Peter Tsiolis is a founding partner of Strategic Project Management, Inc. (SPM), and serves at its President. His attention to detail and unorthodox approach to looking at issues are two of his greatest strengths. Peter brings a different perspective to a given task or project mainly due to his diverse background: His love of public policy and government led to his degree in Political Science and Masters of Public Administration; his passion for the Constitution and the rule of law started at a young age and continues today in his work as an attorney. In fact, as a young entertainment attorney and manager in 2001, Peter secured the largest recording contract for any musical act (Soil with J Records) in the history of Chicago.
Ron Kolimas is a founding partner. His vast expertise in the private sector brings a different perspective to his role as Finance Director for our public sector clients. Ron earned his Bachelors of Science degree in Accounting from Northern Illinois University. After graduating, he taught 5th grade for several years prior to entering the business world. Ron is a licensed Real Estate Broker. With several successful business ventures under his belt including a home improvement company, food and beverage establishments, and a real estate property tax consulting firm, Ron was looking for a new challenge. Ron found that challenge as a founding partner of SPM. Finding solutions in the business world came easy for Ron. Solving problems in the public sector presented a host of issues that were new and exciting for him. While his accounting background would serve him well, his private sector thinking would ultimately be his biggest asset.
Ron has served as the Finance Director for one of our clients since 2010. His direction and oversight of the budget was instrumental in the client’s six consecutive balanced budgets with no tax increases. This reversed a trend of nearly a decade of deficit spending. Attention to detail is one of his greatest strengths. Ron constantly finds solutions for the client’s needs while understanding the constraints of operating under a balanced budget.
Ron’s background in running a home improvement business is serving the firm well in our oversight of several residential development projects. Department oversight was lacking and communications between departments had been nonexistent for one of our clients until Ron’s guidance and management of interdepartmental communications led to major strides in efficiency. Cooperation between departments resulted in the savings of millions of dollars over the past three years.
Originally from El Paso, Texas, Aric Swaney earned his B.A. in English with Creative Writing Distinction from Southern Methodist University (SMU) before moving north to pursue an MFA in English with a focus in Creative Writing at the University of Iowa. His desire to apply his skills to more traditionally recognized trades led him to Chicago, where he earned his Juris Doctorate from DePaul University College of Law. As Senior Project Manager, Aric endeavors to deliver successful projects by meeting schedules and budgets, thus ensuring minimized project risks with maximized stakeholder gains.
Aric brings nearly two decades of professional experience to each project engagement. He has a diverse skill set that has propelled him to succeed in both the labor and management sectors of the commercial, legal, and financial industries. A fierce work ethic combined with superior organizational, research, writing, and interpersonal skills are the essential attributes that Aric provides for SPM and each individual project. Working alongside the Partners, Aric helps create valuable projects and provide a positive impact for our clients.
Greg’s 40 plus years in the local government finance sector allow him to bring a broad knowledge base of finance department operations and innovations to SPM.
For over 30 years, Greg was a municipal finance director for three different Chicago suburban communities with increasingly higher employee counts, populations, and budgets. During his full-time tenures, several of Greg’s major accomplishments were related to intergovernmental cooperation. He was on the development team and was instrumental in the finance related issues that comprised the development of an intergovernmental agreement and related project work that resulted in the federal, state, and local governmental acquisition of Palwaukee airport (now Chicagoland Executive Airport) by the Village of Wheeling (where he was finance director) and the City of Prospect Heights. When Greg was in Wheeling he was also instrumental in the creation of, and was the first treasurer of the Intergovernmental Personnel Benefit Cooperative (IPBC), which is now the largest intergovernmental agency in the state providing pooled risk for municipal employee health insurance. In Des Plaines, Greg was a founding board member of the High-Level Excess Liability Pool (HELP), which was created in 1987 to provide pooled umbrella liability insurance coverage to member communities at a time when municipal liability insurance premiums were at all-time highs. In Oak Park, Greg was the leader of, and was instrumental in the formation of an intergovernmental team of other local Oak Park taxing districts that resulted in an ongoing fund sharing mechanism that allowed for the local school districts to fully support the extension of the life of the Downtown Oak Park TIF District from 23 to 35 years.
In 2006, after taking advantage of an early retirement incentive at his last position as Finance Director of Oak Park, Greg has for the last 10 plus years been providing “interim” finance director/comptroller support to communities throughout the Chicago metropolitan area. His assignments have lasted in length from 2 to 12 months where he has been able to use his extensive experience as he provides day-to-day support to an organization.
While working full-time, Greg had the opportunity to lead both the Chicago chapter and the State Government Finance Officers Association as their president. He also has and continues to work as an adjunct professor of public finance at Illinois Tech (formerly Illinois Institute of Technology), where he teaches a graduate level Public Finance course for the university’s Master of Public Administration Program.
Greg and his wife Lisa have been long-time residents of Oak Park and have two daughters and five grandchildren.
Evan Whitehead has had diverse professional experiences ranging from alternative schools, private therapeutic day schools, and public school settings. Evan has had positions as a crisis interventionist, special education classroom teacher, and building and district administrator. Evan’s areas of expertise include School Improvement, Special Education, Bilingual Education/English Language Learners, Community and Parent Engagement, Tiered Interventions, College and Career Readiness, Federal Title 1 Program Management, and Diversity/Cultural Competency Training.
Evan has a bachelor’s degree in Special Education with a concentration in Bilingual-Bicultural Special Education and ESL, minor in Spanish Language, a Masters in Educational Leadership and Administration, and studied Latin American Studies with an emphasis in Afro-Latino Culture at PUCMM in Santiago de Caballeros, Dominican Republic. Evan holds Illinois State Certification Type 10 Special Certificate, Type 75 Administrative, Director of Special Education, Learning Behavior Specialist, and Bilingual-Bicultural Special Education/ESL approval.