Metropolitan Planning Council’s Annual Luncheon highlights technology’s role in accelerating regional change - Metropolitan Planning Council

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Metropolitan Planning Council’s Annual Luncheon highlights technology’s role in accelerating regional change

For video from the event, see our 2013 Annual Luncheon recap blog post.

Keynote by Margo Georgiadis, President, Americas, Google, lauds work by governments, businesses and organizations in the digital age

Metropolitan Planning Council also recognizes Chicago Dept. of Cultural Affairs and Special Events with Burnham Award for Excellence in Planning, McDonald’s Corporation and Schwarz Supply Source Chairman Andrew J. McKenna with Champion Fighter Award

CHICAGO—Metropolitan Planning Council’s (MPC) 2013 Annual Luncheon on Friday, Nov. 1, 2013, entitled “Accelerating Change,” focused on the theme of technology in cities. More than 800 civic and business leaders from the Chicago region were on hand to hear Margo Georgiadis, President, Americas, Google, speak on the transformative power of technology and digital media. Ms. Georgiadis explained how the new digital environment is empowering citizens and consumers, while helping leaders spot emerging trends and respond with informed, creative solutions to connect with their citizens.

“The Metropolitan Planning Council, along with other business, local government and nonprofit leaders, understands that the digital technologies are primarily about democratization. With today's unlimited access to information, everyone has a voice and businesses and governments can connect with citizens in meaningful ways,” Ms. Georgiadis said. “The new digital world enables the free-flow of information, meaningful local engagement and the creation of magical online experiences, all of which provide huge opportunities for our cities in the years ahead.  MPC has been at the forefront of these issues for almost 80 years, and I am thrilled to be here to celebrate their continuing leadership in this space.”

John Tolva, Chief Technology Officer for the City of Chicago, introduced Ms. Georgiadis. Mr. Tolva has been instrumental in recruiting tech startups to the city and producing the Chicago Tech Plan, a public-private map for the future of technology in Chicago.

“There’s been a lot written about ‘smart’ cities in recent years, and our ability as a region to be open, legible and interconnected has been radically accelerated by technology,” said Mr. Tolva. “How we use technology now and in the future will decide if we can meet or even exceed the goals we’ve set for ourselves.”

“The Chicago region has dominated certain sectors like transportation and advanced manufacturing because we understand that we must adapt to change and find creative solutions,” said MPC President MarySue Barrett. “Reinvention is something all governments, businesses and communities must do, and technology will play a decisive role in the next steps our region must take to remain economically competitive.”

In the weeks leading up to the luncheon, MPC asked civic and business leaders from across the region to relate how technology affects, improves or broadens their work. Their provocative ideas are featured in the Accelerating Change series on MPC’s blog, The Connector,

MPC Awards

MPC also presented two awards at the luncheon: the 2013 Burnham Award for Excellence in Planning and the Champion Fighter Award.

MPC has presented the Burnham Award—named in honor of Daniel H. Burnham, creator of the 1909 Plan of Chicago—since 1988, to encourage sensible growth by honoring innovative and visionary planning efforts that have been implemented in the Chicago metropolitan region.

The 2013 Burnham Award recognized the Chicago Dept. of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) for the creation and implementation of the Chicago Cultural Plan 2012, Chicago’s first concerted neighborhood arts effort since the Harold Washington administration. DCASE’s Cultural Plan 2012 was developed after rigorous public participation and has already produced an impressive list of accomplishments, including implementation of arts education strategies across the Chicago Public Schools and improved connections between chambers of commerce and neighborhood cultural capacity. In 2013, DCASE has worked with its partners on new Arts Education and Cultural Tourism Plans, ensuring that every child in Chicago Public Schools has a chance to explore the arts in school, and that the city strengthens its reputation as a global cultural destination. This a wide range of initiatives makes the Chicago Cultural Plan 2012 a deserving recipient of the 2013 Burnham Award for Excellence in Planning.

DCASE Commissioner Michelle T. Boone accepted the award on behalf of DCASE staff. 

“We’re thrilled with our progress so far and grateful for the continued support of Mayor Rahm Emanuel and our community and cultural partners,” said Commissioner Michelle T. Boone. “Just one year since its release, half of the 241 initiatives in the Chicago Cultural Plan have been addressed.”

Joseph A. Gregoire, former State Chairman, Illinois banking, PNC Bank—the lead sponsor of MPC’s luncheon—and Chair of MPC’s Board of Governors, presented the award, which includes a cash prize of $5,000 underwritten by PNC Bank. 

To learn more about the Burnham Award, including a complete list of past winners, visit 

At the luncheon, MPC also honored Andrew J. McKenna, McDonald’s Corporation and Schwarz Supply Source Chairman, with the Champion Fighter Award for his tireless efforts to ensure a sustainable, equitable and competitive future for the Chicago region. The Champion Fighter Award, presented by MPC in the past to notable business and civic leaders, places special emphasis on community engagement and philanthropy.

“I am honored that I’ve had so many opportunities throughout the years to dedicate myself to this region’s success and prosperity,” said Mr. McKenna. “I hope our work will encourage others to strive for excellence across metropolitan Chicago.”   

From leadership of Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago to the United Way of Metropolitan Chicago, Mr. McKenna’s commitments span an impressive range of city and regional organizations. His strong record of giving back to the community sets the gold standard for all others.

“The Champion Fighter award recognizes those who have gone above and beyond, whose actions inspire like-minded leaders,” said Lester Crown, Chairman, Henry Crown and Company, who presented the award. “Mr. McKenna raises the bar for others like him. He is a role model for anyone committed to changing our region for the better.”


PNC Bank was the Presenting Sponsor of MPC’s 2013 Annual Luncheon.

The Allstate Insurance Company, BlueCross BlueShield of Illinois, BMO Harris Bank, The Crown Family, Globetrotters Engineering Corporation, The Harris Family Foundation, McDonald’s Corporation, Regional Railroads (BNSF, CN, CSX, Union Pacific) and Walgreens were Lead Sponsors of the event. Benefactors of the event were Bank of America; The Boeing Company; Rita and John Canning; Cole Taylor Bank; ComEd, an Exelon Company; DSC Logistics; Michael and Jacky Ferro, The Sun Times Foundation through The Chicago Community Trust; Andrea and Jim Gordon, The Edgewater Funds; John S. Gates, Jr.; and Wintrust Financial Corporation.

A full list of sponsors is available on MPC’s website:

For video from the event, see our 2013 Annual Luncheon recap blog post.

About PNC Bank

The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. ( is one of the nation’s largest diversified financial services organizations providing retail and business banking; residential mortgage banking; specialized services for corporations and government entities, including corporate banking, real estate finance and asset-based lending; wealth management; asset management and global fund services. Follow @PNCNews on Twitter for breaking news, updates and announcements from PNC.

About MPC

Since 1934, the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) has been dedicated to shaping a more sustainable and prosperous greater Chicago region. As an independent, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, MPC serves communities and residents by developing, promoting and implementing solutions for sound regional growth. Follow @Metroplanners on Twitter, or visit our website at

The hashtag for this year's luncheon was #accel2013.


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For more than 80 years, the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) has made the Chicago region a better place to live and work by partnering with businesses, communities and governments to address the area's toughest planning and development challenges. MPC works to solve today's urgent problems while consistently thinking ahead to prepare the region for the needs of tomorrow. Read more about our work »

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