The Chamber Team

Our mission is to support the interests, success and prosperity of our members and the business community.

Lou Sandoval

President and CEO
Lou Sandoval

Lou Sandoval is the President and CEO of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, a director on a corporate board, a board advisor to start-ups, a business founder, entrepreneur, and Author.

Lou is a highly accomplished executive leader with a proven track record in commercialization and developing effective go-to-market strategies. He has collaborated with Fortune 100 companies to drive technology-powered transformations in consumer engagement across various industries, including healthcare, business services, durable consumer products, and industrial products. Most recently he served as the President, Founder, and Managing Partner of Halo Advisory Group, a boutique Management Consulting firm focused on early/growth-staged companies and Fortune 500 clients. Lou has applied his over 30 years of extensive global experience in operational leadership, business development, mergers and acquisitions, technology, talent development, and ESG growth initiatives to drive business growth. Due to his unique perspective across various market verticals, he is widely sought-after as an advisor by many companies. Currently, Lou serves as the chair of the risk management committee and holds positions on the nominating, compensation, and governance committees of the Wintrust Bank Board of Directors, a post he has held since 2015. Lou resides on the South Side of Chicago with his spouse and two daughters. He competes in Offshore sailing, with over 30,000 nautical miles navigated and nine victories in the renowned Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac. In 2021, he was honored with induction into the Lake Michigan Sailing Hall of Fame

Ann Deters

Chairman of the Board
Ann Deters

Ann Deters has served as Board Chair, Committee Chair, Board Member, and/or CEO over the past 35 years. She has a breadth of experience in the healthcare, technology, and financial services industries, including a proven track record for leading businesses through strategic partnering, re-engineering, succession planning/implementation and process improvement. She combines her strong financial skills, technology expertise, business operations and entrepreneurial acumen, with her quest to achieve high growth and profitability. As a fifth-generation entrepreneur, Ann has started three highly successful companies in the healthcare sector, with the flagship entity being Vantage Technology, a medical service company she founded in 1990.

Currently, Ann serves on the boards of ABARTA Coca Cola Bottling, Bemis Manufacturing (global plastic products), Vantage Technology (healthcare) and Illinois Chamber of Commerce. She has served on family-owned businesses & privately held businesses, including Midland States Bancorp, which is now a publicly held company (MSBI). Ann received her MBA from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Business and BS in Accounting from Southern Methodist University. She and her husband, Dennis, have five children and three grandchildren.

Lori Poppe Hiltabrand

Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel
Lori Poppe Hiltabrand

Lori Poppe Hiltabrand serves as Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel for the Chamber. Lori comes from 25 years in private practice litigating insurance defense, employment law, casualty and workers compensation matters.  She began her career with Heyl, Royster in Springfield.  She opened a Springfield office for Chicago-based Hennessy & Roach. For the past 18 years, Lori has been with Koepke & Hiltabrand, PC. In addition to her duties as COO for the Chamber, Lori will use her litigation background to develop Legal Reform division within the Chamber.  This will allow the Chamber to focus on bills supported by the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association that are negative to businesses in Illinois and to seek to advocate changes to positively impact Illinois businesses.

Lori has a Bachelor’s of Arts degree from Illinois Wesleyan University and graduated with honors from Southern Illinois University School of Law.  Lori lives in rural Pleasant Plains with her husband, daughter and son.

Chamber Staff

We are a team of dedicated individuals with the shared goal of creating a stronger business and stronger Illinois.

Staff bio coming soon...
Danielle Blake
Vice President of Member Services

Danielle Blake serves as the Vice President of Member Services and is responsible for leading the Springfield and Chicago membership divisions. She works on overall membership growth, specifically with recruiting new members and supporting existing Chamber Members. She has over 8 years of Chamber of Commerce experience, previously working at the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce as their Business Development Manager and the Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce & Industry as their Account Executive. She has helped over 1,000 businesses invest in and join their local Chamber of Commerce yielding over half a million in Membership dues. Before working at a Chamber of Commerce, Danielle worked in Career Services in higher education for over 10 years as a Director of Career Services, Associate Director of Career Services, and Employment & Internship Coordinator. She holds a Master's in Education with a focus in College Student Personnel from Illinois State University and a Bachelor of Arts in Media Arts from the University of St. Francis with a focus in Graphic Design.

