IDVA Director Linda Chapa LaVia to Step Down, Major General Peter Nezamis to Serve as Interim Director

Nezamis, 34-Year Veteran of Air National Guard and Current Assistant Adjutant General – Air to Serve as Interim Director Pending Search for Permanent Replacement 

Governor JB Pritzker announced that Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs Director Linda Chapa LaVia is stepping down from her role. Major General Peter Nezamis, Assistant Adjutant General – Air, Illinois National Guard to serve as interim director. The governor will name a permanent director for the department following a nationwide search.


“Our veterans have sacrificed so much for our freedom and this administration will continue to do everything possible to prioritize their care,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “I’m grateful to Linda for her service and wish her well on her next chapter. I’m pleased to welcome Major General Peter Nezamis to his new role and am confident that with his decades of leadership and operations experience, he is the right person to lead this department forward and ensure our veterans receive the quality care they deserve.

“It’s been an honor and a privilege to serve our veterans,” said outgoing IDVA Director Linda Chapa LaVia. “I’m proud of our accomplishments and I look forward to assisting the interim director in any way possible as the department continues its work to serve our heroes.”


“I’ve been privileged to serve our state and county in a number of capacities throughout my career and I pledge to lead the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs forward in a way that is transparent, equitable and fair,” said incoming IDVA Interim Director Major General Peter Nezamis. “IDVA is tasked with caring for our state’s heroic veterans, the most noble of missions, and one I look forward to leading in the weeks to come.”


Maj. Gen. Nezamis currently serves as the Assistant Adjutant General – Air, Illinois Air National Guard. As the Assistant Adjutant General for Air, he is responsible for the command, control and operations of plans and programs affecting more than 3,000 ILANG personnel located at Scott Air Force Base, Peoria and Springfield, Ill. as well as supervising a full-time force of over 900 state and federal employees. Additionally, General Nezamis serves as an Airborne Emergency Action Officer (AEAO) for Commander USSTRATCOM performing periodic alert duties as part of the Battle Staff onboard the USSTRATCOM Airborne Command Post (ABNCP) Looking Glass. He is trained as a Director of Mobility Operations (DIRMOP), and is the Vice for the Midwest Region Strategic Planning System and member of the national level Steering Committee (SPS-SC).


General Nezamis graduated from Western Michigan University in 1986, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Aviation Technology and Management. In December 1986, he commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Michigan ANG. He completed Undergraduate Pilot Training and was assigned to the 108th Air Refueling Squadron, O’Hare International Airport Air Reserve Station, Illinois, as a KC-135 pilot.

He is a command pilot, instructor and evaluator with more than 5,200 hours, commanded numerous expeditionary operations including the 492nd and the 506th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadrons and flown over 275 combat hours in support of several operations including Operations Desert Storm, Enduring Freedom, and Iraqi Freedom. Previously he served as 126 ARW Wing Commander, Operations Group Commander, and Squadron Commander. Prior to his current assignment, General Nezamis was the Chief of the Joint Staff, Illinois National Guard, Camp Lincoln, Springfield Ill.