February 21, 2019

12:00 PM – 4:00 PM


Robbins Community Center 13800 Trumbull Ave. 

Robbins, IL 60472, USA

The 2020 MEISS EXPO (MINORITY ENTREPRENEUR INTERACTIVE SOLUTION SYMPOSIUM) , hosted by Mayor Tyrone Ward brings together public and private sector influencers to help provide resources to minority entrepreneurs in the South Suburban Chicagoland area.









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Mayor Tyrone Ward serves as creator and host of the 2019 MEISS Expo. His goal is to bring together partners from both the public and private sector to facilitate minority entrepreneurial engagement in the South Suburban Chicagoland area. His mission to transform Robbins to a regional hub for industry, technology and workforce development was crucial in fostering partnerships with MWRD, CMAP, OAI and other private companies  excited to take part in such groundbreaking community projects. 

Along with serving his second term as Mayor of the historic Village of Robbins, Illinois, Tyrone Ward also serves in a leadership role as the Vice President of SSMMA (South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association) as well as Vice President for Southland Regional Mayors Black Caucus. He is also a member of the Blue Island/Robbins Neighborhood Network and the NAACP. Mayor Wards previous public sector experience includes President of the Robbins Park District and Trustee of the Village of Robbins. 

Mayor Ward is a proud member of his community. Born and raised in Robbins, he is a member of Union Missionary Baptist Church, the Greater Robbins Elks Lodge #1642, a member of Masonic Lodge #121 and has served as a teacher as well as in several other capacities in the local school districts. His most treasured accomplishment is the founding of the Lillian Bryant Spearmon-Ward Foundation after his mother.

Mayor Tyrone Ward holds an Associates Degree in Psychology, a Bachelors Degree in Human Resources, a Masters Degree in Curriculum and Instruction and a Masters Degree in Education Administration. 

His motto is: I will strive to be a positive, public vessel & conduit for all...

Host & Keynote Panel Moderator



Born and raised in Robbins, Illinois, Yvonne Moore is an entrepreneur, creative director and tv host.  Her experience also includes more than thirteen years in social services. Here she helped clients hone their job search and interview skills. Yvonne is also known for her passion for the creative arts. Her creativity has enabled her to take on an additional skill in involving set design. She has designed sets and backdrops for a number of mediums, including: reality television, dance, stage plays, and museums.   A “home grown” arts advocate, Yvonne is proud to use her creative voice in the black community. 

Co-host & Entrepreneur


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Dr. Ansel Johnson is the founder and currently clinical director of Vision Salon Eye Care Associates located in Blue Island since 1990. He has a B.A. in Biology from Illinois Wesleyan University and received his Doctor of Optometry degree from the New England College of Optometry in Boston, Massachusetts. He has completed post-graduate programs from the Illinois College of Optometry and the University of Missouri @ St. Louis School of Optometry in Ocular Therapeutics.

In 1994 he was honored at the White House and by President Clinton, members of Congress and the National Head Start Association as one of the first students of the Head Start Program and a role model/success story. In 1995 he was awarded the outstanding achievement award in Medicine by the National Head Start association.

Dr. Johnson served as a member of the Illinois Department of Finance and Regulation Optometry Board from 1999 to 2009. This board oversees the practice of all the licensed optometrists in the State of Illinois His professional leadership has been shown by holding multiple offices over the years including, Regional Trustee for the National Optometric Association, Treasurer for Central City Optometric Society, Community Advisory Board for St. Francis Hospital, and currently Medical Advisory Board for the Bernie Mac Foundation for Sarcoidosis Awareness and Optometric Medical Director for United Eye Care Providers.

His outreach program, “Community Lecture Series on Glaucoma & Diabetes” and “Healthy Living with a Vision” has educated hundreds of individuals in community organizations and churches on the management, and care of diabetes and glaucoma to empower the public.

His office slogan is “Where there is no vision, the people perish....” taken from Proverbs 29:18.

 Founder/Clinical Dir. Vision Salon Eye Care Associates


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Shon began his career in the electrical construction industry over 20+ years ago and received his training through IBEW Local Union 134. During his time in the field, Shon gained experience running large-scale electrical projects, and quickly moved into Project Management.

Shon Harris is now the Owner and President of the company originally known as LiveWire Electrical Systems, Inc., a union contracting firm specializing in the installation of electrical and low voltage systems. Shon incorporated LiveWire in August of 2006 and immediately began building the company’s portfolio with repeat business and new customers. He obtained his electrical supervising license with the City of Chicago in 2005 and is the license holder for the company. Shon has also acquired Electrical licenses in other states such Indiana and Michigan and the most recent license is General Contracting License in Chicago, IL.

