As a 16-year resident of Downers Grove, Chris Gilmartin looks to serve the community that has provided his family with an inviting neighborhood, world-class education, warm neighbors and life-long friends, and an environment conducive to growing his businesses while staying near to his family. Chris’ gratitude for the Village that has welcomed him is the cornerstone that drives his passion for serving the community.
AN EMPATHETIC LEADER
Both in business and in community, with a track record of success across many disciplines that could benefit our village. As a small business owner and founder of two successful marketing firms, Chris is renowned for being a thought-leader in the space and widely respected in the Downers Grove community.
A data-driven decision maker
Chris takes the time to understand issues and opportunities, and makes timely decisions based on information and experience. While loyalties and personal opinions may steer some candidates’ decision making, Chris excels at making fact-based determinations and articulating them into clear action plans
A skilled consensus-builder
Chris uses his relationship-building skills to derive solutions in an efficient and effective way. Throughout his professional career, Chris has worked with Fortune 500 companies and small businesses alike and has an innate ability to quickly identify solutions and growth potential — skills that will be invaluable when making council decisions that impact Downers Grove businesses of all sizes.
A resident who deeply cares
Chris deeply cares about the issues facing our Village and possesses creative problem-solving skills. Today’s challenges look very different than they did a year ago. With a current health crisis that has had severe local impact, Chris is a candidate that is comfortable working through uncharted territory to ensure progress with purpose for the Village.
A family man
Chris has been married 15 years with three children aged 13, 11, and 8…and family always comes first. Raised by a New York City police officer and married to a life-long educator, he is an avid participant in his community, volunteering regularly at local school events and leading multi-annual fundraising initiatives. Chris’ background allows him to be representative of all Downers Grove families on the Council with his family-first principles.
SUCCESS IN CHALLENGING TIMES
“I believe we are in the midst of some extremely challenging times, and the uncertainty of what is coming requires leadership that has been through tough times before. I have been a successful entrepreneur for over 15 years, sustaining both through a recession and through COVID-19. This requires data-driven decision-making, and the ability to adjust to unforeseen situations – both skills I have honed as a business owner. Perhaps equally important, it has saddened me to watch small business struggle or fold during a period of limited certainty in our hometown. It is personal to me to keep paths of opportunity open, which will always stay top of mind while making decisions and voting on the Council.”
SKILLSET UNIQUELY POISED FOR SUCCESS
“While my business is based in marketing and technology, my success has been built on my ability to solve problems creatively, manage efficient teams and communicate effectively. I have strong relationship-building skills and work hard to build consensus with my team. I am naturally inquisitive, always seeking the root cause of issues, and drilling down to uncover solutions. I have been fortunate to be considered a mentor by many I’ve worked with and associate that privilege with an earnest desire to segue my own learnings into experiences that promote respectable, honest work.”
CALL TO PUBLIC SERVICE
“I am motivated to serve the public by seeking to follow examples in my immediate family. My wife has dedicated her professional life to education, first as a teacher, and now as an elementary school principal. My father was a New York City police officer for 17 years. While I have given back in many ways, volunteering for youth programs and coaching Park District sports, it was my participation in the Ad Hoc Human Services Committee that pushed me to seek more direct opportunities to help steer the Village. I believe this also helps to further set an example to my children of the merits of public service.”
“I view serving on the Council as an important opportunity to give back to a community that has given our family so much over the past 16 years. We have found such a welcoming community, made such great friends and created lifelong connections here. During a time when many are looking for additional support, I am looking forward backing the community through a larger platform. I am excited to lead in new areas of philanthropic opportunity for residents and the greater Village alike.”
Member of V.o.D.G. Human Services Ad Hoc Committe
As a member of the Village of Downers Grove Human Services Ad Hoc Committee, Chris met with various service and non-profit groups and created a priority-based report for the Village Council which outlined recommendations to help better serve those in need within our community. This experience provided Chris with clear insight into many of the challenges our residents face, as well as a keen understanding of the support that is available.
Chris has successfully built two multi-million dollar service-based companies (leverinteractive.com, comingofage.com) from the ground up, with relationships with Google, Microsoft, Valspar, Toro, Experian and more. Chris understands the value of his team and demonstrates this through his commitment to providing many valuable benefits, including covering 100% of health insurance premiums for employees.
Built and grew a service organization dedicated to helping organizations better communicate with the boomer and senior populations.
COMMITTMENT TO GIVING BACK
Supports many local and national organizations, including the Lester PTA, West Suburban Humane Society, Downer Grove Park District, YMCA, City of Hope, Donors Choose and more.
Coached Downers Grove Park District sports for over seven years, and supported YMCA programs and the PTA.
committment to local charities
Performs annual charity concert, collecting over $5,000 for local and small nonprofits like Noah’s Hope, Swifty Foundation and Nottingham Nature Nook.
CHRIS’S PRIORITIES FOR DOWNERS GROVE
Addressing Budget shortfalls
The challenges we face with the pandemic, pension funding, shrinking sales tax base and the rising cost of services and maintenance will force us to take a hard look at the balance between maintaining a low tax base, while ensuring the Village is funded and able to provide expected services. Chris will use his extensive financial and business acumen, working with groups like Economic Development Corporation to explore ways to generate more revenue for the village by attracting new businesses.
Supporting SOCIAL SERVICES
Trying times are going to affect the residents of our Village in many ways – both predictable and unpredictable. As a member of the Human Services Ad Hoc Committee, Chris understands that there are many resources available to residents that the Village could be better poised to promote. It is important to Chris that we seek opportunities to do more, as the number of those in need will likely increase. As Commissioner, Chris would make sure the recommendations he helped create for the current Council are prioritized, and a plan is put into action.
Increasing DOWNTOWN VIBRANCY
The Downtown district is a critical attraction for existing and potential residents. Downtown should serve as an economic and cultural hub. Downtown businesses are at risk of failure because of a shift in buying behaviors, paired with the impact of the pandemic. A coordinated effort to bring in more tourism into Downtown will be paramount in helping the Downtown District to survive and thrive. Chris will look to create and support initiatives that generate vibrancy and experiences Downtown designed to attract residents and non-residents alike.
With such great access to the city of Chicago, close proximity to airports and highways and an active business community, Downers Grove could be an excellent choice for startups and emerging companies to call “HQ.” As commissioner, Chris would explore ways to work with local business leaders, colleges and community organizations for ways we could make Downers Grove more attractive to startup, through mentorships, incentives and programs that attract up-and-coming entrepreneurs.
With the ever-present stormwater issues and increasingly volatile weather, the Village will be forced to deal with both situational, and persistent weather and climate-related problems. Aside from flooding and property damage, public safety (i.e. law enforcement and medical response times) is at risk of being compromised if we are not better prepared to face this challenge. Chris will promote and support efforts to address our environmental challenges head-on.
STEM RETAIL “APOCALYPSE”
Brick-and-mortar stores are closing at an alarming rate. Analysts estimate that by 2026, 25% of all shopping will be online (up from 16% this year). The pandemic has been an accelerant to this and will likely shift this further. While the Village will see some revenue from the tax levied on ecommerce transactions through the “Leveling the Playing Field Act,” Chris will actively participate in a concerted effort by the Village and other stakeholders, to support current retailers, while attracting new ones. With the success of some grassroots efforts to support local business during the pandemic, Chris will look for opportunities to promote local buying on a consistent basis.
Early voting begins Monday, March 22, 2021, and runs through Monday, April 5
In-person voting – April 6, 2021