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Our History

The Illinois Public Works Mutual Aid Network (IPWMAN) started when several groups within Illinois realized that they were trying to develop regional mutual aid organizations. It became apparent that if a disaster hit a region, regional organizations would not be able to provide assistance outside of their own jurisdictions. With the initial backing from the Illinois Water Works Association, and then with support from the Chicago Metro and Illinois Chapters of the American Public Works Association, the Illinois Association of County Engineers, and the Illinois Department of Transportation, agencies from various locations around Illinois began working on a state-wide mutual aid organization. Representatives from the Illinois Law Enforcement Alarm System (ILEAS), the Mutual Aid Box Alarm System (MABAS), the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA), and the Illinois Terrorism Task Force (ITTF) offered support and experience as IPWMAN developed its organizational framework.

In 2008, the IPWMAN Interim Board of Directors began the task of writing IPWMAN’s articles of incorporation, by-laws, policies and procedures, operations plan, and intergovernmental agreement; securing agreements with other mutual aid and emergency response agencies; establishing a call center; and developing a plan for transition into an incorporated organization.

In January 2009, IPWMAN was officially incorporated. Rick Marley, City of Decatur, was the first president; Chris Isbell, Stephenson County, vice-president; and Barb Stiehl, City of Urbana, Secretary/Treasurer. At that time, there were three member agencies: Stephenson County, the Village of Wauconda, and the City of Urbana. IPWMAN’s first response to a disaster occurred in May 2009 when IPWMAN responded to Carterville to assist with cleanup following damaging straight-line winds. In October 2009, members held elections to elect the first Board of Directors.

Since 2009, IPWMAN’s membership has grown to hundreds of member agencies. IPWMAN represents public works as a member of the Illinois Terrorism Task Force, has a seat at the State Emergency Operations Center, and works with other mutual aid organizations in response to disaster mitigation. IPWMAN has responded to requests for assistance resulting from flooding, tornadoes, high winds, and other events.

The following people were instrumental in the founding of IPWMAN:

  • David Barber - City of Peoria
  • Amy Benecke McLaren - Peoria County Highway Dept.
  • Bruce Bird - Macon County Highway Dept.
  • Richard Borders - City of Decatur
  • Walter Burnett - City of Macomb
  • David Christensen - IESMA
  • Lenny Gahgan - Village of Gurnee
  • Rupert Graham - Cook County Highway Dept.
  • Bill Gray - City of Urbana
  • Mike Hall - Town of Normal
  • Betty Harrison - Village of Wauconda
  • Robert Hawes - City of Rock Island
  • Leslie Hild - Illinois Township Officials
  • Chris Isbell, Co-Chairman - Stephenson County Highway Dept.
  • Larry Lux - APWA Chicago Metro Chapter
  • Rick Marley, Co-Chairman - City of Decatur
  • Brent Maue - Village of Savoy
  • Kenneth Miller - Village of Mundelein
  • Robert Miller - Algonquin Township Road District
  • Barbara Stiehl - City of Urbana
  • Nancy Sweeney - Southwest Conference of Mayors
  • Tony Torres - Village of Bolingbrook
  • David Van Vooren - City of Naperville
  • Keith Watson - Village of Bartlett

IPWMAN Advisory Members

  • Gerald Dietz - Law Offices of Gerald T. Dietz
  • Carolyn Grieves - Baxter & Woodman
  • Geno Koehler - IDOT
  • Kent McKenzie - Lake County EMA
  • Drew Orsinger - Dept. of Homeland Security
  • Dan Smith - IEMA
  • Joe Victor - Douglas County EMS

IPWMAN Technical Advisor

  • Tammy Bennett - Clark Dietz, Inc.