CCAC eNews
June 2019
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 2019 Meeting Calendar (PDF)!
The CCAC 2019 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.
(NOTE: Locations subject to change--see website for newest calendar. Meetings open to paid members and guests, only.)

Download the CCAC 2019 Meeting Calendar (PDF)
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CCAC Learns about the Future of Technology and the Revolution It Will Bring to Industry
CCAC would like to thank Steve Galler, Executive Vice President and General Counsel, The Habitat Company, for hosting the June CCAC meeting.  The membership heard from Todd McLees, Founder of the Pendio Group, a management and consulting firm based in Milwaukee, Wis. which is working with technology hardware manufacturer Foxconn.  Galler introduced McLees by saying, “One thing CCAC members have in common is staying abreast of technology change and innovation.”  McLees explained to the membership that the next revolution in technology that will change industries all over the world is just a couple years away, and that half of today’s Fortune 500 Companies will not survive that revolution and will go out of business by the year 2030.   
McLees opened his remarks by explaining the difference between linear steps and exponential steps.   He said, “On a linear path, if I take 30 steps I’ve traveled 30 meters, but 30 exponential steps would take me around the world.”  As an example he compared video games of the 1980s such as Donkey King where the user traveled a strict linear path, compared to popular video games of today where the users work collaboratively with other users to accomplish a task.  He went on to explain that technology relies on an exponential approach.

McLees explained the evolution of technology such as the introduction of mechanization and steam engine in 1780, followed by electricity in 1870, automation in 1960, and today’s digitalization and connectivity which started in 2007.  That year saw the introduction of the iPhone by Apple, Google introduced Android, YouTube and Hulu started the revolution of media sharing, Facebook was released to the general public, the Kindle was introduced, Intel went to non-silicone based processors, GitHub became a new platform for collaborative software development, IBM Watson was released, Bitcoin was first developed, and the ability to track the human genome cost less than $5,000, among others.  

He also noted that the amount of time between each revolution is getting smaller each time, and the ability to adapt to technology for the new technology to become widely used is quicker.  Looking ahead he predicted that the next evolution will be personalization of computers in 2020.  Moreover, he educated the audience on the technology concept known as “Moore’s Law” which states that the power of computers doubles every two years.  In addition, he explained that a modern ecosystem is a large network comprised of a group of smaller networks.

Astonishingly, McLees commented on how many companies do not survive technological revolutions.  He explained that 88% of the Fortunate 500 Companies in 1955 no longer exist, and predicted that by the year 2030, nearly half of today’s Fortune 500 Companies will no longer be in operation either.  As an example he pointed to Wisconsin’s diary industry which has been consolidated from a network of small and individual farms to larger corporate farms thanks to the introduction of agricultural technologies. 

MeLees believes that these companies will disappear because of one of the following reasons:  population changes, digital globalization, emerging technologies, changes to demographics and a lack of succession planning, changing customer needs, new marking requirements, and talent lifecycle management.  

In advising employers, McLees, said that talent recruitment and retention will continue to be a challenge.  He explained that in Wisconsin a low unemployment figure may on the surface show a healthy economy, an explanation for that low figure is a low participation rate, with a lot of workers unable to work because of the opioid crisis.   He said, “You can’t get out of a conversation without understanding that everybody is struggling to hire and retain people, and in Wisconsin there are issues where a new hire won’t even show up...What we’re doing is building a multi-industry partner base to shore up these weaknesses.”  He then explained that strategy included looking at surrounding states and regions for workers, and also thinking globally.  Because technology can reduce the need of personal relationships, the ability to outsource to other places on the planet is easier.

The membership then learned about the power of automation, and how the U.S. is well behind other countries in using robots in manufacturing.  For example, in other countries it is common for factories to not use lights and for robots to create their products in the dark.  Additionally, the World Economic Forum is advising that by 2022, no less than 54% of all employees will require significant reskilling.  McLees then advised that learning and development is a crucial part of any company that wants to survive the next technological revolution.      

