Prairie Fever » Resume


Ted Villaire

1213 W. Race Ave, 3rd fl. ? Chicago, IL 60642 ? (312) 563-1118


Guidebook Author/Freelance Writer: 2005 to present

  • When my book 60 Hikes within 60 Miles: Chicago was first published by Menasha Ridge Press in 2005, the Chicago Tribune called it a “perfect guide to nature’s pleasures.” I added new material for a 295-page second edition issued in June, 2008. After publishing each edition, I’ve participated in multiple book signing events, and gave a series of in-store presentations and interviews with local news media to promote the book. (See my portfolio for excerpts).
  • I’ve recently submitted manuscripts for the books Camping Illinois, Rail Trails Illinois, and Road Biking Illinois to my publisher, Falcon Guides Press. All three books are currently in production and will be published in spring 2010.
  • I’ve written articles on outdoor recreation for publications such as Windy City Sports, Silent Sports, Rails to Trails, Backpacker magazine and its website, (See my portfolio for samples).
  • I edited a series of medical research articles for a local physician.
  • The book Best Bike Rides Near Chicago is now in the final stages of writing. It will be published in early 2010 by Falcon Guides Press.
  • Since mid-2008, I’ve maintained a website and a weblog that focuses on outdoor recreation in the region. These online resources are intended to complement and amplify the material in my books.

Managing Editor, Magazine: 2005 to 2007
National Parent-Teachers Association, Chicago, Illinois; (312) 670-6782

  • Edited all content and managed a $200K annual budget for two flagship periodicals produced by a $3.5 million national association.
  • Supervised copy editor; worked closely with print and web designers.
  • Wrote and edited copy for direct-mail marketing campaigns, websites, training materials, convention guides, print advertising, and e-mail newsletters.
  • Coordinated magazine printing, distribution, scheduling, and work flow.

Associate Editor: 2000 to 2005
National Parent-Teachers Association, Chicago, Illinois; (312) 670-6782

  • Wrote feature stories and columns focused on parenting, education, children’s health, parent leadership, and management of small non-profits.
  • Wrote, edited, and coordinated content for website, e-newsletters, brochures, and marketing materials.
  • Wrote and edited multiple training guides focused on running a small non-profit. Topics addressed diversity, effective leadership, programming, fundraising, money management, legislative advocacy, and membership recruitment.
  • Served on teams that organized and edited content for two complete website redesigns involving 1,000+ web pages.

Freelance Copywriter: 2000
Ambrosi & Associates, Chicago, Illinois; (312) 666-9200
Wrote catalog copy for major US retailers.

Freelance News Reporter: 1999
Chicago Tribune, Chicago, Illinois; (800) 874-2863
Covered local government and schools in one suburban Chicago community.

Executive Editor: 1999
Leader/Post Newspapers, Chicago, Illinois; (out of business)

  • Wrote columns and edited all news content for weekly community newspaper on Chicago’s northwest side (circ. 40K).
  • Supervised associate editor.
  • Assigned stories and photos to staff and freelancers.

Associate Editor: 1997 to 1998
Leader/Post Newspapers, Chicago, Illinois; (out of business)

  • Wrote news and features covering local government and education.
  • Performed newspaper layout.

Freelance News Reporter: 1995 to 1997
The Grand Rapids Press, Grand Rapids, Michigan; (616) 222-5474

  • Wrote a half-dozen news and feature articles each week on education, local government, and business for daily (circ. 100K) and weekly (circ. 25K) editions.
  • Frequently shot photos to accompany articles.
  • Attended a couple of community and governmental meetings each week to generate story ideas.


I’m proficient with Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Quark, Photoshop, WordPress, and various custom content management systems. I use mapping software programs, and I’m quite handy with a digital camera and GPS devices. My familiarity with HTML is limited but growing.


  • Recently served as a hike coach for the Illinois Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training program.
  • Served for two seasons on the park advisory board for Union Park, located on Chicago’s near west side.
  • Worked with local social service agency to create biographical “lifebooks” for foster children with HIV.


  • 2000: DePaul University, Lincoln Park Campus, Chicago; Master of Arts in Writing.
  • 1995: Aquinas College, Grand Rapids, Michigan; Bachelor of Arts in English and minor in journalism, with honors.