While we’re thinking about big Thanksgiving meals, few folks in Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s administration have more on their plates than Samir Mayekar, deputy mayor for economic and neighborhood development, a.k.a. the mayor’s business guy. He’s a Day One Lightfooter who came from the tech world, running a Bronzeville-based lithium battery materials startup called NanoGraf. Now he’s the go-to in the administration on a series of key agenda items: the Chicago casino, the city’s post-COVID recovery, development programs like Invest South West, and keeping a watchful eye on the city’s growth sectors like film, life sciences, and food innovation. It’s a lot to juggle, made all the more difficult during a pandemic that has at times made the Loop a shadow of what it once was, hobbled tourism and transit, and contributed to an increase in crime levels the city hasn’t seen since the 90s. A.D. Quig talked to Mayekar about all of that, plus the Bears’ future in Chicago, Mayekar’s recent time on paternity leave, and a “lasagna” of programs to help struggling Loop buildings find new life.