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March 1st, 2023

Past SMART Talk Speakers

Karen Herold

Carrie McCormick

Dario Durham

Brian Jessen

Robert Johnson

Emerging Leaders 2023

Kelly Ipjian

Real Estate Agent | Exit Strategy Realty

Recognized by NSBAR, North Shore Barrington Board of Realtors

Ashley Schwarz

General Manager | Crafted Countertops, Inc.

Recognized by LBA, Lakeland Builders Association, WI

Alex Carlson

Owner | Peace of Mind Remodeling

Recognized by Building Industry Association of Greater Chicago

Meet 2023 Moderators and Experts

George Markoutsas


Moderator - PowerConnections and Break-out Groups

Mark Benner

Principal, Mark Eric Benner Architects

Moderator - PowerConnections and Break-out Groups

James Dash

Principal Partner, Carlson Dash

Moderator - PowerConnections and Break-out Groups

Colette Rodon Hornof

President/Principal Interior Designer Interior Designer, Vesta of Hearth and Home

Moderator - PowerConnections and Break-out Groups

Larry Santello

Manager, Experience And Design Center, Gaggenau Thermador Bosch

Moderator - PowerConnections and Break-out Groups

Rebecca Pogonitz

Owner/Principal, GoGo Design Group

Moderator - PowerConnections and Break-out Groups

Igor Jokanovic


Builder Expert

Neil Peck

Owner, SN Peck Builders

Builder Expert

Matt Lederer

Owner, Mahogany Builders

Builder Expert

Dan Baigleman

Principal, Full Circle Architects

Architect Expert

Adrienne Russ

 Executive VP of Operations, Frazier Homes

Builder Expert

Jarmila Singer

Owner, Sound Living

Moderator - PowerConnections and Break-out Groups

Seth Romig

Principal, Seth Romig Architect

Architect Expert - Moderator - PowerConnections and Break-out Groups

Kimberly Nigro

Principal Architect, Studio Nigro

Architect Expert

Richard Becker

Principal Architect, Becker Architects Limited

Architect Expert

Yael Rajstein

Principal Architect, YR Studio LLC

Architect Expert - Moderator - PowerConnections and Break-out Groups

Manuel Hernandez

Principal Architect, Design Seed, Inc.

Architect Expert

Darin Daniels

Home Mortgage Consultant, Wells Fargo

Moderator - PowerConnections and Break-out Groups

Duane Draughon

Outdoor Living Designer, VizX Design Studio

Moderator - PowerConnections and Break-out Groups

Mario Cordova

Real Estate Agent, EXP Realty

Moderator - PowerConnections and Break-out Groups

Justin Greenberg

Lead Real Estate Broker, JG Group, Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Chicago

Moderator - PowerConnections and Break-out Groups

Toni Callahan

General Manager, Schmechtig Landscapes

Moderator - PowerConnections and Break-out Groups

Meet the 2023 Speakers

Principal, TRA | Thomas Roszak Architecture

Thomas Roszak has developed, designed, and built commercial properties, hotels, condominiums, and private residences in Illinois and Arizona. He is the founder and Principal for four companies involved in architecture, construction, and real estate development. 

SMART Talk & Moderator on The Architect's Roundtable

Angela Spadoni

Principal | bKL Architecture

Angela Spadoni leads client engagement, with an emphasis on the seamless delivery of the firm’s services. Angela has established a reputation for her commitment to serving clients. She combines expert management skills with an ability to generate and articulate design ideas and a dedication to collaboration.

She brings specific expertise in mid-rise and high-rise multifamily projects, and has led the design of more than 10,000 units since joining the firm. 

Expert Panelist on The Architect's Roundtable

Richard Sherer

Founder & CEO | Deep River Partners, Ltd.

Richard’s Residential Architecture and Interior Design experience spans 40 years and includes expertise in Custom Homes, Remodeling, and Condominium Design-Build. He has been recognized by local and national media for excellence in all areas of residential design, including features on Discovery Channel and HGTV.

Expert Panelist on The Architect's Roundtable

Owner | Melanie Anne, Professional EOS Implementer® | Business & Mindset Coach

Mel is a trusted leader and consulting resource within the building materials, architecture, design, real estate and construction space. She helps professionals in personal growth and career development, as well as strategically guiding entrepreneurs and business leaders at a deeper level, overcoming challenges hindering them from results.

Education Segment: "EOS a deeper dive"

Principal | Studio K Creative

In 2014, Karen founded Studio K Creative to develop a diverse team of imaginative and forward-thinking brand strategists and technical designers.
The firm has delivered many of Chicago’s most popular restaurants, hotels, and luxury multifamily residences. Karen has fostered long-standing relationships with legendary firms including BOKA Restaurant Group, Sterling Bay, The Chicago Cubs, Magellan Development, and Core Spaces.

