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International Conference on Asphalt and Traffic

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2017 Executive Summit Guests

By Invitation Only

Invited Guests

The Honorable John J. Cullerton, Senator and Illinois Senate President

On January 14, 2009, State Senator John Cullerton was inaugurated to his first two-year term as President of the Illinois Senate. As a lawmaker, Sen. Cullerton was an early national leader on strengthening child safety laws, passing the state’s Child Passenger Safety Act, and Illinois laws requiring that seatbelts be worn by all front seat passengers. He pushed for increased requirements for young drivers to ensure safer Illinois roads. He worked on the reform bill for the statewide indoor smoking ban to make sure all communities had the ability to ensure compliance. Senator Cullerton has won numerous prestigious awards including: "Buckle Up America Award"; “Highway Safety Hero”, “Legislator of the Year” award and others.

Dr. Amir Al-Khafaji, Founder and Chair

Dr. Amir Al-Khafaji is the Executive Director of the Center for Emerging Technologies in Infrastructure, responsible for the Innovations Conference in Asphalt and Transportation and the International Construction Innovations Conference.  He is the recipient of numerous leadership awards including the 2006 "Man of the Year" Award from the Illinois Asphalt Pavement Association. He is also the only recipient in Bradley’s history of all three University excellence awards in Teaching, Scholarship and Public Service. Dr. Al-Khafaji earned his BSCE and MSCE from Wayne State University, and an MSCE and PhD from Michigan State University.  He serves the Easter Seals, W.D. Boyce Council of the Boy Scouts of America, Muscular Dystrophy Association, A Safe Haven Foundation, and the Illinois State Black Chamber of Commerce.


The Honorable Toni Prekwinkle, Board President, Cook County

Cook County Board President Toni 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 health care system, and increasing the capacity of economic development.


Ed Rapp, Former Group President, Caterpillar Inc.

Mr. Rapp most recently served as Group President for Resource Industries at Caterpillar Inc. from 2014 to 2016. He also served as the Group President of Construction Industries & Growth Markets.  He held a variety of positions during his 36 years at CAT.   He is a Board Member and Vice President of the Swiss/American Chamber of Commerce, as well as a Board Member of the European Excavator Design Center. He is a member of the University of Missouri College of Business Strategic Development Board. Mr. Rapp holds a BA in Finance from the University of Missouri-Columbia and is a graduate of the University of Illinois Executive Development program.

Robert Schillerstrom, Chairman, Illinois Tollway Board

Chairman Bob 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. He has been an active figure 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.


Randy Blankenhorn, Secretary, Illinois Department of Transportation

Randall S. Blankenhorn was appointed Illinois Transportation Secretary by Governor Bruce Rauner. As head of the Illinois Department of Transportation, he leads an agency of 13 offices and divisions that serve the transportation needs of Illinois across multiple modes, in rural, suburban and urban environments. At IDOT, Blankenhorn oversees a $2.8 billion operating budget that supports a work force of 5,200 employees, with annual oversight of more than $3.2 billion in capital projects.  Prior to his appointment, Blankenhorn was the executive director of the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, leading that agency since its inception in 2006. At CMAP, Blankenhorn oversaw transportation, land use, housing, economic development, environmental and other quality-of-life issues in the seven-county region of Northeastern Illinois.


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.


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.

Daniel Gallagher, Vice President, Gallagher Asphalt Corporation

As VP and one of the third generation owners, Mr. Gallagher oversees commercial and industrial sales. Founded in 1928 and now in its third generation of family management, Gallagher Asphalt has paved or resurfaced literally thousands and thousands of miles of pavement, under some of the country’s most challenging conditions. With state-of-the-art, high capacity plants strategically positioned in key suburban locations, Gallagher Asphalt effectively and efficiently services commercial and industrial customers throughout more than 3,000 square miles. They are the recipient of National Asphalt Pavement Association’s Diamond Achievement Commendation for Excellence and Quality Award for Dan Ryan Project.

