Farewell from BOMA/Chicago’s Executive Vice President Michael Cornicelli
Dear Members, Colleagues and Friends,
Six months ago, I announced my intention to retire. It was theoretical for me then, but on July 31, theory becomes reality and my time with BOMA/Chicago will come to an end. Our leadership has done an awesome job of choosing a successor who is well equipped to guide this organization through future challenges - Farzin Parang began that work on July 20.
As I reflect on my time with you, I have thought about the fact that my tenure here began just a few months after the 9/11 terrorist attacks and will end in the age of COVID-19 and civil unrest. In between those bookends, we saw the loss of six lives in the Cook County Building fire, a ComEd substation failure that plunged the Loop into darkness for days costing buildings millions of dollars, and a massive national recession.
But all was not darkness and unrest. We also saw one of our own elected to two terms as US President, our Cubs and Blackhawks win championships, construction of stunning new buildings downtown, and the repurposing of notable but neglected older ones.
Throughout all of that, the hard work and contributions of our seasoned leaders, engaged membership and professional staff have enabled us not only to meet those challenges but to thrive and evolve.
- In the face of the horrors of 9/11, we worked hand-in-hand with Chicago officials to develop one of the first emergency response ordinances in the country, ensuring that we would be better prepared to prevent such events and never again be caught in the aftermath.
- After the loss of life in the County Building fire, we helped to develop life-saving precautionary measures like sprinkler requirements and changes in the use of stairwell doors.
- When the substation failure triggered a requirement to retrofit backup generators, we negotiated an $11 million settlement with ComEd that helped to pay for those installations.
- When President Obama chose Grant Park for his inaugural festivities and when our Cubs and Blackhawks celebrated their championships, we worked with emergency response agencies to be sure those celebrations were both safe and enjoyable.
- To further embrace diversity and inclusion, we amped up our Foundation and Diversity Committee efforts and began organizational and personal self-assessments to better our responses to those issues.
- When the coronavirus pandemic struck, we worked closely with our public health officials and our members to develop workable and effective guidelines for our response to the crisis and the cautious resumption of business activity.
- And throughout, we played major roles in the development of time-saving self-certification procedures for building permits, did much of the rewriting of the elevator inspection protocols, successfully campaigned for adoption of the International Building Code, and staved off a long list of misguided legislative attempts on a variety of measures at local, state, and federal levels.
No matter the challenge, you stepped up. You gave of your time, your knowledge, your experience, and your financial support. We could not have accomplished a fraction of what we did these past 20 years without you. An organization like ours cannot simply buy the kind of expertise we needed, but all of you gave it willingly. You shared your resources for the greater good of an industry we all love. It was a truly gratifying thing to see.
I will always cherish my time at BOMA/Chicago - the friends I have made and all the accomplishments we achieved together. It's been a good, long run, but the time is right for me to embark on the next phase of my life. I am able to leave you now with the confidence that BOMA/Chicago is a stronger and more innovative organization than it has ever been - a force that will continue to shape our industry for many years to come.
Thank you for all you have done to make the last 20 years truly special.
BOMA/Chicago Executive Vice President
About the Author
After serving first as Director of Government Affairs and then Executive Vice President at BOMA/Chicago, Michael Cornicelli retired on July 31, 2020.