A Publication of WTVP

Well, if he didn’t put Peoria on the map in 2004, I promise you he will this year. The “he” I’m speaking of is Dr. Amir Al-Khafaji, chairman of the Department of Civil Engineering and Construction at Bradley University. Dr. Al-Khafaji is putting us on the worldwide map through the second International Construction Innovations Conference, which will be held right here in Peoria on October 30 and 31 at the Hotel Père Marquette.

Dr. Al-Khafaji’s vision came to fruition with the first ICIC, held in 2004. It was a huge success and the 2006 version looks to be bigger and better—if that’s possible. The mission of the ICIC is to “develop a network of business executives, policy makers, and scholars from around the globe. The objective is to promote business alliances and joint ventures, pursue basic and applied research, align and leverage new partnerships, and secure new funding sources.”

Over 30 countries will be represented in different capacities at the conference. Program topics will include Global Construction Insights by Nick Billotti, president and CEO of Turner Construction; Worldwide Innovations in Materials and Products by Mike Acott, president of National Asphalt Pavement Association; Global Market Trends by Jan Tuchman, editor of McGraw Hill’s Engineering News-Record; and other topics significant in today’s global businessplace. Six focus groups have been developed, including Rebuilding Iran, Online Construction, Egypt & Turkey Housing Projects, and Developing Countries & the Potential for Creating Wealth. Caterpillar will also hold two Ideation Sessions on Highway Construction and Building Construction.

The establishment and continuation of the ICIC conference in Peoria is significant. Prominent academics, industrial businesspeople, and policymakers from around the world will be meeting and sharing their experiences right here in Peoria. The ICIC network created by Dr. Al-Khafaji represents a partnership to build a better world. A conference of this caliber is rare, and to host it in a city the size of Peoria is unheard of. I can honestly say that no one other than Amir could’ve put it together and made it this successful. Honorary chairmen for the ICIC are Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, representing Government; Caterpillar CEO Jim Owens, representing Industry; and Bradley University President Dr. David Broski, representing Education. All are outstanding leaders in their respective fields.

Although Dr. Al-Khafaji may not be an extremely high-profile Peorian, I can tell you that government officials, business leaders, and academicians around the world know very well who he is. We’re fortunate to have a person of his caliber as a member of our community. I hope you have an opportunity to read and learn more about Amir in this month’s InterBusiness Issues Business Profile. I’d like to publicly acknowledge Amir’s efforts and thank him for bringing and retaining the ICIC here in Peoria.
Peoria is going to be presented with an opportunity to show the world what we’re all about at the end of this month, and I’m confident we’ll shine. I urge anyone interested in attending the conference to visit the ICIC web site,, for details. The capacity for the conference is 300, and it surely will be sold out. IBI