Dan Meckes, CEO, Crawford, Murphy & Tilly

Mr. Meckes became the 5th president to serve in the firm's history in 2007. Since the firm's beginnings in 1946, CMT has enjoyed steady and healthy growth. Geographic expansion, historically the result of growing and promoting their own, has more recently been complemented by strategic acquisitions of firms that share CMT's values and reputation for integrity. The firm, with its 260 employees located in 9 offices through the Midwest, continues to evolve based on the principles of hard work and steady growth instilled by its founders. CMT and its fourth generation of leadership are positioned to address the opportunities and challenges through a strong strategic vision and continued commitment to its clients.


Sergio "Satch" Pecori , Incoming National Chairman, ACEC

Mr. Pecori is President and CEO of Hanson Professional Services in Illinois. He is active on the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) Planning Cabinet, International Committee and Design Professionals Coalition. He has served previously on the Executive Committee as Senior Vice Chair & Treasurer. As the fourth president and CEO in Hanson’s 62-year history, with more than 40 years of experience in the engineering industry, Mr. Pecori has a wealth of knowledge designing and managing complex projects throughout the U.S. He also is highly regarded in the technical field, serving as an ambassador for the engineering profession in numerous leadership roles. Mr. Pecori received a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and a master’s degree in geotechnical engineering from the University of Illinois.


The Honorable Dr. Amr Salama, Former Egyptian Minister & Chancellor of the American University in Cairo

Dr. Amr Salama is the Chancellor of The American University in Cairo and former Minister of Higher Education, Scientific Research and Technology of Egypt. He was also a former member of the Shura Council and head of its housing committee. Dr. Salama is the Chairman of the Management Engineering Society and the Chairman of the Board of Trustees and the President of the Executive Bureau of 57357 Foundation (Children Cancer Hospital). In addition, Dr. Salama is the Chairman of the Council of Housing and Building of Academy of Scientific Research and Technology. Formerly, Dr. Salama served as Chairman of the Housing and Building National Research Centre and President of Helwan University. Dr. Salama received the Excellency Award in 2006 and the State Award for Science in Engineering Science in 2012.


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.

Aaron Ozinga, President, Ozinga Material, Inc.

Aaron Ozinga is President of Ozinga Materials Inc. located in Mokena, IL.  Ozinga Materials, Inc. is a full service material and transportation business involved in the production and distribution of aggregates, as well as the handling and distribution of many other bulk materials used in construction and manufacturing.  The company owns and operates mining, truck, rail, river, and port assets concentrated in Illinois and surrounding states and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Ozinga Bros, Inc. a 4th generation family owned business.  Aaron is responsible for setting the overall direction and strategy for this company.  He is a business graduate of Trinity Christian College in Palos Heights Illinois. 


Catherine Batey, Chief Administrator, Illinois- Federal Highway Administration

In July 2013, Ms. Batey became the Division Administrator for the Illinois Division in Springfield. She heads an office of 33 professionals that delivers the Federal-aid Highway Program in Illinois. Prior to the appointment, Kay was the Assistant Division Administrator in the Alabama Division for 11 years. Kay has worked for the Federal Highway Administration since 1987 and has served in a number of positions throughout the US. She instructs the National Highway Institute Federal-aid Highway 101 course. Kay received a Bachelor Degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Tennessee and a Bachelor Degree in Biology and Chemistry also from the University of Tennessee. The Honorable Jim Ardis, Mayor, City of Peoria
Jim Ardis has served as the Mayor of the City of Peoria for two consecutive terms. Prior, he had served the City in many ways including over 10 years on the Peoria City Council. He believes that public service is a noble calling and is an honor the voters entrust him with this office. With a population of 114,000 citizens, the City of Peoria is the urban hub of an exciting and beautiful region, blessed with an abundance of qualified and skilled human resources and rich natural assets. Mayor Ardis earned a B.S in Industrial Technology from Illinois State University. His Community involvement includes St. Vincent de Paul Parish, St. Jude Memphis to Peoria Runner (15 years), Board President of the Tim Ardis Foundation for Hope, Member of the St. Jude Midwest Affiliate Board of Directors, and Founder of Peoria Promise.

