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CHICAGO (July 2014) – The former Metropolis Strategies transportation team of James C. LaBelle, a senior transportation and governmental affairs expert, and Sheena F. Frève, an experienced research and policy analyst, will join the staff at the Urban Transportation Center (UTC), a nationally-recognized research unit within the College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Their appointment starts in mid-August.
They will supplement the existing 16-person UTC research staff, which has extensive experience in transit and freight planning, operations and management, transportation funding and financing and data development used to plan transportation systems.
Metropolis Strategies, a Chicago-based research and study organization founded by the Commercial Club of Chicago in 1999 to bolster the metropolitan area's economic competitiveness, ceased operations in May of 2014.
"The addition of Jim LaBelle and Sheena Frève will certainly provide the Urban Transportation Center with two very skilled and knowledgeable researchers who will augment the outstanding group of professionals already on staff," said Steve Schlickman, UTC Executive Director. "Together, they've worked on many significant public policy initiatives and planning studies that have helped shape the transportation landscape in metropolitan Chicago and throughout Illinois."
LaBelle most recently held the position of Vice President at Metropolis Strategies, where he worked from the organization's inception through this year. Highlights of his career include being a co-author and driving force behind the creation of the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP), a state agency charged with planning for land use and transportation in the seven counties of northeastern Illinois. He also was project director and principal author behind several key transportation studies.
Prior to joining Metropolis Strategies, LaBelle held top management positions with governmental agencies, including serving as Lake County Board Chairman from 1984-1987 and from 1989-2000, President of the Lake County Forest Preserve District from 1994-1996 and General Manager of the North Point Marina from 1989-1997. He has served on numerous governmental boards, including the Metra commuter rail system and the Lake County Transportation Alliance.
LaBelle holds a Master's degree in Public Administration and a Bachelor's degree in political science, both from Northern Illinois University. He resides in north suburban Zion, Illinois.
Frève held the position of Program Manager at Metropolis Strategies. In that role she provided staff support for the Northeastern Illinois Public Transit Task Force and was a co-author of a comprehensive report assessing ways to improve transportation systems in Illinois. Another key accomplishment was drafting House Bill 1761, passed by the General Assembly in 2011; this law required Illinois to prepare a statewide freight mobility plan.
Prior to Metropolis Strategies, Frève was a research associate at the Boston Municipal Research Bureau, where key duties included drafting reports regarding financial status and management policies for the city. She holds a Master's degree in Public Administration from Northeastern University and a Bachelor's degree in English from Gordon College. Frève resides in Oak Park, Illinois.
The Urban Transportation Center at UIC is dedicated to conducting research and education and providing technical assistance on urban transportation planning, policy, operations, finance and management. The UTC is part of the College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs, a nationally-recognized innovator in education, research, and engagement in support of the nation's cities and metropolitan areas. Founded in 1979, the UTC celebrates its 35th anniversary in 2014.