John Tillman | CEO

John Tillman is one of the nation's most prominent leaders of a state-based think tank.


John Tillman is one of the nation’s most prominent leaders of a state-based think tank. As CEO of the Illinois Policy Institute, John has transformed what many wrote off as a blue state into a place ripe for free-market reform.

John has founded or co-founded a variety of key organizations in Illinois to create the competitive capacity needed to turn Illinois around. In addition to leading the re-launch of the Illinois Policy Institute 501(c)(3), John founded Illinois Policy 501(c)(4), the Liberty Justice Center, a 501(c)(3) public-interest law firm, the Illinois Opportunity Project 501(c)(4), the Illinois Liberty Political Action Committee, and more.

John is the founder of Think Freely Media 501(c)(3) and the Great Communicators Tournament, two projects dedicated to helping advocates for free enterprise and liberty make the moral case in public policy debates. John also serves on the board of America’s Future Foundation.

John’s success has become a model for liberty-based organizations across the country. John is frequently asked to consult with other nonprofit, free-market organizations on marketing and organizational strategy.

In 2011, John won the State Policy Network’s prestigious Roe Award for his leadership, innovation and accomplishments in the world of public policy. This annual award pays tribute to those in the state public policy movement whose achievements have greatly advanced the free-market philosophy.

John is regularly featured in the media, and has appeared on FOX News Channel, FOX Business, the BBC and NPR, as well as in The Wall Street Journal, the Washington Times and other news outlets.

Before joining the world of public policy, John was (and continues to be) a businessman and entrepreneur. He resides in Chicago’s northern suburbs with his wife, Julie, and daughter, Lauren.