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International Construction Innovations Conference

ICIC 2006 Speakers


Mr. James Owens
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Caterpillar Inc.
Illinois, USA

After joining Caterpillar, Inc. in 1972 as a corporate economist, he has held numerous management positions in the USA, Switzerland and Indonesia.  In 2004, he was appointed chairman and chief executive officer. Owens graduated from North Carolina State University, in 1973 with a Ph.D. in economics.  He is a director of the Institute for International Economics in Washington, DC; a director of FM Global Insurance Company in Rhode Island; a director of Alcoa Inc. in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; a member of the Council on Foreign Relations in New York; a member of The Business Council, Business Roundtable and the Manufacturing Council in Washington, DC; a member of the Global Advisory Council to The Conference Board in New York, and a member of several Boards in Peoria. 


The Honorable Ray LaHood
United States Congress

Washington, DC, USA

In January of 2005, Congressman Ray LaHood began his sixth term representing the 18th District of Illinois. He serves on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and on the Appropriations Committee, the panel that oversees federal discretionary spending. On the Appropriations Committee he serves on the Agriculture Subcommittee and the Defense Subcommittee. Ray was named the 2001 “Ray A. Neumann Tri-County Citizen of the Year” by the Downtown Kiwanis Club of Peoria, in addition to several other prestigious awards. His current service activities include the Downtown Rotary Club of Peoria.

His Excellency Samir Shakir Sumaida’ie
Iraqi Ambassador to the USA
Washington DC
Baghdad, Iraq

Mr. Samir Shakir Sumaida'ie was appointed Iraq’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations in July 2004. In April 2006, he moved to Washington DC as Iraq’s first ambassador to the United States of America for sixteen years. Prior to his appointment to the U.N., Ambassador Sumaida'ie served as the Minister of Interior in Baghdad, a member of Governing Council in Iraq as the Chairman of the Media Committee and also held positions on the Security, Finance, and Foreign Relations Committees. As founding member of the Association of Iraqi Democrats and the Democratic Party of Iraq, he is widely renowned as an expert on the political climate in Iraq. Ambassador Sumaida'ie was born in Baghdad and resided there until 1960. He graduated from Durham University in the United Kingdom with a degree in Electrical Engineering in 1965. He then returned to Iraq to work with the Baghdad Electricity Board and Iraqi Petroleum Company before leaving the country in 1973.

Mr. Stephen Sandherr
Chief Executive Officer
Associated General Contractors of America (AGC)
Virginia, USA

Mr. Sandherr joined the AGC of America staff in 1984 and served various positions through 1989. He then practiced law with the firm of Thompson, Mann & Hudson in Washington, DC, and served as Labor and Small Business Counsel for the National Association of Home Builders. He rejoined AGC in 1991 as Executive Director of Congressional Relations and was promoted to Chief Executive Officer in 1997. As CEO, his role is to maintain relations with AGC’s 100 chapters nationwide, coordinate legislative activities and enhance AGC’s involvement with business coalitions. Mr. Sandherr is a 1980 graduate of the University of Scranton, Pennsylvania, with a B.S. in Political Science. He earned his law degree from The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC in 1983, and is a member of the Bar of the District of Columbia.
Tuchman Ms. Jan Tuchman, Moderator
Engineering News Record at McGraw Hill
New York, USA

As editor-in-chief, Ms. Tuchman directs the editorial operations of the Engineering News-Record (ENR) family of real-time news products--online, in print and in person at events. She works on strategic planning and develops new editorial products, projects and issues. In 2002, she became only the sixth woman to be elected to membership in “The Moles,” a prestigious heavy-construction industry leaders organization. She also serves on the Industry Advisory Committee of the Department of Civil Engineering at Columbia University. She co-authored a book on Exposed Structure in Building Design and won McGraw-Hill Corporate Achievement Awards for Information Technology and Editorial Excellence. Tuchman earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in journalism from the University of Colorado in Boulder.
Mr. Nick Billotti
President and CEO
Turner Construction - International
New York, USA

