Who's Who of Top Executives

James M. Harney

Title: Deputy Commissioner for ORD Facilities
Company: Chicago Department of Aviation
Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States

James M. Harney,  Deputy Commissioner for ORD Facilities at Chicago Department of Aviation, has been recognized by Marquis Who’s Who Top Executives for dedication, achievements, and leadership in facility and construction management.

Having worked for the City of Chicago since 2000, Mr. Harney has excelled as the deputy commissioner for ORD facilities at O’Hare and Midway International Airports with the Chicago Department of Aviation since 2015. Prior to this position, he was active with the Housing Authority of Cook County as the director of planning, construction and acquisitions from 2012 to 2013, the director of asset management from 2013 to 2014, and the director of operations from 2014 to 2015. He previously served as a field analyst and assistant director for the Chicago Office of Budget and Management from 2005 to 2008 and the deputy commissioner for the Chicago Department of Buildings from 2008 to 2012. Mr. Harney has also contributed to charitable initiatives and committees with Old St. Patrick’s Church, volunteer efforts with Frances Xavier Warde School and Dignity Diner, and the board of the Irish Fellowship Club of Chicago.

Before embarking on his professional path, Mr. Harney pursued an education at Marquette University, from which he earned a Bachelor of Arts in English and literature in 1990. He concluded his formal studies at DePaul University in 1993, from which he graduated with a Master of Arts in English literature. Following these academic accomplishments, Mr. Harney obtained his certifications in facilities management from Northern Illinois University in 2015 and Oakton College in 2021.

Committed to demonstrating leadership through his actions, Mr. Harney attributes his success to his unwavering commitment to regular attendance at work, his emphasis on listening more than speaking, and his ability to utilize the knowledge and experience of his predecessors. Among his most notable achievements, he is incredibly proud of tearing down approximately 12,000 abandoned houses, some of which belonged to gangs and had been involved in drug-related activities. He also cites his ability to manage low-income housing, rehabilitate properties throughout Illinois, and manage the day-to-day operations of O’Hare Airport for the past eight years as moments of professional pride. In the coming years, Mr. Harney hopes to advance into a higher position in city, county or state government and may potentially leverage his wealth of knowledge in a consulting position with other municipalities and airports.

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