Richard J. Dailey Friend of Softball Award
A native of Chicago, Terry O’Brien grew up
playing softball for many teams, including the
Scorpions and Muskrats from 1972 to 1988 in
leagues and tournaments at parks throughout
Chicago and the suburbs, including Clarendon,
Wells, Mather, and Pottawatomie in Chicago,
James in Evanston, Majewski in Mt. Prospect and
at Forest Park.
As president of the Metropolitan Water
Reclamation District of Greater Chicago and
chairman of its Real Estate Committee, Terry has
truly been a friend of softball in a variety of
ways. He granted leases for softball fields to park districts throughout Cook County; he helped
establish Majewski Park, home of many softball
championships, and recently negotiated the
transfer of Thillens Stadium, the jewel of amateur baseball and softball, to the Chicago Park District so that it will remain a Chicago icon.
He graduated from John Carroll University in
Cleveland, Ohio in 1978 and has worked in the
environmental field with various consulting firms
for twenty-seven years, most recently with K-Plus
Environmental in Chicago. He was elected to a
six-year term as commissioner of the Chicago
Water Reclamation District in November of 1988,
the third generation of his family to work for the MWRDGC. He was re-elected in 1994 and 2000.
He currently serves as president of the Board of
Commissioners and as chairman of the Judiciary
and Real Estate Development Committees. Because of O’Brien’s guidance and extensive knowledge of the environmental field, the MWRDGC has been able to deliver streamlined services to the citizens of Chicago and Cook County at the least possible cost to taxpayers. In fact, it is one of the few governmental agencies in Illinois to have an AAA bond rating. Under his direction it has targeted pollution in Lake Michigan and local waterways and has funded the Tunnel and Reservoir Plan (TARP), a program started in 1985 that prevents polluted sewer water from mixing with the drinking water supply in Lake Michigan. Since its inception it has treated over 800 billion gallons of water that would have been discharged into Lake Michigan. The system’s final tunnel is under construction and is scheduled for completion early next year. In 2004 a flood bill was passed largely due to seven years of effort by O’Brien. This bill gives
the MWRDGC the responsibility for dealing with
flooding issues in the many Chicago communities
that do not have the expertise to deal with local
flooding problems. He has also established a tollfree number for citizens to report illegal dumping into sewers and waterways.
He is a member of numerous professional,
trade and community organizations. He and his
wife, Julie, live in the Edgebrook neighborhood of Chicago. They have three children, Kevin,
Therese and Patrick.