2019-03-01 Global Traveler

(Jacob Rumans) #1

18 globaltravelerusa.com MARCH 2019


one on one

Name: Jamie Rhee
Title: Commissioner 
Company, city: Chicago Department of Aviation; Chicago, Illinois 
Number of employees: 1,400 
Recent project: O’Hare International Airport is always on the move, with
new services, new amenities and projects opening to serve our
customers. Most recently, we opened a Multi Modal Facility,
centralizing all our rental car operations for the first time, and
expanded economy parking capacity. We also just opened a cen-
tralized deicing pad for use by all our carriers, which will enhance
operational efficiency, improve gate capacity and further reduce
delays during Chicago’s winter operations.
First job: I’ve come full circle; it was providing foreign language as-
sistance at ORD. I also served as general counsel here 2004–2008. 
Little-known fact about you: I grew up on a farm in a small town
with only one stoplight!

What innovations/initiatives do you foresee in the industry over
the next years? Enhanced technology is the future; there’s already
improvement with the use of biometrics and facial recognition.
Next up is reimagining airport space in anticipation of the new
technology. How can we use the space smarter and build for the
future with such rapid technology changes? 
Best career advice you’ve received: Twenty-five years ago, when I started
out in government, someone gave me the advice, “No sudden moves.” You
gain invaluable perspectives from reaching out to others. You evolve into
the right space when you let people weigh in. 
What advice would you give someone starting out in the field? The gov-

ernment is an amazing space to consider. Every day I impact people’s lives.
You gain a world of experience working in government.  

Favorite travel memory or story: I was backpacking in Europe with my sis-
ter, on the train from Amsterdam to Paris. I went to the bathroom, where
I ended up locked in for 2.5 hours. My sister had fallen asleep, and when I
returned to the seat, she was chatting with another passenger about the
person trapped in the bathroom. I told her it was me! 
One travel tip you cannot live without: Pack light. I think I’ve finally per-
fected it.
Best advice for business travelers: Look at your surroundings; give airports
feedback. We want to hear from you, as there’s nothing like a fresh set of eyes.

Air New Zealand recently launched the first-ever flight between New
Zealand and Chicago O’Hare. Tell us about other new routes.
For the first time we’re offering a bid incentive that includes help for
airlines in marketing new flights. In 2018 we announced or launched 17
new destinations, including Avianca to Bogotá, TAP Air Portugal to Lisbon
and LOT Polish Airlines to Budapest. Flights to Addis Ababa on Ethiopian
Airlines also launched, and we’re one of only six airports in the world with
direct, non-stop service to all major inhabited regions. We hope these
trends continue!

Chicago O’Hare recently won its 15th consecutive GT Tested Reader
Survey award as Best Airport in North America. What makes ORD the
best? It’s the employees! They have a passion and love for the airport with a
focus on customer service. The message is we care; this is our home.

Update our readers on the progress of O’Hare’s modernization proj-
ect. Several separate projects are underway, and we continue to move our
modernization programs forward at both of Chicago’s airports by involving
the talents of local residents and firms. One of my favorite aspects is the
way we incorporate Chicago’s communities in everything we do. We’ve
launched incentives to help bring small minority-, women- and veteran-
owned businesses into the mix, and to also inspire more local youth to
consider futures in aviation. We are the first airport in North America to
open a Changing Places facility for travelers with disabilities, and we’ve just
launched a task force dedicated to making the airport more accessible for
travelers with disabilities.
We are excited about many key projects on the horizon, includ-
ing our final runway extension to be complete in 2020/2021. The terminal
expansion — the biggest in the airport’s history — is gearing up for
construction. The City of Chicago recently launched a global search for
architect teams to design the centerpiece of our expansion, the new
O’Hare Global Terminal, along with two new satellite concourses. Later this
year we expect to break ground on an extension of Terminal 5 at O’Hare,
set to deliver nine new gates to support Chicago’s leading global connectiv-
ity. Our passengers have a lot to look forward to, with added space making
way for new amenities, concessions, increased travel options and many
other improvements to elevate the traveler experience from curb to gate.


Commissioner, Chicago Department of Aviation
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