Al-Qadi receives Executive Officer Distinguished Leadership Award

6/3/2024 McCall Macomber

Imad Al-Qadi receives the Executive Officer Distinguished Leadership Award from John Coleman, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Provost.
Imad Al-Qadi receives the Executive Officer Distinguished Leadership Award from John Coleman, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Provost.

Imad Al-Qadi, Illinois Center for Transportation director and CEE Grainger Distinguished Chair in Engineering, received the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign’s Executive Officer Distinguished Leadership Award on May 14.

The award recognizes outstanding academic leadership and vision by an executive officer within a college or campus unit.

Al-Qadi joined the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering as a professor in 2004 and founded the Illinois Center for Transportation in 2005.

His vision as ICT director includes the expansion of the research center, which he has helped grow from a research budget of approximately $8 million to $47 million for the ICT and Illinois Department of Transportation research partnership, to create a safe, equitable and sustainable transportation network.

He has been instrumental in developing ICT’s strong partnerships with public and private entities, including the Illinois Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, Federal Aviation Administration and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, among others.

Al-Qadi is also leading the effort to build the net-zero emission Illinois Autonomous and Connected Track, a high-speed test track designed for next-generation connected and autonomous vehicles.

I-ACT will position the University of Illinois as a leader in transforming the transportation industry by supporting the real-world development and testing of connected, autonomous and multimodal transport.

As a researcher, Al-Qadi’s work has had a lasting impact in the areas of pavement engineering and transportation sustainability.

His work has led to the development of standards, analytics and technologies that continue to shape the evolution and advancement of safe, resilient and sustainable transportation systems.

Jeffery Roesler, Ernest Barenberg Professor in CEE, introduced Al-Qadi at the reception, sharing his thoughts on what makes Al-Qadi a great leader.

“I’ve been fortunate to have a front-row seat to his exemplary leadership, seeing his visions, efforts and ideas coming to reality,” Roesler said. “Imad thinks big and couple that with his technical expertise, vision, passion, continuous learning attitude and persistence, and big things happen!”

Al-Qadi credits his success to his family, ICT community and students.

“There are two roles that I cherish most in my life — one is being a father and husband and one is being a teacher,” Al-Qadi said. “For my family at ICT, it is because of you that I proudly accept this award today.”

“It is a distinct privilege to be acknowledged by some of the hardest working and brightest individuals that I know — without whom none of the tremendous success that we have seen at ICT would be possible — and I would like them to know how grateful I am to them for their acknowledgement and for their devotion to our mission at ICT and creating a cohesive, committed and engaging team,” he added.

His full speech is available here.

The Office of the Provost also recognized the following 2024 award recipients:

  • Excellence in Faculty Mentoring Award: Bill King, Ralph A. Andersen Endowed Chair and mechanical science and engineering professor
  • Executive Officer Distinguished Leadership Award: Nancy Amato, Abel Bliss Professor and department head of computer science
  • Outstanding Faculty Leadership Award: Kathryn Clancy, anthropology professor
Al-Qadi smiles with his family at the award ceremony on May 14.
Al-Qadi smiles with his family at the award ceremony on May 14.