The Honorable David Koehler, 46th District Senator, Illinois State Senate

Senator David Koehler has served as State Senator of the 46th District in Illinois since December 2006.  He has served on a variety of committees including Local Government (Vice-Chairperson); Appropriations II; Commerce and Economic Development; Transportation.  He was born and raised in South Dakota. He received Bachelor of Arts degree in 1971 from Yankton College in South Dakota, and a Masters of Divinity from the United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio. Formerly he served as staff member for the National Farm Worker Ministry (NFWM), Community organizer and program manager for the Peoria Friendship House, Executive Director of the Peoria Area Labor Management Council (PALM), President for Labor Management Cooperative Health Programs, Inc., and Member of Peoria City Council from 1982 to 1997.


The Honorable Luis Arroyo, Assistant majority Leader, The Illinois State House of Representatives

State Representative Luis Arroyo was born in Corozal, Puerto Rico and moved to Chicago at the age of thirteen. His overarching goal is to work with residents and other elected officials to enhance the quality of life in the 3rd District’s diverse and vibrant neighborhoods. To better represent his constituents and make that they are consulted on his legislative agenda, Arroyo intends to use community advisory committees to discuss current issues and seek residents’ feedback. Arroyo is the former owner of Arroyo’s Restaurant and a member of the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers. He is a Board Member of the McCormick-Tribune YMCA, past Puerto Rican Parade Committee Vice-Treasurer, a Poetas Baseball League Sponsor (Humboldt Park), and a past Member of the Fullerton Merchants Association.


The Honorable Chuck Weaver, 37th District Senator,  State of Illinois

Senator Weaver is a state senator for the 37th district in Illinois.  Some of his committee assignments include licensed activities and pensions; judiciary; criminal law; commerce and economic development (Minority Spokesperson). Senator Weaver received his bachelor's degree from Bradley University, and his J.D. degree from DePaul University College of Law.  He is business entrepreneur and philanthropist, and was a former Peoria City Council member.

The Honorable Bill Brady, Deputy Minority Leader, The Illinois House of Representatives

In addition to providing for his family and building businesses, Bill has served as a state representative and state senator to help people throughout central Illinois. As a lawmaker, he has always stood for the principles on which he built his life. He has reached across party lines to work with those who promote the best interests of Illinois. As a legislator, Bill Brady has championed: protection of pharmaceutical benefits for senior citizens, rewriting of the state's banking and insurance laws, bipartisan pension reforms that stabilize the system for current public employees while making changes for future hires to reduce costs, protecting children from sexual predators, and expansion of property tax breaks for disabled veterans.


The Honorable Luis Arroyo, Jr., Commissioner, Cook County

Luis Arroyo, Jr. is the commissioner of the 8th District in Cook County.  He is the Chairman of the Labor Committee and Vice Chairman of the Roads and Bridges Committee.  Additionally, he serves of the following commissions for Cook County:  Audit, Business and Economic Development, Contract Compliance, Criminal Justice, Finance, Finance Subcommittee on Workers’ Compensation, Health and Hospitals, Homeland Security and Emergency Management, Human Relations,
Law Enforcement, Legislation and Intergovernmental Relations, Veterans, and Zoning and Building. 


Ryan Spain, Representative, The Illinois State House

Ryan Spain is currently an Illinois State Representative in the 73rd District. A lifelong Peorian, Spain attended District 150 schools and is a Richwoods High School alumnus. He graduated summa cum laude from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a double degree in political science and speech communication. Spain also holds an MBA from Bradley University. In April 2007 Spain was elected to the City Council as the youngest at-large member in Peoria history. He is currently employed at OSF Healthcare System as the Vice President of Government Relations. Spain and his wife Ashley have a two-year old daughter named Vivienne.

Michael Cullinan, Chairman of the Board, United Contractors Midwest

Mr. Michael Cullinan is Chairman of United Contractors Midwest. He earned a bachelor's degree from Northwestern University, and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Illinois. He is past president of IAPA, past president of the AGCI, and a member of the board of directors of The Road Information Program. He is also a member of the advisory board for Bank One, Peoria, and the Bradley University board of trustees; and a former member of the Young Presidents' Organization. He is past president and current member of the Tri County Economic Development Council board, and a member of board of the Fayette Companies. Mr. Cullinan is a member of the OSF Saint Francis hospital advisory board, American Red Cross board, Easter Seals/UCP board, WTVP Channel 47 board, and others.

