New public buildings chief brings environmental know-how to job

Mayor Richard M. Daley today appointed a construction manager with a background in environmentally friendly design to head the Public Building Commission.

The appointee, Erin Lavin Cabonargi, 36, is currently director of planning and design at the PBC, which manages government-funded construction and renovation projects for the city and Cook County.

"Erin has considerable experience in project management and design in the public and private sector and she has been a great asset to the residents of this City," says Daley in a press release. "She is also very knowledgeable and passionate about green building practices and I am certain that she will work to ensure that new public facilities are developed in an environmentally conscious way."

The PBC has nearly 70 projects in the pipeline, each slated to be built according to sustainable construction standards. Nearly 40 of those projects are registered with the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system, administered by the U.S. Green Building Council. These buildings include the 22nd district police station and seven city public libaries.

The PBC board consists of 11 members. Six represent the City of Chicago. Others represent Cook County, the Chicago Board of Education, the Chicago Park District, the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago and the Cook County Forest Preserve.

Daley chairs the PBC board.

Cabonargi previously worked for Chicago Public Schools, where she spearheaded a capital program to construct 24 new school buildings and helped to develop sustainable design strategies for CPS construction projects, according to a press release.

Her private sector experience includes work as an architectural designer, project manager and project director on both CPS and suburban school projects, as well as projects for retail, commercial and financial institutions.

Cabonargi, who is LEED-certified, received a bachelor's degree in environmental design from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio and a master's degree in architecture from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign.

The former executive director, Montel Gayles, was tapped by Daley in January to be the city's new chief procurement officer.