfield in the early 1990s for a job. She now owns Springfield Vintage, a retail shop located in downtown Springfield. Linda is active in Downtown Springfield, Inc., a group committed to the revitalization of our downtown area. Linda is a graduate of Kent State University.

    LINDA'S VIEW FROM HERE

    What are the top three things a potential resident should know about Springfield & Sangamon County?

    Affordable, Centrally located to several large cities, and Historic relevance

    What do you love most about the Springfield & Sangamon County area?

    Inexpensive, Close to many tourist areas

    What makes the Springfield & Sangamon County area unique?

    I believe everywhere is unique if you search "it" out.

    What are your favorite things to do around the city and county?

    I hate to admit it but I love to work at my shop. Talk to my customers. Make friends with the street people. Eat my neighbor's food. Drink with my neighbors.

    Ask Me About

    • Retail
    • Downtown Shops
    • Downtown Food
    • Downtown Revitalization
  • Steve Schoeffel

    Steve Schoeffel

    Sangamon Mass Transit District

    Steve moved to Springfield in 1995 for a job opportunity in State government. He continued his career in public service and is now leading the Sangamon Mass Transit District, the county's public transportation organization. A graduate of Southern Illinois University - Edwardsville, Steve is a board member for the Illinois Public Transportation Association.

    STEVE'S VIEW FROM HERE

    What are the top three things a potential resident should know about Springfield & Sangamon County?

    First-rate medical care, Fantastic Restaurant/Entertainment Choices, Low cost of living

    What do you love most about the Springfield & Sangamon County area?

    Low cost of living, Central location to St. Louis, Chicago, Indianapolis

    What makes the Springfield & Sangamon County area unique?

    Ties to history/Lincoln, Feels like a big "small town"

    How are you involved in the community?

    Son is on local sports teams, Attend and active at my church, Board member of a local not-for-profit, Host family for a Springfield Sliders player, Booster for son's high school baseball team

    What Springfield area neighborhood is your favorite? Why?

    Deerfield Subdivision. I have fantastic neighbors, it's located near most of what I need regularly and only fifteen minutes from work, and there's very little to no crime in the immediate area.

    What are your favorite things to do around the city and county?

    Springfield Sliders, Lutheran High School baseball, local breweries and restaurants, downtown seasonal events like the art fair, Brews & BBQ, wineries.

    Ask Me About

    • Public Transportation
    • Sports & Activities
    • Breweries
    • Lutheran High School
  • Tony Smarjesse

    Tony Smarjesse

    RE/MAX Professionals

    Tony is a Springfield native who's been selling all the wonderful amenities of our community for 29 years as a local realtor. A graduate of Lincoln Land Community College and the University of Illinois Springfield, Tony works for RE/MAX Professionals and is a member of the National, State, and Capital Area Realtor Associations.

    TONY'S VIEW FROM HERE

    What are the top three things a potential resident should know about Springfield & Sangamon County?

    Job opportunities, great schools, and the arts & recreation activities.

    What do you love most about the Springfield & Sangamon County area?

    Low cost of living and housing prices.

    What makes the Springfield & Sangamon County area unique?

    Lincoln and other historic sites.

    How are you involved in the community?

    Elected member of the Springfield Metropolitan Exposition & Auditorium Board for BOS Center. Meals on Wheels, Former Salvation Army Board Member.

    What Springfield area neighborhood is your favorite?

    Grant's Ridge

    What are your favorite things to do around the city and county?

    Bike trails and wineries.

    Ask Me About

    • Real Estate
    • Bike Trails
    • Wineries
    • Volunteering
  • Tyler Smith

    Tyler Smith

    Garrison Group, Inc.

    Born and raised in Springfield, Tyler moved away for college thinking he'd never be back. But moving away only made Tyler realize how many special things there are about this community that he previously took for granted. Since returning, he's "fallen in love with Springfield in a way I couldn't have ever imagined before leaving."

    A graduate of Lee University and Benedictine University, Tyler works in commercial real estate at Garrison Group, Inc. He's a member of the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce, Capital Area Association of Realtors, Commerical Real Estate Network, International Council of Shopping Centers, Institute for Real Estate Management and Innovate Springfield. 

    TYLER'S VIEW FROM HERE

    What are the top three things a potential resident should know about Springfield & Sangamon County?

    1. It's a great place to raise a family. Great parks, schools, and community. 2. We have a vibrant culture between our Art Association, symphony, Muni, Hoogland center, and more. 3. Between our parks and Lake Springfield, there are plenty of outdoor activities to engage in

    What do you love most about the Springfield & Sangamon County area?

