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Department of Civil Engineering & Construction
Jobst Hall 206
(309) 677-2942 


Award Winners

2015 Outstanding Alumnus

John Fortmann

Region I Engineer
Illinois Department of Transportation

Mr. John Fortmann is the Region One Engineer for the Illinois Department of Transportation. Region One is comprised of six counties in Northeastern Illinois including Cook County and Suburban Chicagoland.   This region has 65% of the population in the State of Illinois and is the third largest metropolitan area in the country. Mr. Fortmann is responsible for administration, program development, project implementation, maintenance and operations. Region One receives 45% of the State’s budget for highways. The social fabric of District 1 is very complex due to its diverse population and highly influential public officials.

Mr. John Fortmann has become highly adept at managing the complex dynamics of walking the fine line between constituents and stakeholders. He has provided leadership on two high profile projects on the Illiana and the Circle Interchange. The CEC Department is very proud that Mr. Fortmann has evolved into a real leader who brings distinction to the office he serves.

Mr. Fortmann has played a significant role in ICAT conferences over the years. A former student of Dr. Al-Khafaji, John brings a great work ethic,
dedication and commitment to planning meetings and has supported the conferences in several ways. One noteworthy example of his commitment and dedication is that he never missed a single meeting for the DBE focus group in ICAT 2014. Despite a heavy and demanding schedule, Mr. John Fortmann offered to help individuals in the DBE focus group and even hosted one of the DBE focus group events at District 1 Headquarters.

He made several suggestions and provided leadership to enhance the content of the DBE focus group agenda. Mr. Fortmann's care, thoughtfulness and loyalty are a source of pride for the CEC department. Mr. John Fortmann strongly believes in giving back to the community, a hallmark of CEC graduates. For example, since 1998 John has been riding CowaLUNGa Bike Tour, a 190-mile charity ride hosted by Respiratory Health Association of Metropolitan Chicago. He has always been an avid cyclist, but raising awareness and funds for lung disease has a particular importance to him. Funds raised by CowaLUNGa support Respiratory Health Association's research, advocacy and education efforts throughout Chicago. For John, that means research for better medications, advocacy so that children can carry their inhalers in schools, and education so that kids know how to care for their asthma.

Mr. Fortmann has joined the CEC Advisory Board and has already made several key contributions. Mr. John Fortmann's commitment to the CEC
Department and his contributions and accomplishments are a source of great pride and joy to the CEC department.

Hon. Senator David Koehler

46th District

Sen. David Koehler is State Senator, 46th District Illinois, is a small business owner and a lifelong public servant who was first elected to the Illinois senate in 2006, and won reelection in 2008 and 2012.

Even before Senator Koehler was officially appointed to the ICAT Board, Senator Koehler made many remarkable contributions to make the program successful. His leadership in bringing quality speakers and high-level government representatives is noteworthy of special recognition.

Senator Koehler was instrumental in bringing Governor Pat Quinn to the ICAT and Executive Summit over the past few years. Along with the Governor and Dr. Al-Khafaji, Senator Koehler delivered pictures to the homes of children who attended meetings with the Governor at ICAT 2012.

Senator Koehler met with the Illinois Road Builders Association to discuss Senate Bill 51 and its impact on the industry. He traveled with Dr. Al-Khafaji to meet with business leaders across the state. Sen. Koehler took the initiative to help companies with Senate Bill 51.

Senator Koehler was responsible for bringing Senate President John Cullerton to the ICAT and Executive Summit in 2012; President John Cullerton attended all three days of the ICAT and Executive Summit. Sen. Koehler was responsible for bringing Senate President John Cullerton
to the Easter Seals' Passage to India program in 2012, which raised over $250,000 for Easter Seals children in Central Illinois. Senator Koehler also brought Illinois Senate President Sen. John Cullerton to speak to our students at a standing-room only event at Bradley University.

Senator Koehler also has worked tirelessly on behalf of green industry to ensure that Illinois is at the forefront of technological innovation and responsible agricultural programs. He sponsored legislation to bring Southwind RAS, a Chicago-based asphalt-shingle recycling company, to Peoria. Southwind RAS hired one of our CE alumni as its very first employees at their Peoria branch office.

Sen. David Koehler is an outstanding community leader, who has made a difference in the lives of many. His dedication to serve the public is evident in the many initiatives he has taken over the years. Sen. Koehler’s work with ICAT and the Executive Summits, have been instrumental in creating a win-win situation for all. Senator David Koehler is most deserving of the Outstanding Leadership Award.

Mr. Chandra Prasad

President, Omega & Assoc., Inc.

A former student of Dr. Al-Khafaji, Mr. Prasad founded OMEGA in 2002 after working for some of Illinois' most respected engineering firms. OMEGA is now one of the largest Illinois-based construction engineering firms with a variety of clients. In addition, Mr. Prasad and his firm have been recognized for their achievements by the ACEC Engineering Excellence Awards, APWA, ISPE, and HACIA.

Mr. Prasad has made significant contributions to CEC over the last several years. When he learned that our computer laboratories needed significant upgrading, Mr. Prasad contributed $25,000, which helped CEC meet its immediate needs. In 2013-2014, Mr. Prasad was instrumental in CEC’s acquisition of Microstation licenses. This has allowed CEC to provide valuable opportunities for our students to learn Microstation, and prepare them to meet emerging needs of profession. These contributions are critical and very significant to our CE and Construction programs' accreditation by ABET and ACCE.

Mr. Prasad has hired many CE students as interns and as full-time employees over the past several years. His company continues to recruit our students and be a presence at career fairs. Mr. Prasad has worked closely with Dr. Al-Khafaji over the last several years and has sponsored several events at ICAT, most notably, the ICAT reception in 2014 & 2015.

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. He continues to be very active in community outreach efforts and a leader in the profession and his community. Mr. Chandra Prasad has made significant contributions to the Central Illinois Easter Seals, including the Easter Seals' Passage to India.

As an alumnus (MSCE) of the CEC Department, 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. Mr. Prasad's sustained commitment to departmental initiatives, his impacts on our students (both in hiring our graduates and in helping current students) and faculty, and his efforts to help the department meet its educational and accreditation needs, are greatly appreciated. Mr. Chandra Prasad is a richly deserving of the Outstanding Board Member Award.


Outstanding Alumnus

Outstanding Leader

Outstanding Advisory Board Member

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
Jamshid Ansari
William Sunley
Jamil Bou-Saab
Joe West
William (Bill) Cellini
Doug Oberhelman
Doug Oberhelman
Rosemarie Andolino
Roger G. Keefauver
Jim Hein
Kerry Rice
Warren Knoles
Donald Gallagher
Paul Corcoran
Bernie Koch
Timothy Docter
Cliff Baxter