Lori Bush

MUPP 2004

World Business Chicago

Director of Economic Development


Can you describe your work and how your planning degree contributes to it?


I work for Chicago’s public-private non-profit economic development agency, World Business Chicago. My focus is on business attraction and retention, and I’m working with companies across all industries to bring jobs to Chicago. I collaborate with the City, County, and State to put Chicago’s best foot forward when we’re competing with other locations for a project -- whether it’s a corporate HQ, manufacturing plant, a growing tech company, a brewery, a film studio, and everything in between! I rely on my MUPP degree and economic development specialization every single day. This degree has provided a basis for knowledge and understanding of regional economies while I put together comprehensive comparative analyses and business pitches based on a particular company’s industry, outlining our economic strengths across a variety of metrics.


What do you like most about your current job or related work in planning?


I love the fact that every day is different and I’m working across such a variety of industries.  I may be walking a south side industrial site in the morning with a manufacturing prospect, and then in the afternoon meeting with a tech company CEO as we walk past ping pong tables talking about expansion plans.  Chicago has so many strengths and I love to make the business case and show off how great our city is, particularly to companies or executives that may not be as familiar.  Each project may require a different set of planning skills ranging from zoning and land use to incentives to economic/industry analyses to community development. 


What advice do you wish you had gotten as a MUPP or, conversely, what advice would you give to young planners today?


I found it very helpful to begin my planning career working for a few years in the public sector.  While I was with the Chicago Department of Planning and Development, I gained a great and comprehensive understanding of all of the legislative processes for zoning and planned developments, landmarks, the community development commission and much more.  I had an opportunity to work closely with stakeholders on all sides of a proposed project:  community groups, elected officials, sister agencies and more.  It’s a great way to learn the nuts and bolts of the profession, who the actual stakeholders are, and how to actually get things done.  



UIC Urban Planning and Policy Student Association, 2018