Arnold L. Randall is the General Superintendent of the Forest Preserves of Cook County and is responsible for the day-to-day management of the nation’s oldest and largest forest preserve system. He was appointed to this position by Forest Preserves Board President Toni Preckwinkle in December 2010.
Key highlights of his tenure include an increased focus on restoring and protecting Cook County’s most precious natural areas; the development and execution of strategic plans, including camping, recreation, trails and habitat restoration; the launch of a multi-year Centennial celebration to bring new and diverse audiences to the Preserves; and expanding the Preserves’ important role in the scientific and academic communities.
Under Mr. Randall, the Forest Preserves have also made tremendous strides in becoming a more transparent and effective government agency. In 2011, the Preserves completed a comprehensive operational audit and continues to implement key recommendations. In 2013, the Forest Preserves became only the second local government agency to be released from the Shakman Decree, a finding that verified that political consideration plays no role in employment decisions.
In 2014, the Preserves launched its award-winning Next Century Conservation Plan, an ambitious framework to ensure the agency will be a national conservation leader in its second century. Implementation of the plan is already underway, including the creation of the Natural and Cultural Resources Master Plan and the appointment of an independent Conservation and Policy Council.
Mr. Randall previously served as Director of the Office of Civic Engagement at the University of Chicago, where he planned and coordinated major public projects undertaken by the University, working as a liaison between the University and the City, neighbors, and other concerned parties. He led the Chicago 2016 Olympic Bid Committee's neighborhood legacy team and previously worked as Commissioner of the City of Chicago's Department of Planning and Development, directing efforts to promote economic development and create jobs in the city.
Mr. Randall also served in a number of roles with the Chicago Park District between 1995 and 2007, including Director of Legislative and Community Affairs, Director of Planning and Development and Lakefront Area and South East Region Manager.
Mr. Randall holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of Illinois at Chicago and attended the University of Chicago's School of Social Service Administration.
Mr. Randall is active in numerous civic and professional organizations, and currently serves as the chairman of Chicago Wilderness, a regional alliance of more than 300 conservation organizations. Other affiliations have included the Chicago Community Development Commission (chair), The Chicago Plan Commission, Commission on Chicago Landmarks, the Public Buildings Commission, the Delta Institute Board, the Woodlawn Children's Promise Community, Woodlawn New Communities Program (NCP), American City Planning Directors' Council, American Planning Association, Illinois Parks and Recreation Association (IPRA), the National Recreation and Parks Association (NRPA), the South East Chicago Commission (SECC) Executive Committee, the Harper Court Foundation Board, and the 53rd Street TIF Advisory Board. [August 2015]