Jodi Golden, Executive Director, Illinois Capital Development Board

Jodi Golden is the executive director and chief of staff of the Illinois Capital Development Board, the construction-management agency responsible for overseeing state construction and renovation projects.  Prior to this appointment, she had been chief of staff at the CDB.  Ms. Golden had worked in Indiana state government for almost a decade in the state’s treasurer’s office and was the deputy director of the Indiana Education Savings Authority, where she administered and promoted the 529 College Savings Plan.  She returned to Illinois to work with the administration of Governor Bruce Rauner.  Ms. Golden earned her bachelor’s and master’s degree from Southern Illinois University- Carbondale with backgrounds in finance and public administration.


Robert Sehring, CEO- Central Region, OSF

In this position, Robert coordinates services at four OSF hospitals: Peoria-based OSF Saint Francis Medical Center, Galesburg, Ill.-based OSF St. Mary Medical Center, Monmouth, Ill.-based OSF Holy Family Medical Center and Kewanee, Ill.-based OSF Saint Luke Medical Center. He also oversees the area's physician practices. In addition to his administrative responsibilities, Mr. Sehring serves on the Health Care Transformation Task Force, which is a consortium of healthcare organizations and professionals committed to moving a significant portion of healthcare toward value-based payment arrangements by 2020. Mr. Sehring is stepping into this role from his prior role as chief of ministry services officer with OSF, in which he led the organization's value-based care agreements and participation in the Pioneer program.


Paul Kovacs, Chief Engineer, Illinois Tollway

Mr. Kovacs is the Chief Engineering Officer for the Illinois Tollway and is responsible for the policies, practices and procedures of the Engineering Department, which oversees all design and construction operations on the agency's 292-mile system of roadways serving 1.6 million daily users in Northern Illinois. Currently, he is responsible for delivering the sixth year of the Illinois Tollway's 15-year, $12 billion capital program, Move Illinois: The Illinois Tollway Driving the Future. Mr. Kovacs earned his B.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of Illinois and is a registered professional engineer in Illinois and Michigan. In his nearly 30 years of professional engineering experience, 17 were spent in the consulting industry. He joined the Illinois Tollway in 1999. 


Paul Loete, Deputy Director of Highways, IDOT

Paul Loete has over twenty years of experience in private practice and state government in the environmental, civil, and transportation markets.  At IDOT he is accountable for the implementation of programs to accomplish the annual highway work program in conjunction with the coordination of the state’s highway activities with local and regional agencies. This encompasses the safe, efficient and sustainable delivery of the state’s highway construction program as well as maintenance and operations of the state highway system through effective engineering activities of the districts and central bureaus with 4,616 full – time employees and over $1 billion in annual construction programs.

Jim Bishop, CEO, H.W. Lochner
Mr. James W. Bishop, P.E., was appointed to the position of President and Chief Executive Officer of H.W. Lochner, Inc. Mr. Bishop, who most recently served as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, received the promotion following the retirement of Larry Thomas. Bishop joined Lochner in January of 2008, following a career spanning 30 years, including progressive management positions and hands-on experience encompassing all phases of transportation improvement projects. Bishop earned his Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering from Valparaiso University and holds professional engineering licenses in Illinois, Florida and New York. Currently, he is a member of ARTBA, SMPS, ASCE, and ACEC.

Ann Schneider, President, Ann Schneider & Associates

Ann Schneider is president of a consulting firm which provides professional consulting services and expertise for transportation strategic planning, facilitating Public-Private partnerships, policy development and implementation, and both macro and project level funding and finance. In addition, she assist clients with business development and building strategic relationships in the public sector. Understanding that each client is unique, Ann L. Schneider & Associates creates customized solutions to achieve optimal results.

