City Club of Chicago: Chicago Department of Aviation Commissioner Jamie Rhee
January 17, 2019
Jamie Rhee – Commissioner – Department of Aviation
Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) Commissioner Jamie Rhee manages one of the world’s busiest airport systems, comprised of O’Hare and Midway International Airports, which serves more than 100 million passengers each year and propels Chicago as a global leader for air cargo activity. Chicago’s airports are also among the most connected in the world, serving more than 260 locations via 50 different commercial carriers to 46 countries worldwide.
Rhee has a long history of mastering complex issues in aviation as well as municipal government. Rhee began her career with the City of Chicago, and has worked for nearly 24 years in various roles, most recently as the Chief Procurement Officer. In this role, Rhee oversaw purchasing of $2 billion in goods and services for dozens of user departments of the City of Chicago, including the CDA; and the certification of thousands of minority-owned, women-owned, and disadvantaged business enterprises, including the Airport Concessionaire Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (ACDBE) program. Under Rhee’s leadership, Chicago’s procurement reform efforts have received national and international recognition, and Rhee has been recognized with a dozen awards from industry organizations for her contributions to public service.
Rhee previously served in various roles at the CDA. From 2004-2008, she served as the General Counsel for the O’Hare Modernization Program (OMP), where she handled all legal matters for the multi-billion dollar program, including all federal and state litigation as well as legal strategy with the Chicago Corporation Counsel, Department of Justice and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA); oversaw the successful completion of the FAA’s Environmental Impact Statement process and managed the legal process and procurement for all contracts, including commissioning the OMP’s first runway project ahead of schedule and under budget.
She also played key roles in previous administrations, having served as a Deputy Chief of Staff to the Mayor; and in various roles at the Departments of Law and Planning and Development.
Rhee has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Michigan State University and a Juris Doctorate degree from DePaul University School of Law.