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2012 Dinner Dance will

The Italian American Executives of Transportation will honor leaders in the fields of business, religion and public service at their annual dinner dance.

The event will take place on Nov. 17 at Alta Villa Banquets. Several scholarships will be bestowed at the event, and entertainment will be provided by the SOS Children’s Villages Marimba Ensemble, this year’s IAET vocal scholarship award winner, and PHASE4. (630-825-9816)

Man of the Year — John Trotta

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John Trotta was born in Chicago on September 8, 1959, to Dominic and Antoinette (Dispensa) Trotta. His grandparents emigrated from the city of Sassano in the province of Salerno in Southern Italy.

John grew up on Chicago’s Southwest Side, long a blue-collar immigrant community, which shaped him into the man he would become. His father, Dominic, instilled in him the value of doing the right thing — not just occasionally, but always. From his family, John also learned to treat everyone with respect. He was surrounded by many aunts and uncles with a strong work ethic and pride in what they did, and he applies this to his work today. His grandparents, parents, aunts, and uncles dedicated their lives to their families and to the community. John carries with him the same goals and dreams of improving each generation that his grandparents, parents, aunts and uncles shared.

In 1980, John married the love of his life and his biggest supporter, Kathleen Brosnan. They have been married more than 30 years and have passed on these same goals and values to their daughter, Katie.

John has devoted much of his career to transportation and to the City of Chicago. Starting in 1977, John worked as a laborer for the City of Chicago, while attending Roosevelt University in the evening. He was a proud member of Laborers Local 1001. In 1981, he graduated with a B.A. in Business Administration, and was promoted to a financial reporting position in the Commissioner’s office in the Department of Streets and Sanitation. In 1984, John joined the Chicago Transit Authority, starting in the Capital Development Department and rising to General Manager of Capital Investment in 1991, overseeing more than $2 billion in capital projects. In 1997, John became the Vice President of Purchasing and Warehousing for CTA and held this position until he retired in May 2006.

John joined Parsons Brinckerhoff in 2006 and is a Senior Vice President and the Regional Business Manager overseeing 16 states in the Central United States. Parsons Brinckerhoff is one of the oldest continually operating consulting engineering firms in the United States. The firm provides a full range of engineering, architectural, planning, construction management, and management consulting services for award-winning highways, transit systems, bridges, power facilities, airports, ports, marine facilities, buildings, and site developments.

John’s impact extends well beyond the transportation industry as he continues to give back to the community and to future generations as his family has before him. He believes, “When a kid is saved, the world is a better place.” John is proud to be a board member of SOS Children’s Villages, Illinois. SOS gives vulnerable children the resources, knowledge and experiences they need to become healthy, thriving adults. John also served as a board member on Father Flannagan’s Boys Town Chicago in the Back-of-the-Yards neighborhood, helping at-risk youths.

He is a member of the American Council of Engineering Companies of Illinois and received the 2012 Engineers’ Community Leader Award for his commitment to enhancing the quality of life in the community. In addition, he served on the Illinois Road and Transportation Builders Planning and Engineering Board.

John is thankful every day for the chance his grandparents took in leaving their homeland. Like many Italians coming to America, they faced substantial obstacles. They worked hard, took care of their families, and never gave up. John credits his success to them. “I know if not for them, I would not have what I have today. I am living the American Dream because of all they sacrificed. My goal is to pass it on to future generations.”

Humanitarian — Fr. Anthony Pizzo

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The Rev. Anthony Benedetto Pizzo, a priest of the Augustinian Order, is a native of Chicago’s Southwest Side. He was raised as one of five children of Anthony N. (2011) and Gilda Salvione Pizzo. He is the grandson of Italian immigrants who arrived to the United States in the early 1900s.

He received his Catholic education at St. Rene Goupil Parish elementary school and continued to JFK High School in Chicago. In 1978, he matriculated at Villanova University in Philadelphia. After receiving his undergraduate degree in philosophy, he entered the Augustinian Order and professed religious vows in 1979 and continued on to Catholic Theological Union, where he received a Master of Divinity degree. He was ordained a priest in May 1984 by the late Joseph Cardinal Bernardin in Chicago.

