A north-facing view of the public plaza and Obama Presidential Center Museum building, as viewed from the roof of the Chicago Public Library building.

The Obama Foundation has hired Lori Healey, currently the head of the Chicago office of real estate development, architecture, engineering and construction firm Clayco, to run the construction and operations of the Obama Presidential Center.

A foundation spokeswoman declined to make Healey available for an interview but confirmed that she will begin work on Dec. 1 and report to Executive Director Robbin Cohen, who has worked at the foundation since 2014.

Healey was former Mayor Richard M. Daley's chief of staff and commissioner of planning and development. She held the No. 2 position in Chicago's bid for the 2016 Summer Olympics and led local planning for the 2012 NATO Summit.

Before working at Clayco, Healey was CEO of the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority, a General Assembly-created municipal corporation that owns McCormick Place as well as adjacent hotels and the Wintrust Arena.

"I … find inspiration in the ability to create opportunities for others," she wrote on her profile on the Clayco corporate website. "Whether it is creating opportunities for local businesses to grow or developing new programs to increase access to capital that allow entrepreneurs to make their dreams a reality, I believe that every project is a chance to create new opportunities."

Crain's Chicago Business first reported the news.

(1) comment

Ross Petersen

I was under the impression the Lakeside Alliance, the group tasked with building the OPC, was going to reach out, to minority and Women's Business Enterprises. Ms. Healy is hardly an outsider, and has worked on projects going back to Daley, the 2nd. This would include the City's efforts to attract the Olympics.

In the meantime, the City, the Obama foundation continue to balk at doing an Environmental Impact Statement, required on a project of this size, in this location.

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