2000 Congress Awards

APWA’s Awards Program, the most prestigious in the public works world today, annually recognizes outstanding individuals, groups, and chapters who have demonstrated discipline, vision, and passion and who are truly dedicated to making a difference. The following award winners and their dedication to our profession are to be commended.

The Charles Walter Nichols Award

For outstanding and meritorious achievement in the environmental fields including, but not limited to, such areas as street sanitation, refuse collection, recycling, sewage treatment, and water supply and treatment.

Presented to:

Gregory J. Brunst, Director, Department of Environmental Services,
Village of Addison, Illinois

A leader in the environmental field in Illinois and the country, Gregory J. Brunst is the winner of the 2000 Charles Walter Nichols Award. He is an active member of the Illinois Water Environment Association (IWEA), the Illinois Association of Water Pollution Control Operators (IWPCF), and APWA. He has served on the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency Board of Operator Certification for nearly 10 years.

Brunst currently serves on a number of committees for IWEA, including the Collection Facilities Committee, for which he has regularly served as a speaker or moderator for various education programs. He is currently serving a three-year position as National Director for the Illinois Section of the Water Environment Federation (WEF). In addition, he has been very active in APWA, and served as the Suburban Branch Membership Committee Chair from 1987 to 1994.

“Greg’s service to the environmental field, and in particular his activity with APWA and IWEA, is exemplary to all public works professionals,” said Laura L. McGovern, Associate, Burns & McDonnell.

The Harry S. Swearingen Award

This award was established in 1958 to perpetuate the memory of Harry Seller Swearingen, who worked untiringly on behalf of APWA. The award is presented to individuals to commemorate valuable and dedicated service to APWA through its 67 chapters.

Presented to:

Ann Burnett, Governmental Liaison for Pacific Bell (retired)

An active member of APWA since 1982, Ann Burnett is the recipient of the Harry S. Swearingen Award. Active in the San Diego and Imperial Counties Chapter, she has served on the Board of Directors since 1985; served as Secretary (1987), Vice President (1988), President-Elect (1989), and President (1990); served as chapter delegate since 1995; and served as chair in the House of Delegates in 1999.

Burnett has served, chaired, or has had involvement in the following chapter committees: Student Chapter, Scholarship, Educational Outreach, Awards, Diversity, Congress 2003 Planning, Chapter Nominating, and National Public Works Week Committees. She has also served and/or acted as chair on the following national committees: Council on Equal Opportunity/Diversity Task Force (1991-1998), Congress Planning Committee (1994-1999), and National Nominating Committee (2000).

“Ann’s commitment to our chapter during the course of over 16 years, and her tireless efforts in enhancing our chapter’s reputation, have gone mostly unrewarded,” said Augustine E. Chang, Principal, Pountney & Associates, Inc. “Her active participation within the chapter, and serving as an ambassador promoting APWA’s goodwill, make her an ideal recipient of this prestigious award.”

The Donald C. Stone Award (Individual)

Recognizes outstanding and meritorious achievement of individuals assisting in the areas of continuing and graduate professional education for public works professionals.

Presented to:

Jeanne Nyquist, Director of the Bureau of Maintenance,
City of Portland, Oregon

Since 1991, Jeanne Nyquist has led the Oregon Chapter’s program in offering educational opportunities for all levels of persons engaged in the delivery of public works services. These programs stand out by targeting the specific, yet diverse needs of the Oregon Chapter members through affordably-priced classes. During the last eight years, Nyquist has planned the delivery of more than 100 classes that have served over 7,000 students.

Nyquist further championed the chapter’s educational goals by developing partnerships with other institutions, organizing subcommittees to design specific course objectives, coordinating national satellite teleconferences, producing local satellite teleconferences, developing a task force to evaluate the educational programs, and creating marketing materials.

“Responding to the popularity and demand of the Oregon Chapter’s program, Jeanne has organized a core team of instructors committed to the education program,” said Les Lyle, president of APWA’s Oregon Chapter.

The Donald C. Stone Award (Chapter)

This award is also intended to recognize chapters for their work in delivering educational opportunities to all levels of persons engaged in the delivery of public works services.

Presented to:

North Carolina Chapter

The 1999 Annual Education Program for APWA’s North Carolina Chapter has “raised the bar” in providing learning opportunities for all levels of persons engaged in the delivery of public works services. This new level of educational service is unprecedented in North Carolina Chapter history and results from dedicated teamwork by many Chapter representatives and successful cooperative partnerships with affiliated agencies. This milestone achievement for the Chapter is founded upon work begun in prior years, including 1998’s educational survey which captured the important learning needs of the Chapter’s large and diverse organization.

