CCAC eNews
November 2020
CCAC eNews is the monthly newsletter of the Chicago Central Area Committee. For more information about the CCAC or to inquire about membership, please contact Kelly O'Brien at (312) 602-5148 or
Download the 2020 Meeting Calendar (PDF)!
The CCAC 2020 Meeting Calendar is ready to download in PDF format. The Calendar lists this year's dates and locations for our popular luncheon speaker series, hosted each month by a different CCAC member organization.

Download the CCAC 2020 Meeting Calendar (PDF)

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CCAC Members Discuss Chicago's Future and Preparing for 2021
Understanding that the central city is struggling as a result of COVID, the economic downtown and social unrest, CCAC leadership dedicated the November meeting for members to discuss the future of downtown.  It was agreed that short, medium, and long-term recovery strategies must be developed and executed.
Many CCAC Members Participated in 
November's Planning Meeting
In 2019, CCAC published a white paper, “A Central City Strategy for All of Chicago,” with three focus areas: catalytic economic initiatives, new mobility, and the digital divide.  This led to efforts this year, including the “Corridor Revitalization Initiative,” and the work developing RFPs for for the INVEST South/West program, in collaboration with the Chicago Department of Planning and Development. Now, in addition to our ongoing commitment to Chicago’s neighborhoods, CCAC will produce a video and update the white paper addressing our new realities.
Several variables were discussed as an assessment of the central city’s current condition as well markers that will influence the future including:
  • Disruption: business, work, retail, tourism and education
  • Absence: workers, students, business visitors, tourists
  • Recession: 3 years to full employment, incomes and spending
  • Acceleration: shopping, entertainment, flex work trend
  • Constraints: high density apartment living mode
  • Impact: jobs, hours, incomes for neighborhood residents
  • Need: stronger and more equitable recovery than 2010+
As an immediate next step to strategize a way forward, the CCAC Burnham Council will host three days of programming in December focused on the central city economy, the central city as a destination, and central city livability.  Details and the registration links are below.
Following the January 2021 programming, CCAC will organize working teams of thought leaders for each of the key themes. These teams will be  charged with providing actionable, phased recommendations for recovery.
The overarching goal is for Chicago to have a stronger and more equitable recovery than what we experienced following the Great Recession in 2010, by connecting central city growth and neighborhood recovery.
CCAC is working closely with the City and will be reaching out to other partner organizations to align efforts, open channels of communication between the public and private sectors and build on previous plans/recommendations including the Mayor’s Recovery Task Force.
We invite you to join this important work and be a part of creating Chicago’s vibrant future.
CCAC Virtual December Programming: 
Creating a New Future for Chicago's Central City 
December 8th, 9th, and 10th from 12:00 - 1:00 p.m.
Join CCAC and the CCAC Burnham Council for a series of inclusive leadership panels to strategize the way forward for the Central City. We believe the Central City belongs to all Chicagoans, and defining its future should include a range of diverse voices. This is an opportunity to build on CCAC’s 2019 A Central City Strategy for All of Chicago policy paper and recent CCAC successes linking Central City resources to initiatives for neighborhood commercial corridors and attracting investment to public sector land.
Panels will focus on how we can reconnect people to the Central City now, ensure a strong and equitable rebound from this recession over the coming years and secure our long-term competitiveness. Please find more information below including individual registration links for each session.
Tuesday, December 8, 2020, 12:00 - 1:00 p.m.
Central City - Economy
The future of key sectors, small and neighborhood business development, employment, training and hiring.
  • Samir Mayekar, Deputy Mayor, City of Chicago
  • Brad Henderson, CEO, P3
  • Dawveed Scully, Burnham Council Leader, Associate, SOM
Wednesday, December 9, 2020, 12:00 - 1:00 p.m.
Central City - Destination
Retail, entertainment, hospitality, culture and conventions.
  • Michael Fassnacht, CMO, City of Chicago
  • Lou Raizin, President, Broadway in Chicago
  • Andrew Broderick, Burnham Council Leader, Senior Associate, Perkins + Will
Thursday, December 10, 2020, 12:00 - 1:00 p.m.
Central City - Livability
Housing mix, pubic spaces (parks, waterfronts, streets), resident amenities, pandemic resilience and public safety.
  • Alby Gallun, Senior Reporter, Commercial Real Estate, Crain's Chicago
  • Bonnie Sanchez-Carlson, President, Near South Planning Board
  • Daniel F. O'Shea, Deputy, Chief Area 3, Office of Operations, Chicago Police Department
  • Malek Abdulsamad, Burnham Council Leader, Real Estate Consultant, Compass
CCAC Member Highlight:
Congratuations to Kimberly Dowdell and Dawveed Scully for being named in Crain's 40 Under 40
Kimberly Dowdell, Principal, Director of Business Development, HOK

