From The President’s Desk: Good Things Are Happening 

On the week of our city’s 181st birthday, I am excited to see several exceptionally great things unfolding before us.

Mayor Emanuel’s office, last week, announced plans to expand and modernize terminals and gates at O’Hare International Airport. As I told the Chicago Tribune, and was quoted in a media release distributed by the Mayor’s office, the project solidifies a crucial economic asset, and Chicago’s global reputation as a modern nexus of transportation. This investment secures Chicago’s future as an economic powerhouse and a world-class place to live and work.

In other big news, for the fifth consecutive year Site Selection magazine ranked Chicago the #1 U.S. metro area for corporate relocation and investment. The magazine’s editor pointed to our diverse city neighborhoods and suburbs, our focus on transportation, and the affordability of our housing as reasons companies and families choose to come here and stay here. No wonder the Chamber’s recently released 2018 Small Business Outlook Survey found sharply rising optimism about Chicago’s economy.

I bet Amazon noticed the “Top Metro” ranking, and the plans to improve O’Hare. The timing couldn’t be better as we work to attract Amazon’s HQ2. Leaders of Chicago’s HQ2 effort also just unveiled a great video in support of our bid. The video focuses on our diversity of people, neighborhoods and industries. It’s a fun watch if you have two minutes. Other videos in the campaign focus on Chamber members Loyola University Chicago and Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT). I encourage you to join the Chamber and the coalition of people and organizations that support Chicago’s “All In” Amazon effort. It’s a very quick process. Just go to this link and provide your name and email.

Good things are happening in our hometown.

I am excited to announce two new things about our work to strengthen the Chicagoland Chamber team:

  • Sara E. Barnett has joined our staff as Vice President of Operations. Sara comes to the Chamber from Visit Oak Park, where she was President and CEO.
  • Michael Reever has been promoted to the position of Senior Vice President of Strategy and Government Relations. 

Our full staff, and a bit about each of them, is on this page of the Chamber’s website. Please say hello and welcome our new team members when you see them at upcoming Chamber events.

Finally, please tell any entrepreneurs you know that there are two-and-a-half weeks left to apply for our James Tyree Emerging Business Leadership Award. The award has a cash prize of $50,000, courtesy of our partners Mesirow Financial and CIBC. It will go to a business that’s growing and has a commitment to community and philanthropic values. The application is at this link. The deadline to apply is March 25.

Jack Lavin

President & CEO

Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce