John Tillman, Chairman
John Tillman is best known for leading the relaunch of the Illinois Policy Institute in 2007. He also founded Illinois Policy, a 501(c)(4), and the Liberty Justice Center, a 501(c)(3) public-interest law firm.
In 2018, the Illinois Policy Institute and Liberty Justice Center shared the State Policy Network’s Bob Williams Award for Outstanding Policy Achievement in recognition of their U.S. Supreme Court victory in Janus v. AFSCME. The case overturned a 41-year-old precedent and restored the free speech rights of 5 million workers nationwide.
In April 2017, Tillman assumed the chairmanship of the Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity (now the Franklin News Foundation). Under his leadership the board was reconstituted and veteran newsman Chris Krug assumed the presidency. Franklin now operates in over two dozen states and continues to grow its news
distribution focused on statehouse news, competing with The Associated Press.
Tillman’s success has become a model for liberty-based organizations across the country. He is frequently asked to consult with other nonprofits on fundraising, leadership, marketing and organizational strategy.
In 2011, Tillman won the State Policy Network’s prestigious Roe Award for his leadership, innovation and accomplishments in the world of public policy. This annual award pays tribute to those in the state public policy movement whose achievements have greatly advanced the free market philosophy.
Chris Krug, President
Chris Krug is the President of the Franklin News Foundation. Chris brings to Franklin more than 25 years of experience in the media industry. He is the former publisher of the suburban Chicago Pioneer Press newspaper chain.
Prior to his tenure as a vice president at Sun-Times Media Network and oversight of Pioneer, he was responsible for all news operations and managed properties in the suburbs as a vice president for Shaw Suburban Media. During that time, he worked directly with teams at the Northwest Herald, Kane County Chronicle, DeKalb Daily-Chronicle, the Lake County Journals, and the bilingual El Conquistador. Chris has also served as a deputy editor at the Denver Post.
In 2008, the Local Media Association honored Chris as national editor of the year. Chris also is the former president of the Illinois Associated Press Editors Association. Presstime named Krug a 40 under 40 in 2008. Chris earned his undergraduate degree from Allegheny College (Pa.) and his Masters of Business Administration from Lake Forest (Ill.) Graduate School of Management.
Chris resides in suburban Chicago and can be reached at email@example.com.
Charles Mitchell is President & CEO of the Commonwealth Foundation, an award-winning, Pennsylvania-based nonprofit that helps people by transforming free-market ideas into public policies. He believes strongly in the work of Franklin as a former campus journalist and frequent interlocutor with the media over the course of his career, who respects the work of an independent press in a free society. His work with nonprofits has been recognized nationally with State Policy Network's Overton Award and the Heritage Foundation's Distinguished Alumni Award. In addition to his service to Franklin, he is an elder of his family's church, a board member of Americans for Fair Treatment, an alumni fellow of the Project for American Leadership and Citizenship at Bucknell University, one of the founders of Threefold School: An Acton Academy, the proud husband of his wife, and the very busy father of four daughters.
Eric Sucharski, Esq.
Eric is an attorney specializing in family law matters. Prior to his 2012 entrance into law school, he spent the majority of the previous decade as a senior sales executive in the telecommunications and railroad industries. While earning his law degree in the evenings as a part-time student, he was a senior recruiting specialist for Victory Media, Inc. (now Victory), a company that helps connect veterans who are transitioning out of the military with employers and post-secondary educational opportunities. Eric is presently Of Counsel with the law firm Smith & Fuller and the principal at The Sucharski Law Firm. He is a former Board Member and Chairman of Volunteers of America - Illinois and served on active duty as a Lieutenant Commander in the U.S. Navy. He received his Juris Doctor degree from Loyola University Chicago School of Law and received his B.S. in Political Science from the United States Naval Academy.
Bradley K. Walton is President of Signature Advisors Group and Signature Financial Services. Mr. Walton is licensed as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), General Securities Representative (Series #7), General Securities Principal (Series #24), Investment Advisor Representative (Series #65), Insurance Producer, and Registered Investment Advisor (RIA). He also holds designations as an AICPA Personal Financial Specialist (PFS), Certified Financial Planner Professional (CFP®), Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU), Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC), and Certified Family Business Specialist (CFBS).
A Bronze Tablet graduate of the University of Illinois, Mr. Walton received the AICPA's Elijah Watts Sells award in 1984. Prior to joining Signature Advisors Group, Mr. Walton practiced in the areas of income tax, estate and personal financial planning with a "Big Five" firm, another major national accounting firm, and as a sole practitioner.
Mr. Walton has addressed numerous industry groups and professional associations including the Illinois and Oklahoma CPA Societies, Independent Accountants Association of Illinois, and the Chicago and Illinois Association of Life Underwriters. For several years he was the author of the column, “Money’s Worth,” for Insight Magazine. He has been quoted in, and his articles have been published in various local and national publications, and he is a contributing author of the Life Insurance Answer Book. He has also appeared numerous times on television advising on tax, investment, and financial planning topics.
He has served on various technical and leadership committees, including the AICPA Trust Estate & Gift Tax Committee, AALU Business and Estate Planning Committee, Family Business Association of Illinois Board of Directors, and Illinois CPA Society Estate Tax, Tax Executive, Consulting Services, Public Service, and Personal Financial Planning Committees. He has also served as Chairman of the Personal Financial Planning, Investment Management Services and various technical conference committees of the Illinois CPA Society.