Illinois Sustainable Technology Center - University of Illinois

banner advertising the award winners and link to winners page; text reads: Nov 01 Union League Club of Chicago; The Illinois Governor's Sustainability Awards; America's oldest state award for sustainabile business; 2016 Winners

The Awards Ceremony

The Illinois Governor's Sustainability Awards Ceremony is the premier sustainability event in Illinois, bringing together industry, business, communities, and education and non-government organizations to recognize their significant state-wide impact on our environment, society, and economy.

close up view of glass awards trophy

Thank You for Joining Us!
30th Annual Illinois Governor’s Sustainability Awards
November 1, 2016
Union League Club
65 W. Jackson Street
Chicago, IL

About the Awards Ceremony

The 2016 program includes a morning technical session, industry-leading keynotes, luncheon and presentation of the awards, celebrating the 30th annual presentation of this pre-eminent environmental award.


The day begins with a technical symposium, highlighting leading national and Illinois experts, focusing on emerging technologies that feature economic opportunities addressing carbon emissions, biofuels, and water quality. Exhibitors from companies and organizations throughout the state provide an opportunity to network and learn more about services, products, and sustainable processes. Many opportunities for networking and connecting with attendees are provided throughout the day.


The Afternoon is the pinnacle of the day, announcing the Illinois Governor's Sustainability Award Winners. After lunch, a nationally-recognized keynote speaker will engage attendees and finalists with an important sustainability topic in our state. ISTC then announces the Award winners, presenting each winner individually with their Award and a highlight of their sustainability initiatives. The afternoon provides guests with the a opportunity to learn about sustainability initiatives of companies, communities, and organizations throughout Illinois, share information and best practices and network amongst some of the sustainable best of the best in Illinois.

We encourage you to attend the Ceremony for the entire day, but options are available to attend for just the Morning or Afternoon Sessions.

Read more about Previous Ceremonies here!

2016 Governor's Sustainability Awards Schedule

Registration & Exhibitor Setup

8:00am: Exhibitor Setup

8:30am: Continental Breakfast & Registration

Technical Symposium

Moderator: Debra Jacobson - Senior Operations Manager, Illinois Sustainable Technology Center

9:00am: Morning Keynote Address: How Good Companies Become Great through Multidisciplinary Sustainability Collaboration
Speaker: John Bradburn - Global Waste Reduction Manager, General Motors

As the global business climate evolves, corporate social responsibility is becoming increasingly important. Today, communities, customers and other stakeholders look upon business to create sustainable products and services that not only meet economic, social and environmental needs of today, but the future as well.

This presentation discusses methods for implementing programs that impact many aspects of sustainable development. Projects and programs that demonstrate how to address local, regional and global challenges will be discussed, that can be deployed to improve any company’s bottom line and benefit society at the same time. This is how good companies become great. They inspire creativity and selflessly work on a multidisciplinary basis with communities and organizations to benefit all.

10:00am: Exhibitor/Coffee Break

10:30am: Emerging Technologies and Research Surrounding Climate and Society

One of the major challenges to the state of Illinois is the drive to reduce CO2 emissions, especially the emissions of coal-fired power plants as outlined in the EPA’s Clean Power Plan. Illinois has one of the lowest utility rates in the nation – but the reduction / elimination of coal-fired plants could result in a significant increase in utility rates. Illinois is also a state whose economy is tied to heavy manufacturing. Rate increases can significantly impact the cost of operations and viability of heavy manufacturers within the state.

A solution to this conundrum is to capture the carbon (CO2) emitted from power plants and utilize it, i.e. monetize the carbon. The University of Illinois / Prairie Research Institute / Illinois Sustainable Technology Center is building a market for captured CO2 within the state of Illinois. We are recruiting partners within the value chain that produce and use CO2. The first step in this process is a large pilot scale project being conducted at the University of Illinois to capture the CO2 emitted from the Abbott Power Plant. This $75 Million project, partially supported by the US Department of Energy, is an example of a public / private partnership to fund the design, build, and operation of the capture facility. We have assembled a team of industrial partners that includes Linde, BASF, Affiliated Engineers, and ACS. This is the first step in the formation of a Center for CO2 Utilization and Reduction. This Center is designed to drive economic impact for both the state and the region.

