Gov. Pritzker Announces Cabinet Reappointments
Building on a strong team of diverse experts in their fields, Governor JB Pritzker announced the following reappointments and new appointments in his administration:
Janel L. Forde will continue to serve as Director of the Illinois Department of Central Management Services.* Forde previously served as the Chief Operating Officer of the City of Chicago after serving in the same role at the Illinois State Board of Education. Prior, she served as a Deputy Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Fleet and Facility Management and as the Director in the Office of the CEO at Chicago Public Schools. Forde was also a Consultant at the Boston Consulting Group, a Marketing Manager at American Express, and a Junior Consultant at Roland Berger Strategy Consultants. She received her Bachelor of Science in Economics from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and Master of Business Administration from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business.
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Mario Treto, Jr. will serve as Secretary of the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.* Treto previously served as Director of Real Estate at the IDFPR. During Mario Treto, Jr.’s tenure as the Director of Real Estate at the IDFPR, he led the state’s real estate industry, overseeing professional education, licensure and discipline for nearly 100,000 licensees working in five real estate-related professions. Prior, Treto served as Deputy City Attorney for the City of Evanston where he provided legal counsel to its elected officials, departments, and staff with compliance, transactional, and corporate matters. Prior to entering the public sector, he worked at a Chicago-based law firm focusing his practice on commercial and residential real estate, corporate law and commercial transactions. Treto is a nationally recognized lawyer by various organizations, including the International Municipal Lawyers Association, the Hispanic National Bar Association, and the National LGBT Bar. Treto also serves as board chair of Howard Brown Health. Treto received his Bachelor of Arts from Washington University in St. Louis and Juris Doctor from the Indiana University Maurer School of Law.
Francisco Menchaca will continue to serve as Director of Financial Institutions at the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.* Menchaca has held the post since his appointment by Gov. Quinn in July 2013 and previously served the department as Credit Union Supervisor. Prior to beginning his career in public service, Menchaca developed an extensive resume managing financial institutions and governmental agencies at the Federal Deposit Insurance Company (FDIC). He has spent over twenty years of his career in the financial industry, notably serving as the First Vice President at Bank One, where he also spearheaded the Latino Employee Network. He received his Bachelor of Arts from Northwestern University and Master of Business Administration from the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Laurie Murphy will serve as Director of Real Estate at the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.* Murphy came to IDFPR with more than 20 years of real estate experience. In her tenure as Deputy Director of the Division of Real Estate, she’s helped develop processes to increase efficiencies within the Division, while serving as a liaison to the Department’s advisory boards, auditors, and trade associations. She’s also served as IDFPR’s Chief of Boards and Complaints for Real Estate Brokerage and Community Association Management. Murphy currently holds a Real Estate Managing Broker License and has previously served as a Designated Managing Broker as well as a small business owner. Murphy received her Bachelor of Science from Northern Illinois University.
Chasse Rehwinkel will continue to serve as Director of the Division of Banking at the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.* Rehwinkel previously served as the Chief Economist and Director of the Bond Division for the Illinois Office of the Comptroller where he worked on issues of state liquidity, public budgeting, debt issuance and access to capital. Rehwinkel has also served as the Comptroller’s advisor on inter?fund borrowing, short-term lending, bond issuance and other fiscal issues. Prior to his role with the Comptroller’s office, he was the Director of Policy for the Illinois State Treasurer, where he oversaw the creation of the National ABLE Alliance, a coalition of 16 different state governments that created a set of affordable savings programs for people with disabilities. He received his Bachelor’s Degree from Gettysburg College and Master in Public Policy from the University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy.
Cecilia Abundis will continue to serve as Director of the Division of Professional Regulation at the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.* Abundis previously served as an Attorney in the Consumer Fraud Bureau of the Illinois Attorney General’s Office. Prior to her role with the Illinois Attorney General’s Office she worked at the Lawyers’ Committee for Better Housing. Abundis continues volunteering with Equal Justice Works as an alumni reviewer of project proposals submitted by prospective EJW Fellows. She earned her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Illinois at Urbana?Champaign and her Juris Doctor from DePaul University College of Law.
Danielle Perry will continue to serve as Cannabis Officer at the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.* Perry previously worked as Executive Director of Growing Home, Inc. Prior to that, Perry served as Director of Communications and Outreach at the City of Chicago Office of Inspector General and as Special Advisor (appointed by President Obama) at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights. Perry is a volunteer with the Chicago Debate League, served on Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot's Environmental Transition Committee and was a Fellow with the White House Domestic Leadership Program (2016). Perry earned her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Howard University and Juris Doctorate from Howard University School of Law.
