Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced a handful of appointments to leadership positions at state departments Feb. 19, including the Illinois Departments of Human Services, Natural Resources, and Financial and Professional regulation. All of the appointments are pending confirmation from the Illinois Senate.
Department of Human Services
Grace Hou, who served as assistant secretary at IDHS from 2003 to 2012, was named secretary of IDHS.
In her previous stint with the agency, Hou was responsible for the oversight of the agency’s six program areas and was a leader in the creation and implementation of the state’s Immigrant Integration New American’s Executive Order.
Hou is president of Woods Fund Chicago, a grant-making foundation that funds community organizations that fight poverty and structural racism. She previously served as executive director of Chinese Mutual Aid Association and has been a vocal advocate for immigrant rights.
Department of Natural Resources
Pritzker named Colleen Callahan as director of the IDNR. Callahan spent seven years as state director for USDA Rural Development in Illinois and currently manages her own communications consulting firm.
At the USDA, she oversaw a 20 percent reduction in staffing while generating a $1 billion increase in the Illinois loan portfolio, according to a news release from Pritzker’s office.
Callahan also served for 30 years as the agribusiness director for WMBD in Peoria. She was the first female president of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting.
Department of Financial and Professional Regulation
Deborah Hagan will serve as secretary of IDFPR after spending more than 30 years as a consumer protection advocate in the Illinois Attorney General’s Office.
She worked in the Consumer Protection Division for the AG’s office addressing mortgage origination and servicing, student loan servicing, debt collection, identity theft and other areas of financial risk.
She has held this role since 2004, and has served as bureau chief, deputy bureau chief and assistant attorney general.
Mario Treto Jr. will serve as director of real estate at IDFPR.
Treto is the deputy city attorney for Evanston, providing legal counsel to elected officials, departments and staff.