The Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce has announced the finalists for the 2014 James Tyree Emerging Business Leadership Award: John Roa, Founder and CEO of AKTA; Maria Katris, CEO of Built in Chicago; Dr. Michele Wilkins, Executive Director of Child’s Voice; and Jeff Swano, CEO and Owner of Dig Right In Landscaping, Inc.

The four finalists were selected by Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce staff out of a pool of 19 qualified applicants from a variety of industries. Judges for the award met to evaluate the finalists at the Chamber’s offices on Monday, June 16, based on their civic and charitable involvement, company leadership, growth and scalability.

The recipient of the award will be announced at the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting on Tuesday, June 24, at Navy Pier. The winner receives $25,000 in cash, compliments of Mesirow Financial, and valuable small business training and consulting.

Throughout the week, the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce will release a feature piece on each individual finalist focusing on the history and innovations of their companies as well as their plans for the future.

About James Tyree

During his tenure as CEO, Jim Tyree led Mesirow Financial to exceptional levels of growth in all areas of the business. Among the 50 acquisitions completed during that time are firms such as Stein & Company, a premier real estate organization; Near North Insurance Brokerage's Chicago office and Dann Insurance, two leading insurance agencies; and the U.S. Corporate Recovery practice from KPMG. Throughouthis career, Jim served on more than 50 corporate, civic and not-for-profit boards of directors. He also served as chairman of Sun-Times Media Holdings, a media firm that publishes 58 newspapers and corresponding websites, including The Chicago Sun-Times. In 2007, he was appointed to the board of PrivateBancorp, Inc., a publicly held  commercial bank.


Greg Stevens
Manager of Strategic Partnerships