Future of Chicagoland Transit: Funding, Fares, and Flexibility
Moderated by H.G. Chissell
Erin Aleman, Rep. Eva-Dina Delgado, Jacky Grimshaw, Leanne Redden
Wednesday, Dec 7, 2022
After progressing steadily in a variety of leadership roles at the local, regional, and state levels, Erin Aleman was appointed unanimously by the Board of the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) in June 2019 as the agency’s third executive director.
Aleman brings more than a decade of accomplishments in developing transportation and land use policies to the agency as it embarks on implementation of ON TO 2050, the region’s new long-term comprehensive plan to help the seven counties and 284 municipalities of northeastern Illinois improve quality of life using strategies that address transportation, housing, economic development, open space, the environment, and more.
Immediately prior to joining CMAP, Aleman served as Vice President of Metro Strategies, a policy and advocacy consulting firm. From 2015-18, she held leadership positions at the Illinois Department of Transportation’s (IDOT), first as a Bureau Chief and then as Director of the Office of Planning and Programming. During her IDOT tenure, she provided strategic guidance, implemented performance-based tools, developed the state’s first Asset Management Plan, and was responsible for developing multimodal policy initiatives.
Aleman has come full circle by rejoining CMAP, where she began her remarkable ascent fresh out of graduate school in 2007 as the agency's Phillip D. Peters Regional Planning Fellow. Over the next eight years, she rose through the ranks to become Principal Planner in 2011. In that first stint at CMAP, Aleman helped to create the highly successful Local Technical Assistance program, led regional outreach for GO TO 2040 -- the agency’s first long-term comprehensive plan -- and completed more than 20 local planning projects.
Her master's degree in Urban Planning emphasized Design and Development. She is a certified mediator, a strategist for the Obama Foundation Scholars Program, and a member of the American Planning Association and Women’s Transportation Seminar.
In addition to being the first woman to serve as CMAP’s executive director, she is also the first professional planner to lead the agency. Crain's Chicago Business recognized Aleman's accomplishments by naming her to its 2019 "40 Under 40" list.
H.G. Chissell is the Founder and CEO of Advanced Energy Group (AEG), a competitive stakeholder mobilization platform for leaders and organizations committed to systemic change on climate, health and equity at the city and regional level. Serving more than 50 million people and sponsored by over 50 companies, utilities and organizations, AEG supports public and private leaders from the Caribbean, the Mayor's Office of Boston, Cambridge, Chicago, New York City, and Washington DC who understand that systemic change is not possible without effective, inclusive collaboration.
H.G. Chissell has designed and led hundreds of Stakeholder Challenges with 5,000+ leaders and 500+ speakers across the US, including Hawaii and Puerto Rico.
In March 2021, H.G. Chissell received the President's Award for Excellence in Leadership from the National Society of Black Engineers Boston Professionals. H.G Chissell developed his leadership from Manager to Senior Vice President for Viridity Energy, a software/service firm focused on demand/supply energy optimization. In 2014, H.G. Chissell received the Federal Energy Management Program Award for his work at US Army base, Fort Meade for ancillary market integration of critical assets.
Currently, H.G. Chissell serves as Board Director for the New England Clean Energy Council.
Mr. Chissell graduated from Swarthmore College, studied architecture at Drexel University and lived abroad in Germany and Belgium. Mr. Chissell began his commercial career at RDLA, a healthcare architecture firm in Philadelphia.
Leading the company’s growth of MWs under management and strategic expansion throughout 15 states, H.G. Chissell delivered the first behind-the-meter frequency regulation battery project in PJM, the first 1MW behind-the-meter battery project at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago and managed a multi-site EV2Grid project with the Pentagon. In 2014, Chissell enrolled over 25 million ft2 of Class A office buildings within 6 months into the DOE Interoperable Smart Grid Demonstration Program.
Rep. Eva-Dina Delgado
Eva-Dina Delgado has served as State Representative from the 3rd Illinois House District since November 2019. She serves on the following House Committees: Appropriations-Public Safety; Public Utilities (vice-chair); Transportation: Vehicles and Safety, Consumer Protection, Education: Admin, Lic & Charters.
