Event Program        The Honorable Ray LaHood

Blu Aqua        Getting There


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

Welcoming Remarks:
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


lahoodThe 2014 recipient of the ELPC Leadership Award is The Honorable Ray LaHood.

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.


Radisson-Blu-Aqua-Hotel-Chicago-Wavy-ExteriorELPC’s 2014 Dinner & Celebration will take place inside the modern elegance of the new Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel in downtown Chicago.

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.


The Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel is located at 221 N. Columbus Drive — on Columbus between Randolph Street and South Water Street.  It is east of Michigan Avenue, north of Millennium Park, and south of the Chicago River.


Getting There By Public Transportation
Every CTA train line is within a 10-12-minute walk of the event venue:

  • Brown, Purple, Green, Pink & Orange — Use the Randolph/Wabash stop, walk east along Randolph across Michigan Avenue, and turn left on Columbus.
  • Red — Use Lake stop, walk east along Lake across Michigan Avenue, turn left on Stetson, right on South Water, and right on Columbus.
  • Blue — Use Clark/Lake stop, walk east along Lake across Michigan Avenue, turn left on Stetson, right on South Water, and right on Columbus.

Nearby bus stops, many of which are accessible from Union Station and Olgilvie Transportation Center, include:

  • Columbus (Mid) & E. Wacker — #6, #20, #26, #124, #134, #135, #136
  • Columbus (Upper) & South Water — #20
  • Columbus & Randolph — #4, #20, #60

Getting There By Taxi or Car
Blu Aqua has two valet and taxi drop-off points. Be sure go to the driveway immediately south of the hotel — not to the front entrance. A CVS pharmacy is located on the corner where you turn to enter the driveway. The hotel is offering valet service for $24 for the duration of the event. Drivers may also self-park for $20 for up to 6 hours.

How to Find Us Once You’re There
Our event will be held in the Atlantic Ballroom, located on the ground level. Registration, coat check, and restrooms are all located in the reception space just outside the ballroom.

It is best to enter the building through the driveway located immediately south of the hotel. A CVS pharmacy is located on the corner where you turn to enter the driveway.

However, if you arrive through the hotel’s front entrance, you can still reach the event space by walking through the hotel lobby, restaurant/bar area, and art gallery. ELPC and Blu Aqua staff will be available to guide you.

Download these instructions.