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Pritzker transition announces Job Creation and Economic Opportunity Committee

Monday, Dec 3, 2018

* Press release…

Today, Governor-elect JB Pritzker and Lieutenant Governor-elect Juliana Stratton announced the formation and members of the transition’s Job Creation and Economic Opportunity Committee at 1871, the non-profit small business incubator JB founded that has created over 7,000 jobs.

The committee is the ninth of several working groups of the transition made up of subject-matter experts who will advise and guide the incoming Pritzker-Stratton administration. The Job Creation and Economic Opportunity Committee will be chaired by Hispanic Information Technology Executive Council President Omar Duque, Director of Research Park at the University of Illinois Laura Frerichs, Illinois Medical District CEO and Executive Director Dr. Suzet McKinney and Chicago Federation of Labor President Bob Reiter and consist of 37 members.

“Illinois’ promise and potential outweigh any challenge we face, and together, I know we can capitalize on our strengths and build a thriving economy,” said Governor-elect JB Pritzker. “It’s time to realize we can be pro-labor and pro-business, to create real prosperity by ensuring capital is available for small business owners and entrepreneurs, and to build an economy that works for everybody in every county of our great state. I’m ready to get to work. I know this committee is, too.”

“For all of the strategic advantages our state has, job growth has been too slow and economic opportunity has been shut out for far too many, but this committee will work to change that,” said Lieutenant Governor-elect Juliana Stratton. “Like a rising tide lifts all boats, our plans to create jobs must be inclusive and make Illinois work for every family. Our committee members represent the diversity of our great state and together we’re going to put forward real ideas to begin rebuilding our economy on day one in office.”

“The Job Creation and Economic Opportunity Committee will help shape the incoming administration’s policy on helping small businesses expand and giving them the tools to grow,” said Omar Duque, President of the Hispanic Information Technology Executive Council. “Proposals like expanding access to capital, rebuilding small business development centers, and guaranteeing truth in lending for small business borrowers will help jumpstart the Illinois economy and benefit residents and businesses across the state.”

“Our work will focus on identifying statewide opportunities that grow downstate and urban communities through innovation, small business growth, and workforce development,” said Laura Frerichs, Director of Research Park at the University of Illinois. “Illinois has a vibrant economy with technology and entrepreneurship hubs throughout the state that can generate new economic growth. JB has been a leader in supporting these initiatives and creating catalytic locations such as 1871. I look forward to working on plans with the Job Creation and Economic Opportunity Committee to embrace the diversity of Illinois, create job growth, and build true economic prosperity.”

“What innovation districts like the Illinois Medical District prove is that with intentional effort and leadership at the top, we can spark robust economic growth in communities that desperately need it,” said Dr. Suzet McKinney, CEO and Executive Director of the Illinois Medical District. “This committee will work together to promote our state’s strengths, lift up the economy in every region of Illinois, and build a business climate that both supports small businesses and attracts large corporations.”

“We know that creating jobs and raising wages is a top priority for Governor-elect Pritzker, and the labor movement is confident in his ability to grow our economy,” said Bob Reiter, President of the Chicago Federation of Labor. “We are excited to have a pro-union governor who is focused on raising the standard of living for working families across our state.”


Omar Duque co-chairs the transition’s Job Creation and Economic Opportunity Committee and is the president of the Hispanic Information Technology Executive Council (HITEC). HITEC is the premier global executive leadership organization of senior business and technology executives who have built outstanding careers in information technology. For the past 11 years, Duque was the President & CEO of the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (IHCC). He is passionate about technology and entrepreneurship and the role they play in building community and in creating a better world. Under his leadership IHCC developed initiatives to connect more Latinos to the innovation economy. IHCC has partnered with 1871 Chicago to develop a first-of-its-kind incubator program for Latinx tech startups. Since launching in late 2016, 39 Latinx founders have completed the program. Cohort companies have raised millions of dollars in early stage capital, secured contracts with Fortune 100 firms and gone on to notable accelerators including Techstars. He is the co-founder of the Latinx Founders Collective, an initiative to build a community of more than 100 venture-funded Latinx startups by 2020.

