Building on a strong team of diverse experts in their fields, Governor JB Pritzker announced the following personnel appointments:
ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES
Grace Hou will serve as Secretary of the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS).* Hou is currently 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 (IDHS) 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 (CMAA) and has been a vocal advocate for immigrant rights. She received her Master of Public Administration from the University of Illinois Springfield and her Bachelor of Science in journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES
Colleen Callahan will serve as Director of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (DNR).* Callahan currently manages 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. Prior, Callahan 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.
ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF FINANCIAL AND PROFESSIONAL REGULATION
Deborah Hagan will serve as Secretary of Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR).* For over 36 years, Hagan has been a strong and exemplary advocate for consumer protection in the Office of the Illinois Attorney General. In her role as leader of the Consumer Protection Division, she advanced and defended the interests of Illinois consumers in critical areas such as mortgage origination and servicing, student loan servicing, debt collection, identity theft and other areas of financial risk. Hagan has played a critical leadership role in many groundbreaking settlements on the state and national level, helping to recover billions of dollars in restitution for victims of consumer fraud and other wrongful conduct. In addition to her current role which she has held since 2004, Hagan has served as bureau chief, deputy bureau chief and assistant attorney general. She received her Juris Doctor from the University of Dayton School of Law and her Bachelor of Arts in political science from Miami University.
Mario Treto, Jr. will serve as Director of Real Estate at IDFPR.* Treto currently serves as Deputy City Attorney for the City of Evanston where he provides 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. He also serves as board chair of Howard Brown Health, a federally qualified health center in the Chicagoland area with ten clinics and a youth center serving 35,000 patients. He received his Juris Doctor from the Indiana University Maurer School of Law and his Bachelor of Arts in biology and psychology from Washington University in St. Louis.
Francisco Menchaca will continue to serve as Director of Financial Institutions at IDFPR.* 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 state 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. Menchaca is a proponent of robust public‐private partnerships and community outreach, citing his youth in the Pilsen/Little Village neighborhood as his inspiration in seeking to provide opportunities for educational and economic development. He received his Master of Business Administration from the University of Illinois at Chicago and his Bachelor of Arts from Northwestern University.
Jessica Baer will continue to serve as Director of Professional Regulation at IDFPR.* Baer has held the post since her appointment by Gov. Rauner in September 2016 and previously served the department as general counsel. In that role, she oversaw the entire legal department for the agency, providing input on a number of topics including pending litigation, labor issues, and legislation. Prior to joining IDFPR, Baer spent six years as an associate at K&L Gates focusing on litigation and antitrust law. Her cases involved complex contractual disputes, antitrust litigation and regulatory compliance counseling. Baer is licensed to practice law in Illinois. She earned her Juris Doctor from DePaul University and her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Click here to view the previous appointments to the Pritzker administration.
* Appointment pending confirmation by the Illinois Senate.
He seems to be keeping around quite a few Rauner appointees.