On behalf of Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot and the entire Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA), we welcome you to Chicago! We are so honored to host you in the “Windy City” and hope that you will take a moment to experience the diverse tourist attractions and eclectic cuisine across our 77 community areas that bring so many people through O’Hare and Midway International Airports.
The 37th Annual AMAC Airport Business Diversity Conference will offer opportunities for professional education, networking and business development for those working, especially minorities and women, in the aviation and aerospace industries. Topics under discussion range from how to advance businesses at airports to public policy issues impacting our industry.
These discussions and the work AMAC is doing to build capacity and provide opportunities have never been more necessary than the current moment. And no one knows and appreciates the power of procurement to drive meaningful change, transform communities, provide opportunities and create jobs better than Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot. Her vision of a city that is more equitable and inclusive inspires and guides our work every day.
While COVID-19 impacted us all in the aviation industry and at the City of Chicago, Mayor Lightfoot made it clear that we could not allow the pandemic to derail our commitment to equity and inclusion. In 2021, the CDA spent more than $210 million with Minority and Woman-Owned Business Enterprise (MWBE) certified firms—38% of our total spend and a $72 million increase over the previous year. Further, the CDA is trending toward capturing its highest Airport Concessions Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (ACDBE) participation ever at Midway and the highest in a decade at O’Hare.
We know there’s more work to do to develop airport partners and a workforce that looks like and benefits our entire city. That is why we are so honored to host this important event and important conversation in Chicago. During these most unusual couple of years, we owe our high level of operations to the support and professionalism of all our airport businesses, contractors and concession operators.
AMAC could not accomplish its mission without your support and leadership. We all benefit because each of you has brought your own knowledge and expertise to this year’s conference. Thank you for joining. Thank you for sharing. And thank you for leading. By working together to deliver the airports of tomorrow, we will create economic opportunity today.
Jamie L. Rhee
Chicago Department of Aviation
Tracey Payne Henry
Local Chair, 2022 AMAC Annual Conference Chief Administrative Officer, Chicago Department of Aviation