CCAC eNews
November 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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Let us feature your newsworthy organizational stories here in CCAC eNews. Send them to Kelly O'Brien at (312) 602-5148 or
Clayco Leader Shares His Highest Priority
CCAC would like to thank Tyler Meyr, Managing Director, The Lamar Johnson Collaborative, for hosting the membership for the November meeting at Clayco’s offices.   The membership heard from Bob Clark, Chairman and CEO, Clayco, who spoke about what guides him in business. 

Clark mentioned that his father influenced his approach to business and revealed to Clark that, “Mistakes my Dad made were surrounding himself with people who were not aligned with his best interest, and he always talked about how important it is to carefully consider the people you associate with.”  

Bob Clark, Chairman and CEO, Clayco
In 1983 Clark sold his painting company, which was so successful he was visited by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) because he was running such a large cash business, and in 1984 started Clayco, where he took his father’s advice to heart and made hiring great people his highest priority.  At the time he was struggling to articulate the principles by which he current lives by, which he said is, “Everyone is going to be a partner; everyone is going to be treated like family; everyone is going to have a voice in the business.”

Clark said his father also taught him how to treat others.  He said, “As successful as he became, whether he met the President of the United States, or he was talking to one of his painters, he treated them exactly the same way.”  That was important to Clark because he said, “We’re going to treat everyone how we want to be treated, and we’ve embedded that into our organization, and we also live by it with our suppliers and subcontractors.”

Clark also discussed the importance of choosing the projects you apply your craft.  He complained that the industry often encourages adversarial approaches to business.  He instead said, “I think the right way is to hear the customer’s problem and figure out how to solve it.  I’ll put the best team on the ground with the best architect, builder, subcontractor, and banks.  I’ll solve the problem in a holistic way.” 

As Clark’s wife faced terminal illness, a routine inspection with her of a project produced a monumental change to the way the business operates.  As Clark admired a particular building under construction, she said, “I know you love these buildings, but wouldn’t it be a bummer if building these buildings was your only legacy?”  When he asked what she meant she said, “The buildings are temporary, they’re just bricks and mortar, but what is happening inside the buildings are much more interesting than the buildings themselves.”  It was a pivotal moment for Clark and his company, and he has taken that idea about impact to every project. 

Clark said his business is all about art and science, which to him is the definition of architecture, and it is important to have builders who know how to design, and designers who know how to build.  He commented that the reason Clayco’s margins have risen so fast is, “All of the different business groups are hitting on all cylinders and they’re working together.  Eighty percent of our projects include four of our companies.”

In closing Clark talked about the importance of diversity in his teams.  He told a story of spending time in St. Louis where minorities could not get a union card, and he fought the unions to include minorities in their membership.  Comparing that to Chicago he lamented that of $14 billion in construction in Chicago this year, only $400 million is the capacity for minority contractors.  Similarly, of 140,000 union members in the Chicago marketplace, only 2% are African American.  He said, “Want to know why there is violence in the south and west sides? There are no jobs!  That is $6 billion of payroll not flowing into those communities, and that has to change.”  He then talked about Clayco’s mentoring programs, and how “We really think we can use our clout in the marketplace to have a make a real impact right now” 
Register Today for December 10 at 5:00 p.m. End of Year Meeting and Holiday Party
Please register today for the CCAC End of Year Meeting and Holiday Reception to be held on Tuesday, December 10, 2019 at the office of Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP. Doors will open at 5:00pm, and the meeting will begin at 5:30pm, with the holiday reception to follow. All CCAC and Burnham Council are invited to attend. 
CCAC December Holiday Party 
Commissioner Maurice Cox

Chicago Department of Planning and Development
Greg Hummel
Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner
Tuesday, December 10, 2019
Doors Open 5:00 p.m.

Presentation at 5:30 p.m. 
Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner

161 N. Clark St.

Suite 4300

Chicago, IL 60601
Journey to Dubai for World Expo 
January 27 - February 2, 2021
During the February CCAC meeting, it was announced that a CCAC delegation would be traveling to Dubai in 2021 to attend the World 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).  CCAC member Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture was selected to design the Al Wasl Plaza for the World Expo in Dubai and is organizing this special opportunity for our members and their guests.

A preliminary agenda and expected costs can be found by clicking this link. 
Spots are limited, add your name to the confirmed list by emailing
The Burnham Council Update:  Election Results
CCAC Congratulates Newly Elected Officers:
Vice President for Internal Affairs
Vice President for External Affairs
Vice President for Programming
Vice President for Membership
CCAC Supporter Highlight:  MPC Event on Dec 3 -  Toward Universal Mobility
Please join the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) on Tuesday, December 3rd at the Union League Club from 12:00 noon to 1:30 p.m. for their release of "Toward Universal Mobility: Charting a Path to Improve Transportation Accessibility." The report studies the challenges people with disabilities and the elderly face in accessing our transportation system, and delivers a set of recommendations that makes the Greater Chicago region a place where everyone can get to anywhere they need, when they need.
From our familiy to yours, we wish you all a wonderful Thanksgiving.  We are truly grateful for all you have done to support the initiatives of CCAC.  
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