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Pritzker names IDPH, IDVA directors, U of I trustees, policy director and DC liaison

Thursday, Jan 31, 2019

* Press release…

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

STATE AGENCY DIRECTORS

Dr. Ngozi Ezike will serve as Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH).* Dr. Ezike is a board-certified internist and pediatrician who comes to IDPH from Cook County Health, where she has served for more than 15 years. She currently serves as medical director at the Juvenile Detention Center, the largest juvenile detention facility in the country. Previously, Dr. Ezike served as medical director for the Austin Health Center where she actively engaged with the community through health initiatives involving obesity, diabetes, and breastfeeding. She also has delivered inpatient care at Stroger Hospital as well as primary and preventive care in community and school-based clinics. Dr. Ezike is a national policy advisor on juvenile correctional health topics who has presented at numerous local and national conferences for medical professionals and youth audiences alike. She received her Doctor in Medicine from University of California at San Diego and her Bachelor of Arts in chemistry from Harvard University. Dr. Ezike also holds a management certificate from Harvard Business School and is an assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics at Rush University.

Jaime E. Martinez will serve as Director of the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs (IDVA).* Martinez currently serves as executive director of Illinois Joining Forces, a nationally-recognized statewide nonprofit and public-private partnership that brings services and support to veterans at the community level. A 26-year Army combat veteran, Lieutenant Colonel (R) Martinez was assigned to operational infantry units throughout his career and deployed to Panama, the Gulf War, Iraq and Afghanistan (twice), four of these deployments as a paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne Division. When not serving on the line with troops, he was assigned as a policy advisor in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Office of the Vice President, United States Senate and the Office of the Under Secretary of the Army. After his medical retirement from the Fort Belvoir Wounded Warrior Battalion in 2010, he has served as a staff attorney for veteran legal aid clinics, general counsel to the Illinois Department of Veteran Affairs, senior counsel to Student Veterans of America (National), supervising attorney to the Illinois Armed Forces Legal Aid Network (IL-AFLAN), and as the executive director of the Illinois Joining Forces Foundation. He received his Master of Arts in Law and economics and his Juris Doctorate from the George Mason School of Law and his Bachelor of Arts in political science from Eastern Illinois University. Martinez was also a distinguished graduate of the United States Marine Corps Command and Staff College.

UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS BOARD OF TRUSTEES

Kareem Dale will serve on the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.* Dale is currently a director and senior counsel at Discover Financial Services. He previously served as special assistant to the president and associate director of the Office of Public Engagement in the Obama White House and as the national disability director for the Obama-Biden Transition and Obama for America. He founded the Dale Law Group after spending eight years representing Fortune 500 corporations and privately-held companies as a litigation attorney for Winston & Strawn LLP. Dale currently serves on the Chicago Cook Workforce Innovation Board and formerly was a board member of Access Living and board president of the Black Ensemble Theater. He received his Juris Doctor, Master of Business Administration and Bachelor of Science in advertising from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Donald Edwards will serve on the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.* Edwards is the founder and CEO of Flexpoint Ford, LLC, a private equity investment firm with $3 billion under management that focuses on health care and financial services. Prior to founding Flexpoint in 2004, he was a principal at GTCR from 1994 to 2003 and an investment banker at Lazard Ltd. During his career, Edwards has served as a director on the boards of more than 20 publicly- and privately-held companies as well as theChicago Park District, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago and World Business Chicago. He received his Master of Business Administration from the Harvard Business School and his Bachelor of Science in finance from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Ricardo Estrada will serve on the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.* Estrada is CEO of Metropolitan Family Services, one of Illinois’ largest and best respected human services agencies. Since joining Metropolitan in 2011, Estrada has helped the agency double its growth in revenue and families served. Estrada has nearly three decades of leadership experience in human services, philanthropy and government. Prior to joining Metropolitan, Estrada served as first deputy commissioner of the City of Chicago’s Department of Family and Support Services (DFSS). Before that, he served as executive director of Erie Neighborhood House in Chicago. He received his Master of Business Administration from the University of Illinois at Chicago, his Master of Arts in social service policy and administration from the University of Chicago, and a Bachelor of Science in psychology from Loyola University.

