2010: Metro Chicago, IL

Posted on May 20, 2010

2010: Metro Chicago, IL

From Chicagoland Chamber President Gerry Roper:

  • Accept the reality of doing business in the global marketplace
  • Evolve, Adapt, and Reinvent your company, organization and community to succeed in the future or you will die.
  • Chicagoland Chamber’s “Competitive Agenda” (mirrors our own Partnership Gwinnett Plan) and drives their strategic plan and makes them more than a “chicken on a stick and a glass of wine” chamber. It includes:
    • Inspire the Entrepreneurial Spirit
    • Increase Exports
    • Encourage Education and Achievement in Young & Old
    • Market Chicago to the World
    • Enhance the Business Climate (through fair tax/regulation policy)
    • Invest in Transportation & Infrastructure



From Naperville Independent School District:

On Entrepreneurship Partnerships

  • Teachers identify experiences they want and Business Partnership Executive Council serves as clearinghouse to match their wants with available entrepreneurs
  • Entrepreneur classes allow students to create, run and dissolve a business in 6 weeks.
  • An annual Entrepreneur Forum is held at each high school featuring apprx. 100 students, 14 entrepreneurs and 12 regular business leaders with Q&A roundtables over lunch followed by 14 workshops students sign up for.

On Learning Readiness PE

  • Studies show that on average those that achieve the highest academically in 5th and 7th grade tests are the most fit. Those that perform the worst or not fit.
  • Harvard Brain researcher Dr. John Ratey says “Exercise is like fertilizer for the brain. It’s like Miracle Gro” because you can rebuild new brain cells with improved cardiovascular activity.
  • Students learn 10% more when standing than sitting and learn an additional 2 to 3 % more when moving.
  • Naperville began offering Learning Readiness PE classes just before important literacy classes for struggling students (and later for other classes). The results were doubled achievement scores for those taking the PE class. In one school since starting the courses, they went from 1 to 4 to 11 the number of students with a perfect ACT scores.

TEE It Up: Technology Enabled Education through Innovative Technology

  • Use HP technology (grants) to put students in the field with specialists and scientists on real-world challenges that require application of mathematics, engineering, and science for solution.
  • Students upload content including podcasts, wiki’s and data.
  • They have created 203Tube, a district specific YouTube portal where students and staff can upload and view searchable content.



From Downtown Development in Naperville:

  • They focus on partnerships with regular intergovernmental meetings
  • Aggressively attract high end retail and restaurants
  • Encourage proper mix of retail vs. restaurants
  • Free parking lures shoppers downtown
  • They plan, manage, and implement their long-range plans based on sound data and are flexible in their zoning when they need to be.
  • They have built a strong arts and culture program over the years based on volunteers, foundations and a special arts tax



On their regional transportation system by RTA Executive Director Stephen Schlickman:

  • The regional transit issues in Atlanta and Chicago are very similar and the Chicago region has been grappling with these issues for a longer period of time, and has consequently worked through several evolutions of structure. We can learn valuable lessons from this history.
  • RTA was created out of a crisis and went through two more crises over the past 40 years to emerge where it is today. Under old models suburbs never trusted Daley controlled RTA board.
  • In the new (and best working) model, city had to be perceived to be giving more.
  • The RTA Structure has now evolved into a great example that we may want to follow in our region. RTA is an umbrella agency under which the existing Transit providers operate. The RTA is responsible for the funding, planning and overall oversight of the other agencies, who then, in turn, operate their individual systems. The RTA adopts performance measures and provides a real sense of accountability to the public.
  • Accountability of the RTA is a top priority. Their requirement of an independent audit seems to be an excellent tool. The issue of trust is paramount to building a strong regional transportation network. One factor that must be addressed in our region is the perception of the different agencies throughout the region. An independent, “arms-length” look at our existing agencies would go a long way toward building this essential level of trust.
  • If you build the system, be prepared to maintain the system.
  • Schlickman recommends Atlanta’s new Regional Transit system needs Balanced representation between city and suburbs
    • Perception of equity in allocation of funds (ROI)
    • Belief there is no mismanagement/waste
    • Strategic planning that is regionally inclusive and comprehensive
    • Seek innovation
    • Independent 3rd party support/validation is essential (they conducted outside state audit of transit system)
    • Exercise oversight of the operation



