Mission of ChicagoFIRST

The Unique Vision of ChicagoFIRST

  • ChicagoFIRST is an investment in collaborative planning with other critical firms and with the public sector before a crisis strikes.
  • Unprecedented working relationships with public safety officials at the local, state, and federal level, with institutionalized information sharing protocols before, during, and after an emergency or major event.
  • No other organization combines local preparedness with a national network to enhance regional resilience.  This is the unique vision of ChicagoFIRST.

Members

  • ChicagoFIRST’s current membership consists of 30 critical infrastructure and key resource firms in the Chicago area and 27 strategic partners from the public and private sectors.

Meetings and Planning

  • Working groups on business continuity, cyber security, physical security, and regulatory issues meet regularly.
  • All members and our public sector partners meet quarterly. 
  • Special purpose task forces are assembled for threats and events as needed.

The Business Case for Membership

  • We provide workshops and tabletop exercises regularly to the membership, often in conjunction with the public sector. Similar efforts typically cost an individual firm up to $40,000, and would not include public sector players that are vital to an effective response.
  • ChicagoFIRST can conduct exercises for individual members at a rate substantially below those of outside consultants.
  • Our members are equipped to inform their boards of directors and regulators how other critical firms are addressing issues surrounding preparedness, security, and business continuity.
  • ChicagoFIRST either chairs or serves on the executive committee of important resilience and security partnerships at the national, state, and local levels.
  • ChicagoFIRST co-chairs the Chicago Public/Private Task Force with the City, which has developed a credentialing plan and is developing downtown evacuation awareness materials.
  • Our emergency operations plan can be incorporated into member plans as a key component of a firm’s response to and recovery from an event.
  • Some members rely on ChicagoFIRST staff to such an extent that it saves them the cost of hiring an employee to perform these types of activities.

Membership Dues

  • ChicagoFIRST funds itself with membership dues, which gives members complete control over its direction and activities. Annual dues are $18,500 and have not changed since 2004. New members may join at a $10,000 introductory level.
  • Dues fund two full-time professional staff members.
  • Our Executive Director has over 25 years of financial services, technology, business continuity and public sector experience, and our Deputy Director has over 20 years of security, life safety and association management experience.
  • Organizations costing little or nothing to join cannot perform as effectively as one with professional staff focused on resilience and security and available on a 24×7 basis.

Our Services

Worpress

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Web Design

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Ecommerce

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Our Team

Michael Carano

(Executive Director)

Michael Carano, Executive Director, ChicagoFIRST Mr. Michael Carano is the Executive Director of ChicagoFIRST, a non-profit association of mid-western private sector firms that coordinates critical…

Testimonials

  • ChicagoFIRST has truly made a positive difference to the collective emergency preparedness and business continuity of Chicago’s financial community.  It has become a model for many other cities throughout the country.  We are especially grateful that the City of Chicago has an impressive reputation for working together with its business community, the State of Illinois and federal government agencies, and other key organizations through the ChicagoFIRST partnership structure.  This approach is extremely effective and helpful in supporting the broader Federal Reserve objective of maintaining a stable financial system.

    Gordon Werkema, First Vice President & Chief Operating Officer, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago
  • ChicagoFIRST is a dynamic, cutting edge organization and a model for how regional public/private partnerships can enhance the resiliency of financial institutions. ChicagoFIRST was founded because of the foresight of the Chicago financial services community, and it succeeds because of the cooperation and encouragement of the public sector, especially the City of Chicago and State of Illinois.

    Rahm Emanuel, 5th Congressional District (D-IL)
  • The timely and accurate information streams that I receive through ChicagoFIRST more than justify membership. When the airplane landed in the Hudson River in New York City in January 2009, I learned about it before my colleagues in New York did.

    Michael Wallace, Vice President, BMO Harris Bank

Key Strategic Partners