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Dr. Amir Al-Khafaji
President Kennedy once wrote that “the problems of the world cannot possibly be solved by skeptics or cynics whose horizons are limited by the obvious realities. We need people who can dream of things that never were." For me, the first responsibility of a leader is defining reality and navigating through the political, social, cultural, and economic land minds that shape our reality today while maintaining their core values, dignity, and integrity. Great leadership is not about speeches and grandiose visions but about producing results that help their constituents.
The theme of our conference is Sustainable Funding of Infrastructure. Thus, we have assembled some of the finest minds in Illinois and from across the country to join hands,not as Republicans or Democrats, but as wise men and women who share the same passion to create a better business climate for our state and country. We intend to have a candid conversation to push for a sustainable capital bill and to debate the appropriate revenue sources to fund it.
Over the past 26 years, it has been an honor and a privilege to work with many of you. Some have passed and other continue to give with endless passion. Donald Robert Gallagher passed away leaving us and his children with great legacies to uphold and civility to emulate. An inductee in the National Asphalt Pavement Association Hall of Fame, Don was a respected pioneer in the paving industry. A proud alumnus of Purdue University, Don was Black & Gold to his core. He will be remembered for his big, loving bear hugs and infectious smile. The epitome of a family man, Don will be greatly missed by his wife, sisters, brothers, daughters, sons and grandchildren.
My brother and friend, Dr. Marvin Traylor will retire this year and I just wanted to thank him for being a great friend and and an awesome voice for our industry. He can be replaced but never be equaled in his passion and dedication. Marvin, we wish you and Lisa a life filled with great health, constant happiness, and enduring love.
The mission of the Innovation Conference on Asphalt and Transportation (ICAT) is to develop a network of business executives, policymakers, and scholars from around the USA. The objective is to promote business partnerships, align and leverage new alliances, explore new funding sources, and address major challenges facing the infrastructure industry. The uncertainties presented by the global economy will drive revolutionary business developments and innovation on a greater scale than ever before. Specifically, the ICAT is about bringing people together to build a better State, a greater America, and a peaceful world through honest dialogue, candid discourse, partnering, and building relationships.