Jonathan D. Leach possesses a comprehensive background in law, government, and operations. Mr. Leach focuses his practice on Government and Regulatory Matters, Transportation/Aviation, Transactional/Contracts, Land Use and Real Estate, Strategic Business Counseling, and Corporate Litigation. Mr. Leach joined Chico & Nunes, P.C. in July 2017.
Prior to joining Chico & Nunes, Mr. Leach served as the Chief Operating Officer for the Chicago Department of Aviation from 2013 to 2017. As Chief Operating Officer, Mr. Leach was responsible for the Department’s Planning, Development, Environment, Facilities, Airfield Operations, Landside Operations and Terminal Operations divisions, managing an annual budget of several hundred million dollars and supervising several hundred employees. Part of his responsibilities included overseeing the funding, contracts and management of the multi-billion dollar capital improvement program at both O’Hare (including the O’Hare Modernization Program) and Midway International Airports. Mr. Leach was responsible for numerous high-profile projects such as the construction and reconfiguration of runways and air traffic control facilities, terminal modernization and expansion, facility renovation and the creation of the O’Hare Multi Modal Facility - which includes the Consolidated Rental Car Facility, Public Parking and the Automated People Mover expansion and modernization.
In addition, Mr. Leach administered the operation at O’Hare International Airport, including the annual FAA certification inspection, snow removal operations, and the operation of the airport parking system, including an elevated parking structure and four surface lots.
Prior to his tenure as Chief Operating Officer, Mr. Leach served as General Counsel for the Chicago Department of Aviation from 2010 – 2013. As General Counsel, he advised the Department on pending legal matters, contracts, leases, funding agreements, and settlements. Mr. Leach also was responsible implementing and handling sophisticated procurement processes and the issues they raised, including the use of alternative procurement methodologies such as Design/Build and Construction Manager at Risk. Mr. Leach was directly responsible for the completion of numerous capital projects, both “airside” and “landside,” involving hundreds of millions of dollars, numerous contracts, subcontracts and procurement matters, and the successful resolution of countless issues.
From 2004 – 2010 Mr. Leach was an attorney at Neal & Leroy where he practiced in the litigation and real estate divisions of the firm. He represented both public entities and private individuals in land acquisitions – typically involving eminent domain. Mr. Leach also successfully defended legal challenges to municipal actions and tried and obtained judgments in over a dozen bench trials. Mr. Leach also served as first chair or co-chair on four jury trials, obtaining favorable verdicts in each.
Representative Aviation/Transportation Transactions
- O’Hare Airport Modernization Program
- Future Runway 9C/27C – This runway is scheduled to be open in 2020. Scope of project included negotiation of a $1.3 billion funding agreement for the runway and additional airfield improvement. In addition, procurement, negotiation and award of design and construction contracts was completed as well as coordination with the Federal Aviation Administration on phasing and scope.
- Runway 10R/28L – This runway opened in 2015 and required the negotiation of a $1.1 billion funding deal. Additionally, the runway required the relocation of a state highway, land acquisition, annexation of land into the City of Chicago, procurement, negotiation and award of design and construction contracts as well as coordination with the Federal Aviation Administration on commissioning of the runway.
- South Air Traffic Control Tower – The new tower opened in 2015 to support Runway 10R/28L. As part of this project, a new lease was negotiated with the Federal Aviation Administration for the facility as well as design and construction projects for the facility.
- Runway 10C/28C – This runway opened in 2013 and required the relocation and lease amendments for two cargo facilities, relocation of a railroad, relocation of a cemetery, land acquisition, relocation of a detention basin, negotiation and award of design and construction contracts as well as coordination with the Federal Aviation Administration and other stakeholders on commissioning of the runway.
- Capital Program
- Negotiation of lease and license for the Terminal 5 concession program resulting in a $26 million makeover of the international terminal at O’Hare Airport.
- Negotiation of one of the largest airside cargo developments in North America resulting in a $300 million development, significantly enhancing the cargo capability of the airport.
- Negotiation of leases and licenses with all car rental companies for use of the Consolidated Car Rental Facility.
- Negotiation, management and oversight of $400 million Construction Manager at Risk agreement for the Consolidated Car Rental Facility.
- Negotiation, management and oversight of $310 million Design/Build contract for “People Mover” modernization.
- Planning, negotiation, award and management of Terminal 5 expansion design project.
- Procurement, award and management of design and construction contracts for Runway 31C overlay project at Midway Airport.
- Secured funding, negotiated and awarded contracts as well as managed the modernization of O’Hare Airport’s Heating/Cooling facilities.
Memberships, Civic and Charitable
- Chicago Bar Association
- Navy Pier Associate Board - Co-Chair for the Fundraising Committee
- Served on Board of Directors of Meals on Wheels Chicago
- Airports Council International - Served as Member of the Legal Steering Group and Legal Affairs Committee
- Volunteer at Northwestern Memorial Hospital
- 2013 Top 40 Under 40 – Airport Magazine
- J.D., Chicago Kent College of Law – 2004
- B.A., University of Illinois Urbana Champaign - 2001