2016 predicts the event would generate $13.7 billion during an 11-year span beginning in 2011, including $7 billion
in spending by visitors.
Hosting the Olympics would require new facilities for
events and housing, infrastructure development and
improved public transportation. (The IOC cited the city’s
transportation infrastructure as an issue.) With the extensive logistics, IT and construction projects inherent to hosting the Olympics, project managers would be front and
center in terms of staffing needs.
“I wouldn’t call it a cure-all, but it would create a
definite impact in job creation activity for Chicago and
the Chicagoland region,” says Mr. Norton. “Engineering
and construction firms will absolutely be hiring for it.”
Currently competing with Madrid, Spain; Rio de Janeiro,
Brazil; and Tokyo, Japan, Chicago is expected to find out
whether it will serve as the host city in October 2009.
But with the Olympics relatively far off and not a done
deal, a more practical matter for the city is the $150 billion
expected to be spent on infrastructure projects by the
Obama administration, according to a report by CIBC
World Markets. The city hopes to tap into those funds for
“shovel-ready” construction projects for schools, bridges
and roads as well as green technology initiatives.
package have? Will it stop the flood of layoffs that are
going on? Project managers are not immune.”
The demand for experienced project managers
remains high in Chicago but the resources to pay for
them have dwindled.
“At every company I go to, there’s more work to be
done and there are more requests for projects than
there are funding profiles and people,” says Mr. Norton.
That means a bigger talent pool in which companies
can cast their nets.
“Organizations are certainly trying to capitalize on
good people being available and eager to work,” says
Anthony Mersino, PMP. He is the author of Emotional
Intelligence for Project Managers: The People Skills You
Need to Achieve Outstanding Results [AMACOM, 2007]
and founder and president of Project Advisors Group Inc.
in suburban Northfield, Illinois. “They are also shedding
some of the people they perceive to be marginal performers. In a sense, they’re in a rebuilding phase, strategically removing people they view as non-performers
and trying to get better skills or more experienced people at the same time.”
Rather than simply keeping a low profile to avoid the
layoff scythe, project managers have to work harder
Even big-city project managers need a pat on the back
every now and then. “Most of the time you’re not appreciating each other”
says Jason Scher, Vosges Haut-Chocolat, Chicago, Illinois, USA. “You’re
reacting to what the meeting is about, to what’s in front of you. To take a
moment and say, ‘I really appreciate the work you did so far’ or ‘Those are
great questions’—that makes a difference. … People tend to solve problems
better as a team when they recognize each others’ positive attributes.”
Mayor Richard M. Daley is also angling to accelerate the
expansion of the city’s O’Hare International Airport, which
has been stalled by a combination of political wrangling and
funding shortfalls. Rosemarie Andolino, commissioner of
the Department of Aviation, told a local ABC News affiliate
that the program is “perfectly positioned” to compete for
the federal money. With a $250 million infusion of federal
stimulus money, she said the program could put 1,400 people to work by 1 April. The total cost of the program is estimated at $15 billion to $20 billion, but the project’s original
2014 end-date is in limbo because cash-strapped airlines
don’t currently have the money to pay their share of the
“It’s all about survival right now,” says Mr. Norton.
“The question is, what impact will an economic stimulus
70PM NETWORK APRIL 2009 WWW.PMI.ORG
than ever to build efficiency and demonstrate how they
“You’ve got to bring your ‘A’ game to work,” says Mr.
Mersino. “You’ve got to play to your strengths. For
example, I’m good at project recovery so I don’t try to
be a Java or .net development team lead. I know what
my strengths are: large-scale IT programs and problem
project recovery. It is also critical that you build strong
relationships with your coworkers and your manager
and your stakeholders, and that you are not afraid or
lacking in confidence.”
It could be those relationships that make or break a
“You have to be more creative about using the art of
project management instead of the science,” says Tom