On October 19, the Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition (ICJC) and the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce celebrated clean energy as they came together to co-host the second annual Illinois Clean Energy Champion Awards (CECA). This event, which aims to recognize Illinois-based companies, nonprofit organizations and governmental units that are working to help make Illinois a national leader in clean energy, showcases the best of the collaborative spirit between business, energy and environmental communities that is needed to tackle the global climate crisis and facilitate a just transition to a clean energy economy.
Attendees at the 2023 CECA event. Credit: ICJC
Winners of this year’s CECA were announced in five categories:
1. Nonprofit/Government: IBEW Renewable Energy Fund
2. Large Business: LiveWire Construction
3. Breakthrough Business: Sesenergi Eco Solutions Enterprise
4. Technology and Innovation: SunPower by Sun N Us
5. Small Business: Trajectory Energy Partners
This year, 45 CECA applications were reviewed by a diverse panel of 15 judges comprised of leaders from Illinois’ sustainability workforce, including: Andrew Wells (Chicago Urban League), Anna Stephens (ClimatePartner), Arlinda Bajrami (Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance), Becky Goldberg (Illinois Science and Technology Coalition), Erin LaVoie (Illinois for Resource Innovations), Haven Allen (mHub), Jay Rowell (HIRE360), Kelly Evans (Chicago Urban League), Kalindi Parikh (Current), Kristin Jacobson Flex (Illinois Central College), MeLena Hessel (Elevate), Michelle Lauterbach (ClimatePartner), Olantunji Oboi Reed (Equiticity Racial Equity Movement), Samarth Medakkar (Advanced Energy United) and Uzma Noormohamed (Illinois Science and Energy Innovation Foundation).
What makes this event unique is that it recognizes companies and organizations that are working to create and retain good paying clean energy jobs in communities that have historically been – and often remain – left out of economic opportunities and community investments. CECA also highlights the success of businesses and organizations that have directly benefited from the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act (CEJA) – Illinois’ nation-leading climate action plan that sets the state on a path to 100% clean energy by 2050, while also making significant equity- and community-focused investments to empower a diverse clean energy workforce.
Members of the 2023 CECA Planning Committee from left to right, Emily Cooper (Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce), Becky Goldberg (Illinois Science & Technology Coalition), Aviva Bowen (The Strategy Group), Christian Koch (Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance), Peter Giangreco (The Strategy Group) and Kate Calabra (Illinois Science & Technology Coalition)
“Our coalition was proud to lead the fight to pass CEJA, the most equitable clean energy jobs bill of its kind in the nation,” said Liliana Scales, State Director for the ICJC. “We look forward to working with all stakeholders to create more opportunities to grow the clean energy economy in Illinois with a special focus on creating jobs in Black and Brown communities that have been historically left behind.”
Liliana Scales, State Director for the ICJC, speaks at the 2023 CECA event
“We are honored to be a part of this event and celebrate the forward-looking vision of these companies,” said Jack Lavin, President and CEO of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce. “Clean energy is a key part of our future — in the city, state and across the country — and I couldn’t be more excited to honor the spirit, passion and innovation of these stakeholders as they boost our economy, create sustainable jobs and help improve our environment.”
Jack Lavin, President and CEO of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce speaks at the 2023 CECA
The CECA luncheon was held at the Ivy Room in Chicago and hosted a sold-out event with approximately 135 attendees. The event also featured media sponsorship from Crain’s Chicago Business. Photos from this year’s CECA event can be found here.