O’Hare Airport loses a tremendously talented Commissioner; her able successor has big shoes to fill

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Chicago airport chief Ginger Evans resigns

Mayor recognizes her Contributions

Commissioner brought expertise and experience

Tremendous Talent resulted in Major Achievements

Successor is able


“When I appointed Ginger three years ago, I tasked her with specific goals to modernize our airports and strengthen our status as a global transportation hub so that Chicago’s distinguished airports would not only be the busiest, but the best,” Emanuel said.






[Sec. LaHood to the left of the Mayor and Ms. Evans]

“In a herculean feat accomplished in a small amount of time, Ginger has negotiated an historic $8.7 billion agreement to modernize O’Hare; opened two new runways and the first new gates in 25 years; undertaken the largest investment plan for Midway in nearly two decades; and attracted new airlines and services to make O’Hare not only the best connected airport in the nation, but the only American city to offer direct flights to all six major continents.”

Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) Commissioner Ginger S. Evans manages one of the world’s busiest airport systems comprised of O’Hare and Midway International Airports. In 2016, Chicago’s airports handled more than 100 million passengers, over one million operations and 1.7 million tons of cargo. Evans is also charged with implementing a capital plan for O’Hare — focused on customer service, supporting tenant requirements, increasing O’Hare’s already robust global connectivity, and increasing the airfield’s efficiency and capacity.

O’Hare International is among the busiest airports in the world. In 2016, O’Hare handled more than 867,000 operations and 77.9 million passengers. More than 50 passenger carriers provide service to over 200 destinations across the globe. O’Hare is also a leader in the air cargo industry, serving more than 30 cargo airlines and ranking sixth in the U.S. and 17th in the world by cargo tonnage. Midway International is the nation’s premier airport for point-to-point domestic service. There were more than 253,000 operations and 22.6 million passengers at Midway in 2016, the highest in the airport’s 89-year history. Five airlines at Midway provide service to more than 70 destinations.



Evans has 30 years of aviation experience.  She joined the CDA in June 2015 after serving as Vice President of Engineering for the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) in Washington, D.C. She has overseen major projects at Reagan National and Dulles airports, as well as the new Silver Line Metrorail extension. Prior to her role as Vice President at MWAA, Evans worked in private consulting on major aviation projects in Europe, the Middle East, and Latin America, as well as rail projects in New York and Washington. Prior to this, she served as Director of Aviation for Denver International Airport.


Ms. Evans is the recipient of the American Society of Engineers President’s Medal; the McGraw-Hill Engineering News Record Award of Excellence; and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Pollution Prevention Award. She is a member of the National Academy of Construction and the International Women’s Forum.


O’Hare chief talks nighttime noise and diagonal runways

Aviation Commissioner Ginger Evans takes questions Tuesday after her first visit
to a hilly piece of O’Hare property where a herd of sheep, goats, donkeys
and llamas graze. The animals were brought in to replace conventional mowers.

“It’s not the suburbs versus Chicago when it comes to O’Hare noise or growth, the city’s new Aviation Commissioner Ginger Evans thinks.

“Air traffic is an equal opportunity flier,” Evans said Tuesday, pointing to a Spirographesque diagram of planes zooming around the airspace in the nation’s busiest airport.

Evans was vice president at Reagan and Dulles international airports, and chief at Denver International Airport before landing smack in the middle of a resident uprising over the din from jets caused by the 2013 switch to parallel runways.

On Friday, she offered up a compromise proposal to use a rotating system of runways for nighttime flights to spread out the noise.

⇒The above story recounts perhaps the greatest achievement of her CDA work, Ms. Evans introduced noise-ameliorating innovative programs. That, in and of itself, merits considerable praise, but she was able to create “peace” with the neighbors at the same time that she was negotiating the biggest airport redevelopment in  ORD’s history.

Chicago, airlines nearing $8.5 billion deal to dramatically expand O’Hare

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago’s airline carriers are in the final stages of negotiating a blockbuster $8.5 billion deal to dramatically expand O’Hare International Airport with a state-of-the-art global terminal, dozens of new gates and several additional concourses, the Chicago Tribune has learned.