Prior to joining the General Assembly, Eva-Dina was the Chief of Staff and Assistant to the President of Peoples Gas and North Shore Gas. She was the lead policy and strategy advisor to the president, implementing key initiatives, strategic and business planning, along with monitoring business performance. She was promoted from Manager of Local Government & Community Relations. In that role she designed and implemented the company’s community outreach and engagement strategies and served as the company’s chief liaison with the city of Chicago, portions of Lake County, and their elected officials.
Eva-Dina also previously served as the Vice President of Legislative Affairs at the Chicago Transportation Authority (CTA), the nation's second largest public transit system. In her tenure at the CTA, she obtained commitments of state capital funds, federal and local funds worth over $1.4 billion. Before that, Eva-Dina served as the Deputy Director of Intergovernmental Affairs for the City of Chicago under Mayor Richard M. Daley. There, she developed and aggressively pursued a state legislative agenda to protect the interests of the city and its residents. This focus on public policy contributed to passage of legislation implementing home foreclosure protections, closing the gun show loophole and passing the 7% Solution residential property tax limit.
Eva-Dina holds a Juris Doctor from DePaul University College of Law and Bachelor of Arts degree in International Relations, Wellesley College. She is an active member of the Illinois Legislative Latino Caucus and the House Democratic Women’s Caucus and serves as a board member Illinois Legislative Latino Caucus Foundation. This year, she is a HOPE Bi-national fellow. She was named a Leadership Greater Chicago fellow in 2010; Chicago Police Board 2016-2019; “Rising Star” by the Women’s Energy Summit in 2016; Who’s Who in Latino Business by Negocios Now in 2019. She previously served on boards of Lawyers Lend-a-Hand to Youth, Saint Anthony Hospital and Instituto del Progreso Latino. She lives in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood along with her husband and daughter.
Jacky Grimshaw joined Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT) in 1992, and has since developed its capacity to engage in public policy advocacy and transportation planning, transportation research, environmental justice, public participation tool development, GIS mapping, community economic development and air quality. Jacky advocates for and provides expertise to increase transit in the Chicago region. She created and led CNT’s transportation and air quality programs and led CNT’s Transit Future campaign in the fight for mass transit reform and dedicated funding in the Chicago region. Since 2005, she has led CNT’s policy efforts at all levels of government.
Jacky has served on numerous boards, including the Chicago Transit Authority, National Academy of Sciences’ Transportation Research Board’s Environmental Justice and Public Involvement Committees. She has just completed terms on the Women’s Issues in Transportation Committee.
Prior to CNT, Jacky spent time as a researcher in hematology and gastroenterology, in both state and federal government, in the Chicago Public School district and served in numerous other capacities, including political advisor for the late Mayor Harold Washington and Director of the Mayor’s Office of Intergovernmental Affairs.
Jacky has completed the Master of Arts in Public Policy requirements at Governors State University and holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Marquette University in Milwaukee.
Leanne Redden is Executive Director of the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA). The agency manages an annual regional transit operating budget of approximately $3 billion with assets of approximately $160 billion and a more than $8.3 billion five-year capital program.
Under Redden’s leadership, the RTA created Invest in Transit, the regional transit strategic plan covering 2018-2023 that makes the case for the region’s capital funding needs. Redden was pivotal in regional advocacy efforts that culminated with the 2019 passage of Rebuild Illinois, the largest capital bill in Illinois history. Before joining the RTA, Redden was Chief of Planning for the Illinois Tollway and Director of Transportation for the Village of Schaumburg. She was a key player in Illinois’ 2008 Transit Funding and Governance Reform Legislation. Redden was named 2015 “Woman of the Year” by the Chicago chapter of WTS and is a Conference of Minority Transportation Officials 2016 “Woman Who Moves the Nation.”
In 2021, she was appointed as one of two "U.S. Ambassadors" to the Policy Board that governs UITP (Union Internationale des Transports Publics, or the International Association of Public Transport), founded in 1885 to advocate for sustainable urban mobility. She sits on the Board of American Public Transportation Association (APTA). In 2022, Redden was elected Secretary to the 2022-2024 WTS (Women’s Transportation Seminar) International Board of Directors.