M A Y W O O D ,   I L L I N O I S



Member Profiles

An On-going Series of Discussions with Maywood Chamber Members.


Q & A


    Get to Know MCC

The Chamber is pleased to bring you its Member Profile series, which is intended to broaden awareness of the special gifts, talents, experiences and insights that members of the Maywood Chamber of Commerce bring to their businesses, customers, the Chamber, and Maywood.  Each interview reveals a little more about the men and women who make our Chamber and community special.  Enjoy.


  (See Member Profile Below.)  



Maywood Chamber of Commerce Member

Michael Rogers

Full name:

Michael Rogers

Nick name: (if any)



Late 50’s

Place of Birth:


High School:

DuSable High School


University of Illinois-Chicago

Highest Degree:

Bachelor of Architecture Professional Degree

First Job:        

Annual Internships at Engineering Firm

Favorite Job:

32 Years Developing McDonald’s Nationwide

Childhood Dream:

I have been designing and drawing since eighth grade all the way through five years of college, and 32 years of professional practice as an architect.

Personal Hero (and why):

Honestly, it has to be Barack Obama.  I met him well before he made it big.  He was very smart and real even then.  Having had a few direct conversations with one of history’s greatest figure is very gratifying.  His impact and dignified leadership will be more appreciated as time goes on.


Q & A with Mike Rogers




Each Interviewee provides written responses to questions prepared by webmaster, Dan Perkins.  Some responses are edited to enhance readability.

In 2001, you were involved with the installation of the memorial to the Underground Railroad at the McDonald’s restaurant on Lake Street, just west of the Des Plaines River.  What was your involvement with that project; and how did that come about?

At the time, I was a Bellwood Trustee and a veteran construction manager at McDonald’s.  Someone at McDonald's saw a newspaper article about Operation Uplift that pointed out the historical significance of the site where the Maywood McDonald’s, on Lake Street, now sits.  The company was unaware of the historical significance of the site until then.  McDonald's brought me the story and thought, as a former national president of The National Organization of Minority Architects, I would be interested doing something to help honor the history.  They were right.  It was a great natural fit for me, and I ran with the assignment.

It became my job to manage the building of the  McDonald’s restaurant on the Lake Street site, and to ensure that it reflected the history of the area inside and out. The McDonald’s company, the Nelson Family (franchisee), Operation Uplift’s WestTown Museum, the contractor, and the Village were all very cooperative.  Everyone accepted my design concept for a symbolic “underground railroad,” which was conceived as public art, and placed in a plaza setting, along with a historical narrative bronze plate.


What did it mean for you to be involved with the installation of such an important piece?

Listen, I would have done that project for no paycheck at all; it was so fulfilling to be selected; and empowering to drive the execution.  (I can say that now that I am retired after 32 years of receiving paychecks!) 

I had no idea at the time that I would one day live only blocks away from the site; but I did know I was going to look out for both the Maywood community and McDonald’s with tremendous pride. 

I know many people still care about the memorial because they tell me from time to time!


What is your favorite memory of that project?
The celebration ceremony and ribbon cutting were incredible.  It seemed as though everyone was there, even though it was an outdoor ceremony, held on December 1st, 2000; and quite cold.  I remember chairs set up outside, and seeing them filled with Village dignitaries, McDonald’s executives, and citizens of great diversity.  All had come to celebrate and learn the history of the site.  We recorded a video of the ceremony, which culminated with a symbolic “slavery chain cutting” (instead of a ribbon) to kick-off the new plaza and the new restaurant building, which was developed to be an economic engine for the area.


Do you think the Underground Railroad monument has different message today than when it was first installed?  If so, what is the difference; and why?  And if not, why not?
Monuments are important because they force a certain amount of attention and command a measure of respect.  I am told people bring children and students, even adults, over to check it out, which was and is the intended purpose.  The inside display refers people over to the WestTown Museum for more in-depth history.


You are nearing the end of your term as a Village Trustee.  What led you to want to be involved with public service; and what do you think of public service now that you are nearing the end of your term?

While I served as the 1995 National President of the Organization of Minority Architects, and as the 2010 Illinois President of the American Institute of Architects (inclusive of all of Illinois’ Architects), I challenged every member of those associations to get directly involved in the positive development of their community. 

