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.

  • John Determann

    Director, Pre-construction

    John Determann joined the Novak team in 2000. He brings extensive knowledge of estimating experience, especially with retail and interior space build‐out projects.  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 conceive 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.

  • Christopher Novak

    Executive Vice President, Novak Interiors, LLC

    Chris brings over 30 years of experience to his new role leading the Novak Interiors division. He has a proven track record, not only as a team leader, but as an experienced project manager who has managed several million square feet of work. Chris and his team will focus on commercial interior build-outs, renovations and tenant improvements in downtown Chicago and the immediate surrounding area.

    He coaches and mentors his staff to become knowledgeable and stronger at what they do. His patience, loyalty, dedication and proven abilities make him the best leader for this role.

    Chris received his Bachelor of Science in Construction Management from Purdue University, where he also met his wife, Karen. He enjoys spending time with his family and watching sports. They are basketball and football season ticket holders who, for decades, have traveled nationwide to attend collegiate sporting events.

  • 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.



  • 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.


  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Josh Mertes

    Project Executive, Novak Interiors, LLC

    Josh serves as Project Executive of Novak Interiors. He brings 13 years’ of experience in the construction industry to Novak. He is no stranger to having run projects, and relates to the challenges that confront the Project Superintendent. His experience leverages him to be able to move projects along its milestones, thinking before acting, planning before executing and preparing before delivering.

    Josh holds a Bachelor of Science in Management from Indiana University and is LEED AP. He is a member of Rolling Green Country Club in Arlington Heights. He enjoys traveling and spending time with his wife, Colleen,  and his dog, Charlie.

  • Mimi Novak

    Project Manager

    Mimi has worked in the industry for 9 years and is responsible for reviewing drawings, understanding scope, determining costs, and awarding and supervising projects to achieve successful completion. Mimi keeps owners, architects, and engineers informed of project progress and potential issues. She presents issues clearly and provides solutions so that projects turn over on time and within budget.

    Mimi is currently completing her M.B.A. at Northwestern University 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

    Project Manager

    Crystal’s experience includes the institutional, healthcare and retail markets, including clients such as Jo-Ann Fabrics, Costco Wholesale and Pharmacia Labs.  Her current focus is large-scale retail projects as a member of the Novak-Costco team.

    Crystal received an M.A. from Northwestern University and B.A. from the University of Oregon. Her children are her greatest passion. She enjoys hiking, art, playing piano and vacationing anywhere near a hot spring.

  • 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 凯发k8官网下载客户端home.

  • Christopher Gasparian

    Project Manager

    Christopher is a project manager with 14 years of experience in the field. His role includes managing field staff and reporting to the project director.  He has experience in construction claims and working in the public sector. Projects include parks, recreation centers, and disaster recovery such as FEMA reconstruction and elevation of 凯发k8官网下载客户端homes damaged by Hurricane Sandy.

    Christopher received his Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. He is an artist who enjoys creating sculptures as well as spending time with his wife and 2 children.

  • 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.

  • 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

    Assistant Controller

    Joanna provides coordination and development of accounting procedures to ensure reliable and timely financial reports.  She also spearheads payroll, benefits administration, union reporting and certified payroll, and assists with internal and external audits.  Technologically savvy, Joanna works to improve procedures and works with the CIO to initiate actions with the Department’s software.  Her role is rounded out by maintaining financial records, performing requests for the Owner and the CFO, and working closely with the Controller to meet the Department’s financial accounting objectives

    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

Our Culture

At Novak, our culture is unique, just like our people. We are proud of our reputation as an innovative, hard working, progressive team.

100 employees strong

Novak Construction was founded on the belief that community efficacy is profitable - both bottom line and personally - for everyone.

Privately held, family-oriented