Mr. Billotti is President and Chief Executive Officer of Turner Construction - International LLC, the overseas division of Turner Construction Company. Internationally, Turner offers the services in Program Management, Project Management, Construction Management and Construction Consulting. After joining the company in 1978, Mr. Billotti has built a very successful business unit with current assignments in 15 countries in Africa, Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East. Presently, Turner manages over 50 international projects of more than 8.2 million square meters in building area and with a value of over US $12.2 billion. He holds a bachelor's and master's degree in urban administration from the State University of New York at Brockport.
Mr. Ibrahim Mahlab
Chairman & CEO
The Arab Contractors
Cairo, Egypt

This is one of the largest construction companies in the Middle east with more than 66,000 skilled employees. The Arab Contractors is a public company but operates on private principles. It has a long string of high-profile projects to its credit: the Aswan High Dam in 1961, the Sues Canal Bridge in 2001 and the recently completed Bibliotheca Alexandria, just to name a few. The Engineering News Record ranks them among the top 100 international contractors. The company is engaged in a wide range of projects including power stations, industrial plants, agricultural projects, public buildings, roads and bridges, water and wastewater.
Dr. Amr Salama
Former Minister of Education & HBRC Chairman
Ministry of Housing, Utilities & Urban Communities
Cairo, Egypt

In a presidential decree issued on July 13, President Hosni Mubarak approved the formation of the new Egyptian government chaired by the Prime Minister, Ahmad Nazif. Dr. Salama, former president of Helwan University, is appointed as the country's new minister for higher education and scientific research. He is a professor of Civil Engineering, and chaired the University's Centre for Technology Development. He is keen to encourage the private sector to invest in science and technology projects, to promote closer research ties between universities and industry, and to promote a greater public understanding of science. He also intends to focus on issues such as bio-safety and intellectual property rights. Another one of his top priorities is to enhance the country's scientific infrastructure in a way that makes it a more attractive place to carry out research, and thus reduce the nation's brain drain.

Mr. James G. Toscas
President, Precast / Prestressed Concrete Institute (PCI) 
Illinois, USA 

Mr. Toscas has over 30 years of management and professional experience. Drawing upon a diverse career that includes roles as chief executive, manager, consultant, engineer, instructor, and diplomat, he has created, led, restructured, and improved organizations in the commercial, not-for-profit, and governmental sectors. He is trained in advanced organizational methods for performance system analysis, human behavior, and media communications. An accomplished public communicator, he has conducted over 300 interviews, speeches, lectures, and debates, including radio and television appearances. He received a B.A. degree in physics from the University of Chicago and a M.S. degree in nuclear engineering from the University of Illinois. He is a registered Professional Engineer in Illinois.

Dr. Mustafa Alshawi
Professor of Management & IT in Construction 
University of Salford
Salford, United Kingdom

He is the Director of the Construction IT Research Centre at the School of Construction and Property Management. He holds many international advisory posts in various countries and is a consultant to the World Bank. He is also the Editor in Chief of the international journal of “Construction Innovation: Information, Process and Management” and the author of more than 100 publications in fields such as construction integrated computer environments, databases, object oriented databases, IT strategies, CAD, planning automation and IS success factors.

Mr. Gregory Suhajda
Managing Director
Veritas Global LLC
Michigan, USA

Mr. Suhajda was involved in various aspects of US government security, some of which were international in scope. Through his various assignments, he has developed and maintained substantial relationships throughout the United States, Europe, the Middle East and the Caribbean. Currently he is the managing director of Veritas Global LLC, a company that offers a full range of investigative, commercial intelligence, technical and security services. Veritas brings together the skills, experience and global reach necessary to address the range of information and risk management concerns confronting the business world.

Mr. Carl Robertus
BP Bitumen
Global Technology Manager
Llandarcy, United Kingdom

BP is one of Britain's biggest companies and one of the world's largest oil and petrochemicals groups. In the company's first six decades, its prime focus lay in the Middle East. But from the late 1960s the centre of gravity shifted westwards, towards the USA and Britain. However, the BP of today is an international company, having operations in over 70 countries. Its key strengths are in oil and gas exploration and production; the refining, marketing and supply of petroleum products; and the manufacturing and marketing of chemicals. It supports all its businesses with high quality research and technology.

  Mr. Mark Bunch
BP Bitumen
US Technical Marketing Development Manager
Indiana, USA

BP is one of Britain's biggest companies and one of the world's largest oil and petrochemicals groups. In the company's first six decades, its prime focus lay in the Middle East. But from the late 1960s the centre of gravity shifted westwards, towards the USA and Britain. However, the BP of today is an international company, having operations in over 70 countries. Its key strengths are in oil and gas exploration and production; the refining, marketing and supply of petroleum products; and the manufacturing and marketing of chemicals. It supports all its businesses with high quality research and technology.


Mr. Mike Acott
National Asphalt Pavement Association (NAPA)
Maryland, USA

Mike Acott is the President of the National Asphalt Pavement Association (NAPA), the national trade association for hot-mix asphalt (HMA) producers and paving contractors. Mike has helped launch national initiatives on perpetual pavements, stone matrix asphalt, large stone mixtures, field management, and rubblizing and helped create the strategic partnership between NAPA, the Asphalt Institute, and the State Asphalt Pavement Associations known as the Asphalt Pavement Alliance. Mike has encouraged proactive strategies that included initiatives on engineering controls for pavers, odor and emission reductions, Diamond Achievement Commendation for plants/sites, warm mix, and the development of best practice guidelines.
Dr. Takechiho Tabata
Managing Director
Kansai International Airport Land Development Co., Ltd.
Osaka, Japan

Currently, as a Chief Engineer, Dr. Tabata is in charge of the Second Island Construction Project of Kansai International Airport, which is one of the largest and most challenging projects handling 250 million m3 soils for deep-sea reclamation. The budget for the project is over US$900 billion. He holds Master and Doctor degrees from Osaka University. He has been a Fellow and Executive Professional Civil Engineer of Japan Society of Civil Engineers (JSCE). As a civil engineer, he has worked for the Port and Harbor Bureau of Ministry of Transport in Japan for 28 years. During his carrier, he held many prestigious positions such as a Managing Director of Port Construction Office and Port Design and Investigation Office. Moreover, he has filled an important role in the technology department of the Port and Harbor Bureau as a Director.


Mr. Benjamin Tang
Principal Bridge Engineer/Team Leader   Federal Highway Administration Technology  
Washington, D.C., USA

Mr. Tang is the Principal Bridge Engineer and Team Leader for the group on long span, major bridges and tunnels in the Office of Bridge Technology under the U.S. Department of Transportation, FHWA, in Washington, D.C. He has been involved in the Federal Government service for 31 years. He achieved his Master’s Degree in Structural Engineering from University of Illinois, and serves on several technical committees on the Transportation Research Board, AASHTO and private industry (ACI, PCI, PTI). He is a technical expert and review authority for all bridge and structural matters for the Federal-aid bridge program. Mr. Tang is responsible for drafting Federal polices and regulations and championing the use of innovative bridge technologies.

Dr. T. Peter Ruane
President and CEO
American Road and Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA)
Washington, DC, USA

Pete is the President and CEO of ARTBA, a 104-year old national federation of public and private transportation construction interests with over 5,000 members. He has over 35 years of experience in economic development, transportation and construction fields. Prior to joining ARTBA, he served as President/CEO of the National Moving & Storage Association and Deputy Director of the Office of Economic Adjustment, the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the President’s Economic Adjustment Committee. He received numerous awards, including the top two government-wide management awards made available to a young federal executive. He is a graduate of Loyola College of Baltimore, holds a maters degree from Pennsylvania State University and a doctorate from George Washington University.

