Andy Shaw, President and CEO
Andy Shaw is an award-winning Chicago journalist who spent 37 years covering local, state and national politics, business, education, and day-to-day news at the City News Bureau of Chicago, Chicago Sun-Times, NBC 5 and ABC 7. Shaw’s coverage of President Obama’s inauguration in January 2009 marked his final "official" report after 26 years as ABC 7’s political reporter. After taking a short break to "recharge his batteries," Shaw joined the BGA in June 2009 as Executive Director. He was named President and CEO in 2011.
Shaw’s professional career in journalism began in 1972 as a general assignment reporter for the City News Bureau, which led to a position as education editor at the Chicago Sun-Times. Shaw joined the paper in 1974, during which time he won several major awards, including first prize in the 1976 American Association of University Professors competition, for a series he wrote on the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Prior to joining ABC 7, Shaw was an education reporter, and then the editorial director at NBC 5, where he won numerous awards, including two local Emmys. He was named "Journalist of the Year" by the Chicago Headline Club in 2007, and received a Lifetime Achievement Award the following year from the Chicago Journalists' Association.
Throughout his career Shaw has been an active contributor of freelance articles to a variety of publications, he writes a monthly "Shaw Thoughts" column for Shore Magazine (www.visitshoremgazine.com) and he's been a regular guest and host on TV and radio stations around Illinois. He currently comments on BGA topics during "Watchdog Wednesday" segments at 10:20 a.m. Wednesday on WBBM News radio 780.
Shaw was born in Chicago and raised in suburban Evanston. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago. His hobbies include running, cycling, reading, crossword puzzles, golf and traveling with his family.
Shaw and his wife Mary also run the Windy City Urban Inn, a bed and breakfast in the Lincoln Park neighborhood. They have three daughters: Kate, a lawyer who worked in the White House counsel's office; Elizabeth, a former administrator for the New Orleans and Louisiana school systems; and Emily, a graduate student in Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois.
Robert Reed, Director of Programming and Investigations
Bob Reed has more than 25 years of professional journalism and communications experience. Recently, he served as communications director and senior adviser to Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn. Prior to that position, Bob has been a reporter, editor, columnist and analyst for major publications and news organizations including, Bloomberg Business News, Crain’s Chicago Business, where he was editor, and the CBS-owned WBBM/ Newsradio 780, where he hosted a daily, half-hour business news and interview program during afternoon drive time. In addition, Bob, 57, was a columnist for Businessweek Chicago and Businessweek.com and a longtime columnist and contributing editor at Chicago magazine and Bnet.com, owned by CBS. A frequent guest on Chicago TV news and public affairs shows, Bob is co-author of the book, "Covering Business," published by Marion Street Press, Inc. Bob has won numerous journalism awards for his print and broadcast work.
Mary Frances O'Connor, Director of External Relations
Mary Frances O’Connor manages media and communications for the BGA and Mr. Shaw. She's an award-winning news and documentary producer. Her production background includes six years with Bill Kurtis Productions where she worked as a supervising producer and producer on the Primetime Emmy-nominated documentary series Cold Case Files. She's a graduate of DePaul University in Chicago and the Coro Fellows Program in Public Affairs in St. Louis, Missouri.
Return to Top
BGA INVESTIGATIVE UNIT
The Richard H. Driehaus Charitable Lead Trust Investigative Unit
Robert Herguth, Editor of Investigations
Robert Herguth oversees investigative projects within the organization, and in collaboration with other media. He is a former assignment editor, assistant metro editor and reporter at the Chicago Sun-Times, and the former managing editor of the (Milwaukee) Business Journal. He has contributed to The New York Times, Newsweek, Chicago magazine and Crain's Chicago Business. He launched an online media company in 2009 called Niche Chicago News Corp., which operates several beat-specific news web sites. He is an adjunct professor at Loyola University Chicago, where he has taught courses on investigative journalism, ethics in communication and other topics. He also is the faculty adviser to the school's student newspaper. He graduated from the University of Missouri with a bachelor of arts in political science and history. A native of the Chicago area, he is married with four children.
Alden Loury, Senior Investigator
Alden Loury spent 12 years at The Chicago Reporter, an investigative bimonthly focusing on underserved communities, where he worked as a reporter, editor and publisher. During his time there, Loury won several national and local journalism awards, including the Studs Terkel Award. He led more than 50 investigative projects examining the impact of race and poverty on numerous social, economic and public policy issues. Loury has discussed his work on CNN, NBC5, WTTW Chicago Tonight and Chicago Public Radio. His research has appeared in The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, Crain’s Chicago Business, Los Angeles Times, Forbes, the Chicago Defender, and on the local NBC, ABC, FOX, WGN affiliates and various radio stations.
