CCAC eNews
January 2015
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 2015 CCAC Meeting Calendar!
The CCAC 2015 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 latest calendar. Meetings open to paid members and guests, only.)
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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
CCAC Hears from Cook County Department of Homeland Security Executive Director Michael Masters at Sidley Austin in December
Michael Masters
CCAC would like to thank David Siegel, Partner, Sidley Austin, for hosting the CCAC lunch meeting on Tuesday,December 9. At the meeting, CCAC members heard from Cook County Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Executive Director Michael Masters regarding the County's emergency preparedness activities.
Cook County DHS supports a three-pronged philosophy to respond to threads, including:
  • Information processes and procedures that are the same no matter the nature of an event;
  • A "whole community, all hazards" approach that embraces proactively addressing problems and regular contact with local authorities including the Chicago Mayor's Office; and
  • A mandate of fiscal responsibility.
Situation awareness is key to adequate preparedness. In 2014, Cook County completed its first-ever Comprehensive Threat Assessment, and used the results to revise the County's hazard mitigation plan, resulting in the largest such plan in the nation. The plan addresses the County response to manmade and natural threats such as foreign and domestic terrorism, disease, natural disasters, flooding and warming impacts, and foreign fighters.
Masters was recently named to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Foreign Fighter Task Force to work on the national response to the threat posed by foreign fighters, and identified  them as the greatest contemporary security threat. He recently attended a homeland security conference in Israel to avail Cook County of that nation's longstanding expertise in responding to the deployment of foreign fighters on domestic soil.
Cook County has also created the nation's first incident platform, available to every jurisdiction in the County, and will deploy a mass public notification system on the second quarter of this year. In addition, the County is creating an incident command center 25 miles outside of Chicago as a complement to the County's existing Chicago command center. Both command centers will coordinate with the state's two existing Homeland Security Fusion Centers, operated by the Chicago Police Department in Chicago, and the State of Illinois in Springfield.
Masters also noted that Cook County has a healthy operational-response capability. The County deployed diverse equipment to 200 jurisdictions in 2014, has strong partnerships with local utilities and the private sector, and provided training to approximately 7,000 first-responders in 2014. The County is also engaging in a cybersecurity initiative, with $10 million slated for the initiative over the next three years.
Masters said that it is certain that attacks will occur on domestic soil in the future, and that it is important for authorities to share as much information as possible with the public, not to hide information from public view. He also noted the residents should go out of their way to report suspicious items and activities--including "being a pest" if need be in order to reach the proper authorities.
Thank You to Our Connector White Paper Donors--We're Almost There!
CCAC's Central Area Connector Steering Committee continues to seek sponsors for its nearly complete campaign to fund a major White Paper examining the potential to build the Central Area Connector, a potential new transit service to ameliorate access issues affecting areas including Navy Pier, the West Loop, and Museum Campus. 
The White Paper will be written by expert public transit consultants, with an initial draft expected within 90 days of funding and a final draft expected within six months. The overall White Paper budget will be funded by a major grant from the UIC Urban Transportation Center, matching sponsorships and in-kind contributions.
Thank you to the following organizations which each have committed resources to the White Paper:
  • Bryan Cave
  • The East Bank Club
  • The Habitat Company
  • Hines
  • McCaffery Interests
  • SOAR
  • SB Friedman Development Advisors
  • LVD Architecture
  • Skidmore Owings & Merrill
If you are interested in becoming a White Paper sponsor (contributions are tax deductible) or serving on the Steering Committee, please contact Kelly O'Brien at 312.602.5148 or
Time to Pay Your 2015 CCAC Membership Dues!
This week, CCAC 2015 dues invoices were sent to members vis email and U.S. Post. As always, thank you to our many dues-paying members. Because of your support and involvement, our influence on the decisions that affect the future of Chicago continues to grow. Please be on the lookout for your 2015 invoice email and letter, and thank you in advance for paying promptly!
Next CCAC Meeting: Tuesday, January 13, Hosted by Perkins+Will at AMA Conference Center
Join us at the AMA Conference Center on Tuesday, January 13, for the next CCAC lunch meeting, hosted by Perkins+Will.
Guest speaker Shelley Stern Grach, Director—Civic Engagement, Technology and Civic Engagement Group, Microsoft Corporation, will discuss how Microsoft is helping the City of Chicago close the digital divide and become a global center of innovation and technology, through thought leadership programs on innovation and responsible business leadership. Microsoft helps civic leaders and communities harness new technologies to enhance public discussion and policy development.
Please Note: As per the Executive Committee, CCAC lunch meetings are limited to paid members, their guests, and specially invited individuals only. To inquire about CCAC membership, please contact Kelly O'Brien at

Shelley Stern Grach
Director—Civic Engagement
Microsoft Corporation


Tuesday, January 13, 2015



Noon—1:30 p.m.



AMA Conference Center
330 North Wabash Avenue, 14th Floor
Chicago, IL 60654 (map)



Gina Berndt
Managing Director, Perkins+Will

To kickstart the year, Program Director Michael Benami Doyle asked Chairman Greg Hummel about his long history with the organization:
“I’ve been a member of the Chicago Central Area Committee since 1986 and Chairman since 2012. CCAC has had a positive impact on planning and development decisions affecting the City of Chicago and the Central Area in particular since 1956, but it’s equally important to note the positive impact that accrues to our members. Having a place at the table for discussions about the future of one of the nation’s most economically and architecturally significant cities offers an unparalleled opportunity to network with other high-level leaders and build strategic linkages with the potential to­­ help support business growth and expand the bottom line.
“Like any longstanding organization, in the 59 years since our founding we have experienced several peaks and valleys. Our blessing has always been the organizational leadership of strong Chairmen like Ronald Gidwitz, Carrie Hightman, Dirk Lohan, Daniel Skoda, Adrian Smith, Jayne Thompson, and others, all of whom ably navigated through crises, built and rebuilt our influence, and took a stand on important development issues. I’m proud to note that Planning Chicago, the debut book in the American Planning Association’s ongoing series on the historic development of major U.S. cities, researched and written by Roosevelt University professor D. Bradford Hunt and Marshall Bennett Institute of Real Estate Founding Director Jon DeVries, identifies CCAC as one of the most influential civic organizations with regard to every major planning initiative affecting downtown Chicago from our founding six decades ago to the present day.
“It is my hope that my tenure as CCAC Chairman adds to that organizational legacy. In the wake of the Great Recession, CCAC’s influence and opportunities for our members to take an active role in civic planning decisions have both grown steadily. Since 2013, CCAC members have participated in major initiatives including the Illinois Medical District Vision Charrette, the Central Area Transportation Workshop, the Gary/Chicago International Airport Charrette, and the Cook County Hospital Building Charrette. At the same time, our popular luncheon speaker series has welcomed leaders from government, academia, and the private sector and served as a powerful networking forum for our members.
“To me, membership in CCAC just makes sense. As a CCAC member, I get to help set the civic agenda of Chicago, improving the city I know and love, while continually connecting with high-level individuals and exploring opportunities beneficial to my organization’s bottom line. Who wouldn’t want benefits like that?”
Interested in exploring the benefits of CCAC membership for your organization? Contact Executive Director Kelly O’Brien at 312.602.5148 or
Join the CCAC Anniversary Committee to Help Us Celebrate 60 Years in 2016!
Next year, the Chicago Central Area Committee will celebrate its 60th anniversary. To celebrate six decades of helping guide the planning decisions that have shaped the future of Chicago, CCAC is putting together a special anniversary event planning committee. If you are a CCAC member and would like to serve on the anniversary committee, please contact Kelly O'Brien at
(312) 602-5148
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