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Pritzker appoints tollway board on deadline day

Thursday, Feb 28, 2019

* Press release…

Turning the page to a new era of transparency and accountability, Governor JB Pritzker signed SB 1298 and appointed a new board of highly talented and experienced professionals to lead the Illinois Toll Highway Authority into the future.

“It is a new day for the Illinois Tollway,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “Our new leadership will uphold the highest ethical standards, deliver the value to taxpayers and serve Illinoisans in every corner of our state. I’m proud to usher in a new wave of transparency and accountability at this critical agency.”

Will Evans will serve as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Illinois Toll Highway Authority.* Evans has nearly 40 years of experience in strategic planning, operations, engineering, construction, large infrastructure projects and major IT system implementations and has been in senior leadership for over 20 years. He is the former President of Peoples Gas and North Shore Gas, regulated natural gas utilities now owned by WEC Energy Group. Since retirement from Peoples Gas, Evans has been an energy and engineering consultant, serves as president of the Northwestern University Black Alumni Association and chairs the Chicago Commons board of directors and Skokie Board of Fire and Police Commissioners. He received his Master of Business Administration and Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering from Northwestern University.

Jim Connolly will serve on the Board of Directors of the Illinois Toll Highway Authority.* Connolly has been a proud member of the Laborers’ International Union of North America (“LiUNA”) for over 48 years. He currently serves as the business manager of the Chicago & Vicinity Laborers’ District Council and has held that position since he was first elected in March 2000. Connolly proudly serves and fights to improve the lives of the 20,000 men and women who comprise the membership of the District Council’s 15 affiliated LiUNA Locals. He has worked with all levels of government, including serving on an advisory panel charged with overseeing the potential privatization of Midway International Airport. Connolly strives to bring Labor and Management together to promote the industries represented by the members of the Laborers’ District Council and the signatory contractors who employ them.

Stephen L. Davis will serve on the Board of Directors of the Illinois Toll Highway Authority.* Davis is the Founder and Chairman of The Will Group, a firm overseeing several construction, manufacturing, technology, lighting, and energy industry companies. Since 2010, The Will Group has been recognized by Black Enterprise Magazine as one of the country’s Top 100 Black businesses. Davis has a passion for economic development and has been an active member of Chicago’s business community for several decades. He currently serves as the Commissioner of Aviation (Board Chair) of the DuPage Airport Authority and on the boards of the Trust Company of Illinois, PMI Energy Solutions, and Inland Real Estate Trust, specifically on Inland’s Audit and Compensation committees. He is also a member of the Business Leadership Council’s executive committee and the Chicago Regional Growth Corporation’s board of directors. Davis is the founder of the Tuskegee Next Foundation, whose goal is to graduate 100 pilots from at-risk communities. As of August 2018, the program has successfully graduated 33 cadets and 27 licensed pilots. Stephen and his wife Tanya have raised 8 children. Davis received his bachelor’s degree in Transportation and Materials from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville.

Alice Gallagher will serve on the Board of Directors of the Illinois Toll Highway Authority.* Gallagher has served as president of the Village of Western Springs since May 2017 after serving four years as a village trustee. Since becoming village president, she has served on the West Central Municipal Conference, as director of the executive committee, co-chair of the transportation committee and chair of the central council. Gallagher is an attorney by trade and served on the Western Springs School District 101 Board of Education. She received her Juris Doctor from the Seattle University School of Law and Bachelor of Arts from Miami University.

Karen McConnaughay will serve on the Board of Directors of the Illinois Toll Highway Authority.* McConnaughay served two terms as state senator of the 33rd District, where she was the Republican Minority Whip and the minority spokesperson for the Senate Transportation Committee. She also served on the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) Executive Board and International Relations Task Force. Prior to her election to the state senate, McConnaughay served as the County Board Chairman of Kane County from 2004 to 2012 where she achieved remarkable fiscal success by lowering spending and reducing the size of government while bolstering accountability, efficiency and transparency, resulting in significant bond rating increases. Under her leadership, Kane County invested in major expansion and upgrades of county bridge and road systems, public transportation, 911 public safety and criminal justice facilities.

Scott Paddock will serve on the Board of Directors of the Illinois Toll Highway Authority.* Paddock has more than 20 years of industry experience in sales, marketing and general management. Since 2011, he has served as the president of the Chicagoland Speedway and Route 66 Raceway, the largest sports facility in the state of Illinois. In that role, he revamped their organizational structure, authoring strategic plan and cultural transformation to reposition enterprise for long-term success and year round relevance in the Chicago sports and entertainment landscape. Prior to joining Chicagoland Speedway, Paddock spent 12 years in marketing leadership positions at PepsiCo, including serving as the Director of Sports Marketing for Gatorade. He also currently serves on the board of the Illinois Special Olympics, Silver Cross Health Systems, Will County Center for Economic Development and Chicago Sports Commission. He received his Bachelor of Arts from the University of Notre Dame.