Shon combined his contractors’ license with his field and management experience subsequently to establish current company known as LiveWire Construction. With his keen insight to managing labor and identifying opportunities. He began to expand his construction division by hiring carpenters, laborers and finishers to begin self-performing concrete construction work. Once bringing on these additional trades into the company portfolio, he began culminating a General Contracting division for LiveWire.

Shon has been honored by several organizations such as SSSBA, Chicago Defender Men of Excellence, Chicago Urban League, CMSDC, C.U.C.A- Minority Contractor of the Year and most recently from the Black Contractors Owners & Executives as their Inaugural President of the organization normally known BCOE.

As the owner, Shon’s main focus is creating a sustainable company by developing genuine relationships that result in long-term customers. While continuously looking to develop and include individuals from diverse backgrounds to demonstrate how diversity and inclusion can be successful.

President and Owner of LiveWire Construction, Inc.


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Kenneth Lewis Sr. is Legendary --- an Entrepreneur and a Movement Maker. His business and life in general have attracted the attention of everyone from Oprah to the Obamas. He has decades of sales awards, has taken multiple companies from zero to hero making millions and still owns the iconic Kenny’s Ribs and Chicken and Dusties Southern Style Buffet restaurants that have been publicly celebrated by Steve Harvey and frequented by many celebrities.

Kenneth began his career in June of 1969 as a financial planner with the New York Life Insurance Company at the age of 21. His goal: To become a millionaire by the time he was age thirty (30).

And he did. In his first year, he set company sales records. Kenneth’s earned his pay strictly on a commission basis, always focused d he knew this meant unlimited income. Over his two decades long career, Kenneth was among New York Life’s top 100 agents. One of his most prized accomplishments was being a colleague of the Million Dollar Round Table and the Top of the Table (the top 1,000 agents in the world). He received nationwide invitations to present as a motivational speaker and to teach his very own unique insurance sales techniques. His record and his methods are still used as a basis for training in many circles in the insurance industry.

Dr. Kenneth’s book, The Era of the Entrepreneur, is further developed into a complete Master Course. As founder of The Business Accelerator, a business institute and learning opportunity, the book is now a live course and is being taught to persons who want to jump start or up level their business. His leadership and teachings are foundational pillars in the communities. Although he has enjoyed just about every money making success a man could want his deep passion is for giving back.

One of the greatest ventures he pursues is sharing the entrepreneurial spirit with thousands of aspiring dreamers who want a better life for themselves and their families. Using his skills as a

committed entrepreneur, he is credited with teaching thousands of persons how to start and build a business. Helping and developing others start businesses allows him the opportunity to share his gifts and talents. He is a proven master salesman and master business builder. Dr. Kenneth Lewis is a coach’s coach, a trainer’s trainer and a leader’s leader.

 Founder Kenny's Ribs and Chicken and Dusties Southern Style Buffet



Mae Whiteside, PE is President/CEO of CKL Engineers, LLC.  Ms. Whiteside manages projects in the areas of civil engineering, aviation, public infrastructure, utilities and site development.



She is a trained civil engineer and is licensed in the State of Illinois. Her capabilities are in field engineering, erosion control inspection, resident engineering, construction contract administration, planning studies, design plan development and utility coordination.


Ms. Whiteside is active in national political endeavors and local philanthropic causes. Along with Nicole Butler, co-foundedFlourishPAC, a non-partisan political action committee dedicated to helping our sisters gain a seat at the table. She was a 2016 presidential campaign fellow and formerly served as Board Member of St. Martin de Porres House of Hope, a substance abuse recovery home for women and children, in the Woodlawn Community in Chicago. She currently serves as a member of the Lumen Cordium Society of the Archdiocese of Chicago.  


She is leading philanthropic efforts for the reimagination of the exhibit: “The Slow Walk to Greatness: The Harold Washington Story” at DuSable Museum of African American History.


Ms. Whiteside holds a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Illinois Institute of Technology and alumni of Howard University School of Business.


She is an active member of the Economic Club of Chicago, American Council of Engineering Companies and American Society of Civil Engineers.

President/CEO of CKL Engineers, LLC





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James D. Montgomery, Sr., was born in Louise, Mississippi on February 17, 1932.  He received a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Illinois in 1953, and also graduated from the University of Illinois College of Law in 1956.  While Mr. Montgomery has extensive litigation experience in both state and Federal Court, he has appeared in trials in various states throughout the country.


In 1956, Mr. Montgomery began his legal career with the law firm of Rogers, Strayhorn & Harth. He later became an Assistant United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois. His commitment to civil rights and his community led him to establish his own firm, James D. Montgomery & Associates, Ltd., where he became involved in several landmark civil rights cases including Hampton v. Hanrahan, a case where the Black Panther chairman, Fred Hampton and Rockford Black Panther leader Mark Clark were murdered during a Chicago police raid. He developed his well-honed trial skills while trying hundreds of challenging criminal cases.