Algae are a diverse grouping of aquatic plants responsible for about half of the primary biomass production on earth, keeping the favorable balance of oxygen over carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and governing the cycling of nutrients in surface waters, which plays a major role in eutrophication and hypoxia problems. Given the prominent position of algae at the nexus of biomass, water, and air, it makes sense to try and harness the power of algae to address complex and intertwined environmental issues. This presentation will review recent work at the University of Illinois and elsewhere focused on developing engineered algal systems that can simultaneously provide nutrient removal from wastewaters, capture carbon dioxide, and produce large amounts of biofuel feedstocks. Modeling of an optimized system based our experimental results, suggests that this innovative approach can potentially produce enough biofuels to replace all US petroleum imports with the primary inputs being current wastes or residual side-streams. This presentation will include current and ongoing efforts to upscale algal wastewater treatment systems in Illinois, and a recently proposed $34 million public-private partnership in the Chicago area to demonstrate leading-edge technology for the conversion of wastewater biosolids to biofuels.

11:45am: Exhibitor/Coffee Break

Awards Ceremony

12:00pm: Luncheon

1:00pm: Award Ceremony
Moderator: Richard Winkel - Director of Policy, Prairie Research Institute

Kevin O'Brien - Director, Illinois Sustainable Technology Center
Welcome Remarks and Introduction

Mark Ryan - Executive Director, Prairie Research Institute

Keynote Address: Sustainability within Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company
Speaker: Kim Frankovich - Global Sustainability Director, Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company, a subsidiary of Mars, Inc.
With operations in approximately 50 countries and distribution in more than 180 countries, Wrigley's brands bring smiles to faces around the globe. The company is headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, employs approximately 17,000 associates globally, and operates as a subsidiary of Mars, Incorporated. Ms. Frankovich will discuss the Mars Company approach to sustainability and then how it is implemented in Wrigley North America with a focus on their factories in Illinois and their global headquarters in Chicago.

Remarks from Governor Bruce Rauner (Invited)

2:00pm: Presentation of the Governor’s Sustainability Awards

Kevin O'Brien - Director, Illinois Sustainable Technology Center

Governor Bruce Rauner

3:00pm: Adjourn: Photo Session & Networking

Exhibiting at the Awards Ceremony

Support a 30-year legacy of leadership of public and private organizations who have implemented outstanding and innovative sustainable techniques or technologies, demonstrating a commitment to sustaining our environment and contributing to the growth of a more sustainable Illinois economy.

By exhibiting at the Illinois Governor's Sustainability Awards Ceremony, your company will be visible to some of the largest, most impactful companies and organizations in Illinois who are committed to sustainability.

The Awards Ceremony has dedicated quality time for attendees to visit exhibits and learn about sponsors, including all morning and afternoon breaks. From networking with top companies, manufacturers, cities, educational institutions and business owners, to print and online recognition, the benefits of exhibiting at this year's Ceremony are vast.

Download the Exhibitor Information Sheet for more information on exhibiting at the Awards Ceremony. For more information or any questions, please contact Irene Zlevor at

We hope that you can join us and be a part of this longstanding tradition of sustainability excellence.

*** Award Finalists have an opportunity to Exhibit at the Awards Ceremony at no charge.

Support the Awards

Consider a sponsorship of the 2016 Illinois Governor’s Sustainability Award Ceremony! Continue the 30 year legacy of leadership demonstrated by organizations committed to the environment and the growth of a more sustainable Illinois economy. Sponsorship opportunities are available and offer a multitude of benefits and exposure for your organization.

Become a Sponsor button

2016 Awards Ceremony Sponsors

Media Sponsor

Chicago Business logo and link to their website

Sustaining Sponsor

Sloan Valve Company logo and link to their website

Supporting Sponsors

DQI Inc logo and link to their websiteEarth Friendly Products logo and link to their websiteMarathon Petroleium Corporation logo and link to their website

Friends of the Awards

Christopher B. Burke Engineering, Ltd logo and link to their websiteIllinois Environmental Regulatory Group logo and link to their websiteWinergy group logo and link to their website

Illinois Sustainable Technology Center

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