Regional Transportation Authority

John Gates Jr. Elected As New RTA Board Chairman PDF Print E-mail
John Gates Jr. was elected by Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) Board members today as the new Chairman of the RTA Board.  Mr. Gates serves as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of PortaeCo, a private investment company.  He will serve a five-year term that ends in 2014.

Until May 2010, Mr. Gates served as Chairman of the Board and Chairman of the Finance Committee of Metropolitan Pier and Exhibition Authority “McPier.” Mr. Gates succeeds Jim Reilly who resigned in May to serve as the trustee of McPier.

“John Gates brings an exemplary career track record in the investment business. His noteworthy expertise in finance and infrastructure can’t be overstated or under-utilized especially at this critical juncture in our transit system’s history,” said RTA Board Member Dwight Magalis, who represents Lake County and serves as the Board’s Finance Committee Chairman.  Before today’s vote, Director Magalis served as Interim RTA Board Co-Chairman.

Prior to forming PortaeCo, Mr. Gates co-founded CenterPoint Properties Trust and served as Co-Chairman and Chief Executive Officer for 22 years. CenterPoint Properties is the former site of the U.S. Army Joliet Arsenal. Gates success of the site can be attributed to his innovative vision for the site to be an intermodal facility because it was adjacent to the Burlington Northern Santa Fe’s main line in Chicago and in close proximity to nine interstate highways. During that period, the site opened as the largest intermodal container handling facility in the world and connected the BNSF and Union Pacific railroads, along with 17 million square feet of industrial space for the Chicago region. Additionally, CenterPoint became the nation’s first publicly traded Industrial Real Estate Investment Trust, as well as the largest private property owner/developer in the metropolitan Chicago region. In 2006, the Company was acquired by the California Public Employees’ Retirement System and Jones Lang LaSalle.

Mr. Gates graduated from Trinity College in 1976 with a BS in Economics and Philosophy.  He began his career as an Assistant to Governor James R. Thompson of Illinois.  In 1979, he joined CB/Richard Ellis, and in 1981, co-founded the Chicago office of Jones Lang Wootton (now Jones Lang LaSalle).

“John Gates has a proven record of success at McPier and will provide the RTA with a valuable blend of public and private sector experience and a keen understanding of our region’s economic and transportation needs,” said RTA Board Member Michael Rosenberg who represents the City of Chicago. “I believe he (Gates) is superbly suited to lead our Board and continue advocating for the mobility and quality of life needs of our transit system’s two million daily riders.  Director Rosenberg served as the other Interim RTA Co-Chairman and serves as the Mobility Limited Committee Chair.

In addition to his distinguished career as an investment executive, Mr. Gates serves on the Boards of numerous public sector, for profit and not-for-profit institutions, including:

  • Serving as past Chairman of the Board and Member of the Executive Committee for the Metropolitan Planning Council, Chicago’s leading agency and advocate for regional planning, transportation and housing.

  • University of Chicago, Harris School of Public Policy: Chairman of New Facilities Committee. The University of Chicago’s Graduate School of Public Policy and Government Affairs.  

Mr. Gates is also an active member of the Economics Club of Chicago and the Urban Land Institute. Former Board roles include:

  • University of Wisconsin Center for Urban Land Economics:  Research institute focused on urban planning, land use and real estate issues.


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