Michael Kleinik will continue to serve as Director of the Illinois Department of Labor.* Kleinik previously served as Executive Director of the Medical Cannabis Alliance of Illinois. Prior, he served as the Executive Director of the Chicago Laborers' District Council's Labor-Management Cooperation Committee from 2008 to 2018. Kleinik also served as IDOL's Chief of Staff and as Manager of the department's Conciliation and Mediation Division. He also previously worked for the Midwest Region Laborers' District Council and was elected two terms as Fayette County Sheriff in 1990 and 1994. He began his career as a deputy sheriff in Bond County and then as a Vandalia police officer.
Jason Hogendorn-Keller will continue to serve as Assistant Director of the Illinois Department of Labor.* Hogendorn-Keller previously served as Legislative Director of the Illinois AFL-CIO. He also has gained experience as a Staff Analyst at the Illinois State Capitol for Senate President Emil Jones Jr. He received his Bachelor of Arts from the University of Iowa.
David Harris will continue to serve as Director of the Illinois Department of Revenue.* Harris previously served as an Illinois State Representative. Prior to his tenure as an elected official, he served as the Adjunct General of the Illinois National Guard and Director of Military Affairs. He was also Principal Deputy Director and Chief of Staff of the United States Department of State, Iraq Reconstruction Management Office. Harris is a veteran of the United States Army and Illinois National Guard. He received his Bachelor of Arts from Georgetown University.
Jerry Costello II will continue to serve as Director of the Illinois Department of Agriculture.* Costello previously served as the Director of Law Enforcement for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. Costello represented the 116th district in the Illinois House of Representatives from 2011 to 2019, during which he served as chair the Agriculture and Conservation committee. A graduate of Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Costello decided to serve his country by joining the U.S. Army's 82nd Airborne Division. Following his military service in Iraq, Costello returned to Illinois where he became a police officer and rose through the ranks to become an assistant chief of police.
Kristin Richards will continue to serve as Director of the Illinois Department of Employment Security.* Richards previously served as Chief of Staff to the Senate President. Richards has served two governors and two senate presidents during her 18-year tenure in public service. Prior, Richards served as the Office's Policy and Budget Director from 2009 to 2016. From 2007 to 2009, she was the Deputy Chief of Staff in the Office of the Governor, serving as the policy development lead on P-20 education and capital planning. Richards earned her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Millikin University.
Harold Mays will continue to serve as Director of the Illinois Department of the Lottery.* Mays previously served as the Chief of Operations and Technology for the Department of the Lottery. Prior, he served as the Enterprise Program Management Office Executive at the Department of Central Management Services. Mays began his career as Project Engineer and Program Manager at Commonwealth Edison. Mays earned a Bachelor of Science, Electrical Engineering from the Illinois Institute of Technology.
Sylvia Garcia will continue to serve as Director of Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.* Garcia previously served as Principal Consultant at WSP, USA where she led a national practice area and advised on the creation of a partnership which identified federal policy opportunities to maximize local benefits and investment in underserved communities. Prior to that, she served as Chief Operating Officer and Chief of Staff at the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA). Prior to CTA, Garcia served as Chief Financial Officer and Assistant Secretary for Budget at the United States Department of Transportation and acted as chief liaison to the U.S. House and Senate on appropriations matters. In addition to her extensive government experience, Garcia has completed fellowships with Leadership Greater Chicago and the Presidential Management Fellowship. Garcia earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Michigan and Master of Science in Public Service Management from DePaul University.
Jennifer Ricker will continue to serve as Secretary of the Illinois Department of Innovation and Technology.* Ricker previously served at the Illinois Department of Innovation and Technology as Chief of Staff and then Assistant Secretary. She has also served as Chief of Staff and Acting Director at the Illinois Emergency Management Agency, a Deputy Chief of Staff in the Office of the Governor, and as Chief of Staff and Legislative Director at the Illinois Department of Revenue. Ricker earned her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Missouri and a Master of Arts from the Naval Postgraduate School.
Matt Perez will continue to serve as Illinois State Fire Marshal.* Perez has over 30 years of experience in public safety and was first appointed as Illinois State Fire Marshal in 2015. He previously served as Fire Marshal for the City of Aurora. During his 27 years with the department, Perez became certified as a paramedic and rose to the rank of Assistant Chief. Before beginning his career in the fire service, Perez worked as a patrol officer in the Kane County Sheriff’s Department. He received his Bachelor of Science in Fire Service Management from Southern Illinois University.
