EUGENE JONES, JR., CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
Eugene Jones, Jr. is the Chief Executive Officer for the Chicago Housing Authority.
He is directly responsible for implementing CHA’s extensive redevelopment program of public housing and continuing the agency’s mixed-income-focused strategic initiative to help build strong, vibrant communities throughout Chicago.
He has more than 35 years of service and experience in housing operations, resident services, accounting and finance, auditing, maintenance, new construction, capital construction and Housing Choice Voucher programs. Jones held previous key roles at various housing authorities across the country and in Canada. He is credited for turning around numerous troubled housing authorities to either a standard or high performance.
He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Albuquerque and his MBA from New Mexico Highlands University.
JAMES L. BEBLEY, CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER
Mr. Bebley has over thirty years of experience practicing law in the public and private sectors. He most recently served as Chief Legal Officer and General Counsel for the Chicago Housing Authority. In addition, he was responsible for the Housing Choice Voucher hearing process and the Ethics Policy functions and served as a Trustee and Secretary to the Chicago Housing Authority Employees’ Retirement Plan and Trust.
Prior to joining the Authority, Mr. Bebley served as General Counsel for the Chicago Public Schools, where he was responsible for all legal matters, labor and certain employee relations functions and ethics functions. He previously practiced law at the law firms of Carney & Brothers and Ice Miller.
Mr. Bebley has served on various committees examining a host of legal, social and financial issues including economic development in the Republic of Cuba, restorative justice in public education, and First and Fourth Constitutional Amendment issues in public schools.
Currently Mr. Bebley serves on the University of Illinois Student Affairs Advisory committee, the Finance Committee of the Chicago Jesuit Academy and the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials Board of Ethics and Credentialing. Mr. Bebley is a member of the American Bar Association and the Chicago Bar Association. Mr. Bebley earned his law degree from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, where he also received his Bachelor of Science in Finance.
PATRICIA RIOS, CHIEF ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICER
Patricia Rios joined the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) in 2015 and currently serves as the Chief Administrative Officer. She has over 25 years of financial and human resources expertise and a proven track record in organizational management, strategic planning and financial administration.
Ms. Rios most recently served as Associate Vice President of Human Resources for Columbia College Chicago. She was responsible for the vision and strategy of the Human Resources department in alignment with the College’s strategic plan. She also developed and maintained an effective infrastructure supporting superior communication between management, faculty and staff and participated across the College in the development of plans and programs as a strategic partner representing the employee’s perspective.
With deep roots in public service, Ms. Rios served as the Vice Chancellor for Human Resources and Staff Development at the City Colleges of Chicago (CCC), where she was responsible for providing executive-level vision, innovation and leadership for a district-wide Human Resources program. Prior to joining CCC, Ms. Rios served as the Director of Administration for Chicago 2016, the non-profit organization focused on bringing the Olympics to Chicago. As Chief of Staff to the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority (MPEA), she provided executive level support to the Chief Executive Officer and was responsible for staffing and operational issues. Other key roles include Deputy Chief Financial Officer for CHA and Director of Finance for the Public Building Commission of Chicago.
Raised in Chicago, Ms. Rios obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting from DePaul University and is certified as a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SHRM-SCP). She currently serves on the board of the CHA’s Employee’s Retirement Plan and Trust and the Chicago Municipal Employees Credit Union.
CHERYL COLSTON, CHIEF LEGAL OFFICER
Cheryl Colston is the Chief Legal Officer at the Chicago Housing Authority, and has more than 32 years of corporate, compliance, management, labor and litigation experience. She is responsible for all legal matters of the agency. Ms. Colston joined CHA in 2015 as Deputy Chief Legal Officer.
Before arriving at CHA, Ms. Colston served as First Deputy General Counsel for the Board of Education of the City of Chicago, where she advised the Board, Chief Executive Officer and senior leaders on contracts, policies and legislation, and directed a staff of 45 attorneys and 30 support staff. She was also Director of Employee Relations and Assistant General Counsel while at the Board of Education. Prior to that, she was an attorney in private practice. She began her career at the City of Chicago.
