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Gov. Pritzker Announces Fourteen Appointments to Boards and Commissions, Public Administrators and Public Guardians


Patrick Devaney will serve as a Member of the Energy Transition Workforce Commission.* Devaney serves as the Secretary Treasurer of the Illinois AFL-CIO Labor Union and previously served as the President of the Associated Firefighters of Illinois for fifteen years. He served the City of Champaign in the Fire Department for over twenty years. Devaney serves the State on the Illinois Department of Employment Security's Employment Security Advisory Board, the State Fire Marshal Advisory Board, and the Pension Consolidation Task Force. Devaney received a Bachelor's Degree from Southern Illinois University.


Aurora Austriaco will serve as a Judge on the Illinois Court of Claims.* Austriaco is a Partner at Valentine, Austriaco and Bueschel, P.C., bringing over thirty years of commercial and real estate litigation experience to the practice. Previously, Austriaco managed Austriaco and Associates Ltd, and prior to that, she served as an Associate at Harold I. Levine Ltd. Aurora has been recognized for her expertise and elected by her peers to serve in a variety of leadership positions, including as President of the Chicago Bar Association and as President of the Lawyer's Trust Fund of Illinois. Austriaco served on the board of the National Association of Asian American Professionals and on the board of Asian American Coalition of Chicago. Austriaco received both her Bachelor of Science and Juris Doctor from DePaul University.


Michael Strautmanis will serve as a Member of the Illinois Finance Authority.* Strautmanis currently serves as the Executive Vice President for Civic Engagement for the Obama Foundation where he leads the Chicago impact strategy, serving as President of the My Brother's Keeper Alliance and heads the Public Engagement Department. Previously, he served President Obama as Chief of Staff to Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett, developing the engagement strategy, leading the President's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness and assisted in developing the White House Forum on Youth Violence. Strautmanis served as Senior Advisor on the Obama for America campaign and was Chief Counsel to President Obama during his time as a US Senator.  He serves as Chair of the Emerald South Economic Development, as a Member of the Lyric Opera of Chicago Board of Directors, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, and Thrive Chicago. Strautmanis received a Bachelor of Science in Advertising and a Juris Doctor from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.


Beth Shadur will continue to serve as a Member of the Illinois State Museum Board.* Shadur has worked as an Artist in Education for the Illinois Arts Council Agency for over 15 years, completing residencies around the communities of Illinois. She has also worked as a freelance Mural Artist, creating murals for private homes, public buildings, and companies. Her works have been featured in publications including the Abbeville Press' Twentieth Century Watercolors. Shadur is the Gallery Director at the Christopher Art Gallery, where she curates, designs and installs art exhibitions, and composes gallery guides for each show. Before joining the Christopher Art Gallery, she instructed courses on watercolors, drawing and 2D design courses as a Visiting Professor. Shadur received a Bachelor's Degree in Art, Architectural History and Studio Art from Brown University, and a Master of Fine Arts in Studio Art from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Tamira Brennan Blodgett will continue to serve as a Member of the Illinois State Museum Board.* Blodgett is the Section Head of Curation for the Illinois State Archaeological Survey at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she manages the archaeological collections of the University and the Illinois Department of Transportation. Prior to serving in this capacity, she worked for the Survey as Field Station Coordinator. Blodgett has also managed archaeological collections and research as Curator at the Center for Archaeological Investigations at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale She received a Bachelor's Degree in Anthropology from the University of Illinois and a Master's Degree in Anthropology from Southern Illinois University.

Donna Sack will continue to serve as a Member of the Illinois State Museum Board.* Sack has wide-ranging experience working with non-profit organizations and museums. She is the Vice President of Community Engagement and Audience and Chief Program Officer at the Naper Settlement Museum, having previously served as the museum's Director of Visitor Services, Associate Director for Visitor Services and Special Events Manager. Sack has also worked as the Executive Director of the Association of Midwest Museums and the Illinois Association of Museums, as well as the Teaching American History Grant Project Director at the Indian Prairie School District #204.  She received a Bachelor of Art and Bachelor of Science from the University of Connecticut and a Historic Preservation Certification from the University of Illinois at Chicago.


Jeffrey Mears will serve as a Member of the Labor Relations Board.* Mears served on the Prisoner Review Board and previously worked at Illinois Department of Corrections as Union Painter and Temporary Stationary Engineer at the Shawnee Correctional Center for over 18 years. He also worked as a member and was Foreman and General Foreman of Painters Local #32. Mears served for 6 years as a Commissioner and was Chair of the Johnson County Board of Commissioners which oversaw the county's union negotiations and contracts. Jeffrey has an extensive volunteer experience with Shawnee Correctional Center where he has served as a De-Escalation Response Team Coordinator, Negotiations Management Team Member, Facility Crisis Team Member, and a Weapons-Free Task Force Member. Mears studied General Studies at Shawnee Community College.