John Lynch II, President of IAPA and President and CEO of  Iroquois Paving Corporation

Mr. John Lynch II is the President and CEO of Iroquois Paving Corp (IPC), and is the President of the Illinois Asphalt Pavement Association.  Iroquois Paving Corp is a full-service heavy highway contractor with over eighty years of experience. They provide a high level of construction services at market competitive prices, by paying strict attention to detail, work timeliness and having a service minded attitude. IPC is a strong advocate of keeping the environment clean and utilizes recycled asphalt, concrete, and shingles in the production process. Iroquois Paving Corporation is an award winning contractor recognized by the Illinois Department of Transportation and others.

John Yonan, Superintendent of Highways, Cook County

Mr. John Yonan is the Superintendent of Highways for Cook County.  The Cook County Department of Transportation and Highways was established in 1913 by the State of Illinois upon approval of the first officially recorded County highway system maps. The present day system has evolved to include jurisdictional authority over 557 center line miles of highways. The Department has maintenance responsibilities for 1,474 lane miles of pavement, 130 bridges, 332 traffic signals and 5 pumping stations from five maintenance garages.

Kevin Zesch, Senior Vice President, Lend Lease
Mr. Kevin Zesch is Senior Vice President & General Superintendent at Lend Lease, a world leader in project management and construction, operating in more than 30 countries and 7,500 employees. An award-winning alumnus from Bradley University, he has worked many challenging projects, including the $140 million University of Chicago Laboratory Schools, the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Chicago, and the $61.1 million Sears Integrated Business Headquarters Expansion. He represented Lend Lease at the 2011 Executive Summit and spoke on Public-Private-Partnership at the 2012 Executive Summit.

Chandra Prasad, President & CEO, Omega & Associates

Mr. Chandra Prasad is the President of OMEGA, which he founded in 2002.  Over the past 13 years OMEGA, based in Lisle, IL, has grown to be the largest firm in the Chicagoland area specializing in Construction Engineering. OMEGA focuses on the construction management of highways and bridges, as well as local arterial roads, for a variety of clients in Illinois.   Mr. Prasad has a Bachelors and a Masters degree in Civil Engineering and is a Bradley University alum. He sits on the Civil Engineering and Construction Advisory Board of Bradley University. Mr. Prasad is a licensed Professional Engineer in the state of Illinois and is affiliated with the American Council of Engr. Cos. (ACEC), American Society of Civil Engrs. (ASCE) and IL Road and Transportation Builders Association (IRTBA).

Scott Sigman, Transport and Export Infrastructure Lead, Illinois Soybean Association

Mr. Sigman is Vice President, Transportation and Trade supporting marketing, strategy and communications firm Farmer, Lumpe + McClelland + (FLM Plus), an independent subsidiary of Land O’Lakes.  In that capacity he primarily serves the Illinois Soybean Association in a staff augmentation role, as Transport and Export Infrastructure Lead.  Scott has over 25 years of experience in global trade and transportation planning. Mr. Sigman earned his MS in Economics with a focus on Sea Use Law, Economics & Policy in England, from the University of London and was awarded his BA degree with a Double Major in Economics and International Relations from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Roger Driskell, Director, Innovative Project Delivery / Project Manager, Crawford, Murphy & Tilly

Roger joined Crawford, Murphy & Tilly after nearly 32 years at the Illinois Department of Transportation.  He is leading CMT's efforts in Innovative Project Delivery continuing the firm's tradition of providing innovative solutions while maintaining focus on value.  Roger was the recipient of the Outstanding Leadership Award bestowed by the Advisory Board of the Civil Engineering and Construction Department at Bradley University. Jamil Bou-Saab, Executive Vice President, Terra Engineering, Ltd.
Mr. Bou-Saab is the Executive Vice President and co-founder of TERRA Engineering, Ltd. in Chicago, Illinois. He offers over 25 years of professional experience in transportation, public works and civil engineering projects as a project engineer, project manager, and business owner. He is a licensed Professional Engineer in Illinois and Wisconsin. He attended Marquette University where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in 1984 and a Master of Science degree in construction management in 1986. He has been Principal-in-Charge of analysis, design and construction for major public and private infrastructure and transportation projects nationally and internationally. Mr. Bou-Saab received the ASCE Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement Award for TERRA site development and transportation projects.