Patrick Rehkamp, Senior Investigator
Patrick Rehkamp is responsible for fielding and evaluating tips, conducting research and interviews, forging and fostering media partnerships, and facilitating the release of BGA findings. Rehkamp joined the BGA in 2008 after several years at the Chicago Sun-Times. In 2009, Rehkamp contributed to a Fox News Chicago report that later earned a Peter Lisagor Award and an Emmy nomination. He has collaborated on other investigative projects that ended up in The New York Times, the Chicago Sun-Times, Crain’s Chicago Business, Chicago Magazine, Daily Herald and ABC7 and CBS2, among others. Rehkamp is a graduate of Loyola University Chicago.
Andrew Schroedter, Senior Investigator
Andrew Schroedter is an important part of the investigative team, and is involved in research, writing and, at times, surveillance. He has contributed to the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times and Daily Herald, as well as Chicago magazine and other publications. Prior to joining the BGA, he covered the residential and commercial real estate industries as a contributing writer for Crain’s Chicago Business. His work has been honored with numerous national and local awards, including high honors in the Suburban Newspapers of America’s weekly journalist of the year competition. A native of the Chicago area, Schroedter graduated from the University of Iowa with a bachelor of arts degree in English literature.
Katie Drews, Investigator
Katie Drews is a recent addition to the Better Government Association's investigative staff. She is tasked with, among other things, investigating and exposing problems in municipal governments throughout Illinois. She is the former managing editor of a small web-based media company, through which she was regularly published in the Chicago Sun-Times. Previously, she was managing editor of a suburban weekly newspaper covering the Village of Forest Park. A native of the Chicago area, Drews earned a journalism degree from Loyola University Chicago, where she had been editor of the student newspaper.
Patrick McCraney, Investigator
Patrick McCraney handles investigations focused on state government for the Better Government Association. He joined the BGA in 2013 after 12 years as a television news reporter and investigative producer, spending time at WFLD-TV in Chicago, WITI-TV in Milwaukee, WCIA-TV in Champaign and WREX-TV in Rockford. McCraney's investigative work has been honored with numerous awards, including two Emmys. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. McCraney lives in the Chicago suburbs with his wife and son.
Return to Top
BGA ADVOCACY & POLICY UNIT
Emily Miller, Policy and Government Affairs Coordinator
Emily Miller shapes and directs the public policy and advocacy agenda for the BGA. She comes to the BGA after four years working in Illinois politics and policy. Miller entered Chicago politics by working as a campaign staffer in the hotly contested aldermanic races of 2007. Moving on to the realm of policy analysis and advocacy, Miller became the Staff Attorney and Health Care Advocate for the Illinois Public Interest Research Group. Working side by side with non-profits, state agencies, and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, Miller helped to shape and pass meaningful health insurance consumer protections in Illinois. Before coming to the BGA, Miller spent a year with the Government Relations Communications team at SEIU Healthcare Illinois and Indiana. Miller earned her B.A. from Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, PA and her J.D. from DePaul University College of Law.
Caitlin Kearney, Policy Associate
Caitlin Kearney provides support to the Advocacy and Policy Unit by performing legislative analysis, researching best practices, and developing policy recommendations. She also helps plan and coordinate Policy Issue Forums. She graduated from the University of Chicago with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Policy.
Return to Top
BGA DIGITAL & COMMUNICATIONS
Hilary Fosdal, Digital Strategist
Hilary Fosdal manages strategy for all things digital at the BGA. Prior to joining the BGA, Hilary was the digital managing editor for the Chicago-based Cumulus Radio stations WLS AM and 94.7 FM. She got hooked on journalism working as an assignment editor at ABC27 WKOW in Madison, Wisconsin. She earned her M.A. in journalism at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Stephanie Hardiman Simon, Social Media and Civic Engagement Coordinator
Stephanie Hardiman Simon manages social media and the BGA's citizen watchdog programming. She earned her B.A. in journalism from Washington and Lee University in Lexington, VA and her M.A. in journalism from DePaul University in Chicago. Previously she worked as a web producer for Chicago Tribune Media Group and wrote for the Peoria Journal Star, the Portland Press Herald and the Nashville Business Journal. She was selected as a 2012 fellow for both the Society of Professional Journalists' Reporters Institute and the Fulbright Commission's Berlin Capital Program.
Return to Top
Ernest Crowder, Director of Administration
Ernest Crowder oversees the planning, directing and coordination of the administrative services for the BGA, including finance, budget, internal audit, payroll, personnel and employee relations, risk management, purchasing, information technology, real estate and facilities planning, telecommunications, and facilities management. He is a graduate of the University of Missouri in Columbia, MO with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and History. His prior employment includes over ten years of business administration and development strategy at the University of Chicago and University of Missouri.
Kaitlyn Titus, Gifts Coordinator
Kaitlyn Titus serves as the Gifts Coordinator at the BGA. She provides support in the daily operations of the BGA by advancing its administration, human resources, external relations through fundraising efforts, and membership development. She is a graduate of Loyola University Chicago with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and International Relations. Prior to her employment at the BGA, Titus worked at Loyola University Chicago’s Center for Experiential Learning advancing the electronic portfolio initiative.
Return to Top