Chris Meister has served as Executive Director of the Illinois Finance Authority (“Authority”), our State’s infrastructure bank, since 2009. Chris serves as the Authority’s chief executive officer and has overseen the presentation, approval and closing of over 390 individual transactions, mainly federally tax-exempt conduit bonds involving privately-owned capital projects and publicly-owned infrastructure with an estimated dollar value of over $13.7 billion Significant achievements include the Triple-A rated (S&P/Fitch) Illinois State Revolving Fund (“SRF”) Bonds, Series 2013, which restructured the SRF Program to enable increased leveraging while also representing the first SRF issue in Illinois in nearly 10 years (December 2013); removing nearly $40 million in contingent State Moral Obligation Bonds through the redemption and cash defeasance of the Authority’s Rural Bond Bank Local Government Bond Program (August 2014); and various Recovery Zone Facilities Bonds, including importantly, the Navistar International Corporation conduit transaction (2010). With respect to transportation infrastructure, working with the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority, Chris served as Finance Committee Co-Chair of the Elgin-O’Hare Western Access/By-Pass Commission, Finance Committee Co-Chair of the Illinois 53/120 Committee (Lake County, Illinois), and worked on the Authority’s CenterPoint Joliet Terminal Railroad conduit transactions (2010; 2012). In November 2014, Chris received the Council of Development Finance Agencies’ “Federal Development Finance Leadership Award” for his work with Congressman Randy Hultgren in introducing the Modernizing American Manufacturing Bonds Act (MAMBA) that will bring industrial development revenue bonds into the 21st century and help to finance manufacturing facility projects that will bring manufacturing jobs back to America. Chris also served as the Authority’s General Counsel from 2007 to 2009.
Prior to joining the Authority, Chris was Director of Legislative Affairs for the Illinois Department of Commerce (2003-2007) where his most significant accomplishment was the enactment and extension of the Illinois Film Tax Credit. Before his State public service, Chris has also worked in private law practice, most recently at Holland & Knight LLP. Chris is an Edgar Fellow (University of Illinois Institute of Government and Public Affairs) and was a law clerk for Illinois Supreme Court Justice Mary Ann McMorrow. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois College of Law and DePaul University’s College of Liberal Arts. Chris and his wife, Connie, live in Oak Park, Illinois, with their four children, Jake, Julia, David and Kathryn.