In 1983, Mr. Montgomery was appointed Corporation Counsel for the City of Chicago, under Mayor Harold Washington, where he supervised a legal staff which exceeded 190 lawyers.  Also in 1983, he was named a fellow of the prestigious International Academy of Trial Lawyers which is by invitation only.  He has served on numerous advisory groups and committees including The Civil Justice Expense and Delay Advisory Group, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois and Judicial Evaluation Committees for the State and Federal Courts.


In 1999, the Illinois Academy of Lawyers inducted Mr. Montgomery as a “Laureate” in the Academy. As described in the bylaws of the Academy, a Laureate must “personify the greatness of the legal profession and help to establish and maintain its highest principles through a pervasive record of service to the law, the profession and to the public” and that truly describes Jim.


In 2001, he also settled a case against the City of Chicago for 18 million dollars on behalf of the Estate of LaTanya Haggerty, who was shot and killed by a Chicago police officer in June 1999. The settlement represents one of the highest awards in the history of the State of Illinois. In 2006, Mr. Montgomery achieved a verdict for 23.5 million dollars in an auto negligence case and a verdict of 6.75 million in a malicious-prosecution case. He recently settled medical and bus-pedestrian cases for 7.5 and10million dollars respectively.


Mr. Montgomery currently serves as a trustee to the University of Illinois Board of Trustees.


In addition to his professional activities, Mr. Montgomery is a frequent lecturer in various seminars and trial skills workshops.


He is married to Pauline and has 6 adult children: Linda, James, Jr., Michelle, Lisa, Jewel and Jilian. He also has six grandchildren: Gemilyn, Lindsey, Stella, Joshua, Hannah and Jacqueline.

 Founder of James D. Montgomery and Associates., Ltd.



Danielle Mitchell is an International Marketing Strategist and founder of Average Black Girl. At, the mission is to create more multicultural millionaires through marketing, web design, product management and securing partnerships.


Danielle’s background is marketing with consumer package goods such as L’Oreal and Coca Cola and has not only taught in the USA in cities such as Chicago and Atlanta but has also worked in Nigeria and spoke in Ghana in September at the Africa Entrepreneur Conference. 


Currently at Average Black Girl has 30,000 followers. The brand generates revenue through online courses, web design, consulting, membership course, and sponsored posts.


The go to market strategy consists of contributing for major outlets such as, average black girl podcast, and social media.


In a world of online coaches that focus on BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT, Average Black Girl is unique in that they not only teach clients how to grow and expand but teach individuals how to become an influencer. 

Founder of



DeAndre L. Rucker, husband and father, published author, and a native Chicagoan is a self-made business man, business advisor and the CEO and Founder of Rucker Holding.

Founder & CEO of Rucker Holding

D E A N D R E  L . R U C K E R


As President of LCG, Lang leads all aspects of program development operations, including fundraising reaching $408 million for capital and programmatic support. Her responsibilities include public-private partnerships, advancement operations and services, meetings and special events, and stewardship and donor relations. Lang brings more than 18 years of capital and programmatic fundraising experience concentrated in the healthcare, veteran housing developments, medical research and academic arenas. 

President of Lang Capital Group


Keisha Rogers has been with the City of Chicago for over ten years, of which, she has been an esteemed Certification Officer for three years serving within the Department of Procurement Services.  In her capacity as a Certification Officer, Keisha works with Minorities, Women, Veterans, and People with Disabilities assisting with understanding eligibility criteria and review processes with regard to Local and Federal programs.  

Cert. Officer, Chicago Procurement Officer


Irma Lopez is the Outreach Manager for the Business Enterprise Program (BEP) and the Veteran Business Program (VBP), within the Illinois Department of Central Management Services agency (better known as CMS). 

llinois Department of Central Management Services


With more than 25+ years of success in corporate strategy, branding and product development, Tracey V. Bell works to create gateways to strengthen economic development throughout diverse business and communities.  

Director of Marketing & Operations, 95.1 FM


Ms. Colangelo has over 20 years working in commercial banking, with an expertise in Government Lending including SBA and the Advantage Illinois Participation Loan Program. One of a four-member team, that started a SBA department at a Chicago based banking institution, she have been actively involved and successful at working with small business owners to help them obtain financing.

Maria Colangelo, Program Manager Advantage IL and Women Business Development




3327 W 137th Street
Robbins, IL 60472
Ph: 708-385-8940 ex 262
Special Events Coordinator: Adena Adams
Executive Assistant to Mayor Ward: Vanessa Marshall
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