Skip to main content

About Altierra

Over 30 Years of Experience

About Altierra

We began in 1989 as a high-end residential and light commercial contracting company and later expanded into heavy commercial construction. Since our founding, economic ups and downs have tested the staying power of many construction firms. By contrast, Altierra has thrived as one of the most respected names in the industry.

Our background in the residential aspect brings an added level of expertise most commercial construction companies cannot provide. Our experience with high-end residential projects complements our approach with commercial endeavors as well. 

With founder Jonathan Shack at the helm, we have completed hundreds of projects throughout Chicagoland and the Midwest. Along the way, we have won numerous industry awards and distinctions, including building one of the first LEED Gold condominium developments in Chicago’s suburbs.

More importantly, we have earned the trust of clients and professional partners drawn to our reliable, transparent approach. Backed by a conscientious, respectful ethos that is ingrained in our staff’s culture, we take pride in completing projects on time and within budget. Thanks to our principal’s development experience, Altierra is uniquely positioned to work with developers, homeowners and design teams from inception to completion.

We understand the relationship between a project’s total cost and its market value. Working effectively and collaboratively alongside the design team, we help establish clear budgeting that applies value engineering and other cost controls. In addition, we have a longstanding reputation for being responsive to end users through the warranty and beyond.

Our standard is professional reliability and exceptional quality — always at a competitive rate. Our experienced project managers and tradespeople bring their skill and attention to detail to every project.

Getting started on the right footing is pivotal to any project’s long-term success, particularly in a cutthroat market where the edge goes to those best equipped to streamline costs. Even if your project is in its conceptual stages, give us a call to maximize your benefit by working with us.

TESTIMONIALS: Our success is the result of years of experience, fulfilling each customer’s individual needs and delivering projects that exceed expectations. Read what clients are saying about us.

Meet Some of Our Team

Altierra's team includes talented designers, project managers, carpenters and trades people who bring their proven skills and combined experience to each project. Our office staff insures smooth workflow and unsurpassed customer service. The efficiency of our operations enables us to offer a wide range of services at competitive pricing. Our individualized customer service and quality finishing is evident at every level of our company. Meet our team leaders below.


Jonathan Shack President

In 1989, Jonathan founded Altierra when he was still a student at Loyola University in Chicago. Since those early days, when he would juggle construction projects with classwork out of his dorm room, Jonathan has been at the helm of hundreds of projects throughout Chicagoland and the Midwest. In that time, he has developed a reputation as a top professional adept innavigating the myriad stumbling blocks that can derail a project at various points between blueprint and finished product.

Jonathan enjoys the many facets of the business and applying what he learns from others’ perspectives to strengthen a project. From design to value engineering to problem-solving, Jonathan takes pride in delivering reliable, exceptional work that stands the test of time. His roots in construction date back to when he was 9 years old, and his parents allowed him to design the family’s remodeled kitchen in Oak Park. Later, as a freshman at Oak Park and River Forest High School, he began working for his older brother’s remodeling company. Midway through high school, he managed the high school workforce for a local residential rehabilitation company.

Jonathan enjoys traveling internationally, playing a variety of sports (he was on the Loyola soccer team), sailing on Lake Michigan, and spending time with family and friends. Another passion is helping his wife, Heather, with her business. A former educator, Heather suffered a severe aschemic stroke in 2011. Though significantly limited in her ability to speak, read and write, she has developed an inspirational art career as proprietor of HMK Watercolors and HMK Living.


Mae Espinosa Office Manager

With a history at Altierra that began in 2007, Mae’s dual role as staff accountant and office manager is marked by detail-oriented, well organized professionalism. As staff accountant, she handles all the accounting and financial reporting responsibilities for Altierra and its joint ventures. She is also its office manager, organizing and implementing the office policies and procedures, preparing payroll, performing human resources duties and assigning and monitoring clerical functions.

Her detail-oriented, well-organized approach stems from over 28 years of accounting and management experience in the fields of banking, lending, construction and real estate development. Early in her career, she was also involved in managing the day-to-day affairs of five desktop publishing stores and several other businesses in the Philippines and helped develop and implement systems for accounting.

Mae’s interests include baking, watching action adventure movies and music. She has a musically inclined family. Her husband and son are both involved in musical bands and she sings and performs with them occasionally. A native of the Philippines, Mae earned her bachelor of science degree in accounting from Polytechnic University of the Philippines where she graduated with honors.


Slawek Lesny Project Manager

Since 2006, Slawek has played a pivotal role for Altierra, first as a supervisor and more recently as a project manager who thrives on guiding on-site construction activity. He has played an instrumental role in a wide array of developments, including Clarence Square Townhomes, Garden Grove Townhomes, SoHo, Chicago Beverage and 40 Ashland. From negotiating fair cost estimates with subcontractors to collaborating well with architects, engineers and other professionals, Slawek helps ensure that projects are done on time and within budget.

One of Slawek’s strongest assets is his ability to coordinate the various trades required to bring a project from conception to completion. That skill flows from his extensive work in the construction trades. After starting out as a laborer while a teenager, Slawek moved up to carpentry, and then supervisory positions rehabbing houses and apartment buildings. Off the clock, Slawek’s full-scale renovation of his family’s bungalow, as well as his zest for woodworking and fixing everything from car engines to furnaces, reflect his hands-on creative passion.

An adrenaline-sports junkie, from jet skiing in the Chicago area to snow skiing in the West, Slawek especially enjoys riding his motorcycle and dirt bike. Born in Poland, Slawek moved with his family to the U.S. when he was in grade school. He resides in Oak Park with his wife and their two children.


Rafael Campa Project Supervisor

Since joining Altierra in the 1990s, Rafael has developed into a vital member of the company. After starting as a laborer, he was promoted to project supervisor in 2010. Along the way, Rafael has developed a knack for building great rapport with clients and coworkers. When it comes to ensuring punch-list items are completed, he is the company’s foremost go-to guy. Rafael takes great pride in completing projects with a high degree of thoroughness and professionalism.

Before coming to America, he dreamt of being an auto mechanic. Rafael enjoys working with machines and equipment, and before joining JCS he worked for a cabinetmaker and a painting company. Now he has emerged as a versatile professional in construction and Rafael credits Jonathan’s brother, David, with playing a key mentorship role in his development.

In his leisure time, Rafael enjoys home-improvement projects. Along with his twin brother, Rafael is the youngest of 10 siblings. A resident of Chicago, he hails from Mexico, from which he emigrated to the United States in the 1980s. Rafael lives with his wife and two children.


Jessica A. Todd Designer

With 15 years of industry experience, Jessica has been a strong asset for Altierra on a variety of projects, bringing her distinctive skill in interior renovation and new home construction. Jessica enjoys working directly with clients, drawing out their preferences and specifications that bring clarity to her work. As a result, she is highly regarded for translating clients’ visions into a design that reflects their own sensibilities. From design layout, to product specifications, to design and project management, Jessica creates innovative and functional interiors that are achieved through a smooth construction process. In particular, she enjoys the detailed specifics of cabinet design and construction.

In her spare time, Jessica enjoys working on her 100-year-old Oak Park bungalow, collecting vintage furniture, and wielding what she dubs an “unusual skill”: cake-decorating. She has two daughters, Lilah and Evie, as well as chihuahua Carmen and cats Nola and Matilda. Jessica received her bachelor of science degree in Interior and Environmental Design from Illinois State University.