Brian Sullivan will serve as a Member of the Illinois Liquor Control Commission.* Sullivan is the President and Pharmacist in Charge of the Sullivan Wholesale Drug Company, which he has owned and operated for over 30 years. He has also served as the President of FastFlo Inc., and operated additional companies, including Sullivan Drugs of Hillsboro and Sullivan Drugs of Litchfield. Sullivan is the former Mayor of the City of Hillsboro and has experience serving on the Liquor Commission of Hillsboro. During his tenure, he wrote and passed several ordinances relating to craft beer manufacturing and sales as well as micro distillery manufacture and sales in Hillsboro. Sullivan received a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy from the St. Louis College of Pharmacy.


Rodger Heaton will serve as a Member of the Prisoner Review Board.* Heaton has extensive experience in law as a Partner at McGuireWoods LLP, where he represents firm clients in governmental and internal investigations. Prior to working at McGuireWoods LLP, he worked as a Partner at Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP for fifteen years. He also supervised operations of seven public safety agencies and four new boards as the Director of Public Safety and oversaw the staff and operations as the Chief of Staff at the Office of the Governor. Heaton received a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a Juris Doctor from the Indiana University Bloomington School of Law.

Robin Shoffner will serve as a Member of the Prisoner Review Board.* Shoffner is currently a Partner at Nathan & Kamionski LLP, where she represents clients in all aspects of civil rights litigation and business affairs. Shoffner previously served as the Assistant Corporation Counsel for the City of Chicago Law Department, as the Senior Litigation Counsel for the Aon Service Corporation, and as the Litigation Associate for Albert, Whitehead & McGaugh, PC. She has also served on the Illinois Judges Association, the Illinois Judicial Council, the Alliance of Illinois Judges, the Black Women Lawyer's Association, and the Cook County Bar Association. Shoffner received a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from the University of Missouri at Columbia and a Juris Doctor from Creighton University.


Dawn Weekly will serve as Public Administrator and Public Guardian for Grundy County and Kankakee County.* Weekly is an Attorney at Law at the Legacy Law Firm, LLC, where she has served for over 10 years. She has worked as an Associate Attorney at Law ElderLaw, a division of Law Hesselbaum, LLP, where she worked in estate planning and prepared and filed VA claims for veterans to receive pension benefits. Weekly has also worked in the field of public service, serving as a Prehearing Attorney for the Michigan State Court of Appeals, where she conducted research related to legal issues, prepared a judicial report, and managed civil issues including negligence, medical malpractice, property, tax, age discrimination and insurance. She also handled criminal defense in the divisions of misdemeanors, DUI and Traffic, and prepared appellate briefs while completing a Summer Clerkship for the Office of the State Appellate Defender, Third District of Illinois. Weekly received a Bachelor of Science in Management from Columbia College of Chicago and a Juris Doctor from Northern Illinois University College of Law.

Rebecca O'Neill will serve as Public Administrator and Public Guardian for the counties of Alexander, Massac, Johnson, Hardin, Randolph, Williamson, Perry, Pope, Franklin, Union, Saline and Pulaski.* O'Neill is a Clinical Professor at the Southern Illinois University School of Law, where her concentrations include family law, elder law, and health care issues. She currently practices law as an Attorney at the Mitchell, Brandon, Schmidt Law Firm, a private practice. O'Neill has served on the Johnston City Council, and as an Attorney for the Office of State Appellate Defender. She received an Associate's Degree in Accounting from John A. Logan College, a Bachelor of Science in Marketing and Political Science from Southern Illinois University and a Juris Doctor from the Southern Illinois University School of Law.


Roderick Bashir will serve as a Member of the Illinois Secure Savings Choice Board.* Bashir is Vice President of the Service Employees International Union, Local 1, where he works on contract negotiation, manages staff, and works as an Assistant to the President and Manager of Human Resources. He previously worked as a Moving and Building Services Member, where he specialized in general properties relocation. Bashir received a Bachelor of Science in Political Science from Illinois State University and a Master of Arts in Public Administration from Roosevelt University.


Rodney Caffey will serve as a Member of the Southwestern Illinois Development Authority.* Caffey worked as an Attorney at The Lakin Law Firm PC before working as Managing Attorney at The Caffey Law Firm, LLC, where he has practiced law in active civil litigation for 10 years. He has also served as the Madison County Officer. Caffey has served on the Illinois State Bar Association, the Missouri Bar Association, and the National Bar Association. He received a Bachelor of Science from Illinois State University and a Juris Doctor from the Oklahoma City School of Law.

* Appointments pending confirmation by the Illinois Senate.