    I love the size. Springfield is big enough that it can support most ideas, plans and projects you have but it's still small enough to feel like a big small town.

    What makes the Springfield & Sangamon County area unique?

    Our access to government is something I think most don't take advantage of. We can easily go and watch a bill be debated on the house floor, visit state offices to process paperwork, etc. We are also pretty centrally located in the state, and the Mid West.

    How are you involved in the community?

    I serve on the board for The Salvation Army, I am a member of the Young Philanthropist, active with Downtown Springfield Inc. I'm also involved in a multitude of ways, including fundraising, for Calvary Church and Calvary Academy.

    What Springfield area neighborhood is your favorite?

    I love our downtown and have been a big advocate for it. The mix of history and community is great.

    What are your favorite things to do around the city and county?

    Hang out in the Obed Isaac's beer garden, walk my dog in Washington Park, spend time on Lake Springfield, attend high school basketball games.

    Ask Me About

    • Commercial Real Estate
    • Government Operations
    • Philanthropy
    • Calvary Church & Academy
  • John Stremsterfer

    John Stremsterfer

    Community Foundation for the Land of Lincoln

    Ask Me About

    • Philanthropy
    • Volunteering
    • Outdoor Events
    • Foundations
  • Erin Svendsen

    Erin Svendsen

    Springfield Art Association

    Erin moved to Springfield in 2011 but is no stranger to Central Illinois growing up in nearby Decatur, IL. A graduate of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Erin works for the Springfield Art Association where she teaches many visual arts classes including ceramics, glassblowing, painting, metals, and more. She is a member of Downtown Springfield, Inc., the Community Foundation's The Next 10 Committee, Lincoln Memorial Gardens, and Our Savior's Lutheran Church. 

    ERIN'S VIEW FROM HERE

    What are the top three things a potential resident should know about Springfield & Sangamon County?

    There is something always happening here. It is easy to get involved and make a difference. If you have an idea, there are usually two or three people that will help you make it happen.

    What do you love most about the Springfield & Sangamon County area?

    The people are very kind and willing to help each other out.

    What makes the Springfield & Sangamon County area unique?

    It’s the capital, Lincoln sites, Route 66, state fairground’s home.

    How are you involved in the community?

    At Springfield Art Association, make murals, helped create Art Alley, starting a sculpture project downtown. Created the downtown event called Paint the Street, a large-scale community festival. On the board with Downtown Springfield, Inc., made creative crosswalks, helped create pollinator planters. On the Next Ten Committee created a list of projects to better Springfield lifestyle.

    What Springfield area neighborhood is your favorite?

    Downtown. It has the most potential. You can create an event, attend an event, walk to your favorite place to eat or drink, and listen to live music on the weekends.

    What are your favorite things to do around the city and county?

    Kayak at the Marina, walk the trails of Lincoln Memorial Gardens, go to Incredibly Delicious for some sweet treats, enjoy a fire and microbrewery beer at Anvil and Forge, go to the farmer’s market, run in Washington Park, listen to a band at Buzz Bomb, play lawn bowling at Obed and Issac’s.

    Ask Me About

    • Visual Arts
    • Downtown Events
    • Historical Sites
    • Lincoln Memorial Gardens
  • Debbie Thompson

    Debbie Thompson

    Horace Mann Educators Corporation

    Debbie is a proud Springfield native. She already spends much of her time telling people about the many things that the Springfield and Sangamon County community has to offer in her recruitment efforts to attract new talent into the workforce for Horace Mann, where she works in the human resources department. Horace Mann Educators Corporation is a publically traded company in the insurance and financial services industry and headquartered in Springfield.

    A graduate of the University of Illinois Springfield, Debbie is active on the UIS Alumni Association Board and a member of the Illinois Women in Leadership. She is a long-time volunteer for many charitable organizations and community events.

    DEBBIE'S VIEW FROM HERE:

    What are the top three things a potential resident should know about Springfield & Sangamon County?

    1. Very reasonable cost of living 2. The best medical resources 3. Great educational choices

    What do you love most about the Springfield & Sangamon County area?

    Great community to raise a family. Great medical and educational resources. Unique Location to larger metropolitan areas such as Chicago, St. Louis or Indianapolis

    What makes the Springfield & Sangamon County area unique?

    It’s vibrant historical uniqueness and small-town community with tons of resources.

    What Springfield area neighborhood is your favorite?

    Washington Park area

    What are your favorite things to do around the city and county?

    Biking trails, festivals, parades, and charitable events. Also our Springfield Symphony and Hoogland Theater!!