Alicia Tate-Nadeau will continue to serve as Director of the Illinois Emergency Management Agency.* Tate-Nadeau previously served as the Executive Director of the Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications and led a 12-person rapid response force for the Federal Emergency Management Agency Region V. She served over 32 years in the National Guard, becoming the first female General Officer in Illinois National Guard history. In 2005, she was deployed to Iraq with a Multinational Division serving as an information operations officer. Tate-Nadeau’s awards include the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Combat Action Badge, Polish Bronze Star and numerous other awards. Tate-Nadeau received her Bachelor of Science from University of Central Oklahoma, Master of Strategic Studies in Military and Strategic Leadership from the US Army War College and Master of Health Administration from Governors State University.
Brendan Kelly will continue to serve as Director of the Illinois State Police.* Kelly previously served as the State's Attorney of St. Clair County and as an Assistant State's Attorney. During his military service as an officer in the United States Navy, Kelly conducted research on Israeli-Palestinian joint police patrols in the Middle East. As an Assistant State's Attorney, he served on the Illinois State Bar Association Criminal Justice Section Council. Kelly received his Bachelor of Arts from the University of Notre Dame Juris Doctor from the St. Louis University School of Law.
Colleen Callahan will continue to serve as Director of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.* Callahan previously managed her own communications consulting firm after spending over seven years as State Director for USDA Rural Development in Illinois. During her tenure, she oversaw a 20% reduction in staffing while still being able to generate a $1 billion increase in the Illinois loan portfolio. Callahan also served as the Agribusiness Director for WMBD in Peoria, a position she held for 30 years. She was the first female president of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting. Callahan received her Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Communications from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
John Rogner will continue to serve as Assistant Director of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.* Rogner previously served as the Coordinator of the Upper Midwest and Great Lakes Landscape Conservation Cooperative. Previously, he has served as Assistant Director of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Field Supervisor of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Regulatory Project Manager for the United States Army Corps of Engineers. He serves on the Illinois Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Council and has sat as a member of the Illinois Board of Natural Resources and Conservation. Rogner earned his Bachelor of Science and Master of Science from Northern Illinois University in biology.
Omer Osman will continue to serve as Secretary of the Illinois Department of Transportation.* Osman has over 29 years of experience in civil engineering and management at the Illinois Department of Transportation. In his previous role as Deputy Secretary for the Office of Project Implementation, he was responsible for guiding day-to-day program delivery and developing both short- and long-term technical policies and procedures. Osman also served as the Director of Highways, Deputy Director of Region 5 and District 4 Project Implementation and Operations Engineer. He has been an integral member of the statewide Diversity and Recruitment Team that managed to increase and integrate a diverse population of IDOT's technical staff. Osman received his Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Southern University and Master of Science in Civil Engineering from Bradley University.
John Kim will continue to serve as Director of the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency.* Kim has served in many senior roles over 25 years at the Department under five governors of both parties. He previously served as Chief Legal Counsel, where he supervised a legal staff of approximately 40 employees. Prior to that, Kim served as Director, Interim Director, Ethics Officer, Deputy General Counsel, Assistant Counsel/Special Assistant Attorney General, and Project Manager for an IEPA-China pollution prevention project. Before joining IEPA, Kim was an Assistant Attorney General in Illinois Attorney General’s Office and General Counsel to the Midwest Environmental Enforcement Association. He received his Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Juris Doctor from Southern Illinois University Carbondale.
Cynthia Barbara-Brelle will continue to serve as Statewide 9-1-1 Administrator.* Barabara-Brelle previously served as Executive Director of the Northwest Central Dispatch System, Senior Program Manager at Motorola Solutions, and Director of Records and Communications at the Cook County Sheriff’s Police Department. Barbara-Brelle earned her Bachelor of Science from Western Illinois University, Master of Science from DePaul University and Master of Business Administration from Keller Graduate School of Management.
Rob Jeffreys will continue to serve as Director of the Illinois Department of Corrections.* Jeffreys is a nationally recognized criminal justice expert with correctional experience spanning more than two decades. He spent 21 of his 24 years in corrections management at the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections. Jeffreys previously served as the agency’s Chief of Staff and directed its Information Technology and Strategic Initiatives bureaus as well as the Office of Human Resources. Prior as Regional Director, he managed the operations of eight adult prisons and the Adult Parole Authority. From 2007 to 2010, he was sent on a special assignment under the Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA) as a National Prison Security Program Coordinator with the National Institute of Corrections in Washington D.C. Jeffreys received his Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice and Master of Science from Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia.
