Current Board Members and Bios

Andrew Chemers, President:  I moved into the neighborhood the summer of 2013; first to a house in the 300 block of North Raynor Avenue and then to the 500 block of Cornelia Street. Originally from Frankfort, I moved to the Cathedral Area knowing only I wanted a unique, historical home in a walk able neighborhood. I became involved in CAPA because I wanted to contribute to my neighborhood. I have worked as an operator/arborist for Homer Tree Care since 2015. Of note, one thing I appreciate about this neighborhood is the tree diversity. Seriously, I didn’t notice it at first either. Take a look next time you’re out and about. I am an avid skier and car enthusiast. On nice weekends you can find me on my motorcycle or letting kids know to stay off my grass.

Don Ciesielski,  Vice President: I had my first experience with an older home in Allentown, Pennsylvania.  At that time, I wandered into an unknown world for sure. How do I take care of a home from the 1870’s?  You learn, I learned.  A couple of decades later, now,  when we thought we would move out of Chicago to the “burbs”, we happened upon a vacant home on Western Ave that looked like a dream house.  It just felt right. Not right.  Perfect. Shortly after, when the opportunity came up to join the CAPA board, I felt I had to.  Being a part of a similar board back in Allentown(OAPA) was a great experience.  I only hope to contribute to this great group of people. I love this neighborhood and the people I have met thus far. The community of this neighborhood is hard to dismiss.

JoAnn Potenziani, Secretary

Eric Moon, Treasurer

Joy Alwan, At-Large:   BS Chem 75 (IU)   MBA 87 (GSU)   JD 91 (IIT Chicago Kent)  I’ve spent most of my life getting an education. I supported myself by working in a steel mill while getting an undergraduate degree in chemistry. Using that degree, I was able to get a position in IITRI’s analytical research group. From there I moved to an EPA contractor as Chief Organic Chemist for the American sector of the International Water Monitoring Project. It wasn’t as impressive as it sounds. I spent my time analyzing fish fat and mud for pesticides and other organic toxins.  When my employer lost the EPA contract, I was forced to decide whether to get a PhD to prove I could do the work I had been doing or go in a new direction. I took an engineering position with an electrical utility and went to work on an MBA. Lucky for me, GSU was offering a MBA program loaded with accounting, finance, and economic classes as I’m more comfortable with numbers than people.  By now I was in my early 40s, midlife crisis time. I decided to go to law school. When I was in grade school, I wanted to be a lawyer, live in Chicago with a Great Dane. I have managed to live the dream, just not all at the same time. After law school, I went to work for the USDOE at ANL. Not wanting a commute on I-55 as it was undergoing construction, I moved to Joliet. I found the Cathedral neighborhood and fell in love. Here I am.

Matt Bannon, At-Large: I am a lifelong Cathedral area resident; growing up on the 400 block of Wilcox and now living on Western Avenue. I graduated Illinois State in 2015 and later started a general contracting business. My wife and I chose to build our life in the Cathedral area because of our passion for old homes, restoration work and love of Joliet.

Michelle Birk, At-Large: I moved into 500 Buell Ave. on October 20th 2015. I am originally from Lemont, where I’ve opened three businesses; with my first business being over 30 years old in the downtown district. I am excited to say that as of September 2021 I had the pleasure of opening The Nail Inn Academy at 160 N. Chicago St. in Joliet. I served on several boards such as The Chamber of Commerce, and at one point I served as their president. I implemented many events in downtown Lemont including The Taste of Lemont, Midnight Madness, Halloween Hoedown, and an Easter Dinner for the families in need to name a few. 

Elaine Bottomley, At-Large for Membership:  Elaine is a lifelong Joliet resident and grew up in the Cathedral Area on the 800 block of Buell. In 2017 she bought her first home on Cornelia less than a mile away from her childhood home. Elaine studied urban planning at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and University of Illinois Chicago. She now works primarily in transportation planning. Elaine can regularly be seen running or biking throughout the Cathedral Area.

Penny Curran, At-Large: Teacher. Bookkeeper. Environmental Coordinator. Speaks French. Past President, Vice President, Treasurer And recording Secretary of several homeowners associations and PTAS.

Diane Harris, At-Large:  My name is Diane M. Harris and I’ve lived in the CAPA neighborhood for 21 years. I have enjoyed being on the CAPA Board from the time I made the very first changes on our CAPA website, to heading the garage sales, acting as a Zone and Block Captain, heading the Streetscape Grant, serving as Vice President, planning our Annual Spring Meetings and now, again, being an at-large Board Member. I attended Joliet Public Schools and Joliet Township High School Central Campus. I am a graduate of JJC, AA in Liberal Arts and BA of Science in Management from the University of Phoenix. I worked in Accounting at City Hall for 5 years and retired from ComEd as a Liability Representative after 32 years. Currently, I am a Licensed Insurance Agent and the owner of It is Amazing Boutique Downtown Joliet. As a Joliet Public Library Trustee, I enjoy having information at my fingertips just as I enjoy meeting people and problem solving with others on the many boards and member organizations in which I serve. However, there’s nothing more satisfying than coming home to my family and two dogs. Nothing beats the tree-lined streets, waking up to tranquil moments in the early summer mornings and the site of beautiful older homes throughout the neighborhood of the CAPA District. That’s who I am.

John Kella, At-Large:

Amber(Chick) Lancaster, At-Large:

Barry McCue, At-Large for Zoning:   Barry McCue, moved into the Joliet area in 2007.  He grew up in Hawaii, attended Marquette University and graduated as an Engineer.  After graduation he moved to Illinois and worked for Commonwealth Edison/Exelon.  After retiring, he worked as a consulting engineer with Sargent and Lundy Engineers in the Nuclear Power Divisions.  He has been on the CAPA board since 2017 and is currently the point person for Zoning.

Robert McMorris, At-Large