About American Anchor
There is no one hero in the story of the Great Lakes. The economic prosperity of the region is due to the efficient and symbiotic connection of The Saint Lawrence Seaway, Great Lakes ports, foreign and domestic vessels, manufacturers, companies, the employees that work there, and their relationship to their local communities. This supply chain is a foundation of our country’s economy. The backbone of our society. It is America’s Anchor.
About the Illinois International Port District
Established in 1951 by the Illinois General Assembly, the Illinois International Port District, operating under the By-Laws approved by the Port District Board, is committed to expanding the economy, creating jobs, upholding a community relationship and being environmentally responsible while maintaining the Port District’s status as a leader in the maritime industry.
Clayton Harris III is the Executive Director for the Illinois International Port District at the Port of Chicago. In his role, Clayton and the Illinois International Port District are committed to developing and maintaining a world-class port that operates as a modern, strategically driven facility and is focused on generating and expanding economic activity and employment for the benefit of the City of Chicago and State of Illinois.
Clayton was formerly the Director of Government Affairs for the Midwest United States with CH2M HILL, a global engineering design/build consulting firm with over 26,000 employees and on every continent.
After earning his Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Technology and while working at the Pentagon in Combat Systems Engineering in the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization Clayton decided to attend law school full time while continuing to work full time. As Clayton progressed he was able to transition work to the Federal Aviation Administration as an intern and then to the United States Department of Agriculture as an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Specialist. Once he graduated from Howard University’s School of Law he moved to Chicago to become a Cook County Assistant States’ Attorney.
Subsequent to ascending from Appeals, through traffic and narcotics to Special Prosecutions, Clayton was tapped by Mayor Richard M. Daley to help work his legislative agenda in Springfield. There, aptly so, he focused on crime, environment and labor.
Having worked at the Capitol ultimately the state of Illinois called and, as the saying goes, “it doesn’t take a rocket scientist” to get something done, they asked, “but what if you had one at your disposal?” That’s exactly what the State of Illinois asked in 2006 when it tapped Clayton as chief of staff for the Illinois Department of Transportation. Clayton’s previous experience at the Chicago Department of Transportation and in aerospace at ARPA was the right combination for IDOT, which was in need of a visionary leader who understood Earthly transportation issues yet had the stellar ideas to manage the complexities of this particular state agency. Also, his quick understanding of the Chicago landscape both physically and politically proved that it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to lead the billion-dollar reconstruction of the Dan Ryan Expressway, but if you are one, the job is a whole lot easier!
Based on this success Clayton was once again wooed to come work in a larger capacity, this time the Governor’s office called and placed him over all state infrastructure as the Deputy Chief of Staff where he oversaw and managed every capital agency in the state. While working in this capacity, Clayton stepped up during the state’s most dire time and ultimately Clayton assumed the role and responsibilities as Chief of Staff for the entire state of Illinois and for fifty-one kept the state afloat until the next Governor was transitioned into office.
In addition to the work that Clayton engages in professionally, academically he enjoys lecturing at the University of Chicago which he has done for the past seven years, where he teaches Process and Policy in State and local government specifically focusing on Illinois and Chicago in the school of Public Policy.
Clayton serves his community through the national and historic Omega Psi Phi, fraternity, Inc., where he has held the office of Chapter counselor and Vice Basileus, the same fraternity that his father and grandfather both were and are distinguished members. In addition to this love he also is a board member with Childserv.
Clayton resides on the Southside of Chicago with his loving and beautiful wife Trena, where they are devoted parents to their incredible two sons.