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Gov. Pritzker announces key appointments, confirmations pending by Illinois Senate

Building on a strong team of diverse experts in their fields, Governor JB Pritzker announced the following appointments in his administration:

Illinois Department of Natural Resources

Natalie Finnie will serve as Director of the Department of Natural Resources.* Finnie has served as Deputy Director of DNR since August of 2021 where she oversaw the Office of Land Management, Legislative Department, Office of Oil & Gas Management, and Office of Mines and Mineral. Prior to this, she was the State Representative of the 118th District from 2017 to 2019. She has experience as an Advanced Practice Nurse and Family Nurse Practitioner. Finnie received her Associate of Science and Bachelor of Science in Nursing at the University of Southern Indiana. She received her Master of Science in Nursing at Vanderbilt University.

Illinois Department of Human Rights

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. Bennett received his Bachelor of Science from Illinois State University and Master of Business Administration from the University of Illinois at Springfield.

Illinois Department of Human Services

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 Americans Executive Order. Hou previously served as Executive Director of the 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.

Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs

Terry Prince will continue to serve as Director of the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs.* Prince is a senior executive leader and 31-year United States Navy veteran. Most recently, Prince served as Superintendent of the Ohio Veterans’ Homes where he oversaw three facilities, including the nation’s 5th largest skilled nursing home and an independent living community. Previously, he served as Force Master Chief and Director of the United States Navy Hospital Corps. In that role, Prince served as a senior advisor to the Surgeon General of the United States Navy and a member of the Navy Medicine’s Executive Steering Committee. Prior, he served as Senior Enlisted Leader at the Defense Health Agency and at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. Prince began his military career in 1986, serving in the Dental Technician and Hospital Corpsman ratings. Prince has received a number of awards including the Legion of Merit, the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Joint Meritorious Service Medal and many more. He retired from the military in July 2017. He earned a Bachelor of Arts from Chapman University and is a graduate of the Navy Senior Enlisted Academy, Command Master Chief Program and the National Defense University Keystone Fellowship.

Illinois Emergency Management Agency

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 the 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.

Illinois Department of Military Affairs

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.

Brigadier General Rodney Boyd will continue to serve as Assistant Adjutant General Military-Army. Brig. Gen. Boyd is a decorated combat veteran of both Iraq and Afghanistan, where he earned the combat action badge. In his civilian life, Brig. Gen. Boyd served with the Bellwood Police Department for 23 years. After retiring from the Bellwood Police Department in 2013, Brig. Gen. Boyd worked as a vice president for operations for JP Morgan Chase Bank and as a supervisory criminal investigator for the Northwestern University Police Department. He has worked for MAG Aerospace, which supports the Army National Guard Mission Command Training Support Program. Brig. Gen. Boyd began his military career as an enlisted Marine Corps Reservist in 1982. After completing his enlistment with the Marines, he joined the Illinois Army National Guard. From 1989 until 1990, he attended the Illinois Army National Guard Officer Candidate School, receiving his commission as a second lieutenant in the Quartermaster Corps in August 1990. Brig. Gen. Boyd received a bachelor’s degree in Criminology from Northern Illinois University, a Master of Arts degree in Education from the University of Illinois at Chicago Circle, and a Master of Strategic Studies degree from the U.S. Army War College. Brig. Gen. Boyd has been married to Darlene Boyd for over 30 years and they have two sons (Rodney Jr. and Randy) and one grandson.

Brigadier General Daniel McDonough will continue to serve as Assistant Adjutant General – Air of the Illinois Department of Military Affairs. Brigadier General McDonough was serving as the Wing Commander for the 182d Airlift Wing, Peoria of which he relinquished command to be promoted to the Assistant Adjutant General – Air and Commander of the Illinois Air National Guard. Colonel McDonough is an evaluator, instructor, and command pilot with over 5,600 flight hours, including 475 combat hours. As the commander of the 182nd Airlift Wing, he was responsible for maintaining the combat readiness of eight C- 130H3 aircraft and more than 1,240 traditional and fulltime Illinois Air National Guardsmen. He was mission ready in the OA-37 Dragonfly, F-16 Fighting Falcon and C-130H3 Hercules and has deployed six times as a C-130 aircraft commander in support of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom, as well as four times to command the 774th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron in Afghanistan. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Aviation Administration from Indiana State University.

Illinois Department of Agriculture

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.

Illinois Department on Aging

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 shewas regional director of the Northeast (Levy) Senior Center from 2004 to 2018 and 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.

Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation

Mario Treto Jr. will continue to serve as Secretary of the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.* Treto previously served as Director of Real Estate at the IDFPR. During Treto’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. He 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.* 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.

Cecilia Abundis will continue to serve as Director of 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.

Laurie Murphy will continue to serve as Director of Real Estate.* 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.* 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.

Illinois Department of Public Health

Dr. Sameer Vohra will continue to serve as Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health.* Dr. Vohra is a general pediatrician who holds degrees in law and public policy. He is a cross-disciplinary leader in state and national health policy formulation, and his recent focus has been on improving health outcomes in Central and Southern Illinois. An Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Public Health, Medical Humanities, and Law at SIU-SOM, he currently serves the State of Illinois as the Interim Chair of the Children’s Mental Health Partnership. He completed a residency in pediatrics at the University of Chicago and earned a Master of Arts in public policy from the University of Chicago. He holds a medical doctorate from SIU-SOM; a juris doctorate from SIU School of Law graduating first in his class; and a Bachelor of Arts in political science and science in human culture with honors from Northwestern University.

Illinois State Police

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 and his Juris Doctor from the St. Louis University School of Law.

Illinois Department of Revenue

David Harris will continue to serve as Director of Illinois Department of Revenue.* Harris previously served as an Illinois State Representative. Prior to his tenure as an elected official, he served as the Adjutant 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 the Illinois National Guard. He received his Bachelor of Arts from Georgetown University.

* Appointments pending confirmation by the Illinois Senate.

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