The eight-year plan would be the single largest and most expensive terminal revamp in O’Hare’s 73-year history. The goal is to vault the airline hub long known for its gridlock and delays into the 21st century by growing its sluggish number of international flights and creating more room for its domestic carriers.

Mayor Emmanuel may have led the negotiations, but it is fair to say that the airlines, aware of past major Chicago construction contracts, relied heavily on Commissioner/Engineer Evans’ well-earned reputation for careful management of the implementation of the $8.5 billion project.










Responsible for operations, profit and loss for a global aviation practice specializing in program management and Alternative Project Delivery. Among other projects, Parsons served as Program Manager for the largest terminal project in the world, the $5 B USD Midfield Terminal for Abu Dhabi International Airport. Projects at 15 US airports and 1 Canadian airport. Contracts with 3 US airlines. Completed projects in Portugal, Ecuador, Mexico, and Canada. Projects in Qatar, UAE, and Oman. Airport transit projects include MIA Mover, DIA terminal expansion for light rail service, BART Oakland connector.

TRB Executive Committee, 2018-2021
FAA NextGen Advisory Committee, 2017-2018
US Travel Executive Committee, 2017-2018
Recognized industry leader in aviation, construction and collaborative team management.
Award of Excellence, McGraw Hill – Engineering News Record
American Society of Civil Engineers, Presidents Medal
Environmental Protection Agency, Distinguished Service Award
National Academy of Construction
Chi Epsilon, Honorary Civil Engineering Fraternity
Boettcher Scholar
Chevron Scholar
Registered Professional Engineer

Colorado State University

Master of Science (M.S.) Civil Engineering

BS Civil Engineering

Activities and Societies: Chi Epsilon, Engineering Legislature, student government, library committee


Evans resume established instant credibility with all the ORD stakeholders- neighbors, airlines, tenants, the FAA and the financial community which must market the bonds for this construction. Her knowledge and demeanor enabled her to communicate effectively with all of these airport constituencies- avoiding the aviation jargon when speaking with the citizens, but able to convince the cognoscenti with the lexicon with which they are most familiar.

New Chicago aviation chief: O’Hare expansion is only the beginning

…Evans is the first city official, since the Daley administration put plans on hold to build a new passenger terminal on the west side of O’Hare, to say that there is a gate shortage at the airport, which last year handled more flights than any other airport in the world.

“There is absolutely a gate shortage, both short-term and a long-term need,” she said.

United Airlines and American Airlines, which operate more than 85 percent of O’Hare flights, insist no gate shortage exists and that they will not contribute funding to construct the western terminal, which potentially could be used by competitor airlines.

There is virtual unanimity among airline pilots and FAA air traffic controllers, however, that O’Hare desperately needs more gates, particularly now to balance the increase in airfield capacity created by new runways.

Evans said the existing gate shortage is made worse every winter because of outmoded airport procedures that require planes to be de-iced at the gate before taxiing to departure runways. Sometimes, when flights are delayed during snowfalls and low temperatures, pilots must return to the gate to be de-iced again.

She said that to free up gates more quickly, especially until new ones are built, she will instruct the aviation department to stage de-icing pads. Used at many other airports, the pads employ a “carwash”-style de-icing process.

O’Hare officials have long said that the airport, tightly packed onto about 7,000 acres, simply doesn’t have the space to operate de-icing pads, in part because existing pads are used as holding areas, so-called “penalty boxes,” during severe congestion for flights that are delayed.

United and American oppose any additional runway construction until passenger traffic increases to the point of requiring more airfield capacity. Reminded of United and American’s firm position, Evans said: “They’ll agree. The whole conversation has been a little bit too simplistic to date.”

 Ginger is the consummate aviation professional. As this article reflects, she exercised her experience and engineering in making difficult judgments, even decisions that were not 100% welcomed by City Hall and/or the airlines. Her policy calls have made ORD better operationally.

