Downtown Oak Park chief Pat Zubak announces retirement

Zubak to leave post as executive director in August


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By Anna Lothson

Staff Reporter

After seven years in the position, Pat Zubak, executive director of the Downtown Oak Park business association, announced July 10 that she'll retire in August.

Zubak, who has been in the position since 2005, sent an email to friends and colleagues about her decision, explaining why she's moving on. She and her husband have decided to sell their Oak Park townhouse, which has become too small for their growing family, and found a new "vacation" ranch-style home in unincorporated Hinsdale.

"I have enjoyed working with all of you and serving this important business organization," Zubak wrote. "Oak Park is so fortunate to have more than its fair share of creative, talented and committed business people."

She made the official announcement to the DTOP board Tuesday morning, and a search for a new director has begun. Zubak doesn't have a set retirement date. She said she's trying to be flexible while the board searches for a replacement.

I'm confident that the membership is in good hands, with a committed and talented staff and board," Zubak wrote. "DTOP is in a solid place."

In a phone interview Tuesday afternoon, Zubak said she never pictured leaving Oak Park. She grew up going to Irving School and OPRF and came back even after moving away. Her adult children live in Oak Park, so she'll be back often.

"The people are great," she said. "I love working with the merchants here. They're an amazing group. They're hard working."

What she has enjoyed most in her position, she said, is collaborating with the other business districts to help Oak Park grow. When she took the job seven years ago, she only planned on staying for five, but something kept her around.

"All the people I'll miss on a daily basis," said Zubak, 59. "It's really been a great job."

Others shared the same sentiments about the announcement.

"Pat Zubak has served Downtown Oak Park with true commitment during transitional times. Our board has enjoyed working with her and appreciates her contributions and service to our membership and our district," Bob Johnson, DTOP president said. "I thank her for her dedication and wish her the best of luck in her future endeavors." Johnson is the owner of both Sushi House and Hutong restaurants in the downtown area.

Loretta Daly, business services manager for the Village of Oak Park, emphasized that Zubak's creativity, vision and energy will be missed by the community. Daly, who served on the DTOP board, is confident the search for her replacement will have those characteristics in mind when interviewing candidates.

"Whether it was adding to the vitality of our downtown through the creation of many new and exciting community events, or creating the warm and inviting look and feel of our downtown, Pat has brought dedication and enthusiasm to the task," Daly said. "She will definitely be missed."

Email: Twitter: @AnnaLothson

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Reader Comments

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Q from Oak Park  

Posted: July 25th, 2012 12:14 AM

Mares, I knew you liked John Butch Murtagh, too. He has his information correct, and if something isn't, he won't try and cover up the mistake.


Posted: July 24th, 2012 10:25 PM

Don't mess with John Butch "Iron Guts" Murtagh.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: July 24th, 2012 9:52 PM

Bye Bye Barwin...., I like the way John Butch Murtagh talks about what is going on. You may not like it because you are one of the 4 people John Butch Murtagh talks about. I think everyone on here likes what John Butch Murtagh talks about.

Bye Bye Barwin....  

Posted: July 24th, 2012 9:30 PM

Does John Murtagh like to hear himself talk? Noooo, No way.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: July 24th, 2012 8:43 PM

John Butch Murtagh, that is funny about board members congratulating each other for ten years. Raymond certainly makes you think about how it thinks about things.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: July 24th, 2012 6:55 PM

Ray, I congratulated Adam and Bob for their first year on the board. I did not think it was appropriate to mention board members who have been congratulating each other for ten years.

Bye Bye Barwin....   

Posted: July 24th, 2012 1:49 PM

Barwin is no longer a Village Employee. He no longer is the lone employee of the VOP. End of Story. Mr Murtagh tends to like Mr Barwin and wants there to be more articles about Mr Barwin and his next endeavors. I dont see the OP newsworthiness in that? Hows Carl Swanson in AZ?


Posted: July 24th, 2012 8:47 AM

@Ray Johnson, why are you being so petty? Just answer the question, which I know can be difficult for you do to sometimes. I am confident you can answer John's question.

Ray Johnson from Oak Park  

Posted: July 24th, 2012 8:11 AM

John - you remembered to thank Adam and Bob for their service on the board in a recent One View, but didn't mention anyone else on the board. Was that an oversight or just a plain old snub?