The following is a sampling of the workshops, conferences, and seminars conducted by the North Carolina Chapter: Streets Division Annual Conference; Administrative Division Annual Workshop; Annual Buildings and Grounds Conference; Buildings and Grounds Workshop on Municipal Cemeteries; Solid Waste Division Annual Conference; Solid Waste Division Spring 1999 Workshop; and Water Resources Conference. In addition, a number of Board-Sponsored Training and Educational Initiatives were offered, including the Construction Inspection Workshop; OSHA Six-Hour Construction Industry Course; and NCAPWA Leadership Training.

“We are very fortunate to have strong leadership in our chapter that has put a high premium on training,” said David G. Meachum, Engineering Services Division Manager for the City of Charlotte, North Carolina, Engineering and Property Management Department. “It has been a collaborative effort of several committees and many members working to bring the program together.”

The Distinguished Service Award

Recognizes an eminent government or other national leader for his/her far-reaching, positive impact on public works programs, services, or policies through distinguished public service and commitment. The award particularly recognizes the national leadership in furthering the mission and goals of APWA.

Presented to:

The Late Senator John H. Chafee

After serving as Governor of Rhode Island as well as Secretary of the Navy, John Chafee’s Senate career began in 1976. He was reelected to a fourth term in 1994, with 65 percent of the vote, and is the only Republican to be elected to the U.S. Senate from Rhode Island in the past 68 years.

As Chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, Chafee was a leading voice in crafting the Clean Air Act of 1990 that strengthened pollution emissions standards. Recently he lead successful efforts to enact oil spill prevention and response legislation, and a bill to strengthen the Safe Drinking Water Act. Senator Chafee was a long-time advocate for wetlands conservation and open space preservation, and was the recipient of every major environmental award.

Senator Chafee also was a leader in efforts to reduce the federal budget deficit and cochaired the centrist coalition which produced a bipartisan balanced budget plan in 1996. He was an active proponent of free trade and was a strong supporter of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

He received awards and endorsements from such organizations as The National Federation of Independent Business, The American Nurses Association, The League of Conservation Voters, The Sierra Club, Handgun Control Inc., Planned Parenthood, Citizens Against Government Waste, and the National PTA.

Senator Chafee died on October 24, 1999, from congestive heart failure.

“Quite simply, no American has done more for the environment of this country over the past five decades than John Chafee,” said John De Villars, administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency’s New England Region. “He led every significant environmental fight of our generation-from drinking water to air quality to endangered species, from rivers to shellfish beds to open space.”

The Presidential Award for Chapter Excellence (PACE)

Recognizes chapters for their positive impact on their membership, their profession, and their community. Chapters are judged on membership, service to chapter members, advancement of public works, and service to the community.

Presented to:

Chicago Metro Chapter
New England Chapter
Kansas City Metro Chapter
North Carolina Chapter
Texas Chapter

The Chicago Metro Chapter experienced an unprecedented net membership gain of 11% in the past year, due in large part to the efforts of the Chapter’s very active Membership Committee. In addition, by providing frequent opportunities for members to stay involved in the organization, including leadership and educational seminars, Snow Plow Rodeo, and an annual Chapter Congress, the Chapter was able to maintain a high level of membership retention.

One of the key ingredients to the success of the New England Chapter is its Contributors Program. The Chapter averages 30 to 35 contributors a year who donate $400 to the Chapter or a little over $12,000 per year. The funds are used to offset the cost of the Chapter’s educational programs. In return, each contributor is recognized at each meeting, is invited to display at the summer workshop, and is provided an opportunity to make presentations at meetings.

The Kansas City Metro Chapter maintains a working relationship with a number of schools and agencies. In 1999, the Chapter jointly sponsored programs with the University of Missouri-Kansas City and its School of Business and Public Administration; the Society of American Military Engineers; the American Society of Civil Engineers; and the Engineer’s Club of Kansas City.

One of the greatest strengths of the North Carolina Chapter concerns its service to members for professional development. The Chapter partners with peer organizations such as the Consulting Engineers Council to broaden its outreach and support activities of other professional associations. During 1999 the Chapter sponsored and certified more than 48 PDH credits for its Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors.

The Texas Chapter has set a goal to utilize the latest technologies in providing services to its membership. In order to reach a large number of its members, the Chapter decided to take advantage of the opportunities provided by APWA through teleconferencing and to provide some of those courses for its membership. In 1999, the Chapter sponsored several APWA teleconferences.

The Young Leader Award

Recognizes and encourages young APWA members who have demonstrated an initial commitment to the profession and the association and who show potential for future growth within the association.

Presented to:

Jennifer L. Barlas, Director of Marketing,
Ciorba Group, Inc.