Patricia Brown Holmes will serve on the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.* Holmes is a managing partner at Riley Safer Holmes & Cancila LLP and was formerly a partner at Schiff Hardin LLP from 2005 to 2016. She has practiced law on both sides of the bench in courtrooms at every level, serving as Associate Judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County, assistant U.S. attorney, assistant state’s attorney for Cook County, and Chief Assistant Corporation Counsel for Municipal Prosecutions for the city of Chicago. She received her Juris Doctor and Bachelor of Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Naomi Jakobsson will serve on the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.* After teaching at the Urbana School District and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign early in her career, Jakobsson went on to represent UIUC and the 103rd House District from 2002 to 2015. In the legislature, she chaired the House Committee on Higher Education and was a member of the Appropriations-Higher Education Committee. Jakobsson previously served as Champaign County Recorder for 12 years, interim director of a domestic violence shelter and the executive director of the University YWCA. She received her Master of Science in teaching English as a second language and Bachelor of Arts in history from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR

Ramon Gardenhire will serve as Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy in the Office of the Governor. Gardenhire currently serves as the vice president of policy for the AIDS Foundation of Chicago, overseeing AFC’s advocacy and policy work at the federal, state and local level. Gardenhire previously served as AFC’s director of government relations from 2011 to 2013 where worked to expanded Medicaid coverage for half a million Illinoisans and helped enact comprehensive sexual health education for Illinois students. Before coming to AFC, Gardenhire worked at the SEIU Healthcare Illinois-Indiana, Federation for Community Schools, Young Democrats of America, National Democratic Committee, The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and the American Academy of Physician Assistants, where he worked on state level political and legislative initiatives. He received his Juris Doctorate from Wayne State University Law School and his bachelor’s degree from Slippery Rock University.

Pat Collier will serve as Deputy Chief of Staff for Federal Affairs in the Office of the Governor. Collier previously served as policy director on Governor Pritzker’s campaign. Prior to the campaign, he was the director of government affairs for the Center for American Progress, a progressive Washington think tank. Collier also spent several years as policy counsel to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer on the U.S. Senate Democratic Policy Committee. He also served as a regional political director for Obama for America in 2008. He received his Juris Doctor from the Washington University in St. Louis School of Law and his Bachelor of Arts in government from the University of Virginia.

Edwards was originally appointed by Gov. Rauner to the board of trustees.

Other thoughts?

…Adding… From the U of I…

The new board members succeed outgoing trustees Timothy Koritz, James Montgomery and Patrick Fitzgerald, whose terms ended this month, and Sanford Perl. Perl was appointed by Rauner and served since last May, but had not yet been confirmed by the Senate, which allowed Pritzker to withdraw the appointment and select his own nominee.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

34 Comments
  1. - Mann Horace - Thursday, Jan 31, 19 @ 9:22 am:

    Who is replacing who on the UI BOT?


  2. - Ann - Thursday, Jan 31, 19 @ 9:28 am:

    Ramon is a terrific choice. I’m so happy to see all these great people in these important positions.


  3. - OurMagician - Thursday, Jan 31, 19 @ 9:28 am:

    Tim Koritz, James Montgomery (finally), and Patrick Fitzgerald are leaving the board. Edwards was a Rauner appointee never approved and Sandy Perl was never confirmed after Rauner appointed him.


  4. - Anonymous - Thursday, Jan 31, 19 @ 9:31 am:

    Ah. Some continuity.


  5. - Annon3 - Thursday, Jan 31, 19 @ 9:31 am:

    Still no one at IDOT? Seems odd


  6. - Montrose - Thursday, Jan 31, 19 @ 9:38 am:

    Three cheers for Ramon. What a change from the previous administration.


  7. - New Slang - Thursday, Jan 31, 19 @ 9:39 am:

    IDOT…IDOC any thoughts on those ??


