Mayor appoints first-ever chief resilience officer

Aaron Koch was named Chicago's first chief resilience officer (CRO) , a position funded by a Rockefeller Foundation grant to help communities be more resilient. (Patrick Pyszka/City of Chicago)

Aaron Koch, a city water department official who developed the Chicago Green Stormwater Strategy, has been appointed the city's first-ever chief resilience officer, Mayor Rahm Emanuel's office announced Monday.

He will address emergency preparedness, public safety and community development in collaboration with departments and agencies across the city. Koch will work to ensure the city can respond to and recover from shocks, such as flooding or blizzards.

The new position is part of the city's partnership with 100 Resilient Cities, a Rockefeller Foundation initiative to help communities plan for and be more resilient to social, economic and physical challenges.

Additionally, Koch will be connected to a network of other Chief Resilience Officers from cities around the world to collaborate, share best practices and contribute to building the field of resilience.

"I am honored by this appointment as Chicago's first Chief Resilience Officer," said Koch in a statement. "I look forward to working with stakeholders across Chicago to prepare for the stresses, shocks and natural hazards that we face now and into the future."

Koch has worked as a deputy commissioner in the City's Department of Water Management since 2012. He developed and implemented the Chicago Green Stormwater Strategy, Mayor Emanuel's $50 million plan to use natural systems to better manage rainfall and reduce flooding risk. He previously served as a Senior Policy Advisor to Mayor Michael Bloomberg in New York City's Mayor's Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability. Koch holds a bachelor's degree in architecture and a master's degree in city planning.
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