Jamie Rhee Appointed As New Commissioner Of Chicago Department Of Aviation

Starting her career with the City of Chicago in 1994 as an airport information officer, Rhee has worked for the city for nearly 24 years in various roles, the city said.

As Chicago’s CPO, Rhee is responsible for purchasing approximately $2 billion in goods and services for dozens of user departments of the City of Chicago, including the CDA, and the certification of thousands of minority, women-owned, disadvantaged business enterprises, as well as Veteran-owned businesses and businesses operated by people with disabilities and the Airport Concessionaire Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (ACDBE) program.

“I am honored to continue my work with the City to serve its residents in any way that I can, and I am humbled by the Mayor’s faith in me,” Rhee said in a statement. “This is a tremendous opportunity to continue the work that we have done to highlight Chicago’s innovation, integrity, inclusion and transparency to the world.”

Mayor Emanuel Names Jamie Rhee New Commissioner Of The Chicago Department Of Aviation


“Since my first days in office, Jamie been a trusted advisor and has impressed me with her remarkable intellect, incredible work ethic and dedication to ensuring that Chicagoans from all walks of life have the opportunity to earn contracts with the City of Chicago,” said Mayor Emanuel. “As a procurement expert, lawyer and former employee of the Department of Aviation, Jamie will be able to oversee upcoming construction projects while also managing airport operations, and there is no doubt in my mind that Jamie is the right person to lead the Aviation Department to ensure Chicago’s economic vitality and cement our status as a global hub.”

Starting her career with the City of Chicago in 1994 as an airport information officer, Rhee has worked for the city for nearly 24 years in various roles and is currently Chicago’s CPO. Rhee has a long history of mastering aviation issues, and has published three publications on aviation law. Further, she has 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 $8 billion program, including all federal and state litigation as well as legal strategy with the Chicago Corporation Counsel, Department of Justice and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA); oversaw the successful completion of the FAA’s Environmental Impact Statement process and managed the legal process and procurement for all contracts, including commissioning the OMP’s first runway project ahead of schedule and under budget.

Rhee has transformed City procurement through increased transparency and innovation to ensure that vendors who earn City contracts are diverse as Chicago itself. For instance, more than 20 programs and incentives have been developed to strengthen and streamline opportunities for Chicago’s small, minority and women-owned businesses. 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.

In her as the Chief Procurement Officer role, she is responsible for the management of the contracting of goods and services for dozens of user departments of the City of Chicago, and the certification of thousands of minority, women-owned, and disadvantaged business enterprises. Rhee has led the transformation of City procurement through transparency and innovation. This transformation includes the development of over twenty programs and incentives that reform and modernize the procurement process. These measures were designed to strengthen and streamline opportunities for Chicago’s small, minority, and women-owned businesses. The programs include the Diversity Credit Program, Small and Mid-Sized Business Initiatives and the Project Area Subcontractor Bid Incentive, as well as many others impacting the vendor community at all levels.

Rhee was named Co-Chair of the nationally-recognized Procurement Reform Task Force, which, in collaboration with the Office of Inspector General, was tasked to advance efforts to ensure that the policies and practices of the City and Sister Agencies support competition, efficiency, transparency, integrity, and uniformity in procurement. The goal of the Task Force is to streamline operations, reduce redundancies, and enhance resource management across the City and its Sister Agencies, while seeking to maintain the public’s trust and ensure the best value with taxpayer dollars.

Prior to her appointment as CPO, Rhee served as a Deputy Chief of Staff for Mayor Richard M. Daley, General Counsel for the O’Hare Modernization Program (OMP), Deputy Commissioner of the Real Estate Services Division in the Department of Planning, and Development and Regulatory Affairs Officer for O’Hare and Midway Airports.

Rhee received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Michigan State University and a Juris Doctorate degree from the DePaul University School of Law. She is conversant in French, Japanese and Spanish.

  • Rhee certainly knows aviation and has been part of the O’Hare Modernization Plan team from its inception. It is hard to conceive of someone more qualified to deal with the procurement of the $8.5 B services for the next segment of the expansion




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