Major General Richard Neely will continue to serve as Adjutant General of the State of Illinois and as the Director of the Illinois Department of Military Affairs. Major General Neely previously served as the Air National Guard Principal Deputy Director for Operations/Deputy Director for Cyber and Space Operations at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland. In this capacity, he served as the Air National Guard's Chief Information Officer responsible for the engineering, integration, sustainment and cyber security of systems supporting the Air National Guard. Gen. Neely also served in a Joint assignment as the National Guard Bureau's Chief of Current Operations in Washington D.C. From 2012 to 2014, Neely was the Illinois National Guard's Joint Chief of Staff. As the Joint Chief, he was responsible for domestic operations including homeland defense and defense support to civil authorities. He has held numerous command and staff assignments covering operations, cyber, logistics and finance. He is a Master Cyberspace Officer and fully Joint qualified. His career also included two deployments in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. Gen. Neely spent six years in the enlisted ranks, first as a Soldier and then as an Airman, before being commissioned as an officer in August 1990. He has more than 33 years of military service.
Major General Peter Nezamis will continue to serve as Assistant Adjutant General-Air National Guard of the Illinois Department of Military Affairs. Major General Nezamis has served as Assistant Adjutant General of the Air National Guard since 2019, a post in which he commands and controls the operations of plans and programs for the State’s three air wings: Scott Air Force Base, Peoria and Springfield. Prior to his current role, General Nezamis was the Chief of the Joint Staff, Illinois National Guard, Camp Lincoln, Springfield. Nezamis has commanded numerous expeditionary operations including the 492nd and the 506th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadrons and flown over 275 combat hours in support of several operations including Operation Desert Storm, Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. Previous commands include 126 ARW Wing Commander, Operations Group Commander, and Squadron Commander. Major General Nezamis has been honored throughout his career as the proud recipient of the Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, Humanitarian Service Medal, and the Air Force Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster among many other accolades. Major General Nezamis earned his Bachelor of Science in Aviation Technology and Management from Western Michigan University.
Major General Michael Zerbonia will continue to serve as Assistant Adjutant General–Army of the Illinois Department of Military Affairs. Major General Zerbonia has served as Adjutant General since 2015 and has spent more than 30 years in military service, including deployment to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Zerbonia completed the Reserve Officer Training Corps program at Northeast Missouri State University.
Heidi Mueller will continue to serve as Director of the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice.* Mueller has spent over five years at the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice and was first appointed to serve as Director in 2016. Prior to joining the Department, Mueller served as the Director of the Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission. Her background includes development and management of community programs for justice-involved youth, legal practice, front-line youth services, and social science research. She received her Bachelor of Arts from Macalester College, Master of Arts in Social Psychology from Stony Brook University, and Juris Doctor from the University of Chicago Law School.
Kathleen Bankhead will continue to serve as Independent Juvenile Ombudsman for the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice.* Bankhead previously served as Assistant State’s Attorney at the Cook County State’s Attorney Office. She is active in community leadership and is a Leadership Greater Chicago Fellow. She earned her Bachelor of Science from Bradley University and Juris Doctor from IIT Chicago Kent College of Law.
Paula Basta will continue to serve as Director of the Illinois Department on Aging.* Basta previously served as the Director of Senior Services and Health Initiatives at the Chicago Housing Authority and taught at the Loyola University School of Social Work. Prior, Basta served over 18 years at the Chicago Department of Family and Support Services, where she served as regional director of the Northeast (Levy) Senior Center from 2004 to 2018 and as the Director of Information and Assistance from 2000 to 2004. Basta also spent over four years as the Executive Director of H.O.M.E., Housing Opportunities & Maintenance for the Elderly, and nine years as a Social Worker and the Director of religious education at St. Clement Roman Catholic Church. Basta was inducted to the Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame in 2009. Basta received her Bachelor of Science in social work from the University of Dayton and Master of Divinity from the McCormick Theological Seminary.