Ms. Colston’s trial experience includes obtaining favorable verdicts and rulings in state and federal court actions involving multi-million dollar liability exposure. She has negotiated historical five-year collective bargaining agreements between the Board of Education of Chicago and seven labor unions. She has also created and implemented effective investigative protocol for Title IX and Title VII investigations.
Ms. Colston received her law degree from William Mitchell College of Law where she served on Law Review, and her bachelor’s degree from State University of New York at Buffalo. She won the 2011 Orchid Women of Vision award, and was a finalist for the 2009 Kathy Osterman Award. She is a member of the Chicago Bar Association, Cook County Bar Association and BWLA of Greater Chicago.
MICHAEL MORAN, CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER
Michael Moran is a financial professional with over 30 years of experience in developing and driving strategic goals with a focus on financial reporting and analysis, including consolidations, forecasting, capital and operating budgets, systems implementation, treasury functions, and risk management oversight. He has a record of developing and implementing innovative solutions utilizing a highly motivated team approach resulting in increased efficiency, internal control and overall performance for private, public and nonprofit organizations.
As Chief Finance Officer at CHA, Mr. Moran directs a staff of 62 and oversees the agency’s $1 billion operating budget. He manages the agency’s accounting and financial reporting function, along with multiple top tier audit firm relationships on the financial and compliance audits, to ensure proper policies, internal controls and reporting results are in place. He is also responsible for developing the operating and capital expenditure budgets and forecasts to ensure the agency’s needs are appropriately planned for and the associated reporting is shared with stakeholders. Mr. Moran serves as a member of CHA’s Investment Committee which establishes the policies and strategic oversight of the investment portfolio including decision-making relating to financing, debt strategy, and policy governance and sits on the Board of the Chicago Housing Authority Employees’ Retirement Plan. Additionally, he oversees the Risk Management group responsible for all property, liability, and healthcare coverages.
Prior to coming to CHA in 2012, where he first served as Budget Director and later as Deputy Chief Financial Officer before being named Chief Financial Officer in June 2017, Mr. Moran worked in the private and nonprofit sectors in a variety of industries as an accountant, treasurer and controller. He was the Treasurer/Director of Internal Reporting for the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago where he was responsible for banking relationships, cash management, budgeting and served as an employee-member of the Investment Committee. Additionally, he served as the Controller at The Habitat Company, a major real estate development and management company headquartered in Chicago, where he was responsible for financial reporting, forecasting and directing annual audit and tax return preparation by multiple audit firms for over 100 real estate limited partnerships.
He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting and an MBA in Finance from the University of Illinois, Chicago and is a State of Illinois Certified Public Accountant.
MARY HOWARD, CHIEF RESIDENT SERVICES OFFICER
Ms. Howard currently serves as the Chief Resident Services Officer for the Chicago Housing Authority. She is responsible for implementing 2 Gen programs that foster economic independence, increase earning power, support academic achievement, and enhance housing stability and quality of life for residents.
Since joining CHA, Ms. Howard has developed and strengthened programming to include evidenced based models that have led to over 7,000 job placements for adults and more than 8,000 paid work experiences for youth; assisted in the creation and launch of CHA’s nonprofit affiliate, Springboard 2 Success, and has designed and implemented research based programming such as Housing Opportunities and Services Together (HOST) with the Urban Institute, and the groundbreaking advance earned income tax credit pilot. Ms. Howard is a board member of Springboard 2 Success and the Chicago Continuum of Care.
Ms. Howard has more than 30 years of experience in the nonprofit and housing service industry including management, program design, evaluation, coaching, and training. She has worked on issues that impact vulnerable populations such as addiction, homelessness, domestic violence and sexual assault, as well as implemented a variety of workforce development, housing, and anti-poverty programs.
Ms. Howard is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor in Illinois and earned a Ph.D. in Psychology from Capella University.
CHERYL BURNS, CHIEF HOUSING CHOICE VOUCHER OFFICER
Cheryl Burns is the Chief Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Officer for the Chicago Housing Authority.
Ms. Burns is responsible for the day-to-day management of the Housing Choice Voucher program (formerly known as Section 8), the second-largest public housing voucher program in the United States with 47,000 vouchers. She also oversees the development and implementation of policies and procedures to ensure effective and efficient HCV operations.
