5:30 – 6:30 p.m. — Networking Reception
Join business, environmental, clean energy and transportation, political and policy leaders for networking over drinks and hors d’oeuvres.
6:30 – 8:15 p.m. – Dinner and Program
Nancy C. Loeb, ELPC Board Chair
Advancing Policy and Business Solutions for a Sustainable Future:
Howard A. Learner, ELPC Executive Director
ELPC Leadership Award:
The Honorable Ray LaHood, former U.S. Secretary of Transportation
ELPC is honoring Secretary LaHood for his leadership on advancing Midwest high-speed rail, clean car standards, innovative technologies and sustainable infrastructure investments for our nation.
8:15 – 9:00 p.m. – Dessert Reception
During his extensive public service career, Mr. LaHood provided bipartisan leadership on advancing President Obama’s High-Speed Rail Vision for America – and the Midwest High-Speed Rail Network in particular – as well as achieving more stringent fuel efficiency requirements from automakers. He has been a passionate advocate for funding sustainable infrastructure projects that support improvements to our railways, highways and bridges.
Mr. LaHood served as U.S. Secretary of Transportation in President Obama’s cabinet from 2009-2013. He also served seven terms in Congress as the Republican representative from the 18th District of Illinois from 1995-2009. During that time, he served on both the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee as well as the powerful House Appropriations Committee, which controls the DOT’s budget, for several years.
Prior to his time in Washington, Mr. LaHood served one term in the Illinois State House, staffed Members of Congress, served in planning and youth services roles, and was a school teacher. He is a native of the Peoria, Ill., area, where he attended college at Bradley University and continues to reside with his wife, Kathy. The LaHoods raised four children and now enjoy their 11 grandchildren.
Since retiring from public service, Mr. LaHood has served as a senior policy advisor for the law firm DLA Piper.
Blu Aqua is an architectural marvel that features irregularly-shaped, wave-like concrete balconies that lend the façade an undulating, sculptural quality. Designed by the acclaimed Jeanne Gang, it was the largest project ever awarded to an American firm headed by a woman – and it was Ms. Gang’s first skyscraper.
Located just west of Lake Michigan (on Upper Columbus Drive, near Lake Street), Ms. Gang says the design was inspired by the striated limestone outcroppings that are a common topographic feature of the Great Lakes region.
The water theme extends beyond the exterior design and name – the LEED Silver certified building includes a rainwater collection system as well as other sustainable features like energy-efficient lighting, an 80,000-square-foot green roof with native plants, and an extensive recycling program. During construction, the hotel ensured that more than 92% of all construction waste was recycled, and day-to-day operations boast a 20% reduction in water use, 31% reduction in lighting power, zero use of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), and 100% low-VOC materials use.
Inside, the Blu Aqua continues to stun with both sleek and textured elements that exist in perfect harmony. Weathered steel, polished gray concrete, and reclaimed bricks – a nod to Chicago’s industrial past – dovetail with a strikingly modern wall-to-wall gas fireplace embedded in a screen of interconnected Egyptian brass medallions.
The 12,000-foot ballroom – where ELPC guests will enjoy local food, beer and wine throughout the evening’s program – features dramatic LED lighting and a gorgeous view of Lake Michigan, Millennium Park and the Michigan Avenue skyline.