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: July 24th, 2012 1:21 AM

Ray - you remembered to congratulate Pat Zubak, but failed to throw a bone to Tom Barwin for his new position in Florida. Was that an oversight, or a just a plain old snub?

Really Bob? from oak park  

Posted: July 23rd, 2012 7:16 PM

In the attached article from the Chicago Tribune you were called out as the Ex-teachers' Union Chief (I repeat, Chief) arrested for disorderly conduct for following and video taping a 21 year-old woman. What exactly are you the chief of - harassment? What a sicko!

bob haisman from oak park  

Posted: July 18th, 2012 8:27 PM more tyranny for now...feel sorry for anyone close to the way,the press release was filled with grammatical errors out the this really a "Chief"? The leader of a people or clan speaking?? Wow!! Simply put, I thought she was the Exec. Director of Marketing for Downtown Oak Park. But, like all other aspects of her reigning terror for the past 7 years she has chosen to "make-up" whatever the hell she so sorry for all of the members of her tribe...

Looks Like.....  

Posted: July 11th, 2012 7:01 PM

.....she could be Tori Spelling's mother.

Start spreading the news  

Posted: July 11th, 2012 6:35 PM

I have no doubt that, with the exception of Ray Johnson, the other people commenting on how wonderful Pat is are either Pat herself or her minions.


Posted: July 11th, 2012 11:20 AM

When I moved to Oak Park Marion Street was a dark and gloomy pedestrian mall. Over the years it has been transformed into a vibrant business district and community meeting place. Kudos to DTOP for turning it around. Pat should be commended for working with the business community and the village not vilified. Enough of the inappropriate embarrassing comments. Woe is me to live in village with such vile, opinionated, misinformed self righteous citizenry.

Ray Johnson from Oak Park  

Posted: July 11th, 2012 11:09 AM

@ AAC: Thank you for capturing so much of the good work DTOP has accomplished over the years under Pat's leadership. Downtown is much more of a destination with the great special events and super restaurant and shopping options.

AAC from Oak Park  

Posted: July 11th, 2012 10:34 AM

Fools and haters, i.e. anyone who thinks downtown is in a worse place than it was 7 years ago - spare us your drivel and move to Cicero. Look no further than Marion's beautification, the success of Thurs Night Out, the massive growth in Oaktoberfest/Beer Fest/holiday events for proof of an improved downtown OP. Small bizs come and go, but engagement is at an all time high. Pat helped do this amidst the largest recession in a century. We should hope someone half as good replaces her.

Start spreading the news  

Posted: July 11th, 2012 9:08 AM

I am sooooooooo glad that this woman is leaving. What an arrogant, rude and worthless piece that she was. DTOP will be much better off without her. Millions were spent at her request and what has she done? Cookie walks? Bluestone and red brick pavement? Sure, now that she's moving out, she spent the taxpayer's money at her whim. Don't let the door hit you on the way out.

No TIF - No Zubak  

Posted: July 11th, 2012 8:23 AM

Now that the DTOP TIF District has effectively ended, it is not surprising that Zubak has decided to leave. No more play money to spend.

Wasn't impressed from Oak Park  

Posted: July 10th, 2012 9:38 PM

I used to be a huge Oak Park shopper, enthusiastically supporting local businesses, especially during the holiday shopping program. When I went IN PERSON to the Downtown Oak Park office to discuss a problem with redeeming my rewards, Ms. Zubak was out (it was Friday) and her two employees on hand (one of whom was playing solitaire and both of whom were rude) would not help me. I have not participated in the holiday program nor supported local businesses with equal gusto since. Bye bye!

Libbey Paul from Oak Park  

Posted: July 10th, 2012 8:18 PM

Pat is going out on a high note. DTOP has never looked better, and she and her team have built real equity with events like Cookie Walk and Thursday Night Out. I have a lot of respect for her clear vision and high standards, and wish her the best. The next person to fill the job has a tough act to follow!

S Warmon  

Posted: July 10th, 2012 7:15 PM

Well I say good riddance! Her dictatorial governance of DTOP will not be missed. Now hopefully we will get someone in who listens to the people and not her/his own agenda. Someone with a practical vision that benefits ALL not just the privileged few.


Posted: July 10th, 2012 6:29 PM


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