Our Leadership

Novak Construction leaders are hands-on executives with decades-long knowledge of every aspect of construction from the ground up.

  • John Novak

    Founder & President

    As President, John is responsible for the strategic business planning and profitable growth of Novak Construction Company. Through John’s vision, tenacity and anticipation of prevailing market needs, Novak Construction has successfully transitioned to become one of Chicago’s premier general contractors and construction managers.

    John attended Southern Illinois University. As a trained carpenter, he founded Novak Construction in 1980. John’s goal was to create a commercial firm that would be based on strong client relationships, superior quality work and a portfolio of various well‐known brands and project types. Today they span the retail, institutional and multi‐family sectors. John’s philanthropic efforts focus on a variety of causes – from education and the disadvantaged, to supporting hospitals and equine causes.

  • Lee Krzyszton

    Vice President, Estimating

    Lee is one of the longest tenured employees at Novak, recently celebrating 35 years at the firm. He is responsible for the overall management of the Estimating Department, in addition to supervising Pre‐construction Services.

    Lee focuses on meeting the cost objectives for all contracting, scheduling, estimating and bidding elements. He attended the University of Illinois at Chicago, concentrating on coursework in the School of Architecture.

     

  • Dan Miller

    Chief Information Officer

    As CIO, Dan is responsible for all technology needs at Novak. With 20 years of technical and project management experience, Dan focuses on security, automation, systems/process improvement and information management.

    Prior to joining Novak, Dan has held CIO positions for Gold Coast Tickets, as well as the real estate development company, Optima, Inc. Starting his career as a Technology Support Supervisor for United Parcel Service, he also served as Corporate MIS Manager at Ty, Inc. and technology consultant to Ty Warner Hotels and Resorts.

    Dan earned a B.S. in Computer Information Systems from DeVry University. He enjoys golfing and is a coach for the Schaumburg Sluggers Fastpitch Travel Organization.

  • Michael J. Power

    Michael J. Power

    Chief Financial Officer

    Mike leads Novak’s accounting and finance activities. He has over 28 years of high-level accounting and finance experience, with the past 20+ years being spent in real estate development and construction. Prior to the real estate downturn in 2010, Mike spent 11 years with prominent Chicago real estate developer, Shaw Development Company. Most recently Mike spent the past 10.5 years with a Chicagoland general contractor specializing in commercial interiors. He currently sits on the board of directors for the Chicago Chapter of CFMA and is a licensed real estate broker.

    Mike earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from DePaul University. In addition to his traditional accounting responsibilities, Mike has experience administering HR benefits plans, 401(K) & Profit-Sharing Plans, and maintaining corporate banking and insurance relationships. He enjoys spending time with his two daughters, playing golf, traveling, the occasional home DIY project, and watching sports including the Blackhawks, Cubs, and Bears.

  • John Determann

    Director, Pre-construction

    John Determann joined the Novak team in 2000. He is responsible for coordinating and overseeing the pre-construction phase of Novak projects in order to meet cost objectives.

    John works closely with each Project Director to prepare detailed estimates for each phase of construction, assembles the estimate, and conceives and analyzes cost models during the design development and bidding periods. He ensures that potential risk factors have been evaluated and value engineering has been applied, in addition to striving to establish an “iron clad” GMP on each individual assignment.

    John organizes and leads the transition meeting between the project operations and the pre-construction teams and conducts site visits for in‐progress projects to verify status of estimates versus work‐in‐place for comparison to the estimate and budget.

    John attended Triton College and matriculated at DePaul University, concentrating on construction and business‐related coursework. He enjoys hunting, boating and spending time in Wisconsin with his family.

     

     

  • Jim Hempleman

    Project Director

    A 25-year veteran of Novak, Jim brings his design knowledge to each project. He works with all participants in the construction cycle, including owners, architects, engineers and subcontractors. He manages ongoing client relationships and cultivates new opportunities that compliment Novak’s portfolio.

    Additionally, Jim focuses on enhancing the younger ranks of Novak Construction by actively recruiting new talent from the top construction management and civil engineering programs in the country, such as Purdue University and the University of Illinois, as well as overseeing summer internships for the firm.