The recipient of the Young Leader Award, Jennifer L. Barlas, has taken an active role in the leadership of the Chicago Chapter and the Fox Valley Branch. She has served in a number of elected and appointed positions, and assisted in the sponsorship and management of many social and fundraising efforts on behalf of the Chapter and Branch. She currently holds the position as a Chapter Presidential Appointee.

Barlas has been influential in encouraging staff members from her company, Ciorba Group, Inc., to become active in APWA and mentoring their participation in APWA and other professional organizations and societies. In addition, she has recruited and coordinated volunteers from within Ciorba Group to assist in a variety of Engineer’s Week related activities. Barlas received the Fox Valley Branch Young Leader Award in 1999, and is the recipient of the Chicago Metro Chapter Young Leader Award for 2000. Her other activities include participation in APWA National’s Diversity Committee (1999 to present) and Equal Employment Opportunity Council (1995).

“This commitment to the success of both Ciorba and APWA has established Jennifer as a leader and role model for our staff and other young women in the Chicago area, by setting a positive and enthusiastic example for others to emulate,” said Gerald W. Heimsoth, President, Ciorba Group, Inc.

The Private Sector Service Award

Acknowledges the important role the private sector plays in providing public works facilities and services. This award recognizes outstanding individual achievement through chapter activity in support of the association’s strategic plan, goals, and objectives.

Presented to:

Charles H. Madden III, Manager, Marketing Services,
George Butler Associates, Inc.

Charles H. Madden III, Manager of Marketing Services for George Butler Associates, Inc., a full-service engineering and architectural firm headquartered in Lenexa, Kansas, is the recipient of APWA’s Private Sector Service Award. Madden has been very active in the Kansas City, Missouri, Chapter of APWA. He currently is serving as Secretary of the chapter, and will be President in 2002, when the International Public Works Congress and Exposition will be held in Kansas City. He has been a member of the Executive Board since the early 1990s.

One of Madden’s most significant contributions to APWA involves his work in developing the InfoLink web site. He was part of the original group that developed the InfoLink concept, and has nurtured its growth from a preliminary fax-back concept to its current status as the potential public works portal to the Internet. Along with others from the chapter, Madden was able to find sponsors for this program from local and national sources. He has been extremely active in the promotion of InfoLink, having given numerous presentations to promote the program since InfoLink’s inception.

“Chuck’s tireless devotion to the InfoLink concept is the reason that the project has survived its many reincarnations,” said Mike Ross, president of APWA’s Kansas City Metro Chapter. “The project has given APWA exposure well beyond its traditional audience.”


The Diversity Exemplary Practices Award

For outstanding contributions in supporting the diversity of the public works profession.

Presented to:

City of Hollywood Public Works Department
Hollywood, Florida

The Diversity Exemplary Practices Award was presented to the City of Hollywood Public Works Department for its aggressive steps to integrate diversity objectives into its overall business mission and corporate culture. Indeed, the Public Works Department has come a long way in diversifying its workforce. The City implemented a program several years ago to increase awareness of the need for diversity in the workplace.

Historically, the Public Works Department workers and supervisors were primarily male. In the years since Hollywood’s Diversity Practices were implemented, the Department has increased the number of women and minorities both in the field and in management. Specifically, the core management team has changed from all Caucasian males to a much more diverse group of primarily women and minorities.

“We here in the City of Hollywood value diversity and believe our diverse workforce better serves a diverse community,” said Denese Edsall, Equal Opportunity Manager, City of Hollywood. “We are very proud of our diversity efforts and of our Departments who are committed to doing the right thing.”

The Exceptional Performance Award

Recognizes individuals, teams, or organizations in the areas of adversity, journalism and safety whose outstanding contributions in the course of performance raises the level of public awareness of the profession.

Adversity-recognizes exceptional performance in the face of adversity in service to the public. Presented to:

Robert L. Moylan, Jr., Commissioner of Public Works,
City of Worcester, Massachusetts, Department of Public Works

On December 3, 1999, the City of Worcester, Massachusetts, experienced the loss of six firefighters as a result of a fire in an abandoned warehouse and cold storage building. A tragedy of enormous proportions, this event required support from every element of the city’s government to assist with search and rescue efforts, site control and safety, demolition efforts, maintenance of fire flow, and numerous other support services.

The Worcester Department of Public Works, led by Commissioner Robert L. Moylan, Jr., played a major role in this effort, under extremely adverse and challenging conditions. They provided traffic engineering, heavy equipment operations, flood control, vehicle maintenance, fuel supply, and Secret Service coordination (Presidential visit). The DPW provided oversight for the coordination with federal and state public works and safety personnel, and volunteered to assist in firefighting duties so that city firefighters could attend the funeral of their companions.