  8. - catcherintherye - Thursday, Jan 31, 19 @ 9:43 am:

    Very impressive appointments, Governor.
    Onward.


  9. - Truthteller - Thursday, Jan 31, 19 @ 9:46 am:

    Seems like the business/ financial community is well represented. How about labor?


  10. - Hurry - Thursday, Jan 31, 19 @ 9:46 am:

    What about DHS???? We need some people over here that are competent and the sooner the better.


  11. - illini - Thursday, Jan 31, 19 @ 9:48 am:

    My first impression is that these are exceptional appointments to the Board of Trustees.

    I have only a few comments -

    Naomi is a quality appointment. She is the only one here from outside the Chicago area. I wish there could be more downstate representation.

    The Board has to be solidly behind the Discovery Partners Institute and other efforts to improve its reputation as a world class teaching and research University. Each of these has a relationship with the U of I and that is great.

    But, if only, they could help my Alma produce some consistently competitive athletic programs. Maybe too much to expect from the Board.

    I do expect these to become responsible and vocal advocates for this gem that some have preferred to ignore.


  12. - A State Employee Guy - Thursday, Jan 31, 19 @ 9:54 am:

    Truth: did you really think it’d be otherwise? And I wouldn’t hold your breath on labor appointments.


  13. - Ron Burgundy - Thursday, Jan 31, 19 @ 9:55 am:

    Good Board of Trustees appointments. I know a few of them personally, and they are high quality people who will look out for the best interests of the schools and the students.


  14. - DownSouth - Thursday, Jan 31, 19 @ 9:57 am:

    Still curious as to why it’s taking so long to name a IDNR director.


  15. - Arsenal - Thursday, Jan 31, 19 @ 10:03 am:

    It’s really cool to get someone with a background in disability inclusion in there.


  16. - IDOT Employee 621 - Thursday, Jan 31, 19 @ 10:17 am:

    IDOT needs a guy like Doug House. Based on what I have read he is a blue collar guy, military experience, and was a strong public works director for many years. Throw downstate a bone JB!!!


  17. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jan 31, 19 @ 10:25 am:

    ===IDOT Employee===

    So, you’re backing a guy who participated in handling the new governor’s downstate campaign? A white male in a traditionally white male-dominated agency with no state transportation experience?

    What could possibly go wrong???

    Next!


  18. - IDOT Employee 621 - Thursday, Jan 31, 19 @ 10:59 am:

    Rich- I am not sure what him being white has to do with anything. That seems like kind of a low blow. Jesse White has been SoS for 20 years, does this mean his successor should be white? Or a female. I guess I dont get your logic here. Next, according to what i have read Doug worked for the chairmans association, which works for all candidates in illinois. I assume you are talking about his focus to unseat a Republican Governor. That seems like something to focus on when you have a statewide presence. Third, as an idot employee of over 9 years, I would hope I know the general makeup of what kind of leader this agency needs to build back up the trust beaten down under the last administration. Thank you and I appreciate the dialog.


  19. - Proud Sucker - Thursday, Jan 31, 19 @ 11:15 am:

    As long as IDOT gets someone familiar with construction, I’d be happy. Don’t get me wrong, I like Randy as a person and have had many deep and interesting conversations with him. Also, I appreciate that his CMAP experience was, maybe, 75% transportation/transit focused, but IDOT is a project delivery agency and they have been struggling at that for years - yes pointing to the trolls Blago stuffed in every district too.


  20. - Because I said so... - Thursday, Jan 31, 19 @ 11:30 am:

    IDOT needs someone who knows the lay of the land, not someone who deserves the job because they campaigned for Democrats. It’s a huge agency with a ton of responsibility that affects everyone in the state. Please, hire from within and let someone who knows what they’re doing take the reins. Anything else is just…ridiculous.


  21. - Grandson of Man - Thursday, Jan 31, 19 @ 11:55 am:

    I hope the new IDPH director will allow more medical conditions/illnesses to qualify for MMJ, unlike the last director.


  22. - walker - Thursday, Jan 31, 19 @ 12:06 pm:

    Naomi Jakobsson is a wonderful choice.


