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International Conference on Asphalt and Traffic

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Honorary Chairs


The Honorable Don Harmon, Illinois Senate President

Senator Harmon has promoted a progressive agenda in Springfield, one based on his profound commitment to social justice and public service. In recent legislative session, Senator Harmon supported historic school funding reform that overhauled Illinois' worst-in-the-nation school funding formula, replacing it with one of the most progressive systems in the country. He also worked tirelessly to bring an end to the state's two-year budget standoff, finally bringing relief in the form of a responsible, balanced budget. After working for 15 years on the issue, Senator Harmon also advanced a landmark measure allowing Illinois to license gun dealers. Senator Harmon has also promoted alternative energy sources, passing a plan that will direct the state to invest $30 million in solar energy and a plan that clears the way for $2.2 billion investment in wind energy.


The Honorable Toni Preckwinkle, Board President, Cook County

President Preckwinkle has been a dedicated leader for over two decades. She has worked with the Board of Commissioners, elected officials and County employees to implement major reform and reshape County government through fiscal responsibility, innovative leadership, transparency and accountability, and improved services. Since taking office in 2010, President Preckwinkle has rebuilt the credibility of County government, solving for more than $1.6 billion in budget deficits. She established the County’s first performance management initiative to demand more accountability from County operations and employees. President Preckwinkle has a broad policy agenda focusing on critical public safety reform, strengthening the County’s health care system, and increasing the capacity and capability of economic development efforts.


The Honorable Bill Brady, Illinois Senate Republican Leader

Senator Bill Brady was elected by his peers as Senate Republican Leader in August 2017. He has served the 44th District as State Senator since May 2002, and prior to that served as State Representative for the 88th District from 1993 to 2001. He currently serves on the Senate Executive Committee. During his tenure as a legislator, he has worked to increase education accountability and funding, and sponsored reforms of workers’ compensation and medical malpractice laws. He has championed reforms in the state’s insurance and financial industries that became a national model, sponsored laws that promote highway safety through more training for young drivers, and led the way in efforts to restore integrity to state government, ensuring the best use of taxpayers’ dollars. He graduated from Central Catholic High School & Illinois Wesleyan University.


Mitch Simpler, National Chairman, American Council of Engineering Companies

Mitchel Simpler is the Chair of ACEC through 2020. He joined JB&B, one of New York’s premier consulting engineering firms, in 1977 and currently serves as Partner, after having served as Managing Partner from 2012 - 2018. Mr. Simpler’s projects include 1 and 5 Times Square, the New York Genome Center and the Rohm & Haas Research Center in Shanghai, China. He has also managed the construction of landmark museums and visual art spaces such as the Brooklyn Museum, Metropolitan Museum of Art, as well as the TWA Hotel, the reimagination of Eero Saarinen’s landmark TWA terminal at JFK Airport. Mr. Simpler holds a B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering from Lehigh University. He is a licensed PE in New York State and a Fellow of the American Council of Engineering Companies, currently serving as Chair on the ACEC Executive Committee.


The Honorable Jehan Gordon-Booth, Deputy Majority Leader, Illinois House of Representatives

Representative Jehan Gordon-Booth is a community activist, mother and full-time legislator serving the people of Illinois’ 92nd district. She is a proud daughter of Peoria and the first African-American woman ever to be elected to represent the central region of the state in the Illinois General Assembly. In January of 2015, she became, again the first African-American woman from Central Illinois to serve the state as Assistant Majority Leader of the House Democratic Party. Rep. Among her colleagues Rep. Gordon Booth is regarded as kind, level-headed, and they even dare say “bipartisan.” Before she ever served in the House, Rep. Gordon-Booth lived out her platform of making quality education real and accessible through her work. After graduating from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, she served as one of District 69's youngest school board members.


Frédéric Istas, Vice President Earthmoving Division, Caterpillar Inc.

Frédéric Istas has worldwide design, manufacturing and support responsibility for Medium Tractor Products, Motor Graders, Medium Wheel Loaders, Paving Products and SEM branded product lines. Istas joined Caterpillar in 1996 from Cargill (UK) and worked as service engineer in Gosselies, Belgium, before moving to Amsterdam to cover Northern Europe as a Parts and Service Sales Rep. He held various position at Caterpillar over his career and in June 2017, he was named Vice President of the Earthmoving Division. Istas was born and raised in Antwerp, Belgium. He studied electro mechanics in Ghent, Belgium. He completed his Belgium national service obligations as Lieutenant in Arlon, Belgium and Siegen in Germany. He is a Graduate of the Caterpillar Duke University Executive Development Program, Digging Deep.