Laurence Msall is the President of the Civic Federation. Msall joined the 120-year-old tax policy and government research organization in January of 2002. The Civic Federation is an independent, non-partisan government research organization founded in 1894 whose membership includes business and professional leaders from a wide range of Chicago area corporations, professional service firms and institutions. The Civic Federation seeks to assist public policy opinion leaders in the Chicago area and to advance issues such as property tax reform, tax simplification, privatization, and joint purchasing with the objective of improving governmental efficiency and financial accountability.
Before joining the Civic Federation, Msall was the Senior Advisor for Economic Development for Illinois Governor George H. Ryan. Msall was responsible for the oversight of eleven of the state’s economic development and infrastructure-related agencies including the Departments of Commerce and Community Affairs, Revenue, Transportation, and the state’s housing and other development authorities. Appointed as Senior Advisor in February 1999, Msall worked closely with the Governor and his staff on issues related to business climate, tax and transportation policy.
Before joining the Governor’s staff in 1999, Msall served as the Vice President of the Commercial Club of Chicago, a non-profit group of Chicago’s senior business and civic leaders. The Commercial Club seeks to improve and promote the social and economic vitality of the Chicago metropolitan area through a wide range of programs and activities. First organized in 1877, the Commercial Club is most well-known for its work organizing and implementing Daniel Burnham’s Plan of Chicago. In addition to his work with the Commercial Club, Laurence Msall served as Secretary to the Commercial Club Foundation and Vice President of the Civic Committee. He has worked with the CEOs of some of Chicago’s largest corporations and service firms promoting regional economic development strategies related to airport capacity, urban redevelopment, and special projects including the Chicago Bears stadium, technology development, and the reorganization of the United Way of Chicago.
Prior to joining the Commercial Club staff in 1990, Msall served as Assistant to the Director of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Community Affairs with primary responsibility for policy development. From 1984-1988, Laurence Msall represented the Department and Governor Jim Thompson’s office on economic development and business issues before the Illinois General Assembly, serving as DCCA’s chief legislative liaison.
Laurence Msall is a licensed attorney and 1992 graduate of Loyola University School of Law, Evening Division, where he was named to the Dean’s List of Distinguished Students in 1990, 1991 and 1992. He was a recipient of the 1992 Loyola Leadership and Service Award. Msall holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois, where he was the 1984 recipient of the Umbeck Prize for the Outstanding Sociology Student. Msall is a 1980 graduate of Saint Ignatius College Preparatory High School in Chicago, Illinois.
Msall is a member of the Board of Directors of the Woods Fund of Chicago, the Chicago Civic Consulting Alliance, the Cook County Health and Hospitals System Nominating Committee and the Kennedy Forum of Illinois. He also serves on the Advisory Board of the University of Illinois Institute of Government and Public Affairs and NPR Illinois Issues. He is an active volunteer with PADS Homeless Shelter and L’arche Chicago and is a member of the Board of Trustees of Knox College.