Born March 14, 1983 in Chicago Illinois, Geoffrey Petzel is the oldest of the two children of David and Cheryl Petzel. He moved to Carpentersville, Illinois when he was 5 years old.
Petzel’s formal education began at Saint Catherine of Sienna Catholic School in West Dundee, Illinois and continued at Dundee-Crown High School in Carpentersville. He then went on to study Public Administration with a concentration in Public Finance and Environmental Management at Indiana University in Bloomington Indiana.
Raised in a family that taught him that anything was possible if you worked hard enough, Geoffrey began serving his community at an early age. At the age of 14 years old he began an effort to prevent a wooded area near his childhood home from being developed into a high-density residential development. He attended 52 consecutive monthly township meetings urging the township to purchase the land for a public park. After four years of working to have the land preserved, on the night before he left for college, the township announced that they were going to purchase the land. Today, the 50 acres he sought to preserve serve as a community park.
Geoffrey has always believed in fighting for the people of his community. From 1999 until 2002 he served as the President of the Citizens Advocate Team, a local community advocacy group where he listened to the story of the Zarbok’s whose home was slated to be condemned for the creation of a new highway. The Zarbok’s, who were in their late 70′s, had lived in the same house for over 50 years. They were going to be forced out of their home for a highway that the community didn’t even support. His organization couldn’t afford to pay an attorney to save the Zarbok’s house and neither could they. Although Geoffrey is not an attorney, he drafted and filed a lawsuit against the United States Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration so that the Zarbok’s wouldn’t lose their home. He lost the case, but because he choose to fight for the Zarbok’s, they are still in their home today and the highway project still hasn’t been built.
Professionally, Geoffrey has worked as a business owner and community advocate. He owns a small business that purchases run-down homes in his community and rebuilds them. His efforts help improve neighborhoods, provide quality housing for young families, and increases neighboring property values. He has been the owner of this business since 2006. Prior to starting his own company, Geoffrey worked as a land use and environmental consultant for major development companies throughout the Chicago land region.
In addition to his real estate business, Geoffrey is the Executive Director of the not-for-profit Friends of the Fox River. As the Executive Director, he has led efforts to stop greedy corporations and inadequate local governments from dumping pollution and raw sewage into the Fox River and its tributaries. He has worked to protect the 250,000 people in Elgin, Bartlett, Sleepy Hollow and Aurora that get their drinking water from the Fox River. He has also led efforts to restore wildlife habitat, prevent gravel mining in Forest Preserves by authoring a state law amendment, and led efforts to change state regulations to further protect out rivers and streams.
Geoffrey and his wife Melissa, a pharmacy benefits management specialist, live in Lake Zurich. Geoffrey is running in the 6th District of Illinois which is currently represented by the House Chief Deputy Whip, Peter Roskam.