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Past Speakers

Kirk Dillard

Chairman of Regional Transportation Authority (RTA)
Kirk Dillard serves as the chairman of the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) Board of Directors since June 2014. Chairman Dillard and the RTA Board oversee the nation’s second-largest public transportation system by passenger miles traveled, which serves more than eight million residents in Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will counties. The Authority is charged with regional financial oversight, funding, and transit planning for Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), Metra and Pace Suburban Bus and ADA Paratransit. The RTA manages a regional transit operating budget of nearly $3 billion with assets of approximately $160 billion and a $5 billion five-year capital program. Chairman Dillard served as a Republican senator from Chicago’s western suburbs in the Illinois State Senate. Prior to serving as senator, Chairman Dillard served with distinction as Chief of Staff to former Governor Jim Edgar and as Legislative Director to former Governor James Thompson. He is currently a partner at Locke Lord LLP, one of Chicago’s oldest and largest law firms. Chairman Dillard has been recognized in Crain’s Chicago Business’ “Who’s Who in Chicago Business” and was recently awarded the American Public Transportation Association’s “Best of the Best” Local Distinguished Service Award. Chairman Dillard has a B.A. and honorary doctorate from Western Illinois University, a J.D. from the DePaul University College of Law and served as a Public Policy Mentor for the University of Chicago. Chairman Dillard is a lifelong resident of the region and has been a rider of public transportation for more than 50 years, riding the Chicago Transit Authority buses and trains since early childhood, and now is a regular rider of Metra.