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Alumni Leaders Help Recruit Amazon

October 17th, 2017

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner announced yesterday the submission of the bid to bring Amazon’s second headquarters to the Windy City. The month-long process brought together an unprecedented group of stakeholders, including NIU alumni, to develop and support a bid that makes clear that Chicago is the ideal place for Amazon to invest billions of dollars and create an estimated 50,000 jobs.

“Chicago offers unparalleled potential for future growth for businesses of all sizes and is the ideal place for Amazon to build its HQ2,” Mayor Emanuel said. “This bid will demonstrate to Amazon that Chicago has the talent, transportation and technology to help the company as it reaches new heights and continues to thrive for generations to come.”

“Amazon represents an extraordinary opportunity for Illinois to grow jobs, attract new residents and build our tax base,” Rauner said. “Our bid makes a powerful business case, linking our advantages in innovation, commerce and R&D with Amazon’s aspirations for growth and talent recruitment.”

The bid was submitted electronically yesterday, which was the first day of a four-day window for Amazon to accept bids.

Amazon expects to invest more than $5 billion for construction of its second headquarters. When completed, it is expected to employ up to 50,000 people. The overall economic impact of Amazon locating headquarters in Chicago is unprecedented, according to a study commissioned by World Business Chicago. Over a 17-year period, the second headquarters is expected to generate:

  • $341 billion in total spending driven by ongoing operations, including $71 billion in salaries and wages and supporting an additional 37,500 jobs in the region annually
  • $7.4 billion in construction-related spending, including $2.4 billion in salaries and wages and an average of 3,500 jobs per year

The bid highlights how Chicago would offer Amazon access to top-quality talent across all industries. Additionally, it emphasized the region’s diverse ecosystem and ability to put the company closer to research centers, potential customers and its own operations throughout the world. Chicago’s transportation advantages would give the company unparalleled global connectivity and more nonstop flights to Amazon’s key corporate destinations than any other city could, according to the mayor’s office.

To support the bid, last month the mayor and governor announced the formation of a committee that is supporting the drive to bring Amazon’s second headquarters to the Chicago area. The committee is co-chaired by Oscar Munoz, CEO of United Airlines.; Penny Pritzker, founder and chair of PSP Capital; Jim Reynolds, chairman and CEO of Loop Capital; and Miles White, chairman and CEO of Abbott. The mayor and governor are serving as honorary co-chairs and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle is serving as honorary vice-chair. The committee is comprised of more than 600 leaders across the business, financial, technology, arts and culture, civic and education communities.

NIU alumni on the coalition include: 
Jeff Aronin (B.S. Marketing, ’89)
Rita Athas (B.S. Political Science, ’78)
Martin Cabrera Jr. (B.S. Finance, ’94)
Mike Englehart (B.A. History, ’90)
Stephen Ferrara (B.S. Accountancy, ’81)
Nick Rosa (B.A. Political Science, ’73)
Jim Wong (B.S. Accountancy, ’92)
Maria Wynn (MBA, ’83)
Jeff Yordon (B.S. Political Science, ’91)