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International Conference on Asphalt and Traffic

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Dr. Amir Al-Khafaji

ICAT Chair

Executive Director

Bradley University




Over the past 33 years, the ICAT conference had many titles and started with fewer than 40 attendees in 1987 to being sold out since 2009. Over the years, the ICAT Boards focused on bringing decision makers from government, legislators, scholars and business executives to solve major problems facing businesses and governments through dialogue and candid discussions at 20 annual VIP events. This journey was rewarded by the achievements realized, insights developed and satisfaction we continue to derive from engaging many eminent leaders whose penetrating wisdom helped participants from across the globe. This wonderful journey was initiated and consummated with utmost dedication and loyalty to our profession. For me, the first responsibility of a leader is defining reality and to effectively navigate through the political, social, cultural, and economical landmines that shape our reality today. Success must not be achieved on the expense of sacrificing core values, dignity or integrity. Leadership is not about speeches and unrealistic expectations but about producing results and helping constituents create a better future. Great leaders are never tamed by small misfortunes, make promises sparingly but keep them faithfully and realize that no one person is good enough to succeed alone.

In June 2019, the Illinois Legislators passed the Rebuild Illinois $45 Billion Capital Bill which is the largest in the history of the State of Illinois. Many leaders played a critical role in its passage including past Illinois Senate President John Cullerton, Republican Senate Leader Bill Brady, Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan, Republican House Leader Jim Durkin and the Illinois Governor JB Pritzker. Our collective gratitude to them for demonstrating the needed leadership to meet our State most urgent needs. Special thanks to Dan Meckes, CEO of CMT and $FIG Chairman and Dan Gallagher, COO, Gallagher Asphalt and $FIG Vice Chairman for their tireless efforts in helping make the new capital bill a reality.

Our next step is focused on the new capital bill rollout. Thus, we have assembled some of the finest minds from across the world, not as Republicans or Democrats, but as wise men and women who share the passion to create a better business climate for our state and world. We intend to have a candid conversation and find solutions to problems facing major businesses, disadvantaged businesses, and promote better opportunities for decision makers to partner with prominent leaders from infrastructure to help build a better Illinois. The ICAT objectives are to promote business partnerships, align and leverage new alliances and address 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. I take this opportunity to congratulate Senator Dave Koehler for being selected as the Heartland Sustainability award winner, Paul Kovacs as the Recipient of the Ed Rapp Award and Jamie Rhee as the Deborah Sawyer Diversity Award winner. They are wonderful friends of the infrastructure business community and Peoria is proud to honor them. Special thanks to my friends and Program Chairs who continue to provide needed support to ensure the ICAT is successful. In conclusion, be mindful that great spirits have always encountered opposition from mediocre minds. Thus, the spirit to conquer new frontiers and to dream beyond the possible will never be tamed!

The theme of the ICAT 2020
is rolling out the $45 Billion
Rebuild Illinois Capital Bill