Ms. Burns served as CHA’s Program Integrity Manager, Senior Director and Deputy Chief Housing Officer for Operations and Compliance in which she managed the HCV budget, audits and procurement of Contracts and Supplies. She developed and monitored annual operating budgets and oversaw administrative processes such as software transition and training for CHA’s systems of record.
Prior to joining CHA, Ms. Burns spent more than 10 years working in housing authority management, gaining extensive experience in program administration, evaluation, coaching, training and staff development. She served as Executive Director of the Housing Authority of Park Forest’s HCV program and as Manager of Admissions and Occupancy for the Cincinnati Metropolitan Housing Authority, where she led the agency to a high-performer status on the SEMAP.
Ms. Burns holds a master’s degree in Communications and Training from Governor's State University and a bachelor’s degree in Marketing from Columbia College in Chicago.
DIANA C. LIU, CHIEF CONSTRUCTION OFFICER
Diana Liu is the Chief Construction Officer for the Chicago Housing Authority.
Liu oversees all capital construction activities at CHA. She arrived at CHA in January 2016 and brings with her 30 years of commercial real estate experience, primarily as a commercial real estate lawyer.
Most recently, Liu served for six years as a Principal, General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer at Artemis Real Estate Partners in metropolitan Washington, D.C., a real estate private equity firm. Prior to Artemis, she practiced commercial real estate law as an equity partner with WolfBlock LLP and Cozen O’Connor in Philadelphia, Pa. In her practice, Liu represented pension funds, institutional investors, REITs, developers, real estate operators, corporations and life insurance companies in all forms of real estate acquisition, development, management, financing, leasing and sale. She has significant experience representing lending institutions in construction, permanent and mezzanine financings, as well as in loan workouts, restructures and foreclosures.
Liu previously served as a member of the Johns Hopkins University Board of Trustees and in 2018, rejoined the Johns Hopkins University Krieger School of Arts and Sciences Dean’s Advisory Board. Liu taught an advanced course in commercial real estate transactions as an adjunct lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania Law School from 1998 – 2009. She is currently a Board Member of the American College of Real Estate Lawyers and the Association of Asian American Investment Managers. She is an active member of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association. Liu is a former President of the Asian American Women’s Coalition and the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Pennsylvania, all in Philadelphia, PA.
Liu earned a B.A. from Johns Hopkins University and a J.D. from Cornell Law School.
MICHAEL J. GURGONE, CHIEF INVESTMENT OFFICER
As Chief Investment Officer for the Chicago Housing Authority, Mr. Gurgone is responsible for the strategic investment and fiscal stewardship of combined assets of more than $500 million. Mr. Gurgone’s responsibilities include management of the Treasury, Pension Administration and the recently formed Revenue and Partnerships departments. Mr. Gurgone has also served as the CHA Treasurer for the past 10 years.
Mr. Gurgone has over 30 years of experience in innovative management of capital, banking, debt and real estate portfolios, and has performed financial and land-use activities for residential and mixed use developments in the Chicagoland area. Prior to CHA, he served as Treasurer for the Chicago Public Schools for more than 10 years.
He has co-authored U.S. Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) best practice advisories and has served on the GFOA National Standing Committees for Treasury & Investment, and most recently Capital Planning & Economic Development. He has pioneered electronic banking platforms and Public Private Partnerships with a focus on return on investment and risk reward parameters.
Mr. Gurgone is a graduate of Leo High School in Chicago and earned a B.S in Accounting and Business Administration from Illinois State University. He holds a Certificate in Public Accounting (CPA) as well as a Certificate in Management Accounting (CMA).
In 2011, he was presented the City of Chicago Kathy Osterman Excellence in Leadership Award.
DIONNA BROOKENS, CHIEF PROCUREMENT OFFICER
Dionna Brookens is the Chief Procurement for the Chicago Housing Authority. With 20 years of government procurement and compliance experience, Ms. Brookens oversees the Procurement and Contracts Division which includes Procurement, Compliance and the Section 3 Field Office. She is a Certified Public Procurement Officer (CPPO) with the National Institute of Governmental Purchasing and a Certified Compliance Administrator (CCA) with the American Contract Compliance Association.
