Award Winners

2017 Outstanding Alumnus

jclairJames Clair

Project Executive
Turner Construction Company

Mr. James Clair is Project Executive, Turner Construction Company. His career with Turner Construction began in 1988 as a Field Engineer after graduating from Bradley University. Mr. Clair develops high-powered teams to deliver successful projects. Today he leads a team that manages $600-$800 million in construction projects throughout the Midwest.

Mr. Clair collaborated with Dr. Al-Khafaji and was instrumental in connecting with high-level executives for our conferences over the past several years. He played a key role in identifying and connecting with high-level decision makers for the Executive Summit at ICAT 2012. His continued dedication and loyalty to the CEC department and CETI initiatives is demonstrated through his involvement in the 2016 ICAT conference as a member of the Executive Board. Mr. Clair attended the 2016 Executive Summit and the VIP event with the Vertical Construction Group. He was responsible for procuring a key speaker for ICAT 2016 – the President of Turner Canada to give an international perspective on the social infrastructure PPP in Canada.

Mr. Clair has made significant contributions to the CEC Department since joining the CEC Board several years ago. Mr. Clair has directly impacted CEC students in planning for construction site visits over the past three years. Some examples include the Greater Peoria Airport and the Downtown Peoria Museum projects, which were especially educational to CEC students. Mr. Clair and Turner Construction Company have hired many of our graduates and also provided internship opportunities for our students. Mr. Clair was very accommodative of CEC Department requests to make presentations to our CEC students. Mr. Clair has actively sought collaboration with Dr. Al-Khafaji to develop ways in which Turner Construction Company could partner with Dr. Al-Khafaji on initiatives for minorities businesses and DBEs as well as other key constituents in the construction industry.

Mr. James Clair has contributed in many ways to the CEC department over the years and his accomplishments and contributions are greatly valued by the CEC department

2017 Outstanding Leader

dmeckesMr. Dan Meckes

Crawford, Murphy & Tilly, Inc.

Mr. Dan Meckes (center) with Dr. Elhouar (left) and Mr. David Williams (right)

Dan Meckes is President of Crawford, Murphy & Tilly, Inc., a 270 person, full service civil engineering firm with offices in Illinois, Missouri, Indiana and Ohio. Mr. Meckes has been with CMT for over 29 years working on a wide range of transportation and civil engineering projects and leads CMT’s strategic planning efforts, and oversees day-to-day operations. He is a 1982 graduate of Marquette University, and is a registered PE in Illinois and Missouri.

Mr. Meckes serves as the Chairman of the Sustainable Funding of Infrastructure Group ($FIG), which has been instrumental in working with the major decision-makers in government and industry on issues related to sustainable funding of infrastructure in Illinois. The work of the $FIG is closely tied to the mission of ICAT, which is to develop a network of business executives, policymakers, and scholars from around the USA in order to address challenges facing the infrastructure industry. In fact the theme of the ICAT Conference is to develop A Sustainable Capital Bill for Illinois.

Mr. Meckes has served as a key member of the DBE Focus Group, whose members share a common desire to seek a higher purpose for women and minority owned businesses. He is Vice-Chair of the ICAT Transportation Board and played a key role in the success of many VIP Events during ICAT. Mr. Meckes also contributed to a special summit in Chicago in fall 2015. He sponsored lunch on the first day of ICAT 2016 and also co-sponsored the open bar at the networking dinner. In addition, he presented special gifts to the Executive Board.

Over the course of several years, Mr. Dan Meckes has worked closely and tirelessly with Dr. Al-Khafaji on many CEC initiatives. He attended numerous meetings relating to the DBE Focus Group and the ICAT Planning. He also attended a special meeting relating to the Capital Bill in the State of Illinois. His company CMT, continues to hire our CEC graduates. CMT has also helped with our capstone senior design project by providing industry faculty to teach real projects.

Mr. Dan Meckes has served the profession and the community with dignity, grace, and a rare level of commitment and dedication. Mr. Meckes and CMT continue to play a major role in helping CEC students and faculty achieve great success.

2017 Outstanding Advisory Board Member

Mr. Chandra Prasad

President, Omega & Assoc., Inc.

Mr. Chandra Prasad is President of Omega & Associates, the largest construction-engineering firm in the Chicago area. Mr. Chandra Prasad, former student of Dr. Al-Khafaji, founded Omega & Associates in 2002 after working for some of Illinois’ most respected engineering firms.

When computer laboratories were identified as a major deficiency through senior exit interviews. Dr. Al-Khafaji brought the matter to the CEC Advisory Board’s attention. Mr. Chandra Prasad made a significant contribution of $25,000, which helped the CEC Department meet its immediate needs and address the short loop in our continuous improvements through our assessment process. This is critical and very significant to both - our Civil Engineering accreditation by ABET as well as our Construction programs’ accreditation by ACCE.

Omega & Associates and Mr. Chandra Prasad hire CEC students as interns and as full-time employees. Mr. Chandra Prasad has sponsored several events at the ICAT and Executive Summit. His continued engagement and dedication to making these events successful is highly noteworthy.

In 2012, Mr. Chandra Prasad joined the Easter Seals Board and has become a key contributor in the past few years for Easter Seals’ Passage to India Event. His continued support of worthy causes is noteworthy.

Mr. Prasad earned the ACEC 2012 Engineering Excellence Award in Chicago. Mr. Prasad’s commitment and loyalty to the CEC Department runs deep – he was very particular about having Dr. Al-Khafaji attend the signature event for HACIA – the Tribute Dinner where he was honored with a mentor-protégé award.

Mr. Prasad’s entrepreneurial success and achievements and his loyalty and support to CEC initiatives are a source of great pride for the CEC Department and we thank him for his outstanding service on the CEC Advisory Board.

Previous Award Winners


Outstanding Alumnus

Outstanding Leader

Outstanding Advisory Board Member

2016 George Ghareeb Deborah Sawyer Kevin Bogner
2015 John Fortmann David Koehler Chandra Prasad
2014 Kirk Anderson Michael Sutton ---
2013 Kevin Zesch Roger Driskell Omer Osman
2012 Wes Blumenshine Seshadri Guha Dan Gallagher
2011 Anne Cotter Larry Ivory Margaret Hanley
2010 Ray Lawing Dr. Marvin Traylor ---
2009 David Williams Hon. Mayor Jim Ardis Dale Risinger
2008 Jamshid Ansari William Sunley Jamil Bou-Saab
2007 Joe West William (Bill) Cellini Doug Oberhelman
2006 --- Doug Oberhelman Rosemarie Andolino
2005 Roger G. Keefauver Jim Hein Kerry Rice
2004 Warren Knoles Donald Gallagher Paul Corcoran
2003 Bernie Koch Timothy Docter Cliff Baxter