Zach Koutsky is a Chicago-based political consultant, lobbyist and activist with long-standing relationships with elected officials, leaders and change makers.
Prior to starting Berteau Consulting, Zach was Legislative and Political Director for Local 881 United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW), one of the largest private sector unions in the state with over 35,000 members in Illinois and Indiana.
At UFCW, Zach served as an effective advocate, drafting policy and passing dozens of laws and regulations related to progressive priorities. He managed fundraising, field, direct mail and digital engagement and developed and implemented a political program that spent over $2 million per cycle.
Zach also advised and advanced the union’s legislative agenda across Illinois at all levels of government, representing UFCW in senior leadership roles in a number of coalitions. Recently, this included positioning unions within Illinois’ growing state cannabis industry via a first-of-its-kind coalition called the Illinois Cannabis Unions. This partnership connected 250,000 union workers to the state’s newest multi-billion dollar industry. This outreach effort was realized just months after UFCW helped pass landmark cannabis legislation in Illinois.
Zach was a leading advocate for the successful paid sick leave initiatives for Chicago, Cook County and State of Illinois. He founded and led the Chicago Fair Workweek Coalition which helped pass the nation’s most progressive secure scheduling legislation, which led to a groundbreaking law protecting workers in the nation’s third largest city.
Before working in Labor, Zach served as Senior Advisor and Campaign Manager to Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs. He has worked for nonprofits and political campaigns in nine states, most notably President Barack Obama’s 2008 and 2012 campaigns.
continuing the fight
Zach has a master’s degree in Urban Planning and Policy with a concentration in Economic Development from the University of Illinois-Chicago and a bachelor’s degree from Illinois State University in Political Science and Sociology.
Locally, he served as an elected community member on the Chicago Public School’s Local School Council at Water’s Elementary in the Ravenswood Manor neighborhood.
Zach has helped train hundreds of grassroots activists in organizing, campaign management, and coalition building throughout Illinois. He is the Chairman of the College Democrats of Illinois PAC and Advisory Council and is a founding board member of Men4Choice, a reproductive rights PAC in Illinois. He is deeply involved in progressive causes and community organizations in Illinois including the 47th Ward Democrats, Youth in Government, Chicago Scholars, and Special Olympics.
Zach and his wife, Stephanie, a small business owner who provides services to children with special needs, live in Chicago’s North Center neighborhood with their son, Hudson, daughter, Harper, and dog, Bella.