David Williams, President, Williams Brothers Construction Inc.

David Williams is the President of Williams Brothers Construction Inc, a company that has over 40 years experience and over a billion dollars worth of construction covering Illinois, Indiana and Iowa. WBCI completes projects from 1 million to over 100 million dollars on time and on budget. Williams Brothers Construction Inc boasts an impressive and diverse resume that spans over three decades. They build food markets, MRI units, industrial water treatment plants and correctional institutions to office buildings, sports arenas and schools. David earned a B.S. in Construction from Bradley University in 1984 and has 25 years professional construction experience.

Josh Adams, Operations Manager, Illinois, NPL Construction

Joshua Adams is the Illinois Operations Manager for NPL Construction where he manages local operations to maximize efficiency and value for NPL customers and partners. He is responsible for forecasting capital, staffing and safety needs based on historical information and customer insight as well as coordinating safety, construction, administration and warehouse operations to meet company objectives. Adams also manages and implements WMBE strategies across the local marketplace.  He joined NPL in 2009 as an analyst, where he provided overall strategic vision to implement an alliance between NPL and Nicor Gas, developed and executed a system of measurement for construction efficiencies and practices and performed analysis of accounting, construction and purchasing functions to maximize profit.

Anne Cotter, President, Cotter Consulting, Inc.

Anne has been involved in the development and construction industry in Chicago for over 30 years. A civil engineer by degree, she began her career as a project manager with a major construction management firm in Chicago, followed by positions as a project manager for two real estate development firms. This experience provided an understanding of the complexities of a construction project including cost and schedule, and the importance of managing the process and participants to achieve the goals of each project. This experience became the basis for the Cotter approach to managing projects. In addition to building Cotter Consulting, she has been an active participant in construction industry organization boards and not-for-profit boards in Chicago. She is CEC Bradley University Alum. 


Larry Bullock, President & CEO, U.S. Minority Contractors Association

As the original founder and current President of the U S Minority Contractors Association [USMCA], he extends his professional expertise to help small emerging Minority owned and operated firms throughout the Chicago land area and nationally. He is past recipient of the Presidential Award from the National Association of Real Estate Brokers [NAREB], designated as the “Democracy in Housing Award” for outstanding and exemplary contribution to the nationwide homeownership campaign in the African American and multicultural market communities. He served on the NAREB, PAC Committee as a national legislative policy advisory to NAREB President and the NAREB Executive committee. He also served on the SISCO National Advisory Multi-Cultural Market Advisory Board.


Gilbert Villegas, Alderman, 36th Ward, City of Chicago

Alderman Gilbert Villegas has spent his entire career serving others. Since being honorably discharged from the Marines, he has served in government, non-profits and for profit companies, each time successfully bringing new opportunities to businesses and employees. He plans to use his experience in each of these sectors to serve as a strong member of the City Council and bring strong leadership to the new 36th Ward. Alderman Villegas served as Chief of Staff position at the Illinois Capital Development Board. Alderman Villegas oversaw a staff of 140 State personnel, a $25 million operating budget and a $3.9 billion dollar capital construction program. From 2008 to 2011, Alderman Villegas was the Associate Director of the Hispanic American Construction Industry Association.


Robert Fuessle, Professor of Civil Engineering, Bradley University

Dr. Fuessle has been teaching at Bradley University, as an Environmental Engineer since 1981 and retired in May 2017.  In his spare time, he enjoys playing the piano, woodworking, and sports. Dr. Robert Fuessle’s research areas are hazardous waste treatment and management modeling for environmental systems. He has collaborated with Dr. Taylor from the Department of Chemistry on hazardous waste research projects for the state of Illinois. They experimented with more effective and efficient mix designs for the stabilization/solidification of inorganic hazardous waste. Dr. Fuessle is also interested in how the quantity and quality of information affects management or engineering decisions for pollution control.


