Treasurer Frerichs new leadership team includes top aides of ex-governor

SPRINGFIELD — Treasurer Mike Frerichs today rolled out his leadership team, which includes top aides of ex-Governor Pat Quinn.

Frerichs has named Jay Rowell as his deputy treasurer. Rowell previously served as director of the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES).

In that role, Rowell oversaw nearly 1,900 employees and nearly $8 billion in unemployment insurance payments. His efforts identified and reduced improper payments by nearly a half billion dollars as he lead the transition of IDES to an employment-focused agency.

Rowell’s experience also includes the political director for the Illinois Senate Democrats and other positions with the State of Illinois and City of Chicago. Rowell graduated cum laude from Loyola University Chicago School of Law.

Justin Cajindos will be Frerichs’ chief of staff. Cajindos formerly served as deputy chief of staff in the Office of the Governor, overseeing eight state agencies with a total of 4,000 employees.

In this role, Cajindos was a policy advisor for environment, energy and agriculture. His prior experience in federal and state government includes positions as an aide to U.S. Senator Richard J. Durbin and as chief of staff to state Senator Michael W. Frerichs. Cajindos is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Catherine Shannon, who previously served as deputy director of the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, has been named Director of Legislative Affairs.

She managed a state agency responsible for 56 state historic sites, 180 employees and an annual operating budget of $24 million.

Shannon is a former director of the Illinois Department of Labor. She also served as the legislative director for Illinois Federation of Teachers and the Illinois AFL-CIO. Shannon began her legislative work more than 25 years ago on the research/appropriations staff for the Illinois House of Representatives, Office of the Speaker. She is a graduate of Northern Illinois University.

Other Frerich appointments include:

Rodrigo Garcia, Chief Investment Officer

Garcia previously served as acting director of the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs (IDVA). In that role, he oversaw nearly 1,400 employes and a $150 million budget. His efforts led to: the design of the $70.5 million Chicago Veterans Home; implementation of results-based budgeting systems; and transformation of IDVA’s aging technology and operational infrastructure that, in aggregate, resulted in tens of millions in new revenue and cost efficiencies. Garcia also worked in bank supervision and regulation at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and in global wealth management at Morgan Stanley & Co. He proudly served in the United States Marine Corps with three tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. He graduated summa cum laude with graduate degrees with a focus on public policy and finance from Northwestern University and the University of Illinois at Chicago. He recently completed Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.

Keith Horton, General Counsel

Horton previously was deputy general counsel for the Office of the Governor. In that role, he managed or served as the liaison to the chief legal counsels of more than 20 state agencies, boards and commissions, including the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity and the Illinois Finance Authority. Horton previously served as deputy general counsel of the Capital Development Board and worked in private practice for two large law firms in Chicago. Horton graduated from Yale University with a degree in economics. He earned his law degree from the University of Illinois College of Law, where he was editor-in-chief of the Elder Law Journal.

Paris Ervin, Director of Communications

Ervin previously was the bureau chief of communications at the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT). She served as the spokeswoman, led a team of community relations managers and guided multimillion-dollar media contracts promoting traffic safety. Ervin is a former WICS-TV reporter who graduated from the University of Illinois Springfield with a Bachelor of Arts in communications. She graduates this May with a master’s degree in public administration.

Julian Federle, Chief of Policy and Programs

Federle previously was a deputy director at the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES). At IDES, Federle managed the day-to-day operations of the agency’s re-employment programs as well as the administration of unemployment insurance benefits. Federle reshaped the agency’s service delivery model, saving the state money, while expanding services and decreasing fraud. He attended Columbia University in Chicago.

Zach Koutsky, Senior Advisor to the Treasurer

Koutsky was Treasurer Michael W. Frerichs’ campaign manager and deputy director to the treasurer’s Transition Committee. Koutsky previously served as the chief of staff for Frerichs’ state senate office and has worked for non-profits and political campaigns in nine states. Koutsky earned a master’s degree in urban planning and policy with a concentration in economic development from the University of Illinois Chicago and a bachelor’s degree from Illinois State University.

Charise Williams, Deputy Chief of Staff for Civic Engagement

Williams previously served as director of community relations for Oak Street Health. She oversaw the outreach and implementation of four community-based, senior care clinics. Under Williams’ leadership, the outreach team acquired hundreds of new patients, which grossed more than $1.2 million in six months. She earned her master’s degree in public policy from the University of Chicago, Harris School of Public Policy.

Dave Clarkin, Deputy Chief of Staff of Public Affairs

Clarkin has nearly 20 years of public affairs experience in communications, marketing, legislative policy and community outreach. Clarkin served as deputy director of communications and senior policy advisor for the Department of Children and Family Services, leading all communications and helping develop the agency’s strategic performance plan. Clarkin began his career in state government with the Illinois House of Representatives where he shaped technology policy and appropriations for health care and human services totaling more than $7 billion annually. An Edwardsville native, Clarkin earned a bachelor’s degree in biology and political science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Sarah Ryan – Director of Scheduling & Special Events

Ryan spent five years as the Office Manager and later Operations Director for U.S. Senator Richard J. Durbin. She graduated from DePaul University.