Gary Perinar will serve on the Board of Directors of the Illinois Toll Highway Authority.* Perinar currently serves as executive secretary-treasurer for the over 30,000 members of the Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters. Perinar is a third-generation business representative of the union and a 40-year member of Carpenters Local 174 where he served his apprenticeship. At age 32, he became a full-time business representative and later an assistant to the president/EST. Perinar was twice elected as the second vice president of the Regional Council and has served under four ESTs. He has also served as a delegate for 25 years and held the position of trustee on various committees and boards including health and welfare and pension funds during this period. Perinar was the 2018 recipient of the esteemed George Meany Award which is a National Recognition by the Boy Scouts of America Pathway to Adventure Council. The award is presented to an individual who has made a significant contribution to the youth of the community.

Cesar Santoy will serve on the Board of Directors of the Illinois Toll Highway Authority.* Santoy is the principal of Studio ARQ, LLC and ARQ Design Build, Inc., architecture and construction firms that serve public and private sector clients as well as individual home and business owners. He has over 20 years of progressively responsible experience in architectural design, construction management and civic engagement. Santoy also serves as 5th Ward Alderman for the City of Berwyn and is active in a variety of professional and community organizations. He received his Bachelor of Architecture from the Illinois Institute of Technology and is a registered Architect in several states.

Jim Sweeney will serve on the Board of Directors of the Illinois Toll Highway Authority.* Sweeney is the president-business manager of International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150. He joined the union in 1978 and worked for contractors on sewer, slag, paving and deep tunnel projects. Since Sweeney joined Local 150 in 1987, the union’s membership doubled from less than 10,000 to more than 23,000. He has been president-business manager since 2008 and steered Local 150 through the recession while maintaining wage and benefit levels and implementing temporary healthcare subsidies and the Local 150 Food Bank to offer assistance to members in need. Sweeney served on the tollway board under Gov. Quinn from 2011 to 2015 where he advocated for the efficient modernization of the nation’s most advanced network of toll roads.

All appointments are pending confirmation by the Illinois Senate.

Chairman Evans and Davis are African-Americans. But except for Santoy, the rest are Anglos. Also, two women, seven men.

Normally, I wouldn’t do a count like that, and I don’t have a problem with any of these members, but the governor is the one who made such a big deal about diversity. Also too, Local 150 wins again.

* Daily Herald

The incoming directors include three union officials in construction trades, two civic leaders, business executives and people with expertise in engineering and architecture.

Thursday was the deadline for Pritzker to act on a bill enacted in January ending the terms of board members after reports of cronyism at the agency. […]

Tollway Executive Director Elizabeth Gorman is still at the agency, but usually an incoming governor will nudge the board to hire a successor. […]

Directors are paid about $31,426 a year and the chairman receives $36,077.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Amalia - Thursday, Feb 28, 19 @ 3:36 pm:

    hey, at least the Mayor of Elk Grove Village still has his Bahamas Bowl trip.

  2. - curtis - Thursday, Feb 28, 19 @ 3:39 pm:

    Governor sure loves last minute board appointments…

  3. - Anon - Thursday, Feb 28, 19 @ 3:39 pm:

    Out with the old hacks and in with the ones.

  4. - Not It - Thursday, Feb 28, 19 @ 3:41 pm:

    Not to be a downer, but I see some folks with relevant experience, but also potential conflicts of interest. Wasn’t the point of a house cleaning to remove Directors who steer work to favorite firms?

  5. - Fav Human - Thursday, Feb 28, 19 @ 3:41 pm:

    Ironic since Karen M. came to politics to block the fox valley bike path from her St. Charles neighborhood….

  6. - DuPage Bard - Thursday, Feb 28, 19 @ 3:45 pm:

    Nothing like doing things in a timely manner

  7. - allknowingmasterofraccoodom - Thursday, Feb 28, 19 @ 3:56 pm:

    Why would anyone think road builders on this board may have a conflict of interest? Hmmmm…..

  8. - Taxedoutwest - Thursday, Feb 28, 19 @ 4:01 pm:

    30% union…..that is sooo representative of the working people of IL. How is that going to work out for any new small contractors trying to break into the Tollway oligarchy? And yes, I am well aware of the PW laws in IL.

