As ABC7 continues to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, the focus is Gilbert Villegas Jr. Gov. Pat Quinn recently appointed him to the Illinois Capital Development Board, which is in charge of all state buildings.
He oversees $3.7 billion for capital expenditures of all 8,441 state-owned buildings in Illinois. Villegas is in charge of construction and renovation of all state facilities, universities, colleges and hospitals.
The former U.S. Marine who served four years during Operation Desert Storm serves his state by creating opportunities and jobs for a diverse population. He has been recognized as a leader in promoting business opportunities.
"We're going to be really busy as we get people back to work , it stimulates the economy and makes it more attractive for businesses," Villegas said
Villegas spearheaded the passages of two state bills, ensuring minority and women-owned businesses have an opportunity to participate on state-funded projects. He travels around the state conducting workshops and introducing prime contractors to sub and minority contractors. On Wednesday, he was at at St.Augustine College on the North Side.
"Gov. Quinn's main objectives to make sure that everyone has the opportunity to bid on these projects," Villegas said. "When it comes to participation on our projects, we want to see a diverse group."
Said business owner Sara Munoz, "This way the minority and female advantage are intertwined and get to be a part of those contracts."
Villegas toured the Thompson Building with an electrical contractor to see how they are retrofitting the lighting system throughout the building for LED lights. This must be done in all state facilities.
"This is going to be a huge savings to the for the state of Illinois. It will make (the building) a lot brighter and it is a quick, shovel-ready project…to get people back to work."