Brettel Mr. Peter Brettell
Senior Vice President
Jacobs Engineering Group
Virginia, USA

Mr. Brettel has worked on various acquired subsidiaries, for over 30 years including a period of 10 years in Africa. Since 1987 he has been involved in the extensive privatization by the UK Government of various assets in the rail and highway industries as well as many projects in Europe and Asia. As Managing Director of GIBB Ltd he was responsible for the firm’s involvement as a provider of engineering, forecasting and analysis to banks, contractors, equity providers and special purpose vehicles as well as to the relevant government departments. Since 2003 he has been based in Washington, DC with responsibility for the integration of expertise from around the world in to the USA PPP infrastructure market with particular emphasis on the CDA program in Texas.
The Honorable Senator Risinger, Moderator
State Senator
Illinois, USA

Senator Risinger has served on the 37th District of the State of Illinois since 2002. During this time, he served on various committees including Local Government, Transportation, Subcommittee on Amendments, Subcommittee Traffic Safety, Subcommittee on Railroad Safety, and Environment & Energy Committee as the Minority Spokesperson. Prior to joining the Senate, he worked with the Illinois Department of Transportation for 37 years and with Clark Engineers, Inc for a five-year period. He holds a Bachelors of Science degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Illinois.

  Ms. Deb Ferner
Marketing Strategy Manager
Caterpillar, Inc.
Beijing, China

Ms. Ferner has been employed with Caterpillar, Inc. for approximately 25 years.  Currently, she is the Marketing Strategy Manager of the Marketing and Product Support Division at Caterpillar, Inc. in Beijing, China.  She is a respected leader with significant insights into the global market.  She is a much sought after guest speaker and devotes time to lecturing students on what real-life leadership practices mean and how to apply these to their lives and careers.  In October 2006, she will be involved in a teleconference from China on International Experience and Leadership Opportunities. 
  Mr. Jiri Petr
Core & Large Marketing Manager
Phoneix-Zeppelin SPOL.S.R.O.
Prague, Czech Republic

Mr. Jiri Petr is the Core & Large Marketing Manager of Phoenix-Zeppelin, SPOL. S.R.O; the exclusive supplier of Caterpillar machines for construction, road and ground work in the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic. Phoenix-Zeppelin is also a supplier of Weber minor mechanization, backup energy systems of the firm's own conception with the use of Caterpillar and Active Power components, Caterpillar construction engines, Hyster handling technology and AGCO-Challenger agricultural technology. It is a part of the Zeppelin group, operating in many Central and Eastern Europe countries. At the present time, the company has approximately 250 employees and its turnover was almost 140 million USD in 2004.

Dr. Riadh Al-Mahaidi
Head of Structures Group, Civil Engineering, Monash University
Victoria, Australia

In the majority of his 27-year professional career, Dr. Al-Mahaidi was engaged in the discipline of structural engineering applied to civil infrastructure assessment, rehabilitation and maintenance. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Baghdad, and MS and Ph.D. degrees from Cornell University. His research profile is internationally recognized through significant research contributions to the field of development and application of nonlinear finite element models for concrete structures and strength assessment and rehabilitation of civil infrastructure. Dr. Al-Mahaidi published over 150 papers in international, regional and national conferences and international journals, the latter in journals that are of the highest international standing in the structural engineering field.

