Matthew Beaudet becomes Chicago’s first Native American DOB Commissioner

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Matthew Beaudet
Matthew Beaudet

Matthew W. Beaudet has been appointed as Commissioner of the Chicago’s Department of Buildings (DOB). He will become the city’s first Native American to serve in the position, Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot’s office says in a statement.

Beaudet had served as Acting Commissioner for the department following former commissioner Judy Frydland’s retirement.

As part of the July 31 announcements, the Mayor has also appointed Marlene Hopkins as DOB’s First Deputy Commissioner.

“Matthew W. Beaudet and Marlene Hopkins bring decades of experience, leadership and vision towards ensuring Chicago’s buildings, homes and workspaces remain the safest in the nation through increased accountability, sustainability and more cost-effective construction,” said Lightfoot. “This city was built on world-renowned architecture and urban design, and through these historic appointments, we are truly building on that legacy and laying the bricks for a foundation of new business, investment and development in every neighborhood.”

Since 2011, Beaudet has served as DOB’s First Deputy Commissioner, managing the day-to-day operations of the nation’s third-largest local buildings department. In this role, Beaudet has modernized the city’s building code and led a number of process innovations over the years to increase productivity and accountability at every level of the department, the statement says.

As first deputy, Beaudet has overseen some of Chicago’s largest projects, including the $251 million construction of the Malcolm X College campus. He also streamlined the permit and inspection process for Chicago’s smallest businesses, effectively reducing the overall time to obtain commercial and residential building permits by 25 percent. In addition to his work at DOB, Beaudet has served in a wide range of leadership roles in state and local government over the past 20 years, including First Deputy Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health and Assistant Director of the Illinois Department of Central Management Services.

Outside of his roles in city government, Beaudet serves as the legal counsel and on the Council of Elders for the Montaukett Tribe of Indians in Long Island, New York, providing pro bono counsel to his tribe on legal and governance matters since 2001. He also volunteers at Chicago Public Schools and serves on the Lane Tech Local School Council.

“I am deeply honored to be appointed by Mayor Lightfoot to lead this city’s buildings department and join this collective effort to help build a stronger Chicago for all neighborhoods,” Beaudet said in a statement. “Over the past several years, this Department has prided itself not only in our efforts to make it more cost-effective to build in Chicago and easier for neighborhood businesses, big and small, to obtain building permits but also ensuring we adhere to the highest level of safety standards and protections, and we look forward to doing more.”

Serving as DOB’s Managing Deputy Commissioner since 2007, Hopkins has been responsible for managing and directing Mayoral Initiatives and projects initiated by the Commissioner. From ensuring buildings provided heat during Chicago’s 2019 polar vortex to working with the Chicago Police Department (CPD) to remove dangerous and vacant buildings from communities across the city, Hopkins has dedicated her career to building safer and stronger neighborhoods. She has more than 22 years of experience.

“Since day one, our efforts have been focused on ensuring all buildings in this city, but especially those in underinvested neighborhoods and those with vulnerable populations, are adhering to our safety guidelines so Chicagoans can stay safe at home,” Hopkins said in the news release. “For more than a decade, I’ve been proud to not only call the Department of Buildings my home but also be a part of a team of colleagues that has helped create a safer Chicago. It’s an absolute privilege to continue these efforts as the First Deputy of the Department and I want to extend my appreciation to Mayor Lightfoot for this opportunity.”

As DOB’s Managing Deputy Commissioner, Hopkins led collaborative partnerships with not only CPD but several departments and agencies across the city. Working with the Office of Emergency Management and Communications, Chicago Fire Department, and Department of Family and Support Service in an all-hands-on-deck effort to prevent emergencies in Chicago’s communities, Hopkins worked to ensure buildings adhered to the fire safety guidelines, and vulnerable populations across the city had safe shelter during the winter months. Additionally, Hopkins managed the department’s annual operating and maintenance budget over the past several years.

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