100 Years of Advancing Destinations

Jack A. Johnson


Jack A. JohnsonJack A. Johnson, Chief Administrative Officer and Senior Vice President, Public Policy for Choose Chicago

Jack Johnson brings unrivaled experience incorporating government, community development, the tourism & travel industry, coalition building, corporate diversity, civic planning, communications and program development to his dual role as Chief Administrative Officer and Senior Vice President, Public Policy for Choose Chicago.

During his tenure Jack has played a leading role in the extensive reforms of the McCormick Place Convention Center and the Chicago Convention & Tourism Bureau resulting in a new, close working relationship between the two entities, a completely new convention center operating model putting it on par from a cost and work rule aspect with any major facility in the country and developed a board of directors with both a travel industry and a city-wide civic perspective.  Building on that success, Jack was integrally involved in the merger of the Chicago Convention & Tourism Bureau and the Chicago Office of Tourism resulting in maximizing the resources from the two entities and embedding the new organization - Choose Chicago - into the city's economic development strategy.

As SVP, Public Policy Jack oversees the public policy and government relation functions of Choose Chicago as well as the membership and strategic partnership efforts.   Jack's efforts increased revenues from $13.6 million to $33.2 million and tripled revenue sources in less than 5 years. Jack also developed a new membership model based on the concept inclusion with a low entry cost, ala carte packaging and an emphasis on service as opposed to selling.  Both the numbers of members and their satisfaction have increased.  In response to the needs of the growing organization, Jack was named Chief Administrative Officer in late 2013 and now also directs the finance and budgeting efforts, industry and economic research, human resources development, information technology, strategic planning and board relations. Under Jack's leadership, Choose Chicago is developing these functions from the traditional back of the house administrative functions into strategic assets for the Bureau.

Jack is skilled at building critical relationships, having served as the principal for Argonaut Solutions, a government and community relations consulting firm specializing in developing policy solutions and civic consensus for government, not-for-profits and small businesses.  His clients depended on him for both high-level strategy and reliable answers to detailed inquiries.

Jack is no stranger to the convention and tourism industry in Chicago. Prior to his leadership role with Argonaut Solutions, Jack worked for many years for the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority (MPEA), the operators of the nation's largest convention center and Navy Pier, Chicago's number one visitor attraction.   Jack served in several positions with the MPEA, beginning as the Executive Assistant to the CEO and finishing as Chief of External Relations.

At MPEA, Jack was expert at examining situations from every angle and anticipating potential problems.  He developed and implemented a government relations plan for interaction with federal, state and local governments during a period that saw MPEA redevelop Navy Pier, expand McCormick Place twice and develop a convention center campus complete with a hotel, office building, power plant and civic plaza. Combined, these projects represented over $2 billion in capital investment.

To complement his big-picture strategy, Jack developed a community relations program that reached out to business, community and civic groups and developed a strong community base of support for this investment.  As part of that effort, several successful public/private training and employment programs   were   developed   along   with   various   neighborhood   economic   development   and infrastructure plans. Jack also oversaw a series of successful programs to increase the use of local, minority and women businesses by MPEA as  well as  develop a  more diverse  workforce.   He consistently capitalized on opportunities to gather momentum for MPEA initiatives.

Jack's in-depth knowledge of government can be partly attributed to the early stages of his career, when he worked alongside one of the most powerful legislators in the history of Illinois politics. Jack worked for Michael J. Madigan, Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives, as staff for several different legislative committees.  Jack researched, analyzed and promoted hundreds of pieces of legislation, including two landmark pension omnibus bills, a temporary income tax increase, major budget initiatives and an innovative affordable low-income heating program.  Jack also staffed legislative review and investigations of executive agencies and state universities.

Jack has served on many boards and taskforces over the years and currently serves on the boards of the Illinois Council of Convention and Tourism Bureaus (Executive Committee and Legislative Committee) and the Gerber/Hart Library and Archives (Fundraising Committee). Jack also serves on the Destination Management Association International’s Advocacy Committee, US Travel Association's Advocacy Council and the Chicago Park District's Parks as Economic Drivers Taskforce.

Jack is a longtime Chicago area resident. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree with a double major in Political Science and Public Administration from North Central College. An avid reader and amateur cook, Jack is also a season ticket holder with the Chicago Fire MLS soccer club and the champion Chicago Blackhawks NHL hockey team.