Congratulations to Kimberly Dowdell for this recognition. Her recent contributions to CCAC include co-leading the Little Village Corridor Revitalization Team, and co-leading the INVEST South/West Bronzeville RFP team. She also served on CCAC's website redesign committee. 
Dawveed Scully, Associate Director, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM)

Congratulations to Dawveed Scully for this recognition. His recent contributions to CCAC include being a leader in the INVEST South/West Auburn Gresham RFP team.  He is also a member of The Burnham Council.  
2020 Alliance Summit Success 
The Alliance for Regional Development (Alliance), in partnership with the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago (FRBC), hosted the 7th Summit on Regional Competitiveness during the week of November 16-20.  The theme was “Disruption, Driving Innovation, and Embracing Economic Change.” 
Throughout the week, the organizers, Susan Longworth, Senior Advisor, Community and Economic Development, FRBC, and Kelly O’Brien, President and CEO of the Alliance, provided opening remarks recapping the highlights of each day’s programming.  Below is a summary of the participants and their important messages.
The Summit opened on Monday with the topic that is front of mind--Virus Economics—with a lively conversation between Anna Paulson, Executive Vice President, Director of Research and Executive Committee Member, FRBC, and Austan Goolsbee, Robert P. Gwinn Professor of Economics, Booth School of Business, University of Chicago & Former Chair of the U.S. Council of Economic Advisers.  We heard the virus is in charge and research shows that fear about the risk of infection drives personal choices about staying home, even more than any state or local directive.  Mitigating that risk as much as possible is key to restoring consumer confidence.  
The mayors of the largest cities in the megaregion agreed to work together on regional economic development issues.
If you are familiar with the work of the Alliance, then you know that the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) published the Chicago Tri-State Metropolitan Review and as a result, the Alliance was created as a neutral platform to promote cross jurisdictional collaborations within the Milwaukee, Chicagoland, NW Indiana corridor (mega-region).  It was a pleasure to have the OECD join the Summit this year.   Lamia Kamal-Chaoui, Director, Centre for Entrepreneurship, SMEs, Regions and Cities, OECD, underscored the importance of coordinated responses and the need to protect those who are most vulnerable, as this virus has highlighted pre-existing inequalities.  As we think about “renewal for increased resilience” she prioritized investing in people, in infrastructure, and intentionally addressing disparities, even as the pandemic has accelerated trends toward automation and digital transformation.  
The leaders of the mega-region’s Urban Leagues brought these points home and reiterated in no uncertain terms the disparate impact of this virus on the livelihoods and health of black and brown people. They called on prospective supporters to lead not just with grant dollars and donations – which are important -- but with investments and business opportunities.
Private sector leaders from the Corporate Coalition concurred with the call for investment and made the link between addressing inequality to drive competitiveness.
On Tuesday, disruption was the focus and it went hand in hand with a call to innovate.  We need to innovate to address a disruption in our carefully calibrated supply chains, according to Beth Ford, President & CEO of Land O Lakes.  Todd McLees, President & Founder, Pendio Group, Inc. got our attention when he said we had experienced two years of digital transformation and disruption in the space of two months. We need to acknowledge that this is an enormous cultural shift. However, he assured us the innovations exist – the challenge is adapting and applying them to our current needs, to our current workforce.
Richard Edelman, President & Chief Executive Officer, Edelman, referred to the shifting “tectonic plates of trust”: trust in the media, trust in brands, trust in government, and even trust in our public transportation system to get us safely to work.  Addressing a trust deficit, according to his research and deep expertise, takes commitment to stakeholders not just shareholders, and a willingness to speak up: “Silence is corrosive,” he said.
On Wednesday, Charles Evans, the FRBC President and CEO reminded us that we need to provide support to our at-risk communities and residents as we work to bring about a broad-based, resilient recovery, including ways to improve our educational systems and workforce participation in living-wage occupations.
Following his opening remarks and quick overview of some of the important work underway at the Bank including Project Hometown, the topic shifted again to innovation, particularly as it relates to mobility.  We heard from David Anderson, Program Manager, Energy Efficient Mobility Systems, Vehicle Technologies Office at U.S. Department of Energy and how they are working to transform system level research and development.  Transportation is a system of systems and while we all think of transportation as the movement of goods and people, now it is much more complex with new vehicle technologies, connected vehicles shared mobility and so much more.  These insights were further explored in a panel comprised of leaders from Argonne National Lab, Rivian, the University of Illinois Chicago and Robert Bosch LLC.  Among the many things we learned is that Bosch researchers and engineers are filing 22 patents every day.  After hearing about Rivian’s electric trucks from our panel Paul Jones, Chairman, Alliance for Regional Development and Retired Chairman, AO Smith purchased one for delivery next summer. 
Moving from vehicles, we turned the discussion to our Great Lakes ports and the important role maritime transportation plays.  It had been a long-standing goal to bring together and hear about the ports in the region.  Port Milwaukee Director, Adam Tindall-Schlicht, reminded us that "Forbes Magazine" recently wrote that the transformation of our U.S. maritime network and the safe handling of freight is more important than ever.
Thursday’s theme was “embracing economic change” and we heard directly from the Mayors of our three largest urban centers—Chicago, Milwaukee and Gary.  It was a historic moment.  Questions about their policies and questions about them as leaders were asked and answered.  Gary’s Mayor Prince spoke passionately about Gary’s challenges and the work that is continuing, despite COVID, to create new opportunities for residents.  Chicago’s Mayor Lightfoot shared her perspective that the role of leaders in this environment is to project hope, and be a calming force. Milwaukee’s Mayor Barrett, a long standing supporter of the Alliance’s work, said that despite the challenges of 2020, we need to stay the course.  The Great Lakes region still offers a lot of opportunity, and not surprisingly, he referenced the “fresh coast” branding.
It must be said that one of the highlights of the week was when asked for a commitment to working together and embracing regional economic development, the Mayors gave a thumbs up.
Next, we heard from the U.S. Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) Deputy Assistant Secretary and Chief Operating Officer, Dennis Alvord.  He discussed how EDA is “Knitting together an innovation ecosystem.” And the important funding opportunities provided by the CARES funding EDA is distributing.
The program also included a seven-person panel with representatives from the Federal Government's Region 5, which includes the midwestern states.  They discussed each Department’s programming and funding opportunities for stakeholders. 
The Summit concluded on Friday with two speakers, Dan Sullivan, Executive Vice President & Director of Economic Outreach, FRBC, shared his perspective on labor market data and Becky Frankiewicz, President of ManPower Group North America, discussed the workforce transformation that is happening in front of our eyes.  She responded to the labor market data from the previous segment and explained how the future of work will be more flexible, more diverse and more wellbeing-oriented than we could have previously imagined.
The Summit was recorded and it will be posted on both the Alliance for Regional Development website and the CCAC website.
Alliance for Regional Development in Crains
CCAC's sister organization the Alliance for Regional Development was featured in an op ed in Crains Chicago Business calling for a regional approach to contact tracing to fight COVID-19.  Below are some highlights of the feature.
"Medical experts have said repeatedly that testing and contact tracing are key to slowing the spread of the virus and reversing the surges. We are urging all Midwestern states to create a united front to allow access to a coordinated contact tracing app that allows for multistate notifications.