In his closing remarks McLees talked about the changing workforce, and how participation in the U.S. workforce is declining, while at the same time the need for new workers is also increasing, creating a dynamic where technology will be crucial to filling the gap.  Before ending his speech McLees advised the CCAC membership to, “Disrupt or be disrupted!” 
McLees spoke about the revolution of technology, and the CCAC members enjoyed a lovely lunch with great views from The Habitat Company's Hubbard Place.
Central City Strategy for All of Chicago Update
Since the release of CCAC's Central City Strategy in May, CCAC leadership has been briefing elected officials and opinion leaders on ways that success in the City's core can leverage success in the City's neighborhoods.  CCAC members are invited to share the briefing documents with their network, and contact Kelly O'Brien at if you would like to schedule a detailed briefing.
CCAC Issues in the News
The CHICAGO SUN TIMES recently ran two guest columns written by Ed Zotti, CCAC Consultant, that directly speaks to strengthenig the City's competitive edge.  Below are some highlights:  
"Everything You Think You Know about Chicago is Wrong"
In this May 31st column, Zotti identifies a series of commonp "facts" and "myths" about our City.  For examples, he explains that the belief that Chicago is one-third New York and two-thirds Detroit is true because we have parts of our city that is well developed, and other parts that are not.  However, he disgagrees with the notion that gentrification is causing a city-wide housing crisis by explaining that, "The median home price in Chicago is only slightly higher than in the metro area overall, and in many parts of the city it’s lower," but there are some neighborhoods that have become so trendy that the characteristics that made the area popular start to disappear.  
He also agrees with the notion that too much money has been invested in downtown, by pointing out that public investment in the core has paid off, he writes, "The private downtown housing market is booming, one of the reasons Chicago hasn’t gone the way of many of its Rust Belt peers."
"Chicago's Best Future Might Be a Train Stop Away"
In his second column on June 14th, Zotti writes about how employment in the City's core can assist workers who live in the City's neigborhoods.  He writes, "And downtown is going to be the major generator of new jobs for the foreseeable future. Chicago’s booming core has gained 134,000 jobs since 2010. The entire rest of the city gained about 43,000. For the first time in the modern era, more than half the city’s jobs are downtown." 
His suggestion for ways to take advantage of this is better transit connectivity such as better integration between the Metra Electic Line and CTA, as well as adoption of CCAC's Connector Proposal, which has wide support among downtown stakeholders, but has been slow to be welcomed by City Hall.  
Sign Up Today to Join CCAC Delegation to Visit World Expo 
After a fierce competition, CCAC member Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture was selected to design the Al Wasl Plaza for the World Expo 2020 in Dubai.  During the February CCAC meeting, it was announced that a CCAC delegation would be traveling to Dubai in 2021 to attend the Expo, and experience Dubai and its many highlights stemming from this global event.  The delegation will attend from January 27 to February 2, 2021 (yes, 2021, which is the middle of the month-long event).  For more information about the Expo, please click on either of the following links:  

For more information or to be added to the delegation list, please contact Kelly O'Brien at  
Next CCAC Meeting:
Tuesday, July 9, 2019 at the University Club of Chicago
Join us at the University Club of Chicago on Tuesday, July 9, 2019 for the July CCAC Luncheon hosted by Pat Cermak, President & CEO of the Wight & Company.  CCAC Members and the Burnham Council Members are invited to attend this meeting to hear from John Mlade, Senior Project Manager, Sustainabe and Healthy Environments, at Wight & Company.
Mlade will share with the membership how health and wellness in design has emerged as a driving force for design and rating system selection and what the benefits are to companies and their employees.  He will also discuss when it is appropriate to select each system, benefits and costs associated with each, and how they may apply towards the City of Chicago Sustainable Development Policy.
CCAC July Meeting 
John Mlade, Senior Project Manager, Sustainable & Healthy Environments, Wight & Company
Pat Cermak, President & CEO, Wight & Compnay 
Tuesday, July 9, 2019
12:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Univeristy Club of Chicago
The Gallery, 12th Floor
76 E. Monroe, Chicago, IL  60603 
Kelly O'Brien at  
The Burnham Council Update
Burnham Council Quarterly Event Recap
Take Me to the River: The Evolution of Goose Island, the Salt District and the Wild Mile
On Wednesday, June 26 the Burnham Council hosted its quarterly event with a special focus on the north branch of the Chicago River, and Goose Island. 
Moderated by Jim Merrell of the Active Transportation Alliance, Jason Trailov of R2 Companies went through their plans for several of their buildings on Goose Island.  Rachel Momenee of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, and Michael Skowland of Omni Ecosystems both discussed future plans for the waterways and bringing it back to a natural habitat for both people and wildlife.  Alderman Burnett discussed the development potential of Goose Island, and the challenges involved in balancing the needs of the island's current commercial users with the potential for residents, including the need for affordable housing.  Ed Zotti emphasized the need for transportation revitilzation that would allow access to the growing central business district.    
Special thanks to the speakers and to the Take Me to the River event Penelope Campbell of Jenner & Block and Will Press from The John Buck Company for organizing the event.
Panelists discussed the future of north branch of the Chicago River, and Burnham Council attendees networked among themselves.
Burnham Council Coffee Meet-Ups - Last Thursday of Each Month
The Burnham Council will meet on Thursday, July 25 for a summer happy hour.  Watch your email for details.  Thanks to CCAC/Burnham Council member, Matt Cermak, Commercial Account Manager, Chicago Title Insurance Company for leading these meet-ups.
Members are encouraged to let Matt know if they plan to attend by e-mailing but there is no formal registration.
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