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
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 Development & External Relations
Mary Frances O’Connor manages development and external relations for the BGA. She's been an integral part of rebuilding the BGA since 2010. 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 has a Certificate in Nonprofit Management from Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management, a BA from DePaul University. She's also a graduate of 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, Director 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.
Brett Chase, Senior Investigator
Brett Chase is responsible for systemic investigations in, among other areas, health care, the environment, education and transportation. A former reporter and editor for Crain's Chicago Business, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and Bloomberg News, Chase has covered government and business for more than 20 years. A native of Iowa, he is a graduate of Drake University's School of Journalism and Mass Communication, and is an adjunct professor at Loyola University in Chicago. Brought on full time in March 2014, Chase previously conducted investigations for the BGA that resulted in stories for the Rescuing Illinois series. He was part of a BGA team that won two Lisagor awards from the Chicago Headline Club for coverage in 2012.
Sarah Karp, Senior Investigator
Sarah Karp is a senior investigator at the BGA, responsible for covering public education, among other topics. A former reporter for Catalyst-Chicago, the Chicago Reporter and the Daily Southtown, Karp has covered education, and children and family issues for more than 15 years. She is a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism. She has won five Education Writers Association awards, three Society of Professional Journalism awards and the 2005 Sidney Hillman Award. She is a native of Chicago.
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.
Sandy Bergo, Special Investigator
Sandy Bergo investigates the federal government's impact on Chicago and Illinois for the BGA. A Chicago native, Bergo began her professional career at the Chicago Reporter, worked as an investigative producer with John Cody of WBBM Radio and, for 20 years, was part of Pam Zekman's investigative team at WBBM-TV. In 2001, Bergo moved with her husband Chuck Neubauer to Washington, D.C., where she worked as a freelance reporter and television producer. Her freelance investigations were published by the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune and Washington Monthly. She also worked for WJLA-TV and the Center for Public Integrity. In addition to her work for the BGA, Bergo currently runs the Fund for Investigative Journalism, which makes grants to independent reporters around the globe. Bergo and Neubauer have one son, Mike, a college student.
Chuck Neubauer, Special Investigator
Chuck Neubauer is an award-winning investigative reporter who breaks high-impact stories about politicians from Chicago aldermen to U.S. senators. He is currently based in Washington, D.C. Previously he was an investigative reporter for the Chicago Sun-Times and the Chicago Tribune, where he shared a Pulitzer for a series on waste and abuses in federal housing programs. While in Chicago, his reporting unearthed information that helped build criminal cases against Congressman Dan Rostenkowski, former Gov. Dan Walker, Illinois Attorney General William J. Scott and Illinois Treasurer Jerry Cosentino. As a D.C.-based investigative reporter for the Los Angeles Times and the Washington Times, he exposed conflicts of interests involving Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska and U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters. While attending the Medill School of Journalism in the early 1970s, Chuck was the BGA's very first college intern. He and his wife, Sandy Bergo, have one son, Mike, a college student.
Return to Top
BGA ADVOCACY & POLICY UNIT
Judy Stevens, Policy Coordinator
Judy Stevens returns to Chicago and to BGA where she worked as an Investigator/researcher early in her career, to help lead the development of BGA's policy agenda, with responsibility for the coordination and implementation of that agenda. Her experience in the public and nonprofit sectors spans more than 25 years, most of it in Chicago, with an emphasis on policy research and advocacy.
Judy has worked in both the legislative and executive branches of Chicago city government, serving as chief aid to a Chicago reform alderman, head of a small department of Chicago city government and staff analyst of tax bills for a legislature. Her experience in the nonprofit sector ranges from a grassroots community organization on Chicago's northwest side to the Washington, DC headquarters of a major labor union. She has authored and co-authored publications addressing a number of diverse public policy topics. She has a BA from the University of Illinois-Chicago with college honors and highest distinction in English. She is married and has two adult children, who also live in Chicago.
Alden Loury, Senior Policy Analyst
Alden Loury joins the BGA policy unit after spending two years as a BGA senior investigator and 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 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 been cited by state officials suing banks for racially disparate lending, pushing for greater oversight of nursing homes, denouncing racial profiling during traffic stops, and promoting ways to allow children to visit their incarcerated parents.
Alexandra Gilewicz, Policy Associate
Alexandra Gilewicz is a policy associate. She specializes in research while also working to advance the team's advocacy efforts, primarily at the city and county level. Before joining the BGA, Alex worked as a legal and research assistant with the Housing Justice Unit at the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law. She earned her BA in Anthropology and Human Rights at the University of Chicago.
Return to Top
BGA DIGITAL & COMMUNICATIONS
Stephanie Hardiman Simon, Social Media 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.
Addie Epstein, Civic Engagement Coordinator
Addie manages the BGA's Civic Engagement Programming, assists with grant proposals, and serves as the liaison to BGA's Board of Directors. Before joining the BGA, Addie participated in the Coro Fellows Program in Public Affairs in St. Louis, a nine-month fellowship combining leadership training and exposure to influential leaders with hands-on work in five different sectors. Addie is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania with a B.A. in Urban Studies.
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 Schauer, Gifts Coordinator
Kaitlyn Schauer 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, Schauer worked at Loyola University Chicago’s Center for Experiential Learning advancing the electronic portfolio initiative.
Return to Top