Staff bio coming soon...
Callie Brenden
Vice President of Operations

As Vice President of Operations, Callie is in charge of the Chamber's HR needs, payroll processing, membership management, and is the liaison to the Chamber's Board of Directors. She takes pride in ensuring the Chamber's staff is performing exceptionally and is well cared for. Callie has been with the Chamber since January of 2016 where she started as the Chamber's receptionist before moving into her role as executive assistant to the President & CEO where she undertook many projects, including the planning and operation of Chamber Day. Prior to joining the Chamber, Callie worked in the offices of the Illinois State Comptroller and Blue Cross Blue Shield. Callie resides in Pleasant Plains with her husband Ryan and two children.

Staff bio coming soon...
Andrew Cunningham
Executive Director, Infrastructure Council and Director of Legislative Relations

Andrew Cunningham serves as Executive Director of the Infrastructure Council and as Director of Legislative Relations. Andrew lobbies lawmakers and works with stakeholders on the infrastructure and transportation issues that are most pressing for Illinois businesses and our economy. Most recently, Andrew worked as the Chamber’s Manager of Legislative Relations where he kept members informed, tracked legislation, and compiled research relevant to the Chamber’s advocacy efforts. In addition to lobbying, Andrew continues many of these duties in his role as Director of Legislative Relations. Previously, Andrew worked as an intern in the communications department for the Senate Republican Caucus where he assisted with constituent and member relations. He has also held positions on state and federal political campaigns. Andrew also worked for the Central Illinois Nonprofit Resource Center where he helped nonprofit organizations access funding and operational resources. At one time, He served as the Illinois Chamber Government Affairs Intern. Andrew received his Master of Public Administration (MPA) with a graduate certificate in community planning from the University of Illinois-Springfield (UIS) in 2023. He earned his bachelor’s degree in political science and communication from UIS in 2020. He and his wife Samantha live in Springfield.

Staff bio coming soon...
Aaron Harris
Executive Director, Employment Law Council

Aaron leverages his background and connections in Illinois state government to help clients further their business objectives. Before joining Michael Best Strategies, he held influential positions in Illinois’ Office of the Governor, Department of Juvenile Justice, and State Police. Most recently, Aaron served as the Interim Legislative Director in the Office of Governor JB Pritzker where he managed the Governor’s Office of Legislative Affairs staff and statewide legislative liaison workforce. In this role, he advised the Governor on proposed bills, regulatory and administrative procedure, and legislative strategy. Aaron assisted with the successful enactment of the Governor’s landmark legislative agenda by securing support from members of the Illinois General Assembly. Prior to assuming this role, Aaron served as the First Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff for Legislative Affairs where he oversaw 16 state agencies legislative priorities, including energy, environment, infrastructure, public safety, and elections. Earlier in his career, Aaron was Chief of Intergovernmental Relations for the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice’s Office of Governmental Relations. In that role he drafted, passed, and implemented criminal justice reform and other legislation to advance the department’s legislative agenda, while securing a $120 million annual budget appropriation.

Staff bio coming soon...
Pam Holleman
HR Specialist/ Event and Publications Sales

Pam joined the Illinois Chamber of Commerce in 2011 as a Human Resources Specialist / Event and Publication Sales Representative. Pam handles publication sales and registrations for seminars, webinars, and conferences. She enjoys helping customers find the information and training needs that are best for their organization. Pam previously worked for the Illinois Chamber for 3 years as the Human Resources Information Manager. Before working for the Illinois Chamber, Pam had a strong background in Human Resources including 10 years working as a Human Resources Manager for various manufacturing companies. With this background in Human Resources, Pam understands the products and events of the Illinois Chamber and can better assist members and clients to make informed decisions about what they need to run their business successfully. Pam holds a Bachelor’s degree in business with a concentration in Human Resources from Trinity Christian College, in Palos Heights, IL.

