Candidates Run on United Lake Zurich Party Slate

Village President Suzanne Branding runs for office with slate of candidates.


The United Lake Zurich Party filed its nominating papers for six individuals to be placed on the April 9, 2013 ballot:  Suzanne K. Branding for Village President; Kathleen Johnson for Village Clerk; Helmut Gerlach, Todd Minden, Ildiko Schultz, and Debra Vander Weit for Village Trustees. 

Suzanne Branding was born and raised in Lake Zurich before moving away for a number of years, returning to Lake Zurich eight years ago.  Ms. Branding, a graduate of Ela Vernon (now Lake Zurich) High school in Lake Zurich and the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana, is married with 2 adult children.  Prior to raising her family, she was a sales, marketing, and training representative for a major Illinois telecommunications company. For the past four years, Ms. Branding has served as Village President (Mayor) of Lake Zurich, after serving two years as Village Trustee.  Ms. Branding and her husband operate Shady Oaks Bed and Breakfast in Lake Zurich. She is a member of the Illinois Bed and Breakfast Association, the Lake Zurich Lions Club, Lake Zurich Area Chamber of Commerce. She is active in her local church, an avid gardener, and a trained master gardener.  


Kathleen Johnson is a 45 year resident of Lake Zurich. She had twenty-three year career in Early Childhood Education in Lake Zurich and Island Lake. For the last 2 years, Ms. Johnson has served as Village Clerk.  She has three adult children who attended May Whitney, Lake Zurich Junior High, and Lake Zurich High schools. She is active in her church and with helping at Emmaus House.


Helmut Gerlach, has lived in Lake Zurich since 2003.  Helmut is a transactional attorney, concentrating in commercial real estate and finance (with extensive background in development, architectural, construction, annexation and municipal transactions), commercial and business law with nearly thirty years of business and legal experience on a local and global level with several clients in the greater Lake Zurich area.  Helmut has served or is currently serving on various association or organization boards or committees for architectural, renovation, planning, financial or legal matters having been instrumentally involved in taking matters from inception through closing.  Helmut and his wife have a 15year old son who is a freshman at Lake Zurich High School. Helmut is involved with the high school’s programs through the “6th Man Club.”  He also actively participates in various charitable organizations including his church and as a volunteer “General Counsel” for Habitat for Humanity. 


Todd Minden has lived or worked in Lake Zurich for 37 years. Mr. Minden, his wife, and their two boys all graduated from Lake Zurich schools. His daughter currently is a sophomore at Lake Zurich High School. Todd has been in corporate management for over twenty years where he supports the national and international marketing efforts for some of the largest and best-known companies in the country. Todd served as a Plan Commissioner in Lake Zurich for six years. He is past President of Whitney Shores Home Owners Association and past President and Director of the LPOA. Todd also is certified by the Center for Creative Leadership, a member of the Direct marketing Association Committee on Environmental and Social Responsibility, a member of the Chicago chapter of Marketing Executives Network Group (MENG). He has been active as both a player and a coach for many area sports teams, including Lake Zurich Flames Football, Ela Soccer and Youth Baseball Association.


Ildiko Schultz is a 23 year resident of Lake Zurich.  Born in Gyor, Hungary, at the age of one, she and her family escaped to the United States after the collapse of the Hungarian revolution. She became a US citizen and has resided in the US ever since. She is an Accounting Director with a major, national insurance company headquartered in Illinois and has extensive leadership and management experience. Ms. Schultz received her undergraduate degree from Northeastern Illinois University, her MBA from Keller Graduate School of Management, and holds several insurance and finance related professional designations.  She is an active board member for several insurance industry groups and organizations, and she currently serves on the Lake Zurich Plan Commission.   Ildiko is married and has one son, who also lives in Lake Zurich; 2 stepdaughters, and 6 grandchildren. She and her husband volunteer and participate in year round activities to support Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital.


Debra Vander Weit is a 23 year resident of Lake Zurich. Ms. Vander Weit graduated from Elmhurst College, earning a Bachelor of Science in Finance.  Debra has more than 20 years’ experience in the real estate and financial services industries.  Her experience includes conducting due diligence and the underwriting of investments in residential and mixed-use development projects on behalf of institutional investment clients.  Debra also managed a $1 billion portfolio of real estate construction assets and has operations experience in the valuation and acquisition/sale of mortgage portfolios and related securities.  She is an Illinois licensed real estate broker.  She has a 16-year-old son who attends Lake Zurich High School and a 13-year-old daughter who attends Middle School North. Debra is a member of the Lake Zurich and Barrington Chambers of Commerce, the Lake Zurich Chamber Government Affairs Committee, and the Lake Zurich Rotary Club.  She is the past Treasurer of the Lake Zurich Bears Hockey Club.


This new release was submitted by the United Lake Zurich Party. 

Resident 225 March 24, 2013 at 01:23 AM
P. St. Helen - you have your facts wrong on the Paulus Park land sale. There are no other parks or land in the Village that could accommodate the park land that would be lost. The residents spoke loud and clear on that back door deal and the Trustees heard, not Suzanne. To quote you..."please check your facts before you make uniformed comments." Suzanne is about as unqualified a mayor as LZ could ever hope to have. I want to work toward not giving her another chance to show us how incompetent she really is.
The Oracle March 24, 2013 at 02:48 AM
Joe - The goal was a land swap. Measure the size of the parcel to be sold to Rohrman ( you know, acres), and dedicate the same size parcel across from the Promenade as Open Space. It's called an off-set. Unfortunately it would not have worked since the Village already owns the land across from the Promenade and making it Open Space would guarantee NO INCREMENT from that property, which otherwise could produce a substantial increment when developed. Thankfully, the Village still has Paulus Park and the land across from the Promenade for development. At least until after the election?????
Resident Observer March 24, 2013 at 02:52 AM
The Oracle has it right, Joe. Word on the street is that even Todd Minden knows the land across from the Promenade needs to be developed and is distancing himself from the rest of the ticket.
Lead Follow or Get Out of the Way March 24, 2013 at 04:47 PM
The residents would be HORRIFIED to discover that the plan for that 12/22 area was to bring a mega-sized car dealership to that corner, a la Arlington Toyota or Grossinger. To replace potential revenue producing parcels in the TIF with park area would be ridiculous and fiscally irresponsible. We do not need another park in that area and it is NOT a better location (unless you live around the lake). We already have Breezwald, the Promenade, and that patch of ridiculousness at Main & Old Rand. The statement "Look at the high-end retail, and look at layout and design" made me laugh. You are exactly correct and it is because of the insular, short sighted decisions made by the people who have lived around the lake. I have lived in this town since 1991 and the reason we do not have what DP and Kildeer have is because the anti-development people didn't want us to "be another Schaumburg", so they stifled growth when they could (have you ever seen a Target as small as ours?) and made it an unfriendly place to do business. Now all we have are a hodgepodge of unattractive strip malls, while our neighbors to the south enjoy the tax revenue that come from thoughtful economic planning
Lead Follow or Get Out of the Way March 24, 2013 at 04:47 PM
What we need is an economic development committee whose purpose is to do nothing but explore new business development opportunities, plan for growth, and market current Lake Zurich businesses. Given our economic struggles, I cannot believe that we do not already have something like this in LZ. Mr. Poynton is the only of the 3 candidates who wants to do this, and therefore I am willing to give him my vote for mayor. I don't call that unqualified, I call that looking toward building a better future for our entire village.


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