Press Releases
July 20, 2012

Ramirez joins Preckwinkle's Council of Economic Advisors for Cook County

Labor will have a seat at the table alongside business and civic leaders in promoting regional economic development strategies that foster growth and cooperation

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle announced today the creation of a Council of Economic Advisors, a group of more than 20 distinguished business and civic leaders from around the region who will advise Cook County on how to promote long-term economic growth within Cook County as well as the larger economic region. The Council will be co-chaired by John W. Rogers, Chairman and CEO of Ariel Investments and William A. Osborn, retired Chairman of the Northern Trust Corporation. 

“Metropolitan Chicago’s $500 billion gross regional product makes our economy the 20th largest in the world, and Cook County contains more than half of this region’s population, income and jobs,” said Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, “Economic growth cannot be a zero-sum game if the region is going to compete against London, Beijing or even New York.  With half the region’s economy in Cook County the County should play a leading role in promoting a collaborative and strategic approach to economic growth. 

At a news conference Thursday, President Preckwinkle said that the council’s insight and advice on economic issues facing the region will help guide her efforts to align County government’s activities, programs and partnerships to support long-term economic growth.

Preckwinkle noted that several members of the Council of Economic Advisors are also members of World Business Chicago, including Vice-Chairman Michael Sacks and Chicago Federation of Labor President Jorge Ramirez, which will ensure that there are no duplicative efforts undertaken by the two organizations. 

“I am proud to join President Preckwinkle and her team to help lead the county forward on issues such as job creation and economic growth that are critical to the region’s working families,” said Ramirez. “The labor movement plays a critical role in driving the economy. Our entire movement is dedicated to creating and retaining good paying jobs that elevate our communities. We applaud President Preckwinkle for giving the labor movement and working men and women a seat at the table.”

President Ramirez also serves as Vice Chairman of the Cook County Health and Hospital System Board.

The President’s Advisory Council will hold its first meeting on July 27th, 2012.  Their first order of business will be to analyze Cook County’s economic trends, assets and challenges in the context of the region and the nation’s changing economy.  President Preckwinkle plans to work with the Council to develop strategies for aligning County Government functions with economic growth goals, and to foster regional collaboration around a mutually beneficial economic growth agenda.

The full list of Council members is:




  • Bill Osborn                        Chairman of the Board, Northwestern University;

CEO, Northern Trust (Retired)


  • John Rogers                      Chairman, CEO & Chief Investment Officer, Ariel Investments



  • Paula Allen-Meares           Chancellor, UIC


  • Greg Brown                      Chairman & CEO, Motorola Solutions


  • Frank Clark                       Chairman & CEO, ComEd (Retired)


  • Sue Ling Gin                     Chairman & CEO, Flying Food Group; President and Founder, New Management Ltd.


  • Roberto Herencia              President and CEO, BXM Holdings


  • Julie Howard                     CEO, Navigant Consulting


  • Stacy Janiak                      Managing Partner (Chicago Office), Deloitte


  • Aylwin Lewis                   President & CEO, Potbelly Sandwich Works


  • Michael Moskow              Vice Chairman and Senior Fellow on the Global Economy, Chicago Council on Global Affairs; President & CEO, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago (Retired)


  • Sheila O'Grady                 Consultant, Spencer Stuart;Former President, Illinois Restaurant Association


  • Richard Price                    Chairman & CEO, Mesirow Financial


  • Jorge Ramirez                   President, Chicago Federation of Labor (AFL-CIO)


  • Michael Sacks                   CEO, Grovesnor Capital Management


  • Sam Scott                          Chairman, President & CEO, Corn Products International (Retired)


  • Alejandro Silva                 Chairman & CEO, Evans Food Group


  • James Skogsbergh             President & CEO, Advocate Health Care


  • Scott Swanson                  President, Charter One and RBS Citizens, Illinois and Michigan


  • Michael Tang                    Vice-Chairman, Tang Industries;CEO, National Material


  • Kevin Willer                      President & CEO, Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center


  • David Yeager                    Chairman & CEO, Hub Group