Joe Mikan is a lifelong resident of Will County and a former Will County Executive and Forest Preserve Commissioner. He spearheaded an initiative to create a new comprehensive land use plan for Will County which received the Burnham award for creativity, and became familiar with The Conservation Foundation through their involvement in this process. Joe played a significant role in passing the 2005 successful open space referendum in Will County, co-chairing the campaign committee under the Foundation’s leadership.

Both his personal and professional lives have made Joe aware of the pressures on natural resources and the need to protect them, so it was an easy sell when he was approached to join The Conservation Foundation’s Board. “I’m the third generation of my family to live in Will County. I’ve seen the changes that uncontrolled growth brings to the area, and while I’m not against growth, I certainly know there are better ways to do it than some of the ways it is currently being done.”

Joe brings a visionary yet practical perspective to the Board of Trustees. “I would like to see The Conservation Foundation continue the transition from a DuPage organization to a Northeastern Illinois regional organization,” says Joe. “I think the organization just gets stronger by spreading out and making more communities feel that they are part of the Foundation. That’s going to be easy to do as growth continues. These other communities will feel the need for the Foundation and the expertise the staff brings to them and I think it’s going to be exciting to be a part of all of that.”

An avid outdoorsman and golfer, Joe currently runs the family insurance business, which has been serving the community since 1921, and is also a farm owner. He has practiced the message he preaches by placing the streams and wetlands on his 160-acre Iowa farm into conservation programs. He is a graduate of North Central College in Naperville and he and his wife Lynn have raised their three sons in his hometown of Lockport.