In the U.S., four states are leading the adoption of this technology and have already launched COVID-19 alert apps. In a truly collaborative process, these networks work across the state lines between New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware. The apps are also interoperable with other U.S. states using apps connected to the Association of Public Health Laboratories"

"On Nov. 18, seven governors, including Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb and Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers  published an op-ed in the Washington Post urging residents to stay home this Thanksgiving.

'Whether you are a Wolverine, a Hoosier or a Badger, you have a role to play,' they wrote. The Alliance agrees with the governors, and we also believe the governors have a role to play in providing and promoting the adoption of a contact tracing app with privacy at its core."
All previous episodes can be found on the CCAC website.  The webinar series will resume in January. 
Membership Dues for 2021
CCAC is grateful for your continued support of our mission to "build upon the strength of yesterday to prosper today and sustainably flourish tomorrow."  Please note that invoices for 2021 dues will be sent electronically unless a hard copy is requested.  If your organization needs a hard copy, please inform Kelly O'Brien at, and also indicate where the invoice should be sent.  
Please Participate:  Chicago Loop Alliance Survey on Recovery
Recently Michael Edwards, President and CEO, Chicago Loop Alliance (CLA), was a guest speaker on the CCAC/Alliance webinar series.  As a follow up, CCAC members have been invited to participate in CLA's monthly survey tracking operating plans for businesses located in the downtown area.  Please click here to fill out the November survey.  Thank you for your support.
INVEST South/West and CCAC
At the request of the Chicago Department of Planning and Development (DPD), CCAC members have been working in partnership with community stakeholders and DPD staff drafting and creating renderings for Invest South/West requests for proposals (RFPs).  In August 2020, the City published the first round of RFP’s for development projects in three neighborhoods: Auburn Gresham, Austin, and Englewood.  To view the RFP’s and CCAC Member Teams, please see CCAC website by clicking here.

Upon the successful completion of the first round of RFPs, CCAC began work with DPD on drafting three additional RFP’s for potential projects in Back of the Yards, Bronzeville, and Commercial Avenue in South Chicago.  These RFPs will be made available to the public on Monday, November 30th and will be posted on the CCAC website.

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