Shiny shovel

Shiny shovel

Jan 24
K.C. Ting, Head, Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering

I attended the annual banquet of Illinois Land Improvement Contractors of America (ILICA) in Springfield, Ill., on January 12. There I had the distinct pleasure of accepting, on behalf of the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering (ABE), this year’s ILICA Shiny Shovel award.

The award was given in recognition of the long-term and very productive partnership between ILICA and ABE. The partnership was initiated more than 40 years ago by Professor Ralph Hay, and our collaborative relationship has only continued to strengthen. In recent years, Professors Kent Mitchell and Richard Cooke have been very active in assisting ILICA in the development and delivery of educational programs for its members.

Barry Dickerson, Senior Director of the College of ACES Office of Advancement was also in attendance. Dickerson has been very effective in working with ILICA in advancing the goals of the College of ACES. ILICA has been a major contributor to the teaching, research, and extension programs in ACES. Their members have donated a large amount of expertise, equipment use, and operation/material costs to construct research and training field sites for ABE, as well as make landscape improvements on the ACES campus. 

The invitation to this year’s ILICA annual banquet was already a real treat for me. The warm hospitality of the hosts and the delightful conversation at the dinner table were most enjoyable. Throughout the evening, it was obvious ILICA and the U of I consider their strong relationship a mutually beneficial experience they plan to continue.

I did not know I was going to receive the Shiny Shovel Award until the chair of the award committee called me to approach the podium after the dinner. When I returned to my table with the award, my ILICA friends asked me with a smile, “Were you surprised?” At that moment, I realized I was immersed in a shiny example of great university-industry partnership.