On TIF (TAD) Applications for Urban Areas

  • The LaSalle Central TIF was instrumental in changing the fate of the historical financial district that was 50 – 70 years old and falling into disrepair and high vacancy rates.
  • TIFs are used as a job creation tool and played a role in the relocation of 2,500 United Airlines employees from the suburbs to the city.
  • Included in TIF development is a five theater area in the Chicago Loop known as “Broadway in Chicago,” begun in 2004 and now yielding $750 million in economic development for the city.
  • TIFs are also funding redevelopment of a site where U.S. Steel fabricated many components used to build Chicago’s array of majestic skyscrapers and iconic architectural masterpieces. This now abandoned site of 587 acres will transform a lakeside development and generate new jobs and redeem acres of dormant land.



On Innovation by Chicagoland Chamber Foundation President Lance Pressl

  • Goal: Link workforce development and economic development with innovation to create Chicago as a global center for innovation, entrepreneurship, and creativity
  • Innovate Now program focuses on 4 areas: products, process, markets, and business models
  • Innovate Now 4 Pillars:
    • Assist getting CEOs to create innovative culture in institutions
    • Foster collaborative networks
    • Enhance area’s ability to compete on new ideas by growing innovation talent
    • Track and measure innovation growth that traditional economic development models don’t cover
  • Challenges to growing innovation are (1) natural aversion to risk, (2) lack of definition to what innovation is, and (3) a history of mature industries.
  • Their definition of Innovation is any new ideas in the areas of products, process, markets, and business models that produces value.
  • Examples of innovation:
    • A cardboard manufacturer took an employees’ idea to change its entire business model so that they became a full service provider to clients rather than just providing boxes.
    • State Economic Development team created multidisciplinary teams of high school students to work with DOT and build robots to check for bridge weaknesses.



From Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center’s John Roberson

  • Goal: Identify early stage companies and make them high-growth and create eco-system to cultivate and develop entrepreneurship
  • Become the one place entrepreneurs can go when they want to start and grow a business.
  • Encourage state to fund early stage companies (Sovereign Fund in Dubai and Ohio Frontier Funds are examples of government investing in local companies to keep them there)
  • Early stage companies need mentors so they started and “Entrepreneurs in Residence” Program.
  • Entrepreneurs want to Network because they think about their business 24 hours a day. They create environments that put different people together from different sectors to share ideas.
  • Entrepreneurs are not non-profits and want to make money so they introduce them to potential sales leads by making introductions to larger employers.
  • To train the next generation of entrepreneurs, they created a Future Founders Program to get students to understand they can create a business around the things they play with everyday.



On the economic impact of Sports Complexes

  • Sports complexes that host multi-day amateur sports tournaments are big business and parents/families are willing to spend a lot of money traveling the nation to participate in these events.
  • One example shown was a complex in Jackson, TN that included a West Tennessee Healthcare Sportsplex which is approx 70 acres – 17 baseball and softball fields that was a Public/Private partnership.
  • Its Economic Impact from hotel rentals is approximately $5.3 million and Economic Impact from retail spending is approximately $7.3 million. The venue generates 40,000 room nights per year.





“MAKE NO LITTLE PLANS” Editorial from Gwinnett Chamber President, Jim Maran

“CHAMBER LEARNED A LOT FROM CHICAGO’S LEADERS” Editorial by Gwinnett County Public Schools’ Chair Dr. Mary Kay Murphy

“SOME ISSUES IN NEED OF A REGIONAL FIX” Editorial by Gwinnett Daily Post