Staff bio coming soon...
Clark Kaericher
Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Executive Director Technology and Healthcare

Clark Kaericher serves as Vice President of Government Affairs; Executive Director Technology and Infrastructure. Clark comes to the Chamber from the Senate Republican staff where he worked as the Senate Floor Director and Legal Counsel, where he was responsible for analyzing and providing recommendations on thousands of pieces of legislation. Prior to the Senate, Clark served as the Chief Administrative Officer at the Illinois Department of Innovation and Technology (DoIt), where he led a newly unified enterprise of 1,500 employees spanning 50 agencies, boards, commissions, and other entities. He oversaw $1 billion in annual spending and a complete digital transformation of state government. Prior to DoIT, Clark served two years as the District 9 administrative services manager at the Illinois Department of Transportation where administered the procurement, management and maintenance of a $40 million budget for Divisions of Highways and Finance/Administration, oversaw hiring, and completed 90 percent of all road construction. He has managed multiple state senate campaigns and worked in significant roles on gubernatorial and congressional races. Clark earned his Juris Doctorate from Saint Louis University School of Law in 2010, and his Bachelor of Science from Indiana University, Kelley School of Business in 2007. He lives in Chatham with his wife, two daughters and their dog.

Staff bio coming soon...
Darbi Keltner
Director of Communication and Advocacy

As Illinois Chamber’s Director of Communication and Advocacy, Darbi Durham promotes Chamber members and its initiatives through the outreach of social media, particularly in video production and media releases. She works closely with the Chamber President and CEO, Chamber staff and partners to craft and distribute the Chamber's message of building stronger business and a stronger Illinois. She brings to this role her extensive experience in areas of various forms of communication, including video and social media platforms by providing an enthusiastic, forward thinking mindset. Darbi came to the Chamber in 2019 with a bachelor’s degree in Marketing and Communications from Illinois College in Jacksonville, IL. Prior to the Chamber, Darbi held multiple managerial positions at a retail corporation for five years and was the Pending Coordinator for a local real estate firm in Springfield, Illinois.

Staff bio coming soon...
Alec Messina
Executive Director, Energy Council

Alec is the Executive Director of the Energy Council. Alec engages local, state, and federal officials on key energy issues, advocating for smart energy policy that produces affordable, reliable energy in an environmentally sound manner. Further, Alec engages the legislature on other key business issues. Messina has 20 years of experience in environmental law, policy development and implementation, and legislative advocacy. He has worked closely with corporate senior executives, law firms, consultants, lobbyists, government affairs staff, and business development organizations to secure the necessary environmental permits and other authorizations for companies expanding in or relocating to Illinois. He also has vast experience testifying before the Illinois General Assembly on the impacts of environmental legislation and policy matters. Prior to joining HeplerBroom, Messina served as the Director of the Illinois EPA. He also served as Policy Adviser for Environment and Energy in the Office of the Governor, where he oversaw policy development and implementation for six state agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Agriculture, Department of Natural Resources, Illinois Commerce Commission, Illinois Pollution Control Board, and Illinois Power Agency. Before joining the Governor’s Office, Messina worked as Executive Director of the Illinois Environmental Regulatory Group, a company-based association with the primary mission of influencing the development of policy, regulatory, and legislative environmental matters in Illinois. In this role, he worked closely with plant managers, environmental professionals, and government affairs staff for company-members of the association, as well as companies affiliated with numerous business and trade groups. He has also served as Chief Legal Counsel for the Illinois EPA and the Office of the State Fire Marshal, and has held various other positions inside and outside of state government.

Staff bio coming soon...
Kevin O'Keeffe
New Membership Account Executive

Kevin O'Keeffe of Elmhurst, Illinois will work alongside the Chamber's Vice President of Member Services, Danielle Blake. Kevin joins us with extensive local chamber experience. Prior to joining the Illinois State Chamber, he was the Executive Director of the Bolingbrook Area Chamber of Commerce for nine years and prior to that, the Director of Membership for the Elmhurst Chamber. While working as Executive Director of the Bolingbrook Chamber, Kevin increased the membership by over 10% per year and developed many new programs including Workforce Academy where leading members of the community would go to Bolingbrook High School and instruct students on the many positions available for those not attending college. In addition, Kevin was on the Board of Directors of IACCE.