Cherryl Thomas, President & CEO, Ardmore Associates

Cherryl Thomas is President and Chief Executive Officer of Ardmore Associates, a full-service engineering, land surveying, program, project and construction management firm. Prior to her current position, she served as Chairman of the united States Railroad Board, Commissioner of Chicago's Department of Building, Deputy Chief of Staff in Chicago's Office of the Mayor, and various positions within the Chicago Department of Public Works. She has an honorary Doctorate Degree from Boston College, a Master’s of Science Degree in Physiology from the University of Illinois and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Chemistry and Biology from Marquette University. Ms. Thomas enhanced her career by taking engineering courses at the Illinois Institute of Technology as a non-degree student.


Clint Heinold, President, CORE Construction of Illinois, Inc.

Clint has been with CORE Construction since 2001, and is now the President.  His prior positions at CORE included Vice President- Director of preconstruction Services, and Estimator.   From 1996 to 2001, he was a marketing Specialist for GE Healthcare.  While at GE Healthcare (then GE Medical Systems), he worked in a variety of positions within the Magnetic Resonance group including software and hardware engineering, upstream marketing, and as a Six Sigma Blackbelt. His first two years at GEMS were spent in the Technical Leadership Program. He earned his MBA from Marquette University and his BS from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. 


Guillermo Garcia, President & CEO, GSG Consultants, Inc.

Guillermo Garcia co-founded GSG in 1992, leading the transformation of GSG from a small environmental services company into a multi-faceted consulting firm specializing in engineering, environmental and construction management services. As CEO of the company, he has fostered growth through his leadership, vision, and participation in an expanding array of markets. He has 25 years of experience in the industry and has worked extensively with the City of Chicago including the Chicago Public School (CPS) system, the Public Building Commission (PBC), and the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA). He is an active member of the Hispanic American Construction Industry Association and currently sits as the Chairman of the Board of the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.


John Trotta, Senior Vice President, WPS-Parsons Brinckerhoff

John is responsible for overall business performance in a 16-state region for PB in the areas planning, engineering, design-build, program management, and construction management.  His main responsibilities include business and project operations, project delivery, staffing, regional and local client relations, business development, government relations, and business growth.  In this position hired and developed a strong management team across the region, responsible for considerable growth, successfully expanded client base and diversified services, developed mentor-protégé plans that provided growth for minority-owned engineering business through significant participation on major projects, and received the Illinois American Society of Civil Engineers’ 2014 Private Sector Employer Recognition Award.


Garrett Patten, President, Patten Industries, Inc.

Garrett patten is the 4th generation president of Patten Industries.  The Patten family has been in this business for 80 years.  Garrett officially joined the company in 2002 as the Power Sales Manager after graduating from the University of Southern California with a Bachelor of Science degree.  Today, Garrett continues to seek improvement opportunities and, over the past 5 years has completed 16 training programs.  A few of his major accomplishments are: Flagship, Rental Sales, EPG Sales, audited Black belt Training, Cat Marketing orientation, Skill Path Management, OMB and FREP.  Garrett certainly understands his role in developing tough metrics and focusing on process improvement to prepare Patten Industries, Inc. for a changing market place. 


Charles Stenzel, Principal and Sr. Vice President, TranSystems

Chuck Stenzel is a Principal and Sr. Vice President with TranSystems, and currently serves as their Illinois Area Leader. He has over 30 years of professional experience in planning, environmental studies, design, and project management of transportation projects involving expressways, tollways, arterials, local roads, transit and freight railroad. He has managed some of TranSystems most complex projects including the Jane Byrne Interchange reconstruction, CREATE P1 Englewood Flyover, CTA Dan Ryan Red Line reconstruction, and I-80/94 reconstruction. He is active in several professional societies including American Council of Engineering Companies, American Society of Civil Engineers, and American Public Works Association. He is also a member of the SOS Children’s Village Fundraising Committee.


Gabe Rodriguez, Senior Estimator, P.J. Hoerr, Inc.

