City Club of Chicago: Chicago Department of Aviation Commissioner Jamie Rhee

City Club of Chicago

Chicago Department of Aviation Commissioner Jamie Rhee speaks at a virtual session of the City Club of Chicago, January 6, 2021 (City Club of Chicago)

January 6, 2021

Jamie Rhee – Commissioner – Chicago Department of Aviation

Jamie Rhee

Chicago Department of Aviation Commissioner Jamie L. Rhee knows the aviation industry inside and out.

After beginning her career in customer service at O’Hare International Airport in the 1990’s as a foreign language assistant, her 26 years in public service have been defined by tenacity.

A graduate of the Michigan State University, with a juris doctor from DePaul University, Rhee has a rich history of mastering complex issues in aviation and municipal government.

As the City of Chicago Chief Procurement Officer, Rhee oversaw purchasing of $2 billion in goods and services for dozens of user departments, including the CDA. The certification of thousands of minority-owned, women-owned, and disadvantaged business enterprises, including the Airport Concessionaire Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (ACDBE) program were significant parts of her portfolio. 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.

A steadfast advocate for accountability in government, Rhee and her team have developed a Code of Conduct for the Chicago Department of Aviation detailing principles, values and standards to be upheld by everyone working for and with the CDA. From doing business with the City, to diversity, accountability, transparency, enforcement and everything in-between, Rhee calls the CDA Code of Conduct “a road map to successfully delivering on the promise of O’Hare 21 with the utmost confidence in its integrity by the citizens of the City of Chicago and beyond.”

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. Over the course of her career, Rhee has authored three articles on aviation safety and security,with specific emphasis on increasing the accessibility of municipal contracts to minority, women, disabled, veteran, returning citizen and LGBTQIA businesses, in addition to several others that are still in use today.

Leading one of the world’s busiest airport systems and the most connected international airport in the United States is a long way from her small Illinois hometown of 5,000 people.

“Growing up, my world was very small,” said Rhee. “But my time serving the people of the City of Chicago has opened up the world to me and helped me become a global citizen. I am honored to help make connections across the U.S. and around the world.”

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