    Ask Me About

    • Education Resources
    • Restaurants
    • Shopping
    • Networking
  • Brian Wojcicki

    Brian Wojcicki

    Illinois Capitol Group, LLC

    Brian is a Springfield native. After growing up here, he spent 10 years living in Chicago but ultimately decided to move back to where he grew up. A graduate of Bradley University and Chicago-Kent College of Law, Brian works for Illinois Capitol Group, LLC, a governmental relations, trade associations, and legal firm. He is a member of the Illinois State Bar Association, Chicago Bar Association, Downtown Springfield, Inc., and serves on the Springfield Ball Charter School Board.

    BRIAN'S VIEW FROM HERE

    What are the top three things a potential resident should know about Springfield & Sangamon County?

    1. Available social and sports activities (e.g. farmers markets, park districts/trails, amateur sports teams, festivals, concerts) 2. Available community activities (e.g. local non-profits/community groups, school organizations, and religious organizations) 3. Available professional development (e.g. if not directly provided through employer, available through local business associations and higher education entities)

    What do you love most about the Springfield & Sangamon County area?

    Available social and sports activities (e.g. farmers markets, park districts/trails, amateur sports teams, festivals, concerts)

    What makes the Springfield & Sangamon County area unique?

    The combination of downtown and rural amenities along with a strong medical, higher education, and government presence.

    How are you involved in the community?

    School, nonprofit organizations, volunteering, fundraising

    What Springfield area neighborhood is your favorite?

    Downtown


    Ask Me About

    • Governmental relations
    • Downtown Springfield
    • Schools
    • Nonprofit organizations
  • Beth Yokley

    Beth Yokley

    Hope Church

    Beth grew up in Lincoln, Illinois, just 40 minutes north of Springfield. She moved to California after college but missed her family and the wide-open spaces of the Midwest. Three years later, Beth moved back to Illinois to be near friends and family in Springfield and began working at Springfield Clinic; later moving on to join the team at Hope Church.

    A graduate of Concordia University and Lincoln Christian University, Beth is a member of Feitshans Elementary FACE team, a Sangamon Immigration Advocacy Network volunteer, and Be The Bridge ministry lead at Hope Church.

    BETH'S VIEW FROM HERE

    What are the top three things a potential resident should know about Springfield & Sangamon County?

    I think everyone moving probably has their own top three things pertaining to their own personal and familial needs. I would share:

    • How wonderful the people are in this community
    • The opportunities available: things like the Y, the Hoogland, the diverse population because of the hospitals and colleges, the variety of independent businesses and experiences available (Nelson Center, sports clubs), bike trails, and parks
    • Even with all of these urban advantages, you're also rarely more than a 30 minutes drive away from a farm or farmer's market

    What do you love most about the Springfield & Sangamon County area?

    Definitely the people and the benefits of an urban area along with the rural setting in close proximity.

    What makes the Springfield & Sangamon County area unique?

    I think we have a rich history that speaks to our country's racial issues with both Lincoln's experiences here and the Race Riot leading to the NAACP. Springfield is a microcosm of how our country has struggled to work through the challenges of our history in this regard. And we continue to work it out. (on second thought, maybe this isn't that unique!!). It's actually the Lincoln/NAACP tie-in that makes us unique. Second, I would say that urban/rural experience. I have blessings like fresh French pastry (Incredibly Delicious) just five minutes from my house, and then on my way to work, I drive through expansive cornfields, just 15 minutes away.

    How are you involved in the community?

    Feitshans Elementary FACE Team (through my role at Hope) partnerships with Contact Ministries, Inner City Mission, Salvation Army, Helping the Homeless in Springfield, SafeFamilies for Children, Mississippi Valley Blood Center, the Outlet, Midwest Mission Center (all through my role at Hope) SIAN (Sangamon Immigrant Advocacy Network) volunteer

    What Springfield area neighborhood is your favorite?

    Mine! Near Westside. We live just a block north of Washington Park on Douglas. Washington Park is one of my favorite places to be in Springfield.

    What are your favorite things to do around the city and county?

    Places like the Farm in Peterburg, Incredibly Delicious' garden with avocado toast and a friend. Coffee at William Vans. Serving at Feitshans Elementary as a teacher aide volunteer. Partnering with the Outlet on community service. Block parties in our neighborhood. When my daughter was younger, taking her to plays at the Muni, Hoogland, and UIS. The Lincoln Library-love going there for a big stack of books.

    Ask Me About

    • Churches
    • Non-Profit Community
    • Area Schools
    • Local Activities