In early 2008, Gabe joined the P.J. Hoerr team  as an estimator. His previous experience working on large multifaceted projects provided valuable insight for conceptual estimating, GMP budgeting, and the construction management delivery method. His resume of projects includes many in the area of healthcare, medical research, higher education, commercial, industrial, and residential projects. To add to his busy schedule, Gabe also serves as a part-time professor for the Civil Engineering and Construction Department at Bradley University, instructing in Estimating, Scheduling, and Emerging Technologies. Mr. Rodriguez began his career as a Project Manager for Turner Construction in Chicago, IL. While working in Chicago he gained tremendous experience by working on several complex projects. 


Leslie J. Sawyer, Chairwoman & CEO, Environmental Design International Inc. (EDI)

Leslie is chairwoman and CEO of Environmental Design International Inc. (EDI). Founded in 1991, EDI is an MBE/WBE/DBE certified professional engineering firm headquartered in Chicago. EDI's team of engineers offer a variety of environmental, engineering, industrial hygiene, survey, and accessibility consulting services to clients within the private and public sectors. As a graduate of Lake Forest College, Leslie understands the importance of the world-class educations that small, liberal arts colleges have to offer. With a diverse career that included more than 30 years of state government policy development, program design, management, and now the leadership of EDI, Leslie built on the right foundation after graduation from Lake Forest. She was recently named Corporate Trustee of the Associated Colleges of Illinois (ACI).


Libby Braband, Associate Vice President, HDR, Inc.

As Transportation Program Manager, Libby's primary responsibility is leading the Illinois, Michigan and Indiana transportation marketing programs and initiatives. She oversees business development activities for major planning, design and construction programs, as well as megaprojects. She also works with local operations in the areas of strategic planning, budgeting, client development, community and industry participation, project pursuits, political engagement, staffing and marketing training.

Tracy Morse, President, Images, Inc.

Under Tracy’s leadership, the Images team has developed creative ways to communicate high-level, technical information to audiences in a language, tone and style that effectively bridges the gap between government agencies, corporations, the media and the general public. She and her staff of communicators, project managers, and planners, decipher technical information and make it accessible to help government agencies and corporate clients move complex projects and issues from conception to completion. High-Speed Rail, inter-modal connections, and multi-modal transportation are just a few examples of the major projects implemented with the help of Images’ expertise in the lengthy – yet necessary – public involvement process.

Laith AlKhafaji, Manager, CGN Global

Laith AlKhafaji is a Manager with CGN Global, where he works with fortune 100 companies in areas including organization design and effectiveness, supply chains, business process re-engineering, and knowledge management. Prior to CGN, he interned with DSN, Caterpillar, the City of Peoria, Heyl Royster, and River City Construction. Laith managed workshops on Supply Chains in Belgium and France for Caterpillar. He holds a BS in Construction Management from Bradley University (2011) and a Law Degree from Michigan State University (2014). He passed the Illinois BAR Exam immediately after graduating.

Kerrie Schattler, Professor, Department of Civil Engineering and Construction, Bradley University

Dr. Kerrie Schattler, Ph.D. is a Professor of the Department of Civil Engineering and Construction at Bradley University.  Dr. Schattler’s specific area of expertise is highway safety engineering. Over the past 18 years, she has been actively engaged in research and scholarship, having authored over 30 papers in reputable journals, such as the Journal of the Transportation Research Board, ITE Journal, and conference proceedings.  Dr. Schattler has collaborated and led research teams for projects totaling over $1.4 million sponsored by IDOT through the Illinois Center for Transportation, Peoria County Highway Department, FHWA, ITE, OSHA, Michigan DOT, AAA, and others. 

Jacob Mrugacz, President, Bluff City Materials, Inc.

Jacob Mrugacz is the President of Bluff City Materials, Inc.  He started with the company as a Controller in 2011.  Bluff City Materials, Inc. is a sand and gravel operation with locations in Elgin, Bartlett, South Elgin and South Lake in the Hills. Bluff City has been mining for aggregates since 1988. They serve a diverse customer base, including concrete, ready-mix, asphalt plants, underground contractors and more. Bluff City Materials offers quality aggregates, mined onsite in addition to recycled products. Jacob earned a Bachelor's in Accounting from Ball State University.