Staff bio coming soon...
Laurie Silvey, IOM, CAE
Vice President Business Services, President Center for Business Management

Laurie is responsible for planning, budgeting, marketing and presentation of all seminars, conferences and webinars. She is also responsible for compliance publications and all non-dues revenue programs and is the editor/publisher of the Illinois Business Leader magazine, the Illinois Chamber's print publication Laurie was a previous business owner, publishing a motorsports magazine for 20 years, with experience in publishing and page layout, extensive event planning, promotions and marketing of an annual consumer trade show and several annual motorsports events. She most recently served as Executive Director of Menard County Tourism Council, where she designed and maintained their website, planned monthly and annual meetings, promotions and marketing of county tourism fundraisers. She was also Regional Administrative Coordinator of the Great Lakes Region of Horace Mann Insurance Corporation, planning numerous conferences, rallies, and district meetings. Laurie is a graduate of Eastern Illinois University and has received her Certified Association Executive (CAE) designation.

Staff bio coming soon...
Keith Staats
Executive Director, Tax Institute

Keith is an attorney who has been involved in state and local tax since 1990. Keith is the Executive Director of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce Tax Institute. He previously was a director in Grant Thornton's State and Local Tax (SALT) practice in Chicago, where he was involved in tax planning, consulting, and dispute resolution in all areas of state and local taxation. Prior to rejoining Grant Thornton in 2010, Keith was Counsel at McDermott Will & Emery in Chicago where he specialized in multistate tax planning, consulting and litigation. Keith served as general counsel of the Illinois Department of Revenue, and was on the legal staff of the Illinois Department of Revenue for over 10 years. Keith is a member of the Illinois State Bar Association, the Chicago Bar Association, and is a professional affiliate member of the Illinois CPA Society. He is a member of the Illinois State Bar Association State and Local Tax Section council. He is a member and past chairman of the Illinois CPA Society State and Local Tax Committee. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Milllikin University, and graduated with honors from the Illinois Institute of Technology Chicago-Kent College of Law.

Staff bio coming soon...
Jill Vancil
Business Services Coordinator

In her role as the Business Services Coordinator, Jill will collaborate with Vice President of Business Services, Laurie Silvey to support the creation, promotion, planning, and execution of designated programs for the Business Service Division's operations. Some of these programs include assisting with the coordination of HR memberships, publications, Chamber events, and affinity programs. Jill came to the Chamber with a bachelor's degree in business administration from the University of Illinois Springfield. Prior to the Chamber, Jill was employed at the Jacksonville Middle School from 2018 to 2024 as the administrative assistant. She provides a passionate, forward-thinking approach to her work, drawing from her vast experience in marketing and customer service.

Staff bio coming soon...
Keith Wheeler
Senior Legislative Affairs Advisor

Keith Wheeler is a business owner, and former member of the Illinois House of Representatives who served the 50th District from 2015 to 2023. The district covers Kane and Kendall counties. Keith was a legislative leader who achieved significant success in the Illinois Capitol over the last decade. He was a senior advisor to the House Minority Leader and was known for his bipartisan approach to policymaking. One of Keith's biggest achievements as a legislator was the Blue Collars Act, which was the first tax incentive program in the country based on wages paid to construction workers. The bill was signed into law by Governor J.B. Pritzker in 2019. Keith also worked on a variety of other important issues, including criminal justice reform, insurance reform, small business regulatory reform, women's issues, water supply expansion, gaming, and clean energy. During his time in the Illinois legislature, Keith was assigned to several committees, including Cybersecurity, Data Analytics, & IT (Republican Spokesperson), Revenue & Finance, Public Utilities (Republican Spokesperson), Prescription Drug Affordability, Labor & Commerce, Energy & Environment; Executive (Republican Spokesperson), Property Tax Subcommittee, Business and Industry Regulations, Commerce and Innovation Subcommittee, Job Growth, Preservation and Training, Minority/Disadvantage Analysis Subcommittee, Wage Policy and Study Subcommittee, and Workforce Development Subcommittee. Keith will work closely with Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Clark Kaericher to enhance and develop our Government Affairs across the state as part of our efforts to better serve our members and continue to establish the Chamber as the Voice of Illinois Business.