CCAC eNews
September 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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Cook County President Offers a Post-COVID-19 Recovery Plan
CCAC would like to thank Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle for addressing the CCAC membership and laying out the County’s plan for a recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Preckwinkle explained how in February 2020 the County created plans for the pandemic, which were implemented in March, to provide emergency assistance to suburban municipalities, and for the County’s workforce to work from home.  Preckwinkle noted the City of Chicago also receives its own set of funding through the federal CARES Act. Preckwinkle lamented the seriousness of the pandemic by highlighting that the Cook County Medical Examiner has already surpassed the number of deaths from last year, with three more months to go in 2020.  
Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle 
Explaining what the County is doing to recover from COVID-19, she said, “In June our strategy shifted from response to recovery.  This is not work that will happen overnight.  We will feel the impacts of COVID-19 I’m afraid for years to come, and I stress that the pandemic is far from over.”  Much of the County’s plan uses federal funds to provide relief to small businesses, residents struggling to pay rent, and suburban municipalities.  The President lamented this federal funding cannot be used for lost revenue but is hoping that subsequent legislation may change and provide the much needed resources.   She asked the CCAC membership to engage in this issue by saying, “Anybody who has friends in the Republican Party, particularly folks who can get in touch with Republican Senators, it would be very helpful to share with them how local governments across the country share the same challenges around lost revenue.”  She explained that without the needed flexibility, the County would be forced to make cuts in public safety such as fire, police, as well as sanitation.
The President shared how her family has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic by explaining her daughter is a nurse, and she has known people who have succumbed to the disease, and how difficult it is for everyone right now.  She asked the CCAC membership to start thinking towards the future and said, “We have to figure out how we’re going to deal with the pandemic and the economic crisis that has resulted, and at the same time a real focus on racial injustice that has been prompted by the murder of George Floyd.” 
On a positive note, the President said the County’s capital plan has not been adversely impacted. “Actually this is a good time for the government to be in the bond market because rates are very, very low,” she said.  She spoke at length about expansion plans for County hospitals, which will be a much needed source of healthcare for the County, which provides an abundance of charity care.
The President commented at length about how she is asking everyone to help fight the pandemic by taking precautionary measures.  She said, “We can do a lot to mitigate the spread of the pandemic. The pandemic is here, it is not going away….we can do what we can by masking up, washing our hands, by maintaining physical distancing.”  She explained why she uses the term physical distancing instead of the more common social distancing by saying, “We want people to practice physical distancing and stay connected.”  
Despite all the challenges, Preckwinkle has a positive outlook for the future.  She said, “I’m hopeful for what’s to come.  Our people have never failed to meet the challenge that face us head on and come back stronger.”
CCAC Launches NEW Website
In September 2020, the CCAC officially launched a new website! This updated site includes many new features such as an archive of past CCAC projects and initiatives 2013-present, a virtual library of CCAC documents dating back to our conception in 1956, a complimentary, daily, computer-generated newspaper highlighting news from the tri-state region, and has the added benefit of being more user friendly—particularly on smartphones and tablets. In addition, visitors can register for upcoming webinars and view any of our previously-recorded, virtual programming directly from the site. 
The new website also features a “Members Only” portal exclusive to CCAC members in good standing. Please create an account by navigating to, selecting the “Member Log In” icon in the top right corner of the screen, selecting the “ Sign Up” link, and filling out your contact information. You will receive notice via email once your registration has been approved. Once you create an account, you will have access to a Member Directory listing all CCAC Members in good standing. We hope this resource will allow our members to better network across the organization and connect with colleagues in their field.
Many thanks to the CCAC Website Committee (Malek Abdulsamad, Will Erickson, Kelly O’Brien, Nicole Thraum, and Matt Zelensek) who helped bring this new site to life.
Upcoming Webinars
In partnership with the Alliance for Regional Development, CCAC has been offering Disruption, Driving Innovation, and Embracing Economic Change: Discussions with Change Agents Webinar Series to provide thoughtful insight into a variety of issues.
  • Wednesday, September 30, from 2:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. CT, Bob Guy, Midwest Interstate Passenger Rail Commission (MIPRC) Chair and Illinois Legislative Board State Director of International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART), and Representative Sharon Negele, MIPRC Financial Officer and Assistant Majority Whip, Indiana House of Representatives.  Click here to register.