Marc D. Smith will continue to serve as Director of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.* Smith previously served as the Executive Vice President of Foster Care and Intact Services at Aunt Martha’s Health & Wellness. Prior to serving with Aunt Martha’s, Smith worked for more than two decades as a Social Worker, trainer and leader in child welfare. From 2004 to 2009, he served as a Program Administrator and Recovery Coach at Treatment Alternatives for Safe Communities, where he managed the child welfare division. Earlier in his career, Smith worked as a Public Service Administrator for the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services from 1993 to 2000. Smith has served on numerous boards, committees and work groups, helping to shape policies and inform best practices in leadership and in the field. Smith received his Bachelor of Science from Illinois State University and his Master of Social Work from the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Theresa Eagleson will continue to serve as Director of the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services.* Eagleson previously served as the Executive Director of the Office of Medicaid Innovation at the University of Illinois system, joining in 2014 after spending over a decade in management at HFS. She served as the state Medicaid Director, Deputy Administrator of the Division of Medical Programs, and Senior Adviser to the Administrator during her 15-year tenure. Prior, Eagleson served two Republican governors’ administrations, leading the Medical & Child Welfare Division of the governor’s budget office and serving as Governor Edgar’s Policy Adviser for Health and Human Services and as Senior Budget Analyst. Eagleson received her Bachelor of Arts in economics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Master of Business Administration from the University of Illinois at Springfield.
James (Jim) Bennett will continue to serve as Director of the Illinois Department of Human Rights.* Bennett previously served as the Midwest Regional Director at Lambda Legal, the nation's largest legal organization dedicated to securing the full civil rights of the LGBTQ community and people with HIV. During his 12-year career there, Bennett was a lead strategist in Lambda Legal's Illinois and Iowa marriage campaigns and successfully fought Indiana's RFRA and their discriminatory ‘religious refusal' laws. In 2013, he chaired Illinois Unites for Marriage, the statewide coalition that led the successful effort to win marriage equality in Illinois. Prior, Bennett served as Acting Senior External Affairs Director at Howard Brown Health, Marketing and Development Director at the Shriver Center, and several roles at the American Red Cross' national and central Illinois regional offices. He was inducted into the City of Chicago's Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame in 2013 and was the recipient of Equality Illinois' Freedom award in 2018. Bennet received his Bachelor of Science from Illinois State University and Master of Business Administration from the University of Illinois at Springfield.
Grace Hou will continue to serve as Secretary of the Illinois Department of Human Services.* Hou previously served as the President of Woods Fund Chicago, a grant-making foundation that funds organizations that draw on the power of communities to fight the brutality of poverty and structural racism. From 2003 to 2012, she served as the Assistant Secretary at the Illinois Department of Human Services where she was responsible for the oversight of the agency's six program areas. During that time, she was a key leader in the creation and implementation of the state's nationally acclaimed Immigrant Integration New American's Executive Order. Hou previously served as Executive Director of Chinese Mutual Aid Association and has been a vocal advocate for immigrant rights. She received her Bachelor of Science in journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Master of Public Administration from the University of Illinois Springfield.
Kia Coleman will continue to serve as Assistant Secretary of the Illinois Department Human Services.* Coleman previously served as Deputy Commissioner at the Chicago Department of Public Health. Prior she served as Director of the Prevention and Intervention Initiative at the Chicago Department of Family and Support Services. Coleman earned her Bachelor of Arts from Wesleyan University and Master of Business Administration from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
Dulce Quintero will continue to serve as Assistant Secretary of the Illinois Department Human Services.* Quintero previously served as Health Center Operations Director at Erie Family Health Center and prior served as Director of Operations, Program Manager at Casa Norte. Quintero received her Bachelor of Arts from the University of California, Davis.
Dr. Ngozi Ezike will continue to serve as Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health.* Dr. Ezike previously served as Medical Director at the Juvenile Detention Center, the largest juvenile detention facility in the country. Prior, Dr. Ezike served as Medical Director for the Austin Health Center. She also has delivered inpatient care at Stroger Hospital as well as primary and preventive care in community and school-based clinics. Dr. Ezike received her Bachelor of Arts in chemistry from Harvard University, Doctor in Medicine from University of California at San Diego, and a management certificate from Harvard Business School.
Amaal Tokars will continue to serve as Assistant Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health.* Tokars was previously Executive Director and Public Health Officer of the Kendall County Health Department. Prior she served as Administrator for the Association for Individual Development. Tokars received her Bachelor of Science from Lewis University and Master of Science and Doctor of Education from Northern Illinois University.
Anthony Vaughn will continue to serve as Assistant Director of the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs.* Vaughn was previously Master Sergeant and Administrative Chief of at the United States Marine Crops. Vaughn is a veteran of the United States Marine Corps. Vaughn received his Bachelor of Arts from National Louis University and Masters of Business Administration from Ohio University.
* Appointments pending confirmation by the Illinois Senate.
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