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James R. Reilly

James R. Reilly

James R. Reilly joined the Metropolitan Planning Council in 2015 as a senior fellow focusing on MPC’s transportation policy agenda. Most recently, Reilly was CEO of the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority (MPEA), the agency that owns McCormick Place, the nation’s largest convention center; and Navy Pier, Illinois’ top-visited tourist and leisure destination, which generates $8 billion of economic activity and supports 65,000 jobs in the city and the state.

Reilly brings more than 30 years of experience in management and large real estate development to his current position. His extensive experience includes being COO of the State of Illinois under Governors Jim Edgar and Jim Thompson. While at the MPEA, Reilly played a consistent leadership role in unveiling a series of historic labor reforms, service improvements, price reductions and restructuring of MPEA’s capital debt, all designed to enhance the customer experience and further align McCormick Place’s operations with its major competitors in the convention and trade show industry.

His previous experience includes serving as chairman of the Regional Transportation Authority from 2005-2010 as well as president of the Reilly Consultant Group from 2005 to 2010, where he specialized in labor negotiations, the hospitality industry and project development. He represented the 49th and 97th Illinois Legislative House Districts from 1977 to 1983 and chaired the House Appropriations, Education and State Government Committees and the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules. During his tenure in the Illinois General Assembly, Reilly was Chief sponsor to the Illinois Human Rights Act, Emergency Medical Services Act and championed reform for the Regional Transportation Authority.

Reilly is currently an Ex-Officio Board Member for NPI, Inc. and Choose Chicago. He holds a Bachelors of Science Degree from Illinois College and a Juris Doctor Degree from the University of Chicago Law School.

James R. Reilly

Senior Fellow

Email James R.

Phone: 312 863 6008

Transportation policy
Legislative affairs
Public policy

B.S., Illinois College
J.D., University of Chicago