After 24 years serving the city of Chicago, Andolino will soon be moving on to pastures new, to begin a new chapter in her career working in the private sector.
“This move is both exciting and bittersweet - I'm looking forward to the opportunities that lie ahead, but also know that I'm leaving a position that has been very fulfilling, challenging and rewarding,” Andolino explains.
“It has truly been an honour and privilege to work for a city I love and to work alongside so many talented industry experts and professionals. I have had a unique opportunity to create positive change for our city and its residents,” Andolino explains.
In 2003, she was chosen to lead the largest airport construction project in the US – the O’Hare Modernization Program (OMP), and says she will always be grateful for the confidence and trust placed in her for the massive project.
“With the support of the business community under the leadership of Chicago native Lester Crown, with leadership from federal, state and local elected officials, and the hard work and expertise of Team OMP, we have transformed the world's busiest airfield into a more efficient, parallel runway configuration and added capacity for the future.
“We built the first new runway in Chicago in 37 years, extended O'Hare's busiest runway, created the nation's first LEED certified air traffic control tower, completed O'Hare's first Group VI capable runway and are now nearing completion of another new runway and control tower.
“From the onset we have stayed true to our plan, and along the way we have developed many industry-firsts and created thousands of good paying jobs.
“Most importantly, we have built the OMP without any negative impacts to airline operations or the traveling public, and we have delivered its components on-time or ahead of schedule and under budget,” Andolino says.
Since 2009, more than 40 new routes have been added to Chicago’s airports and the city is now among the best connected in the world and $2.8 billion has been added to the economy.
Andolino says all aspects of O’Hare International and Medway International have been elevated, included expanded passenger and cargo services, airport facilities, and both gateways have “come a long way in a short period of time” with the crowning achievement the transformation of O'Hare International Terminal 5 into a world-class experience.
One of the areas that the outgoing commissioner is most pleased to have promoted in her time is sustainability, which she says has been raised to the top of the agenda.
“At the CDA, we have embedded "going green" into our culture and made it part of our core mission. We have demonstrated that going green can save money and time, and that incorporating sustainability is the right thing to do for our planet and future generations.
“Together with aviation leaders and environmental experts from around the world, Chicago created the aviation industry's first guidelines for building and operating green airports, which has evolved into a living document called the Sustainable Airport Manual.
“The Airports Going Green conference, which formed in Chicago, has grown to become the industry's premier event for airport sustainability, attracting attention and participation from stakeholders around the globe.
“Going green has taken us in new directions I couldn't have imagined not long ago, from a beehive farm project that successfully includes people, planet and profit, to a herd of rescued grazing animals that help maintain the grounds at O'Hare,” Andolino says.
Andolino reserved special words to the team she has worked with at the CDA: “My deepest and most heartfelt thanks and appreciation go to my outstanding team at the CDA.
“Your hard work, dedication and teamwork are what make our airports so special and unique. Time and time again you have risen to the occasion, and have gone above and beyond, in response to events both planned and unforeseen.
“From Chicago's hosting of NATO in 2012 and the World Routes conference in 2014, to the incredible response to the February 2011 blizzard, Team CDA has shown why Chicago is the best city in the world.
“You should be proud of the tremendous accomplishments over the last decade. I know that I am.”