City Club of Chicago: Alternative Futures – What will shape Chicagoland’s quality of life and economic prosperity
August 30, 2017
Alternative Futures: What will shape Chicagoland’s quality of life and economic prosperity – Joseph Szabo, Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning
Appointed as executive director by the Board of the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) in June 2015, Joseph C. Szabo has varied experience in local, state, and federal governments, civic affairs, and transportation. CMAP and its partners are developing ON TO 2050, a new comprehensive regional plan to help the seven counties and 284 communities of northeastern Illinois to implement strategies that address transportation, housing, economic development, open space, the environment, and other quality-of-life issues.
Prior to joining CMAP, Szabo was appointed by President Obama and confirmed by the U.S. Senate as the twelfth Administrator of the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) within the U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT). From 2009-15, he led a staff of over 900 professionals located in Washington, DC, and at field offices across the nation as the first FRA head to come from the ranks of rail workers.
Szabo began his public service as a zoning commission member in his native south suburban Riverdale, Illinois, where he later served as a park district commissioner, village trustee, and ultimately mayor. He also was a member of the South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association executive board and transportation committee and the regional Council of Mayors executive committee.
His prior service also included membership on the Executive Council of Chicago Metropolis 2020 (later known as Metropolis Strategies), the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus, and the Legislative Committee of the Chicagoland Metropolitan Planning Council. He earned the Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration from Governors State University and received an honorary doctorate from Lewis University for his lifetime commitment to public service.