    Jim holds M.S. degrees in both Architecture and Civil Engineering, as well as a B.S. in Architectural Studies – all from the University of Illinois in Champaign‐Urbana. He enjoys snow and water skiing, spending time with his family in Wisconsin and running marathons.

  • Anand Nandula

    Project Director

    Anand Nandula is a results‐oriented, hands‐on Construction Manager with over 15 years of experience in managing and successfully completing multimillion-dollar commercial projects. Anand’s areas of expertise include design/drawing review, estimating/bid preparation and evaluation, contract negotiations, short‐listing of subcontractors, budget preparation and implementation, contract management, project scheduling and, as important a skillset overall, client, architect, consultants and engineers project coordination.

    In addition to the large‐scale retail projects that Anand oversees currently, he has managed a variety of projects in the Novak healthcare and senior living sectors as well.

    Anand received a B.S. in Civil Engineering, specializing in Construction Management at the Regional Engineering College in India. He earned his M.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of Illinois. He enjoys spending time with family and traveling.

  • Karen Rugh

    Project Director

    Karen has been in the industry for 14 years has been involved with many facets of the construction industry. She has extensive knowledge in the retail sector, working on nearly 20 Whole Foods Market projects in Illinois, Indiana and Minnesota.

    In early 2018, she was named Novak’s first Female Project Director. She understands a project’s life cycle and has a “take care of business” approach.

    Karen received her B.S. in Civil Engineering, cum laude, from Washington University-School of Engineering and Applied Science in St. Louis, Missouri.  During her free time, she enjoys lakefront picnics, traveling often, museums and Chicago’s amazing restaurants. She is a city dweller married with two young daughters and a Norwich terrier.

    Karen is LEED, AP.

     

     

  • Mike Nix

    Project Director

    Mike joined Novak in 2006 and serves as director of the Costco Team. He has served in various senior roles in his career, starting as a carpenter and advancing through the field ranks to Project Superintendent. His current emphasis is on project construction coordination, cost‐control systems implementation, assisting with estimating/bid package development.

    Mike earned a B.S. in Construction Management and an A.A. in Civil Engineering from the University of Cincinnati. He enjoys golfing when he can find time off his busy work schedule.

  • Andy Kivari

    Senior Project Manager

    Andy brings a breadth of experience to his Novak projects which have traversed the retail, senior living facilities and affordable housing sectors. Andy takes the lead in team meetings and communications, ensuring costs and scheduling will achieve project targets. Often times, Andy can be seen mentoring Novak’s junior team members.

    Andy earned a B.A. in Business Management from Northwood University. In addition, he holds an A.A. in Applied Science, Civil Engineering Technology from Michigan Technological University. He enjoys trout fishing and watching sprint car races because they are “super fast.”

     

     

     

     

  • Bob Burris

    Senior Project Manager

    Bob brings a strong combination of project management, field supervision, and estimating experience to every project. He has a deep knowledge of the retail market and experience with both ground-up and TI projects. He has a can-do attitude with a focus on the finish.

    Bob received his B.S. in Construction Engineering from Southern Illinois University and is OSHA 10‐hour certified. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his three daughters and working on the restoration of his ’69 Chevy Truck.

     

     

  • Lowell Zarzuela

    Senior Project Manager

    Lowell’s experience includes work in the public and industrial sectors. He brings a strong business background and client service to each project focusing on reaching goals and early project completion.  Growing up in Chicago, Lowell takes pride in being a part of the construction team for the Maggie Daley Park adjacent to Millennium Park in downtown Chicago.

    Lowell received his M.B.A. and B.A. in Business Administration from Loyola University Chicago. He enjoys spending time with his family, attending concerts, watching movies, and cheering MMA and boxing events.

  • Byron DeBord

    Senior Project Manager

    Byron focuses on managing retail client open-store remodels, as well as ground-up new construction. He has been involved in a number of complex projects in both Suburban and downtown Chicago locations. Most of his assignments have involved working with the client and architect during pre-construction to shape cost, scope, and other project criteria.

    Byron received his B.A. from Columbia University in New York. He is LEED AP and USGBC Certified. He enjoys Chicago’s culinary and musical cultural offerings, is an avid golfer and is involved in U.S. Masters Swimming.

