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International Conference on Asphalt and Traffic


The Heartland Sustainability Award

This award honors exceptional individuals for extraordinary leadership and original work in developing, employing, and supporting the principles of sustainability.  The recipient would have created mechanisms to embrace social equity, economic development, environmental health, and green practices. Further, the recipient would have instilled a culture of sustainable developments within an organization and/or community. The Heartland Sustainability Award is presented in April at the annual Innovations Conference on Asphalt and Transportation.


2014 Sustainability Award Recipient

Ann L. Schneider

Secretary, Illinois Department of Transportation

The 2014 Heartland Sustainability Award committee has selected Secretary Ann Schneider for this prestigious honor. Needless to say through her countless efforts, hard work and dedication to social and environmental sustainability, she has earned this recognition.  This award will be presented on April 8, 2014 at the annual Innovations Conference on Asphalt and Transportation.   


Secretary Ann L. Schneider was appointed Secretary of the Illinois Department of Transportation by Governor Pat Quinn on October 24, 2011.  As Secretary, she oversees a work force of more than 5,200 employees and over $2.5 billion in capital projects. Secretary Schneider made history by officially becoming the first woman to lead the Illinois Department of Transportation. Secretary Schneider is responsible for coordination with federal, state and local elected officials, agency directors, industry associations, and adjacent state DOTs. She serves as Chief Executive Officer for IDOT and oversees an annual budget of approximately $5 billion.


Secretary Schneider was responsible for the most aggressive minority recruitment effort ever undertaken by IDOT. Under her leadership, diversity initiatives including the Engineer Technician Training Program and the Highway Construction Careers Training Program have thrived. She has been actively engaged in activities sponsored by the Peoria Sustainability Commission to promote social equity.    She participated in the 2010 Peoria Unity Luncheon program in the areas of education and youth opportunities, building business capacity, and building trades.  She continues to make key presentations at the Peoria Sustainability Commission and in university classrooms, directly impacting a diverse range of people.  Secretary Schneider has made significant contributions to the ICAT and Executive Summit programs in 2012 and in 2013. She worked with Dr. Amir Al-Khafaji to address statewide issues relating to contractors and minority business owners by hosting two events: the Prime Contractors Meeting and Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBE) Meeting.  She promotes the quality of DBE organizations and provides support to DBEs through her staff and directory boards at IDOT.  For the past three years, Secretary Schneider has spoken to minority students at the ICAT to educate and inspire them on engineering as a profession, and IDOT opportunities. 

Secretary Schneider has helped the Illinois Department of Transportation maintain its position as a leader in sustainability programs. Under her leadership, IDOT earned a 2013 Honorable Mention Governor’s Sustainability Award for commitment to environmental excellence through outstanding and innovative sustainability practices.   Earlier this year, she announced that IDOT had begun a three-year partnership with the Illinois Center for Transportation to fund the Illinois Sustainability Transportation Program. This expands on IDOT’s long-term commitment to sustainable practices, carrying out research and implementation of green technologies in agency daily operations. IDOT has also entered an Inter-Agency Agreement with the University of Illinois to study the feasibility of planting and utilizing switchgrass in IDOT’s right-of-ways.  This initiative could implement productive use of land that is either mowed or is now unproductive, provide fuel self-sufficiency to a state agency, and reduce dependency on foreign oil.


Secretary Schneider is a terrific ambassador for the Illinois Department of Transportation and through her “On the Move” video series she has helped convey numerous key IDOT messages and initiatives to the general public in a way they have not seen before.