Ms. Brookens is responsible for the procurement of construction services, development services, commodities and professional services for both internal departments and CHA’s private property management firms. She also oversees contract compliance to ensure participation by Minority-owned, Woman-owned, and Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (M/W/DBE) and to ensure hiring and subcontracting opportunities are provided to HUD’s Section 3 program for residents and businesses. The Section 3 Field Office provides services and assistance to residents and businesses that include business development, training and resources and contract compliance.
Prior to her role at CHA, Ms. Brookens served as Deputy Chief Procurement Officer for Cook County, Illinois, Deputy Director of Purchasing for the Chicago Park District and Executive Director of Business, Administrative and Auxiliary Services for the City Colleges of Chicago. Ms. Brookens earned her BS and MBA at DePaul University.
ANN MCKENZIE, CHIEF DEVELOPMENT OFFICER
Ann McKenzie is the Chief Development Officer for the Chicago Housing Authority. She has more than 20 years of experience developing affordable housing, including public housing.
Ms. McKenzie joined the CHA as Senior Director of the Rental Assistance Demonstration program in October 2015. Before joining CHA, Ms. McKenzie served as Director of Development for The Habitat Company where she focused on affordable real estate development with an emphasis on mixed-income public housing in both Chicago and Detroit. Before that, she worked for Bethel New Life where her interest in affordable housing was sparked.
Ms. McKenzie earned her bachelor of science degree in speech (with an emphasis in economics) from Northwestern University and her law degree from DePaul University College of Law. Ms. McKenzie is active in Chicago volunteer roles. She has held various volunteer roles including PTA president, Local School Council chair/vice chair and co-chaired a capital campaign to restore a Chicago-landmarked church.
DEREK MESSIER, CHIEF PROPERTY OFFICER
As the Chief Property Officer for the Chicago Housing Authority, Derek Messier is responsible for leading the public housing and project based voucher portfolios, including the rental assistance demonstration, safety and security, and housing policy and occupancy departments. He has 20 years of experience in both the private and public sectors in the areas of operations, property management, strategic planning, design and construction.
Mr. Messier began his tenure at CHA in September of 2015. Previously he served as the Chief Facilities Officer for Broward County Public Schools, where he led the facility operations and capital program for the nation’s 6th largest school district. He has also served as Deputy Commissioner in the City of Chicago’s Fleet and Facility Management department, managing the City’s portfolio of properties. Prior to his work in the public sector, he worked in a variety of consulting roles in the architecture, engineering and construction industry for both public and private sector clients.
He earned his Bachelor of Arts and Master of Business Administration degrees from Loyola University of Chicago. While attending Loyola, he began his career working for City Year, a national not-for-profit focused on youth development. After graduating he continued working with other not-for-profit agencies serving youth, until transitioning into the AEC industry.
TENELLE BARNES, CHIEF HUMAN RESOURCES OFFICER
Ms. Barnes has a broad range of human resources experience that spans more than 17 years, with a proven track record of working closely with business leaders at all levels, in a variety of industries to build winning cultures, performance leadership and implement best business practices and HR solutions that drive results and develop culture. She has extensive expertise in benefits administration and negotiations, relationship management and compliance administration, and helping organizations link employee needs to business strategies.
Prior to joining CHA, Ms. Barnes held human resources leadership positions and consulting roles in a variety of industries, including Executive Director of Benefits and Total Rewards at City Colleges of Chicago, Director of Human Resources and Compensation at the Kennicott Brothers Company and Senior Director of Municipal Account Services at BCBSIL. Throughout her career Ms. Barnes has been a trusted advisor who partners with employees, management and external customers to ensure consistency while meeting organizational goals.
Ms. Barnes is currently pursuing her PhD in Human Capital Management, has a Master of Science in Science of Human Resources Management, with Distinction, from Roosevelt University and a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Finance from Roosevelt University. Ms. Barnes holds State Insurance Licenses in IL, IN, WI and MI from the Department of Insurances.