  9. - Wylie Coyote - Thursday, Feb 28, 19 @ 4:07 pm:

    Boy, there sure is a lot of transportation expertise in that group…..

  10. - Donnie Elgin - Thursday, Feb 28, 19 @ 4:08 pm:

    ” after reports of cronyism at the agency”

    I’m sure that a high ranking member of the operating engineers union wold have no impact on awarding contracts or hiring right ?

  11. - Anon - Thursday, Feb 28, 19 @ 4:14 pm:

    I sure hope that Chairman Evans will work to fulfill Governor Pritzker’s goal of increasing minority participation at the tollway. Labor has seats at the table, but it is well past time that they put their money where their mouth is and to drastically expand the percentage of minorities in the trade unions. If this is being set up as a battle between labor and proponents of increased minority participation in contracting, it will put JB in a tough spot. I’m a union supporter, but they need to do the right thing and help JB make the progress that he has promised.

  12. - literal drive-by - Thursday, Feb 28, 19 @ 4:19 pm:

    Not a Chicago resident, but I have been around a few cities.

    The Illinois Toll system is not friendly to out of town drivers and getting pulled off to the side of the freeway, pay the money, merge back on the freeway, is ridiculous. I cannot imagine any logical explanation for paying money in between exits.

    Get your ticket, pay when you get off.

    At least they fixed the signage at Ohare’s Balmoral exit.

    I hope this new group can ask the right questions and streamline this for the driving user.

  13. - City Zen - Thursday, Feb 28, 19 @ 4:20 pm:

    ==Chairman Evans and Davis are African-Americans. But except for Santoy, the rest are Anglos. Also, two women, seven men.==

    Don’t look to Local 150 and LIUNA to provide either female or minority leadership, because it ain’t there.

  14. - anon - Thursday, Feb 28, 19 @ 4:51 pm:

    From the bios, it is not clear that any have experience with the construction/maintenance of roads. That seems troublesome. I also would have preferred more MBE/WBE representation.

  15. - Chicagonk - Thursday, Feb 28, 19 @ 4:57 pm:

    @Anon - The Local 150 ain’t gonna hire no one no one sent.

  16. - Almost the weekend - Thursday, Feb 28, 19 @ 6:54 pm:

    I understand the issue with seniority unions were talking about, I hope Pritzker made sure that unions like 150 are internally hiring and moving up minorities into leadership positions in 150. In theory then they will be offered these positions in due time. Rome was not build in a day, but it needs to move faster and JB can do that by nudging these unions.

  17. - Almost the weekend - Thursday, Feb 28, 19 @ 6:58 pm:

    =Don’t look to Local 150 and LIUNA to provide either female or minority leadership, because it ain’t there.=

    Which is why JB needs to change that and he has the power too. It starts with rank and file, he’s not going to be able to advertise this in his press releases but can be part of his legacy down the road. Capital Bill is coming, no better time than now.

  18. - Honeybadger - Thursday, Feb 28, 19 @ 8:36 pm:

    Cesar Santoy, a politician with a bright future. Honest, hard working and a possible future mayor, state representative or senator.

  19. - Lack of New Ideas - Friday, Mar 1, 19 @ 3:57 am:

    =Don’t look to Local 150 and LIUNA to provide either female or minority leadership, because it ain’t there.=

    =Which is why JB needs to change that and he has the power too. It starts with rank and file, he’s not going to be able to advertise this in his press releases but can be part of his legacy down the road. Capital Bill is coming, no better time than now.=

    Best advice for JB & Team: Look atthe U.S. Supreme Court rulings. Increasing minority programs is not as easy as one might think.

  20. - Kavleen Kaur - Friday, Mar 1, 19 @ 6:40 am:

    Thanks for sharing this amazing post.

  21. - NoGifts - Friday, Mar 1, 19 @ 7:49 am:

    Drive By - you don’t have to pull over to the cash lanes if you don’t have an ipass. you can drive through and pay online later. Probably not well publicized.

  22. - Skeptic - Friday, Mar 1, 19 @ 8:52 am:

    “The Illinois Toll system is not friendly to out of town drivers” Um, have you been to Denver? On the tollway there, you *can’t* pay tolls. If you haven’t registered your license plate your only option is to get a ticket (with a fine) in the mail.

  23. - brickle - Friday, Mar 1, 19 @ 10:33 am:


    it’s a great boost for rental car companies and their exorbitant charges for using plate pass systems.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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* Yesterday's stories

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