Brad Gregorka

Chief of Staff

Brad joined the office in 2014 and concentrated on constituent services and transportation projects before moving into the Chief of Staff role in April 2018. Brad attended the University of Michigan and received his Bachelors in Environment with a specialization in Urban and Environmental Planning while playing club water polo and participating in the Alternative Spring Break program. After moving to the city and working at an environmental restoration company in the suburbs, Brad returned to graduate school at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and earned his Master of Urban Planning degree. As a graduate research assistant, he helped draft a comprehensive plan for a county in southern Illinois that focused on economic development. Prior to joining the alderman’s staff, Brad worked as a policy researcher at the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Institute for Health Research and Policy. At UIC, he focused on reviewing zoning ordinances and comprehensive plans from across the country to determine how well they support active living opportunities in their communities. In addition, he performed some economic development consulting work for various public and private clients across the country. Brad has lived in the ward for since 2011 and enjoys hiking, biking and kayaking with his wife and daughter.

 

Ernie Constantino

Planning & Development Director

Hailing from the 48th Ward, Ernie was an aide to Alderman Mary Ann Smith for over 13 years — accomplishing major streetscapes, cutting-edge environmental initiatives, many new park improvements and dazzling community-designed murals. He has been passionate about his community since becoming a local block club leader soon after moving into Edgewater in 1989. Founding the Greening Ridge Improvement Project in 1995, he coordinated hundreds of community volunteers in building over 50 large planter boxes along Ridge Avenue for which he fundraises and organizes annual plantings of flowers. Ernie has also assumed leadership roles at the Edgewater Community Council and the North Lake Shore Earth Day steering committee. His past job positions have included Director of Research and Computers Systems at a Chicago City College, teaching at the college and gifted junior high school level, program evaluation and statistical analysis, and gut-rehabbing two apartment buildings. Born in the Philippines and raised in San Francisco, Ernie credits his college experience at Cal-Berkeley in developing his open and critical mind. His knowledge of social policy and its impact on human development was further refined in grad school at Northwestern University. Outside of work, Ernie is a world adventure traveller, loves the outdoors and is known for his homemade pies.

 

Dara Salk

Community Outreach Director

Dara Salk has lived in the 47th Ward for 35 years. She is a member and volunteer of the Riverbank Neighbors and previous volunteer at The Chicago Waldorf School. Dara has also worked as an executive recruiter, life coach and personal mentoring consultant. In the past few years she helped start the Friendship Pet Food Pantry, Forward Chicago and the 47th Ward Repair Café. Dara is most proud of being a wife and the mother of two children who both live in Washington, DC, and have taken up the family interest in public service and government.

 

Danny Drees

Constituent Services Liaison

Danny is the newest member of the 47th Ward Staff and will focus mainly on constituent services related to transportation, public way issues, sanitation, garbage and recycling, street lights and more in the ward. Danny graduated from Loyola University Chicago in 2017 with a degree in Political Science, and minors in Urban Studies, Sociology and Environmental Action & Leadership. He has done research as a Loyola Center for Urban Research & Learning fellow centering on parks and public space as tools for democracy, and research on transportation alternatives in mid-sized US cities. Danny recently worked as the Membership & Communications Manager for the Andersonville Chamber of Commerce and previously interned at the 48th Ward Service Office. Danny volunteers as an Alliance for the Great Lakes team leader and is very passionate about the Great Lakes, active transportation and government that works for all constituents. Danny is originally from Cleveland, Ohio. In his spare time, he likes to bike around the city, visit new restaurants and travel. He is excited to meet more residents, business owners and visitors of the 47th Ward!