  23. - Anonymous - Thursday, Jan 31, 19 @ 12:36 pm:

    The IDOT Secretary pick will be informative of how JB looks at IDOT and what plans he has for it in the first term. Does he pick someone with mostly engineering background, or someone who’s expertise is negotiating with the federal DOT, Someone who’s mostly in contract construction, or an industry hack from one of the constituency associations?

    If the signature effort of the first term is a capital bill and infrastructure upgrades, I’d look to see him pick someone with the federal and administrative cred, to try and maximize the federal match dollars. I thought Kirk Brown was a good mix of talent, and he came up from the ranks. Question is, after so much hollowing-out, is there another Kirk Brown type still there to promote?


  24. - Wapak - Thursday, Jan 31, 19 @ 12:46 pm:

    Grandson of Man, the medical conditions issue were driven by the Governor’s office, not by Dr. Shah who actually agreed with expanding the number of qualifying conditions.


  25. - RJM - Thursday, Jan 31, 19 @ 1:28 pm:

    Wapak - you’ve got to be kidding, right? Dr. Shah had every opportunity to add conditions and fought patient access at every step. He ignored court rulings. He claimed we needed more study, but then failed to collect data on the Pilot Program he regulated for 3 years. If Dr. Shah truly agreed with expanding qualifying conditions he sure acted like someone who did not.


  26. - Downstater - Thursday, Jan 31, 19 @ 1:37 pm:

    Doug House is a nice guy and very effective as leader of the Democratic Chairs Association. However, he does not have the skills or background to lead IDOT. And the appointment by J.B. of the leader of the Democratic County Chairmen’s Association is about the worst idea for JB to implement. This would be viewed as JB hiring someone to run patronage through IDOT, every country chair in the state would be asking for his brother, son, uncle, daughter etc to get a job. And as you know IDOT has just a little bit of a history of causing Governor’s problems related to patronage hiring.


  27. - Anonymous - Thursday, Jan 31, 19 @ 1:50 pm:

    If Shah disagreed with the Governor on medical issues. he could have resigned.


  28. - AJO - Thursday, Jan 31, 19 @ 2:41 pm:

    Dr Ngozi O Ezike is a great choice, I’m so happy. She is someone with exceptional experience and very competent in her profession.


  29. - IDOT Employee 621 - Thursday, Jan 31, 19 @ 2:54 pm:

    Downstater- #1 Because of the past hiring practices you mentioned, IDOT was appointed an independent court ordered special master who looks over every hire, and investigates any and all claims of improper hiring. #2 I find it hard to believe that a man who has never been accused of improper hiring would start now especially under the conditions presented in point #1.


  30. - JRTC 9th Floor - Thursday, Jan 31, 19 @ 3:45 pm:

    I look forward to seeing good things from this Administration. I hope that the Transition Team considers Daniel Kelber as the Secretary of IDFPR. Kelber, rather than making a name for himself and throwing around status, has worked hard for many years for the overall good of the people of Illinois. It would be nice to see someone who has worked within an Agency under multiple Divisions and Administrations in this position. He is highly respected within his Agency and from the private sector.


  31. - Waffle Fries - Thursday, Jan 31, 19 @ 4:25 pm:

    Ramon. Good Man with a sterling reputation. Righteous.


  32. - Six Degrees of Separation - Thursday, Jan 31, 19 @ 5:36 pm:

    Omer Osman would be a great promotion from within IDOT. He is a consummate project delivery guy, knows the federal ropes, and would be the first non-white Secretary.


  33. - Johnnie F. - Thursday, Jan 31, 19 @ 6:35 pm:

    With IDPH’s role in MMJ oversight, I would hope Pritzker’s choice of Director would be an advocate for both expanding MMJ and implementation of recreational MJ using data and science. Shah carried Rauner’s water, as would be expected.


  34. - Moby - Friday, Feb 1, 19 @ 9:17 am:

    Just a little agency trivia….

    Dr. Ngozi Ezike is only the second female director in the 100 year history of IDPH, and the first one in over 40 years.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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