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José Alvarez named Executive Director of the Illinois Tollway


Downers Grove, Il- The Illinois Tollway Board of Directors, voted unanimously to hire veteran public servant, José Alvarez, as the agency’s new executive director. The Agency has a 1.5 billion annual budget.

Alvarez brings with him a wealth of administrative and government experience, including leadership positions at the highest levels of the public sector. In his role as executive director, Alvarez will lead the Illinois Tollway, which has a $1.5 billion annual budget and oversees Illinois’ 294-mile Tollway system.

“On behalf of my fellow board members, I’m excited to welcome José Alvarez as executive director,” said Tollway Board of Directors Chairman Will Evans.

“His extensive background in government administration for large, complex organizations such as the Chicago Housing Authority and Chicago Public Schools will provide a solid foundation to build upon as he leads the Illinois Tollway.”

Alvarez comes to the Tollway after having served in a multitude of public sector leadership roles, including chief of staff for the State Superintendent of Education for Washington D.C. Schools, deputy chief of staff for the CEO of Chicago Public Schools (CPS), and most recently, chief operating officer and chief of staff for the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA).

During his tenure at CHA, Alvarez presented balanced budgets for four consecutive years, secured over $1 billion in funding for mixed-income developments and developed a five-year capital plan for building and maintenance of facilities.

He also championed small and minority business participation in contracts through the Sec3 Job Order Contract Program aimed at driving small business participation and eliminated waivers for minority and women business enterprise contract requirements.

“I am honored and humbled by this vote of confidence by Chairman Evans and the Tollway’s Board of Directors. I’m looking forward to the challenge of leading a world-class toll highway system at a time when our infrastructure is at the forefront of our state’s agenda,” said Alvarez.

“We must continue to find new ways to help drive economic opportunity for all Illinoisans, and the Illinois Tollway plays a pivotal role in that effort.”

During his 13-year career at CPS, Alvarez held multiple roles geared toward community and stakeholder relations and was integral in the development of a rigorous strategic plan to support underperforming schools.

He also supported the Renaissance 2010 initiative aimed at developing accountability plans for CPS schools.

Alvarez is also a civic leader, serving as chairman of the local school council at the Andrew Jackson Language Academy, as vice chairman of La Casa Norte and as a member of the board of directors at Trinity High School in River Forest.