  • Tuesday, October 6, from 2:30 p.m. CT to 3:00 p.m. CT, Mark Rust, Partner and Management Committee Vice-Chairman, Barnes & Thornburg LLP.  Click here to register.
  • Thursday, October 8, from 1:30 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. CT,  Susana Mendoza, Illinois State Comptroller, State of Illinois.  Click here to register.   
  • Watch your e-mails for future programming.
Disruption, Driving Innovation, and Embracing Economic Change Previous Episodes
All webinars are available on the newly improved CCAC website.  If you missed a live recent episode, please see links below:
The Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership Assisting Job Seekers, Employers and Helping to Stem the Transmission of Covid-19Karin Norington-Reaves, CEO, Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership (The Partnership)
Keep Your Business In BusinessErica Dombey, President & Executive Director, Regional Development Company, and Lorri Feldt, Regional Director, Northwest Indiana Small Business Development Center (ISBDC)
Please contact for programming prior to September.
Next CCAC Member Meeting:  Tuesday, October 13, 2020
CCAC is continuing its tradition of member meetings on the second Tuesday of the month.  Instead of in-person lunches, we now meet over Zoom.  These presentations will be for MEMBERS ONLY, unlike, the “Disruption, Driving Innovation, and Embracing Economic Change,” webinar series that are open for members and guests.  

Please join us for the October membership meeting (held over Zoom) on Tuesday, October 13, 2020 at 12 p.m. CT for CCAC Members in good standing.  The guest speaker will be Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi.  
Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi
CCAC October Membership Meeting
Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi
Tuesday, October 13, 2020
12:00 - 1:30 p.m. 
Webinar via Zoom
Congratulations and Thanks To INVEST South/West Teams  
In August, the Chicago Department of Planning and Development posted three Invest South/West RFP’s including development opportunities in Auburn Gresham, Austin, and Englewood. Please visit the City of Chicago website for more information.
CCAC members, assisted the Department with drafting the RFPs focused on design excellence. It was an honor to work with the talented DPD team, and the CCAC is proud to have fulfilled its mission of providing world class talent to better the City we love. Please click on the links below to see the CCAC Team Leaders and Members:
Speakers Announced for Upcoming Summit!
CCAC's sister organization, the Alliance for Regional Development, is having its annual summit on November 16, 2020.  Because it is hosted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, they will be sending electronic invitations in a few weeks.  If you would like to be added to the guest list, please email Kelly O’Brien at
Anna Paulson, Executive Vice President, Director of Research and Executive Committee Member, The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago
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
Lamia Kamal-Chaoui, Director, Centre for Entrepreneurship, SMEs, Regions and Cities, OECD
Karen Freeman-Wilson, President and CEO, Chicago Urban League
Dr. Eve Hall, President and CEO, Milwaukee Urban League
Dr. Vanessa Allen-McCloud, President and CEO, Urban League of Northwest Indiana
Brian Fabes, Managing Director, The Corporate Coalition
Linda Nolan, Senior Vice President and Managing Director, Northern Trust
Nicole Johnson-Scales, Community & Economic Development Director, Fifth Third Bank
Beth Ford, President and CEO, Land O’ Lakes, Inc.
Todd McLees, President & Founder, Pendio Group, Inc.
Charles Evans, President and Chief Executive Officer, The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago
Michael Berube, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Transportation, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, U.S. Department of Energy
Ann Schlenker, Director, Center for Transportation Research, Argonne National Laboratory
James Chen, Vice President, Public Policy, Rivian
Woo Estella, Director of Business Development NA- Innovation Management, Robert Bosch LLC
Dr. Abolfazl Mohammadian, Professor and Department Head Civil, Materials, and Environmental Engineering, University of Illinois at Chicago
Dan Sullivan, Executive Vice President & Director of Economic Outreach, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago
Becky Frankiewicz, President, ManpowerGroup North America
Dennis Alvord, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Economic Development & Chief Operating Officer, US Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration
Susan Longworth, Senior Advisor, Community and Economic Development, The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago
Susan Brehm, Acting Regional Director, Economic Development Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce
Jean Brown, Executive Director, Chicago Federal Executive Board
Angela Green, Regional Administrator, Administration for Children and Families, Region V
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