Laura Frerichs co-chairs the transition’s Job Creation and Economic Opportunity Committee and oversees the University of Illinois Research Park, entrepreneurship activities at EnterpriseWorks technology incubator, and supports the University’s economic development efforts. There are 120 companies at the Research Park in a development including 17 buildings on the University campus. EnterpriseWorks incubator clients have raised more than $1Billion in venture capital and capture 25% of the state’s SBIR/STTR federal small business awards annually. Laura helped attract large corporate centers including innovation centers for AB InBev, Abbott, Abbvie, ADM, Caterpillar, Yahoo, Synchrony, John Deere, Capital One and more. She is on the board of the Association of University Research Parks, Champaign County Economic Development Corporation, the Illinois Technology Association, and the Illinois Science and Technology Coalition. She is a member of the Chicago Economic Club, the ChicagoTech Initiative of the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club in Chicago, and the ChicagoNEXT council.

Dr. Suzet M. McKinney co-chairs the transition’s Job Creation and Economic Opportunity Committee and is the CEO and Executive Director of the Illinois Medical District. The Illinois Medical District (IMD), a 24/7/365 environment that includes 560 acres of medical research facilities, labs, a biotech business incubator, universities, raw land development areas, four hospitals and more than 40 healthcare related facilities, is one of the largest urban medical districts in the United States. Dr. McKinney is the former Deputy Commissioner of the Bureau of Public Health Preparedness and Emergency Response at the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH), where she oversaw the emergency preparedness efforts for the Department and coordinated those efforts within the larger spectrum of the City of Chicago’s Public Safety activities, in addition to overseeing the Department’s Division of Women and Children’s Health. Dr. McKinney previously served as the Sr. Advisor for Public Health and Preparedness at the Tauri Group, where she provided strategic and analytical consulting services to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS), BioWatch Program. Her work at DHS included providing creative, responsive and operationally-based problem-solving for public health, emergency management and homeland security issues, specifically chemical and biological early detection systems and the implementation of those systems at the state and local levels.

Bob Reiter co-chairs the transition’s Job Creation and Economic Opportunity Committee and is the president of the Chicago Federation of Labor, the third largest central labor council of the national AFL-CIO. He previously served two terms as Secretary-Treasurer of the CFL from July 2010 to May 2018. For Bob, the labor movement has always had an influence on his life. His parents instilled the values of solidarity and social justice in Bob from a young age, and as he got older, he realized that everywhere he went and everything he did kept bringing him back to the labor movement. Bob’s appreciation for the history of labor informs his understanding of the need to reposition the labor movement in light of its history. He is a third-generation member of the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150. Throughout his career, he has worked as a labor attorney, an organizer, a negotiator and a lobbyist. When the opportunity to run for elected office of the Chicago Federation of Labor presented itself in 2010, Bob saw this as an opportunity to bring the values that his parents taught him to a bigger stage, allowing him to affect people’s lives in a way he could not do at his local.

Richard Ashworth, President of Operations, Walgreens

Tom Balanoff, President, SEIU Local 1

Dr. Byron T. Brazier, Pastor, Apostolic Church of God

Robert Bruno, Director of Labor Education Program, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Heidi Capozzi, Senior Vice President of Human Resources, Boeing

Cristina Castro, State Senator, Illinois General Assembly

Steve Collens, CEO, Matter

John Conrad, President and CEO, Illinois Biotechnology Innovation Organization

Teresa Córdova, Director, Great Cities Institute at the University of Illinois at Chicago

Katie Davison, Executive Director, Innovate Springfield

Pat Dowell, Alderman, City of Chicago

Dale Fowler, State Senator, Illinois General Assembly

Bishop Simon Gordon, Senior Pastor, Triedstone Church of Chicago

Will Guzzardi, State Representative, Illinois General Assembly

Mike Halpin, State Representative, Illinois General Assembly

Calvin Holmes, President, Chicago Community Loan Fund

Emeka Jackson-Hicks, Mayor, East St. Louis

Rob Karr, President and CEO, Illinois Retail Merchants Association

Allen Mayer, Chief of Staff, Illinois Treasurer’s Office

Brad McConnell, CEO, Accion Chicago

Bruce Montgomery, Co-Founder, Urban Innovation Center

Jim Nowlan, Retired Senior Fellow, University of Illinois Institute of Government and Public Affairs

Adam Pollet, Managing Director, 9 North Capital

Elliot Richardson, Founder and CEO, Small Business Advocacy Council

Dr. David Sam, President, Elgin Community College

Chris Setti, CEO, Greater Peoria Economic Development Council

Alicia Slocomb, Belleville Main Street Manager, Belleville Chamber of Commerce

Michael L. Tipsord, President and CEO, State Farm

Sam Toia, President and CEO, Illinois Restaurant Association

Arthur Turner, State Representative, Illinois General Assembly

Anna Valencia, City Clerk, City of Chicago

Betsy Ziegler, CEO, 1871

Andrea Zopp, President and CEO, World Business Chicago

I never thought I’d see the day when Rob Karr and Will Guzzardi would be on the same committee, but that day has come.

