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Today the Regional Transportation Authority announced the appointment of Thomas J. Kotel as our newest board member, representing the City of Chicago. Mr. Kotel is a lifelong Chicagoan who understands the importance of transit to our region.  His work in the labor union sector and financial acumen as well as knowledge of the construction trades bring an important expertise to our board.

Mr. Kotel is the Recording Secretary of Chicago-based Pipe Fitters Local Union No. 597, the largest Pipe Fitters Local Union in the United States and Canada.  Since being elected Recording Secretary in 2006, Mr. Kotel has served on the Boards of Trustees of multiple benefit plans covering Local 597 pipe fitters, overseeing invested assets in excess of $2 billion. I n addition to his work as a Trustee on those plans, he serves as an Officer or Delegate to numerous Labor organizations.  He is a member of the Finance Committee of the Illinois State Pipe Trades Association; he represents labor on the Labor Management Committee on Healthcare for the Water Reclamation District; and he acts as Local 597’s Delegate to the Chicago and Cook County Building Trades, the Chicago Federation of Labor and C.O.P.E.

Mr. Kotel is a native Chicagoan, born and raised on the city’s South Side, where he still resides. Mr. Kotel was accepted into Local 597’s apprenticeship program in 1977. Over the years, he distinguished himself first as a foreman, general foreman, mechanical superintendent and general site superintendent working on a variety of projects in the commercial and industrial sectors. He has had significant experience working on projects involving nuclear power plants, oil refineries, chemical plants, airports and major municipal/state facilities.  Most recently, Mr. Kotel served as a commissioner on Chicago’s Public Building Commission from October, 2012 to September, 2017.

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