Vilnis is a councillor on the Forest of Dean District Council, one of three representing the Newent and Taynton ward. He sits on the Strategic Overview and Scrutiny Committee, which he chaired for the 2020/21 session.
He is a graduate chartered engineer who originally worked in the electricity supply industry but having later retrained in energy-saving techniques he has specialised for most of his career in helping large energy users cut their consumption. This includes two years on the staff of Gloucestershire County Council's Property Services Department where he led the energy management team, the job which brought him to Newent in 1985. Newent Library was built with low-energy design features thanks to his collaboration with the architect. He has settled here, married his wife Kate, helped raise two now-grown-up daughters and renovated two homes: one in Culver Street, and his present home in Market Square (both of which included energy-saving features).
Vilnis has always participated actively in civic life. He was a member of the Chamber of Trade in 1986 when the Onion Fayre was restarted, served on its committee for several years, and still regularly helps out on the day as a marshall. He was a founder member of what is now Newent Civic Society and served a term as a Town Councillor before becoming a District Councillor. He volunteers at Newent's 'Mend and Repair Cafe' and prior to the Covid Pandemic had started 'tear-down' sessions for young people. In 2020 he joined Cllr Gill Moseley on the steering group for the Neighbourhood Development Plan, taking a special interest in transport aspects.
A keen cartoonist - his work appears regularly in Private Eye - he has in his time written comic sketches for BBC radio and been an army reservist.
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