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International Conference on Asphalt and Traffic

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Honorary Chairs


The Honorable Raymond H. "Ray" LaHood, FMR US Secretary of Transportation

The Honorable LaHood served as United States Secretary of Transportation from 2009 until 2013 and was the Guest of Honor at the ICAT 2010 through 2013 while he served as a US secretary. LaHood served on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee from 1995 to 2000. As a member of the House Appropriations Committee, he won praise for his "skills as an arbiter" in being able to bridge sometimes bitter partisan divides in the Congress, something the position would require. A Republican from Illinois, LaHood represented Illinois's 18th congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995 to 2009. In 2015, LaHood's book, Seeking Bipartisanship: My Life in Politics, coauthored with Frank H. Mackaman of The Dirksen Congressional Center, was published by Cambria Press. In 2013 he joined DLA Piper, a global law firm operating through various separate and distinct legal entities. LaHood was named a Lincoln Laureate in 2016 in the area of Government & Law. The new international terminal, with full U.S. Customs, TSA, and Port of Entry services, at the General Wayne A. Downing Peoria International Airport, was named for him in April 2016. 


Simon Shaer, President, Cedar Hills Construction & Development Co., Lebanon

Mr. Shaer is a major developer and manages the largest metal recycling company in Saudi Arabia, CBC International. He is the President of Cedar Hills Construction and Development Company, and owns and operates business in Egypt, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia.  Mr. Shaer earned a BS degree from Oregon State University, a Business Management degree and a diploma in Gemology from the Gemological Institute of America in Santa Monica, California.  In 1982, he established a recycling metal company, CBC Metal International, in Jeddah Saudi Arabia.  He formed CBC International Development and Construction Co. in Beirut, Lebanon in 1990 and has developed many high rise residential and commercial buildings. This company is one of the leading companies in Lebanon in the development and construction business. 


Robert Schillerstrom, Chairman, Illinois Tollway Board

Mr. Schillerstrom is a partner in Ice Miller's Public Affairs Group. He has more than 30 years of experience counseling clients on matters relating to local and state governments, including community relations, public affairs and strategic public policy development, as well as real estate tax appeals issues and zoning related matters. He previously served three terms as chairman of the DuPage County Board. He earned a reputation for reducing property taxes, lowering county property taxes nine out of 12 years and consistently doing more for DuPage County taxpayers with less money. Mr. Schillerstrom has been active in DuPage County politics for three decades. He earned his bachelor's degree at Illinois College and his law degree at Chicago-Kent College of Law.


Ahmad Fakhro, Chairman and CEO, IF&S Enterprises, Qatar

Mr. Fakhro worked for the Ministry of Public Works in Qatar for 23 years and managed the construction of many building projects in the civil and military fields including schools, universities, health centers, sports facilities, police centers, hospitals, airforce bases, and land/sea military bases. As the Head of Building division and Director of Building Engineering Department, he was involved in the hospitality industry for 15 years as Deputy Chairman of the Board and Managing Director of Qatar National Hotels Company.  The Katara Hospitality which is a government owned company in charge of financing, building and operating major government owned hotels such as the Sheraton, Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, Doha Gulf Course and many other tourist facilities and resorts. He was a member of Youth Welfare Supreme Council for 6 years under the presidency of H.H. Shiekh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, the last Amir of Qatar. It was the main government body in charge of planning, overseeing and financing all Sports and youth activities including the Qatar Olympic Committee which is hosting the 2022 World Soccer Cup.


Mike Acott, President, National Asphalt Pavement Association (NAPA)

Mr. Mike Acott is the President of NAPA, the national trade association for hot-mix asphalt (HMA) producers and paving contractors. Mike has helped launch national initiatives on perpetual pavements, stone matrix asphalt, large stone mixtures, field management, and rubblizing and helped create the strategic partnership between NAPA, the Asphalt Institute, and the State Asphalt Pavement Associations known as the Asphalt Pavement Alliance. Mike has encouraged proactive strategies that included initiatives on engineering controls for pavers, odor and emission reductions, Diamond Achievement Commendation for plants/sites, warm mix, and the development of best practice guidelines.


The Honorable Fakheri Rashan, FMR Minister of Commerce, Iraq

Dr. Rashan had a distinguished career in the Government of Iraq, and has undertaken overseas assignments on multilateral and bilateral trade and economic missions and negotiations. Under Paul Bremer, former head of the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq, Dr. Rashan was the minister of trades. He dealt with major policy issues, giving particular consideration to the future of the public distribution system in Iraq. He was also a team leader for restructuring the ministry of trades from its previous function, under a centrally controlled system, to one led by market forces. Dr. Rashan has played a significant role on cross-government issues and initiatives, including leading the first Iraqi and Coalition Provisional Authority delegation to negotiate Iraq's access to the World Trade Organization, where he interacted and negotiated on this issue with all members of United Nations Security Council. Dr. Rashan has a comprehensive understanding of international commercial practices and contractual skills. He has led and participated in concluding major contracts on strategic development projects with business and government leaders throughout the Middle East.