Friday, February 20, 2009
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Gov. Pat Quinn names key staff members

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[February 20, 2009]  CHICAGO -- On Wednesday, Gov. Pat Quinn named a dozen staff members to his administration:

InsuranceJack Lavin -- chief operating officer

Lavin will primarily focus on directing the federal stimulus program for Illinois, while assisting in the management of the governor's office. He has served as the director of the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity since 2003. Lavin has a master's degree in business with a specialization in finance as well as a master's degree in international relations from the University of Chicago.

Carolyn Brown Hodge -- deputy chief of staff

Hodge will assist the chief of staff in running the governor's office in Springfield. She was previously the director of rural affairs in the lieutenant governor's office. Hodge has been a leader on the Rural Health Task Force, the Rural Water Task Force and the Broadband Deployment Council.

Simone McNeil -- director of operations

McNeil will oversee the day-to-day operations of the governor's office, a position she also held for six years in the lieutenant governor's office. She brings a depth of management experience, including serving for four years as human resources director in the state treasurer's office. McNeil has a bachelor's degree from the University of Illinois.

Robert Reed -- director of communications

Reed will manage media relations, a position he also held with the lieutenant governor's office. He has an extensive journalism background, previously working for Business Week, Chicago magazine, Bloomberg Business News, WBBM-Newsradio 780 and as editor of Crain's Chicago Business. Reed has a bachelor's degree in journalism from Northern Illinois University.

Michelle Saddler -- director of policy

Saddler will oversee a number of policy initiatives, including economic development, health care, education, housing, fiscal policy and ethics. She brings strong financial management and public policy experience, serving as director of investments for four years in the state treasurer's office and later managing one of the nation's top-performing investment pools for nearly 200 Illinois municipalities. She holds a bachelor's degree from Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and a master's degree in management from the Northwestern Kellogg School of Management.

LaDawn Burnett -- senior policy adviser

Burnett will work on a range of policy initiatives, including economic development, health care, education and fiscal matters. Previously, Burnett was the director of policy and issues for the lieutenant governor's office. She has a bachelor's degree in English and political science from Valparaiso University.

Kate Tomford -- director of sustainability

Tomford will manage and advocate for the implementation of the governor's green initiatives throughout the state. Well-versed in environmental policy and sustainability initiatives, she was previously a senior policy adviser in the lieutenant governor's office, tasked with overseeing the Green Governments Coordinating Council and other green projects. Tomford received a bachelor's degree from Harvard University and a master's in environmental science and policy from the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy.

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Cory Foster -- director of community affairs

Foster will act as a liaison to diverse communities throughout Illinois, a position he also held for two years with the lieutenant governor's office. He has extensive background working with faith-based institutions and managing educational service programs, such as the Learn and Serve America Program with the Illinois State Board of Education. Foster also has extensively worked on media and event coordination efforts. He has a bachelor's degree in criminal justice from Drury University.

Jennifer Hoelzle -- director of scheduling and advance

Hoelzle will manage the governor's schedule as well as coordinate travel and logistics. She was director of intergovernmental affairs in the lieutenant governor's office. She holds a master's degree from Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism.

Jay Stewart -- senior counsel

Stewart will provide legal counsel to the governor and assist the general counsel in a number of capacities. He was previously the executive director of the Better Government Association. Stewart graduated from DePaul University College of Law.

Sean Vinck -- chief legislative counsel

Vinck will be the governor's primary representative in the Illinois General Assembly. He has worked with Illinois legislators over the past two years as legislative counsel to the lieutenant governor. Vinck received a bachelor's degree, master's degree and J.D. from the University of Notre Dame.

David Vaught -- senior adviser to the governor

Vaught will consult and advise the governor on a range of policy matters, including fiscal and economic development issues. He previously served Quinn as a key adviser in the treasurer's office. Vaught is a West Point graduate.

[Text from news release from the governor's office]


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