Your thoughts?

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - NIU Grad - Monday, Dec 3, 18 @ 11:59 am:

    Besides that, not really many surprises?

  2. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Dec 3, 18 @ 12:01 pm:

    ===Dale Fowler, State Senator, Illinois General Assembly===

    Huh. Well. Huh.

  3. - Rich Miller - Monday, Dec 3, 18 @ 12:01 pm:

    NIU Grad, I think OW just blew your comment out of the water. lol

  4. - wordslinger - Monday, Dec 3, 18 @ 12:03 pm:

    Let’s not push the government as “job creator” too hard. Got a bellyful of that snake oil the last four years.

    Take care of core state responsibilities, and that lays the foundation for “economic opportunity.”

  5. - Chicago Cynic - Monday, Dec 3, 18 @ 12:03 pm:

    Fowler represents Cairo and economically depressed parts of the state, which is why I suspect why he’s on the list.

  6. - 13th - Monday, Dec 3, 18 @ 12:07 pm:

    I figure Fowler made the list because of all the “promise” business moving into Cairo, wonder how much government money is involved in that part.

  7. - Norseman - Monday, Dec 3, 18 @ 12:08 pm:

    One of the simpler things for JB to do is to sell Illinois. Not in the Rauner mode of selling out Illinois, but promote the state. The harder part is trying to repair those items we used to point to as strengths, i.e. higher ed …

  8. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Dec 3, 18 @ 12:11 pm:

    Fowler, representing Cairo, and Fowler, as a downstate Republican state Senator, as a unit can make the inclusion surprising.

  9. - wordslinger - Monday, Dec 3, 18 @ 12:17 pm:

    –One of the simpler things for JB to do is to sell Illinois.–

    Never thought that would be an issue for an Illinois governor. It’s a strange kind of egomaniac politician who builds himself up by tearing down his state. Hope we never see it again.

    I guess now we’ll never know the identities of those “hundreds” of corporations Rauner lined up ready to relocate to Illinois if his agenda passed. So sad.

    Fortunately, we have the “tens of thousands of jobs” from his Asian and European trade trips.

    Rauner just doesn’t want to brag, telling us where they are. Always humble, that guy.

  10. - 360 Degree TurnAround - Monday, Dec 3, 18 @ 12:24 pm:

    Maybe we can just say nice things about the state. That would be a great start.

  11. - Anon221 - Monday, Dec 3, 18 @ 12:26 pm:

    Community kitchens and shared kitchens can go a long way to training and providing an outlet for local food production. This could be done in coordination with the community colleges and food banks throughout the state. Each could serve as a business incubator for towns and cities of all sizes. This is also a way to give hands up and hand outs to people in your community. These could also be used by Extension programs to teach safe and nutritious food prep at a low cost. Involve local farmers in providing produce, meats, cheeses, milk, eggs, etc. for use in the kitchens. Hospitals and clinics would be a great fit as well to use the space for community classes.

  12. - Swivel - Monday, Dec 3, 18 @ 12:49 pm:

    I think this is probably the weakest line up of JB’s transition committee announcements to date (which I think were generally fine). I would have liked to see more private sector business leaders on this list. Whether others were asked and unwilling, who knows.

  13. - Anonymous - Monday, Dec 3, 18 @ 12:56 pm:

    Just say nice things about the state but continue to ignore the business communitiy’s concerns if they conflict with labor or the trial lawyers agenda.

    While you are at raise their taxes.

    Talk about snake oil

  14. - GetOverIt - Monday, Dec 3, 18 @ 1:00 pm:

    @Swivel, Define weak. Although I don’t understand Valencia’s role on this committee, or…wait a second…I concur. No need for definition.

  15. - Amalia - Monday, Dec 3, 18 @ 1:03 pm:

    is there a website with all the transition information listed?

  16. - wordslinger - Monday, Dec 3, 18 @ 1:16 pm:

    –Just say nice things about the state but continue to ignore the business communitiy’s concerns if they conflict with labor or the trial lawyers agenda.

    While you are at raise their taxes.

    Talk about snake oil–

    Wha’ happen, LP, did the Island of Misfit Bots strip you of your handle for failure to promote candidacy of Rauner to glorious victory?