     

  • Brad Tomky, Senior Project Manager

    Brad Tomky

    Senior Project Manager

    Brad is a 20-year industry professional coming to us from Pepper Construction. He has delivered complex projects in health care, retail, education, commercial office, and life sciences. Brad constantly strives to enhance best practices, quality, safety, and training of the next generation of Project Management talent.

    Brad enjoys spending time with his family by traveling, attending and coaching youth sporting events, hiking, and biking. When there is free time available, he enjoys working with his tools for home projects and auto repairs.

  • Robbie Stangle

    Robbie Stangle

    Senior Project Manager

    Robbie is an 18-year industry professional. He previously worked at Power Construction, Skender Construction, and Reed Construction as a Project Executive. Robbie is an expert in project management, business development, and developing the skills of operations team members. Throughout his career, he has worked in many market sectors with most of his time spent in the healthcare market.

    Robbie earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Construction Management from Westwood College. He enjoys coaching his son’s baseball and basketball teams, hanging out in the backyard on the weekends, and boating and golfing.

  • Mimi Novak

    Chief Operating Officer

    Mimi has worked for Novak Construction since 2010, and informally her entire life. Mimi provides executive leadership and oversight to Novak Operations both in the field and office. Mimi ensures our teams deliver best-in-class construction services to our clients with a focus on innovative solutions, risk mitigation, safety, QA/QC, and providing the highest level of customer service.

    Mimi received her M.B.A. at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. She earned a B.S. at Santa Clara University. She enjoys going to yoga, horseback riding, and running with her dogs in her free time.

  • Grey Novak

    Project Manager

    Grey Novak brings 11 years’ experience to his commercial construction projects. He has served in multiple roles, and his level of experience has grown as he has had the opportunity to provide services to clients in various markets. Grey ensures that all project goals are met and every detail of a project is covered. His responsibilities include the overall successful planning, execution, monitoring, control and closure of each project.

    Grey enjoys meeting new people and spending time with family and friends. He also enjoys hunting and traveling.

  • Crystal Novak, HR Manager

    Crystal Novak

    Human Resources

    Crystal guides and manages Human Resources services, policies, and programs. Her responsibilities include onboarding, employee records, maintenance of pay plan and benefits programs, payroll, legal HR compliance, and nurturing a positive working environment. With years of Project Management experience, including the institutional, healthcare, and retail markets, Crystal now enjoys the opportunity to manage human capital in alignment with Novak Construction’s overall business strategy.

    Crystal earned an M.A. from Northwestern University and a B.A. from the University of Oregon. Her children are her greatest passion! She also enjoys hiking, making music, and vacationing anywhere near a hot spring.

  • Jason Steffen

    Project Executive, Novak Interiors, LLC

    As Project Executive, Jason contributes to all stages of a successful project. He is a results-oriented professional with vast experience in tenant build-outs and renovations of all sizes and complexity. He is the source responsible for overall project coordination and ensures the full measure of the company’s resources are made available throughout the entire project.

    Jason is brings over 17 years’ of experience in the construction industry to Novak. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Business/Communications from the University of Illinois (Champaign-Urbana) and is LEED AP. When he is not at the office, Jason spends time with his wife, Megan, and his two children. He enjoys playing golf and dining out at restaurants.

  • Mike Krzyszton

    Project Manager

    Mike has been with Novak since 2010 and has been working solely with the Costco team since 2015. He is involved in contractor scopes, contract negotiations and monitoring job budgets. He also handles day-to-day owner, architect and contractor issues and coordinates scheduling.

    Mike received his B.A. in Industrial Technology & Management from Western Illinois University. He enjoys camping, watching sporting events and participating in fantasy football. He also likes to barbecue and cook at home.

  • Christopher Gasparian

    Project Manager

    Chris has over 15 years of experience working in the construction industry in a wide variety of roles, ranging from construction claims consultant to project manager for the City of New York. Chris has been with Novak since 2018 and successfully completed projects in the retail, healthcare, and education sectors. He values client satisfaction, delivering a quality work product, and leading by example.

    Chris received a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Lehigh University. He enjoys camping, hiking, and spending time with his wife and two children.

  • Ryan Powell

    Ryan Powell

    Project Manager

    Ryan has spent his entire career at Novak Construction and has quickly become an expert in complex construction on multiple product types. He thrives in an environment of fast-tracked construction and is a solutions provider for his clients.