Expert Panelist on The Architect's Roundtable

Melinda Jakovich-Lagrange

Luxury Real Estate Broker | Compass Real Estate

Melinda has been in real estate for 27 years and has been instrumental in the development of the city and suburbs.  She has even established herself as one of the city’s top-producing agents, having sold over $600 million in sales to date. Melinda has consistently been in the top 1%.

State of the Real Estate Market: Urban to Suburban

Matthew Wilke

Chief Operations Officer & Partner | LG Group

Matt has nearly 20 years of experience working in the development and construction industry. As COO, Matt is constantly pushing and challenging his teams. His oversight of all company operations, including all phases of the development process, ensures exceptional output while maintaining unparalleled culture and opportunity. Externally, Matt connects with clients, partners, architects, and investors to ensure LG delivers for all involved.

Expert Panelist on The Architect's Roundtable

Luxury Real Estate Broker | @properties

Carrie McCormick is a leader in the luxury and development market. She has more than 22 years of real estate sales expertise with over $1 Billion in Career Sales.

Expert Panelist on The Architect's Roundtable

Founder and Owner | Reach Social

Shannon Vogel is a certified Social Media Strategist, and 25-year veteran of the construction, flooring and interior design industry.  

After more than 10 years in flooring sales, interior design and working for home builders, Shannon changed her focus to the marketing opportunities unfolding online. 

Education Segment: "Harness the power of social media for your business"

John Robert Wiltgen

Author, Principal Interior Designer(retired) | JRWD John Robert Wiltgen Design

Award-Winning, Published Interior Designer, Principal, John Robert Wiltgen Design, and the Author of the recent publication, The Candy in My Pocket.

John has 40 years of experience in residential design/build, completing projects across the United States, in Canada, Mexico - even on the Ivory Coast of Africa.

Meet me at the Blue Coyote! An interview with John Robert Wiltgen

Rob Almeida

People and Culture Manager I LG Group

With over 8+ years as a People Operations Professional, Rob has experience building strong, inclusive company cultures across various industries.  He is passionate about creating a top tier employee experience, career development, and creating more diverse workforces. He believes that a strong company culture is key for sustainable success.

Education Session: Leadership, Culture & Recruiting Top Talent in 2023

Vicki Bachmann

VP of Business Partnerships | MATTER.

Vicki is Owner of our MATTERhouse Team. She also works to develop relationships with business owners and corporations to contribute to MATTER’s projects and help achieve MATTER’s vision of self-sustainability.

Why it MATTERs

Wendy Cohen

CEO | PowerHouse SMART® & PowerHouse SMART Luxury Conference, PowerHouse Advisors & PowerHouse Recruiting.

The PowerHouse Group of Companies is dedicated to HELPING OTHERS. Wendy has over 30 years of luxury industry experience,  often referred to as a power-connector. PowerHouse Recruiting is a national retained recruiting firm, connecting the right total talent candidates to the right career opportunities helping employers grow their teams. PHR believes there is as a perfect fit.

Expert Panelist on Education Session: Leadership, Culture & Recruiting Top Talent in 2023

Darrell Katz

Professor of Business Leadership | Loyola University Chicago

Darrell has worked with management teams for more than 30 years to create and deliver leadership development and business communications courses. Impact Training Solutions is a full-service provider of business training courses. wide range of custom-designed courseware focused on helping the manager master the most significant part of their role – how to manage. Darrell serves as a special consultant to support PowerHouse SMART and sits on the Advisory Council for the Harvard Business Review.

Moderator on Education Session: Leadership, Culture & Recruiting Top Talent in 2023

Michael Freiburger

Owner, Director of Design and Construction | NewLook Development

Michael brings both an Engineering Degree (Ohio University) and an Architecture Degree (Illinois Institute of Technology) to lead Newlook’s team. 

He started his career as a youngster working in trades, moving up quickly into construction management and architectural design. He brings 25 year’s hand’s on experience to NewLook Development in development and construction.

State of the Economy: Building Industry Report


Moderator - PowerConnections and Break-out Groups

PHS Luxury Conference 2022 Moderators

Adrienne Frazier-Russ

Vice President of Operations
Frazier Homes

Brian Jessen

Sr. Vice President 
Guaranteed Rate

Celine Marcotte

Global Projects & Hospitality Manager

Colette Rodon Hornof

Vesta Hearth and Home

Darrell Katz

Principal Consultant
Impact Training Solutions

James McClister

Custom Builder Magazine

Larry Santello

National Sales & Product Specialist
Bosch, Thermador, Gaggenau

Michael Freiburger

Owner/Director of Design
Newlook Development

Michael Schmechtig

Schmechtig Landscaping

Nancy Jacobson

Kitchen Design Partners

Rebecca Pogonitz

GoGo Design Group

Teak Barton

Macnon Builders


PHS Luxury Conference 2023 Speakers

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