First Latina to head McPier Authority
Experienced Downstate legislator takes over Department of Natural Resources
CHICAGO – Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today announced the appointment of Leticia Peralta-Davis as chief executive officer of the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority and state Rep. Joel Brunsvold as director of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.
“Both individuals are well-qualified and bring with them impressive records of success in their respective fields,” Blagojevich said.
Peralta-Davis, 44, succeeds Scott Fawell at the authority and will be one of the administration’s highest-ranking Latinas. Her salary will be set by the authority. Fawell, who was fired by Blagojevich on his first day in office, was paid $195,000.
Peralta-Davis is founder and president of the financial advisory firm Davis Financial, Inc., which specializes in debt financing, and chairs the Finance Committee for the Board of Commissioners of the Chicago Housing Authority. Before starting her firm, she was a vice president at Bank of America from 1991 to 1993, and vice president at ABN/LaSalle Bank from 1988 to 1990.
She is a Chicago native and earned her bachelor’s degree in accounting and her masters in business administration from DePaul University, and received her certified public accounting certification in 1983. In 1999, she was selected as the regional Hispanic Businesswoman of the Year by the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. She serves on the boards of the Metropolitan Planning Council, Children’s Memorial Hospital and St. Benedict’s High School Advisory Board.
“Ms. Davis is well respected for her accomplishments as a businesswoman and community servant. She will help drive my agenda for reform by providing straightforward, fiscally-responsible leadership,” the Governor said.
Brunsvold, 61, a Democratic legislator from the Quad Cities and former chair of the Illinois House Agriculture and Conservation Committee, is recognized as an authority on conservation and land use issues. He also served on the House Environment and Energy Committee. Throughout his tenure as a legislator, Brunsvold has worked closely with the department that he is poised to lead, often sponsoring its agenda in the General Assembly. He is currently a member of House Speaker Michael Madigan’s leadership team and serves as chairman of the Illinois Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus.
Brunsvold grew up in the Quad Cities area and attended Augustana College in Rock Island. He worked for International Harvester from 1964 to 1969 and taught school for Sherrard Community Unit 200 until 1983. Brunsvold and his wife settled in Milan, where he was elected mayor in 1977. In 1983, he was elected state representative and has been re-elected ever since.
“I developed great respect for Joel when I worked with him as a member of the Illinois House. He understands the complexity of issues the Department of Natural Resources deals with and has significant experience as a lawmaker at balancing the demands of conservation and development,” commented the Governor.
Brunsvold will be paid $113,200.