Architects know a great deal about community development, economic development, construction, zoning, planning and beautiful appearances.  Our specialty involves analyzing problems, needs and resources, and then offering up solutions that solve problems, meet needs, and leverage resources in a collaborative way.  Communities need that urgently. 

In 1995, I started my own service contributions in Bellwood, which lasted many years.  I moved to a nice architectural house in Maywood, in 2011; and in 2013, started similar public service work in Maywood. 

I know leadership is not about having a title; it’s about setting an example that others can proudly follow, in a way that elevates the community.  I hope that I have done that.



What are you most proud of accomplishing as a Village Trustee?


Several projects come to mind, beginning with championing the Widows Home portico restoration, and the landmark designation of that property.  Those efforts were very important to our image as a community.  Getting them done continues to help people to feel better about Maywood.  They can see the difference. 

My efforts also led to resurfacing (long-overdue) of streets along 13th Avenue that border Broadview.  Getting that done meant engaging Broadview's Mayor Jones; and utilizing a speedy, yet cost savings approach.

I am proud of standing strong and in favor of several projects I believe in: the new Metra Train Station at 5th Avenue; the Bank/Retail project on Lake Street; and the new Maywood Fine Arts building.

I attended well over 1,200 community events, as Trustee, including over 200 village board/committee meetings, and 4 years of bi-monthly MAPS public safety sessions.  I am also proud of having served as an IDOT/Village expressway reconfiguration liaison. 

As a Village Trustee, I tried to do everything in a way that I believe garners respectability for Maywood.  Other notable activities included representing Illinois on the National Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials Board; representing Illinois on the Community & Economic Development Policy Committee of the National League of Cities.

I am also proud to have played a part in approving a new, and very experienced Village Manager, a new dynamic Police Chief, the purchase of a new fire engine, the renovation of the fire station, purchase of new ambulances, and more public works vehicles.  There is more, but I’d better stop with those things.


What is the one thing you would like to see the Village accomplish in the next four years?
I won’t use four years as a time frame for anything!  That would make it seem like accomplishments are tied to political terms; and they certainly are not!  Accomplishments are the result of skilled and passionate people making things happen, no matter what.  Everyone can become a committee of a least one, and work to improve their corner of Maywood.  If everyone focuses on making improvements, then good things will happen.  People will become friends, and neighbors will jump on board to help one another.  I sound a lot like “Mr. Rogers”?  I make no apology.  I mean it.


In addition to serving as a Trustee, you are a licensed architect.  What drew you to the field of architecture?

(Actually, I have to say am a Trustee, in addition to being an architect, that would be more accurate.)  I am ALWAYS an architect and have been destined to be so, since at least eighth grade.  I love designing solutions to challenges. 

I built dollhouses for my sister, even when I was a kid.  I just naturally want to take pieces, put them together, and make them work for the use of people.  I did great in school, especially math, drawing, drafting, and then architectural design. 

I have been riding the wave ever since.  Even today, while I am technically retired, I observe buildings and spaces constantly.  It’s very enjoyable.


If you were able to work on any project, anywhere in the world, what would that be, and why?
I have a local focus at heart; and I still want to help Maywood and Proviso.  Since I am retired, I stay at the management and master planning level with sketches, concepts and strategic solutions rather than detailed blueprints.  I want to visit Egypt, Paris, Greece, Rome, and more, to view famous architecture.  Fortunately, I am surrounded by notable architecture in River Forest, Oak Park, Chicago, and hidden jewels right here in Maywood!


If a young person were interested in a career in architecture, what advice would you give him or her?
I give advice at every career day or school visit I get invited to.  I love to do that; and can’t get enough. When I meet a young person who is interested in architecture, engineering, interior design or construction, I tell him or her that those fields are potentially among the most fulfilling careers imaginable, if you are creative and driven.


What do you know about yourself, today, (or about life and or business) that you wish you knew twenty years ago?

I grew up very poor, in the Robert Taylor Homes, and public housing, all the way through college.  Back then, I could not predict being able to retire at 55; but it is really not very hard to do if you just choose to do the right thing, study, and train during your teen years through your twenties.  Then, you must treat people decently; and use wisdom thereafter. 

Looking back, I have been blessed to follow that formula whether I was aware of it or not.  I am grateful for that.





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