The National Organization of Minority Engineers (NOME) has presented Illinois Tollway Executive Director Greg Bedalov with its 2017 Champion Award.
NOME presents the award to recognize leadership in the government or corporate community “that exemplifies providing access and advocacy for the advancement of small, minority and women-owned and operated engineering firms within the architectural, engineering and construction community.”
“Bedalov’s leadership, vision and decisive actions to promote inclusion and opportunities for minority businesses to grow and thrive make him a worthy recipient of our Champion Award,” says NOME President and Founder Michael Sutton. “His efforts as executive director of the Illinois Tollway have led to the creation of a more robust diversity program that should serve as a model for other state and national agencies to follow.”
The Illinois Tollway reports Bedalov has led the organization in building up on “the success of its diversity program by expanding existing programs and launching new initiatives to provide greater opportunities for small, diverse and veteran firms, as well as underemployed individuals.”
“The Tollway is committed to advancing our diversity program and breaking down barriers to make sure everyone has access to opportunities,” says Bedalov. “We make diversity part of everything we do, so it’s an honor to be recognized as a champion.”
This year the agency increased funding for its Department of Diversity and Strategic Development to $4 million from $2.6 million in 2016 to expand technical assistance to small, diverse and veteran-owned firms.
In 2015, Bedalov also created a Diversity Advisory Council to “gain outside perspectives on how the agency could further build upon its established foundation of inclusion.” It is made up of representatives of “advocacy agencies” with a history of helping DBE businesses and underemployed individuals in the Chicago region.