Teaming up: Reel, Kastania join ICT

1/23/2023 McCall Macomber and Kent Reel

Illinois Center for Transportation is pleased to announce two new staff members — Kent Reel and Paulina Kastania — both of whom joined in January.

Kent Reel

Reel, an outreach specialist, will coordinate ICT’s industry training courses and Kent Seminar series as well as assist the center’s research and outreach communication efforts.

Prior to ICT, he worked in a variety of communication and advancement roles at the University of Illinois as well as at an academic publishing company.

Reel, who holds a bachelor’s in English from Eastern Illinois University, is excited to “contribute to the success of ICT.”

What excites him most?

“I find the collaboration between IDOT and the U of I very interesting, in that ICT enables both organizations to optimize their resources and develop/implement technology and solutions that improve all manner of transportation-related issues,” Reel said.

For Reel, the close collaboration between staff, students and researchers is an extra perk.

“I appreciate that ICT collaborates with so many researchers on campus and outside of campus, yet maintains the feeling of close family with engineers, academics, students and staff (and a complete working laboratory) all on one site,” Reel said.

“The staff and students at ICT have been incredibly welcoming and supportive!” he added.

When he’s not working, you can find Kent reading history books, running or playing tennis, or working on a range of projects from sign making, guitar kitbashing to woodworking.

Paulina Kastania

Kastania, an outreach coordinator, is responsible for expanding ICT’s outreach efforts and strengthening relationships between ICT and outside agencies.

Her day-to-day duties involve coordinating the annual Illinois Bituminous Conference and working closely with ICT director Imad Al-Qadi.

A native of Greece, Kastania received a bachelor’s in agricultural economics and rural development along with an MBA in agribusiness from the Agricultural University of Athens. Before to moving to the U.S., Kastania was the owner of a start-up construction company in Greece.

Kastania also earned a master’s in finance with a minor in accounting from the University of Illinois’ Gies College of Business, where she worked prior to joining ICT.

“My goals with ICT are to document, organize and execute my responsibilities effectively and efficiently, as well as to get to know my colleagues and contribute to the ICT team,” Kastania said. 

Outside of work, Kastania enjoys puzzles, sketching superheroes and reading comic anthologies. She collects statues, primarily from the DC Comics Batman Black & White line.

When these activities aren’t occupying her time, Kastania also enjoys movies based on true stories and going to the gym, with boxing and other martial arts being a favorite form of exercise.