His first years as a priest were spent as parochial vicar in Detroit, and then in Kenosha. He then was transferred back to Chicago’s Southwest Side, where he has been since 1991, serving a growing immigrant population by committing himself to social justice issues that impact the local community.

In 2001, Fr. Tony returned to the Catholic Theological Union, where he began Cross-Cultural Studies at the post-graduate level. He served as Director of Spiritual Formation for the Instituto de Liderazgo Pastoral for the Archdiocese from 2004 to 2006. Afterward, he was assigned to his present ministry in the Chicago Lawn/Marquette Park area of the city, where he presently serves as Pastor of St. Rita of Cascia Parish as well as the Dean of Deanery A of Vicariate V of the Archdiocese of Chicago.

He is currently a member of the Board of Directors for the IAET and the IAET Charitable Foundation, as well as serving as chaplain.

In his service, Fr. Tony has devoted himself to comprehensive and compassionate immigration reform by participating in Priests for Justice for Immigrants and by initiating a developing outreach to the immigrant community. He is a local leader in both community building and community organizing with the Southwest Organizing Project. He has collaborated in anti-violence initiatives such as Ceasefire, whereby he received a citywide award in 2001, and again in 2008 for his work toward outreach to street gangs. In 2009, he was one of three Catholic pastors in his Deanery to receive a Community Heroes Award by the LISC/New Communities Program of Chicago as well as being named as one of two recipients for the Neighborhood Leadership Award of 2011 by the Neighborhood Housing Services. In 2010, Fr. Tony received the Blessed Pope John XXIII award in recognition of his priestly dedication to Hispanic ministry in the Archdiocese. He continues to serve the spiritual needs of his congregation as well as those of other faiths by building relationships with the Jewish and Muslim faith-based communities. He has been included in three City of Chicago Resolutions for his work in these areas of service within the community.

He says of his ministerial service: “Involvement in the issues that affect our community in this diverse setting has enriched my ministry and has given me a deeper appreciation of my roots as an Italian American. The core values of Faith, Family and Relationships continue to contribute to an ever-widening perspective of what it means to be catholic, that is, universal. By participating in the life of the local community, in works of justice and charity, reaffirms my belief that being relational and interdependent reveals the truth that all are created in the image and likeness of God.”

Special Recognition — State Rep. John D’Amico

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State Representative John D’Amico was born on June 12, 1962. He graduated from Saint Edward’s Elementary School and Weber High School in Chicago, and attended Northeastern Illinois University. In 1982, he joined the Chicago Water Department and currently serves as Assistant Superintendent. He was elected as State Representative in 2004.

Driving safety has been a top priority for D’Amico throughout his career. He is currently serving his fifth term and is Chairman of the Transportation: Vehicles and Safety Committee in the Illinois General Assembly.

As State Representative, John passed legislation that created a graduated driver’s license program for teens, passed legislation that requires minors to complete a minimum of 50 (rather than 25) practice hours behind the wheel in order to receive a graduated driver’s license, and passed legislation that allows the parents/guardians of minors to view a teenager’s driving record online. John also passed legislation to restrict the use of cell phones by teens while driving, legislation to ban the use of cell phones by drivers in all school and construction zones, and legislation to ban texting while driving.

John is also a member of the Edgebrook Community Association, St. Edwards Athletic Advisory Committee, City Club of Chicago, Mayfair Lions Club, Queen of All Saints Men’s Club and the Edgebrook Sauganash Athletic Association. John and his beautiful wife Christine have three children Jennifer, Michelle and John.

About Fra Noi

Fra Noi produces a magazine and website that serve the Chicago-area Italian-American community. Our magazine offers our readers a monthly feast of news and views, culture and entertainment that keeps our diverse and widely scattered readers in touch with each other and their heritage. Our website offers a dizzying array of information drawn from every corner of the local community.