  17. - Anonymous - Monday, Dec 3, 18 @ 1:38 pm:

    Good old LP. Always ready with an unsubstantiated political cheap shot.

    Ive been impressed with JBs inclusion of a lot of downstate folks in his committees.

    We need to stop the chicago vs the rest of us garbage. We are all in this together.

  18. - Come on Glenn - Monday, Dec 3, 18 @ 1:43 pm:

    It’s a start and JB got elected and the Senate and the House have maybe veto proof majorities so they have the control to do what they want, let’s just give them a fair chance to put their plan in action and hope for the best.

  19. - Anonymous - Monday, Dec 3, 18 @ 2:05 pm:

    Eh, I thought Rauner had a strong transition team when he started and those economic development efforts were a dud. DCEO is a wreck (has been since Blago came in) and Intersect has done some nice marketing items, but the cooperation with DCEO has not been smooth at all despite how they talk it up.

    As with any of these transition committee’s, their window dressing with the hard work of good management over a long period of time making the true difference.

    One notable is that the Executive Director from Intersect is not on here… nor someone from utilities, railroads, transportation or manufacturing.

    I have not built a matrix of the committee members, but I see some tech, a small amount of employers, a larger amount of non-profits and a lot of government. The large government component is ok if the focus is on making DCEO a functional agency again, although not sure the names on here get that done but hope they do.

  20. - Grandson of Man - Monday, Dec 3, 18 @ 2:39 pm:

    “if they conflict with labor or the trial lawyers agenda”

    Rauner loves himself some trial lawyers when he’s suing unions.

    Other states are full-union and doing fine with jobs. They’re not resorting to the nonsense. There’s no need to do that. It’s a Midwestern phenomenon lately, to make our region like the South, cheaper for race to the bottom types looking to exploit. But it looks like it hit a wall, with RtW being defeated in Missouri, and with Democratic gubernatorial wins in Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin.

  21. - Anon-I-Guess - Monday, Dec 3, 18 @ 3:40 pm:

    This list is just large enough and conflicting enough to ensure that it is either hot-wired to do nothing or it will get divisive and prove to be the first mistake the new administration.

  22. - Reserved - Monday, Dec 3, 18 @ 5:02 pm:

    I’m not seeing anyone clearly affiliated with manufacturing other than Boeing. Seems like a missed opportunity.

  23. - Louis Howe - Tuesday, Dec 4, 18 @ 7:09 am:

    The problem with selling business as “job creators” is that for-profit businesses don’t create jobs, but rather, provide jobs to fill consumer demand … and one more sobering point. Americans in the aggregate already spend over a trillion dollars MORE than other developed countries to provide health care services and have at best experience the same health outcomes. Expending additional resources funding a limited benefit - i.e. Good Health - isn’t smart economics. Before long we will all be doing each others laundry or donating blood. Build something. Educate somebody. Reduce working hours and shorten years working to retirement. In other words, make life worth living.

  24. - Beacon of Hope - Tuesday, Dec 4, 18 @ 7:31 am:

    So to Anoymous very good point, what now happens to Intersect Illinois. Still out there proclaiming to be representing the State and the official marketing. If JB does not recognize it, how can they officially operate- seems disengenious, I get their private but feels misleading,

  25. - Tim - Tuesday, Dec 4, 18 @ 7:33 am:

    Too much organized labor on the list. They know little about creating more jobs but are great at exploiting existing jobs until they are eliminated or sent to other states.

  26. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Dec 4, 18 @ 8:41 am:

    Beacon of Hope—

    If Intersect was created by an EO then wouldn’t another one undo it?

  27. - Beacon of Hope - Tuesday, Dec 4, 18 @ 7:20 pm:

    Good question anoymous. The Executive Order actually didn’t inact Intersect Illinois, even though it was Rauner’s idea, but just in fact stated that DCEO work collaborate with them. JB could choose to just ignore their existence , which would take away any of their gravitas.

    Although I love the idea of Intersect, the Exec Director does not embrace collaboration with many EDO’s but more importantly they don’t offer any real assistance. Love cal EDOs can do all the same research pulls, know more about site selection than they do. Now they are ally just a self - proclaimed marketing arm for the State.

  28. - Freeport Frank - Wednesday, Dec 5, 18 @ 8:34 am:

    I think there is a lack of understanding on how economic development really works when you see this list. How is it possible to not have ComEd, Ameren, Nicor, Aqua, BNSF, UP, CSX, Comcast, ATT, at the table? JB needs to know they are crucial partners to this work and in attracting or expanding business

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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