    Ryan earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Building Construction Management from Purdue University. He enjoys cooking and traveling with his wife Jessica, and spending time with their dog Millie.

  • Kevin Thieme

    Kevin Thieme

    Project Manager

    Kevin joined Novak with over 12 years of experience in the construction industry as a Project Manager. He has previously worked for Bulley & Andrews, AECOM Hunt, and most recently with LEVEL General Contractor. Kevin possesses an experienced skill set in project estimating, scheduling, project controls, and a client-centric approach to construction.

    Kevin earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Applied Human Science, Construction Management from Colorado State University. He enjoys spending time with his wife, daughter, as well as fishing, hunting, horticulture, and working on his house.

  • Bill Pounders

    Safety Director

    With over three decades of construction experience, Bill oversees the Novak Safety Program, as well as all fleet vehicles and equipment. Bill’s responsibilities include performing safety audits/inspections of all job sites on a weekly basis, promoting a zero‐incident/accident record for the company, developing a comprehensive safety training program and continuously instructing all field employees.

    Bill is certified in the following: OSHA Construction Outreach Trainer, EPA Storm Water  Inspector, Forklift Operator, Fall Protection Competent Person Trainer and Flagger. Bill holds a Bachelor of Science in Construction from Northern Illinois University, and is also an Instructor of Construction Management at Waubonsee Community College.

  • Jake Paschen, EVP of Novak Development

    Jake Paschen

    Executive Vice President of Development

    Jake is the Executive Vice President of Novak Development Company and is responsible for its real estate development and investment activities and its portfolio of retail, industrial and multi-family properties. Jake has wide-ranging experience in all aspects of real estate investment, ownership, development, asset management, and management and is responsible for all aspects of operations and all critical decisions.

    Prior to joining Novak, Jake ran a group of real estate operating companies and a portfolio of office, industrial and multi-family properties owned by a high-net-worth family based in Chicago.

    During his free time, Jake enjoys spending time in the outdoors, fly fishing, boating, water skiing, snow skiing, and spending time with his family.

  • Charles Bowling

    Controller, Real Estate Development

    As Controller for the Real Estate Development side of Novak Construction, Charles is responsible for all accounting duties and tenant accounts. He earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Accountancy from Saint Joseph’s College in Rensselaer, Indiana, and is a Certified Public Accountant.

    He enjoys gardening,vacationing anywhere in Wisconsin and spending time with his wife and three children.

     

     

  • Joanna Halicki

    Controller

    Joanna manages Novak’s Accounting Department. This includes overseeing payroll, audits, taxes, treasury management, financial statement preparation, job costing, and managing the budget process. Technologically savvy, Joanna works to improve procedures and reports by working with the CIO to maintain security and streamline processes. She is also a mentor to her team, training and encouraging the staff, ensuring they meet their objectives and grow in their roles, as well.

    Joanna holds a B.S. in Accounting from Kaplan University and is a Certified Notary Public. She loves summer and enjoys spending time at the pool and the beach with her twins.

  • Greg Rosen, VP of Sales & Marketing

    Gregg Rosen

    Vice President, Sales & Marketing

    Gregg is a 20-year industry veteran who has worked for some of the most notable firms in the industry (Walsh Construction, Lend Lease, and BP Products North America). He is a dynamic, adaptable leader with a unique skill set in business development, marketing, and communications.

    Gregg leads Novak’s sales and marketing activities to expand the customer base, modernize marketing, drive strategy, and enhance best practices.

    Gregg enjoys a good bourbon, international travel, snowboarding, and spending time with his family.

  • Max Nolan, Marketing Manager & Estimating Coordinator

    Max Nolan

    Marketing Manager & Estimating Coordinator

    Max has a wide range of marketing and design experience, having previously worked for Chicago-based mortgage and construction companies. He specializes in creating promotional materials, proposal development, project photography, campaign creation, copyediting, and CRM software, and website management. In his most recent role, Max was a key member of the marketing team for Clark Construction Company.

    Max is responsible for creating proposals, social media, communications, and assisting the Estimating department as Novak pursues new projects. His other duties include designing various promotional materials, maintaining vendor relationships, tracking and promoting project developments, and coordinating company events.

    Max enjoys traveling, fitness, history, live music, and spending time with his fiancé and friends.