Dr. Sami H. Rizkalla
Distinguished Professor of Civil Engineering & Construction
North Carolina State University North Carolina, USA 

Dr. Rizkalla is a Distinguished Professor of Civil Engineering and Construction and the Director of the Constructed Facilities Laboratory at North Carolina State University. He is an elected Fellow ACI; ASCE; CSCE;EIC and IIFC. He is currently Director of the NSF I/UCRC – Repair of Buildings and Bridges with Composites at North Carolina State University. He is the current Chair of PCI committee on FRP and is the immediate past Chair of ACI Committee 440 “FRP Reinforcements; Regional Editor, Elsevier Science “Construction and Building Materials” Journal; Member, Editorial Board, ASCE “Composite for Construction” Journal; Member, Advisory Board, Journal of Advanced Concrete Technology, Japan.
Dr. Miroslaw J. Skibniewski
A. James Clark Endowed Chair Professor of Project Management
University of Maryland
Maryland, USA

Dr. Skibniewski received his M.Eng. degree from Warsaw University of Technology, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Carnegie-Mellon University. Prof. Skibniewski is also a graduate of the Harvard University Graduate School of Education Management Development Program. Prior to his academic career, he worked in the industry as an engineer with the Pittsburgh Testing Laboratory, later renamed to Professional Service Industries, Inc. - a construction engineering consulting firm, where he was in engaged in design quality reviews, construction related claims, value engineering, forensic engineering and industrial safety investigations. As a researcher and educator, Professor Skibniewski currently specializes in e-commerce technology applications to engineering project management for construction and in construction automation.


Mr. Renato Pimentel
Construction General Manager
Sotreq S.S.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Mr. Pimentel received an Industrial Engineering bachelor's degree from the Federal University in Rio de Janeiro and a Business degree from the State University in Rio de Janeiro.  In 2000, he participated in the merger of the two largest dealers in Brazil.  Sotreq is now Caterpillar's largest dealer in Brazil with revenues of US $1 billion in 2006.  The company is active in the General Construction, Minim, Power Systems and Forestry segments amongst others.  In 2001, he was named Marketing Director for Machine & Parts with responsibilities for defining product strategies.  In 2005, he was appointed COO of Sotreq Construction Market. 


Ms. Rosie Andolino
Executive Director, O’Hare Modernization Program
Illinois, USA

Ms. Andolino oversee the upgrading and expansion of the “World’s Busiest Airport,” O’Hare International Airport. This O’Hare Modernization $6.8 Billion Program is one of the largest in the world and will reconfigure the airport’s existing intersecting runway configuration into a modern parallel runway structure, thereby increasing efficiency. When fully implemented, the Program will reduce overall delays at the airport by 79 percent, and inclement weather delays by 95 percent, saving an estimated $370 million for the airline industry and $380 million for its customers. It is expected to create 195,000 jobs and generate an additional $18 billion in annual economic activity.

Mr. Dean Potts
Advance Design Engineering Mgr
Caterpillar Paving
Minnesota, USA

Mr. Potts is the Engineering Manager for the Advanced Design Group at Caterpillar Global Paving, a division of Caterpillar Inc. Since joining the company in 1995 he has also held positions as Project Engineer, Senior Project Engineer and Engineering Supervisor. His primary area of responsibility has been the design of static, vibratory and pneumatic compaction equipment and more recently has been involved with pavers, mills, reclaimers and other road maintenance equipment. Dean graduated from North Dakota State University in 1981 with a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Engineering. Dean is the holder of 5 patents and has been part of a team that is “Imagineering” the equipment Caterpillar will need to build to delight paving contractors in the future.

Mr. James Gill, Jr., Moderator
President and CEO
Iron Mount Corporation
Alabama, USA

Mr. Gill is the President and CEO of Iron Mount Corporation, a company serving the steel industry with patented technology and offering environmental remediation services. He holds a Jurist Doctorate degree from Loyola University, New Orleans and a degree in Business from Louisiana State University. Before joining Iron Mount Corp., he held the Contractors Educational Trust Fund (CETF) Endowed Chair, Principal and Professor positions at Louisiana State University. Over the past 45 years, Mr. Gill has been a construction trade association executive, a CEO and officer of construction firms contractor, specializing in international contracts. He has recently received national awards from the American Institute of Constructors and the Associated General Contractors Educational & Research Foundation