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International Conference on Asphalt and Traffic

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The ICAT Vision



Dr. Amir Al-Khafaji
ICAT Chair

Bradley University


The task of serving as the founding chair of the ICAT was truly daunting because of its remarkable mission and vision to bring prominent leaders from across the globe to Peoria, Illinois.  Over the past 30 years, the ICAT conference took on many conference titles and started with fewer than 40 attendees in 1987 to being sold out since 2009. The past 16 years, the ICAT centered on bringing decision makers from government, legislators, scholars and business executives to solve major problems facing our industry through dialogue and candid discussions using more than 20 VIP events annually. This journey was rewarded by the solutions achieved, insights we collectively developed, and satisfaction we derived from engaging many eminent leaders whose penetrating wisdom helped participants across the globe.  This wonderful journey was initiated and consummated with utmost loyalty to the profession.


For me, the first responsibility of a leader is defining reality not the way he/she wish it to be but the way it is and to effectively navigate through the political, social, cultural, and economical landmines that shape our reality today while maintaining his/her core values, dignity, and integrity. Leadership is not about speeches and grandiose ideas but about producing results that achieve their vision and help their constituents create a better future. Great leaders should have a sense of humor, are never tamed by small misfortunes, make promises sparingly but keep them faithfully, they search for the best in others, their dreams are never totally fulfilled, recognize that if all is important, then nothing is important, that people of character can bend circumstances to their will, and realize that no one person is good enough to succeed alone.


The theme of our conference this year is sustainable funding of infrastructure.  Thus, we have assembled some of the finest minds in 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 to push for a sustainable capital bill for infrastructure in Illinois and to examine sustainable revenue sources and options.

The ICAT 2017 objectives are to promote business partnerships, align and leverage new alliances, explore creative funding sources, 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. We must seize the moment to bring people together to build a great State, a nobler America, and a better world through honest dialogues and cooperation. Special thanks to the few who helped with the ICAT with dedication and distinction. I also acknowledge the the many prominent leaders whose wisdom and presence brought class and prestige to the ICAT. My deepest gratitude goes to my wife Wilma, our children Ali, Laith and Elise for their unconditional love and to my brother Shakir and my sister Intissar Al-Khafaji for their loyalty during this long and worthy journey. The spirit to conquer new frontiers and to dream beyond the possible will never be tamed!