“This tragedy indeed served to indicate the value of a well-operated and professional public works department that was prepared to lend its support at this critical time,” said James C. Coppola, Director of Business Development, Beta Engineering, Inc., and New England Chapter Officer.

Journalism-recognizes exceptional performance in presenting the story of a public works issue or event that projects a positive image of individuals or agencies in the course of their performance in both broadcast and print mediums. Presented to:

Pat Idema, Teacher at the Byron Center Public Middle School,
City of Byron Center, Michigan

For her contributions in the development of the publication entitled, Water…Life’s Most Valuable Resource, Pat Idema has received APWA’s Exceptional Performance Award in the area of journalism. The publication is used in a two-week interdisciplinary unit to improve seventh grade students’ awareness of the various aspects of water and its important relationship to life.

The publication was developed in 1992 through the dedication of the Seventh Grade Teaching Team, of which Idema was a member. The program’s topics include water witching, the Great Lakes as a water supply, and water conservation. The two-week program has been well received by the school administrators, teachers, and students, and has created a noted increase in the amount of volunteerism among the participants.

“As this publication has been instrumental in raising students’ awareness of the importance of water, a portion of public works, the branch feels Ms. Idema should be recognized for her efforts,” said Doug Kadzban, President, Midwest Branch-Michigan Chapter.

Safety-recognizes exceptional performance in the area of safety. Presented to:

City of New Bern Public Works Department,
City of New Bern, North Carolina

The employees of the City of New Bern Public Works Department have demonstrated that workplace safety is of paramount importance. The PWD has worked more than 380,600 total hours without a Lost Workday Case. The department has also been the recipient of consecutive safety awards from the North Carolina Department of Labor.

During 1999, the PWD worked 100,366 total hours without a Lost Workday Case and with only two reportable injuries on the OSHA 200 log. During the year, the PWD conducted more than 5,600 service and maintenance calls on the city’s fleet, hauled more than 146,000 cubic yards of debris, mulched more than 28,000 cubic yards of compost, cleaned and cleared more than 50 miles of drainage ditches and canals, maintained 30 City of New Bern facilities, and provided the needed services after three hurricanes.

Lastly and most importantly, the PWD logged in more than 140,000 miles with only two minor motor vehicle incidents.

“Our employees have a goal to make safety the priority of their job,” said John Ruth, Safety Officer for the City of New Bern. “The bottom line is they don’t want to become a statistic. They take their safety very personally.”

The Technical Innovation Award and the Management Innovation Award

Provides recognition for an individual, team, or organization for the development and implementation of a creative idea, device, process or system that enhances the goals of public works in serving the public and protecting the environment.

The Technical Innovation Award presented to:

The City of Nanaimo, British Columbia,
Pipe Bursting of the Millstone Sanitary Sewer Trunk Project

The City of Nanaimo, British Columbia, recently completed the largest known pipe bursting project in North America, in terms of degree of upsize, length of burst, and overall length of a single pipeline. The project was a resounding success: the City saved funds, environmentally sensitive areas were saved major impacts, property owners were not unduly inconvenienced, and senior levels of government were impressed with the technology and its ramifications for other similar projects.

Rather than follow conventional open cut construction techniques, the City sought out and researched alternative technologies that would have a greatly reduced impact on the environment. The advantages to the City in pursuing this solution included significantly reduced capital costs; greatly reduced environmental impact to sensitive riparian habitat areas; enhanced overall project schedule; and outstanding safety record.

“It worked!” said Bill Sims, Project Manager for the City of Nanaimo Engineering Department. “We were able to burst 14” to 26” over distances of 600’ through environmentally sensitive areas, around horizontal curves, through backyards, a prison, and beautiful forest. The city ended up with a gravity solution, and present and future taxpayers are saved the headache and expense of maintaining more pump stations.”

The Management Innovation Award presented to:

The Kansas City Metro Chapter
InfoLink Project

APWA InfoLink is a web-based portal designed to provide a wide range of information to individuals involved in the planning, design, and construction community. It was originally conceived by the Kansas City Metro Chapter as a “FAX Back” program. Intended to allow public works agencies with a means of efficiently and effectively responding to inquiries and providing forms, permit applications, plans and other documents to requesting consultants, contractors and utility companies, it quickly was changed to reflect the new electronic technology available through the Internet.

As a web-based portal, InfoLink is designed to connect with public works agencies via a series of web links. This allows public works customers to visit one site and rapidly access the same types of documents and information for any and all public works agencies.

“In addition to our agency’s support of InfoLink, I have personally placed on InfoLink access to Winter Maintenance documents and references developed by our APWA Subcommittee on Winter Maintenance,” said Larry Frevert, Deputy Director of Public Works for the City of Kansas City, Missouri. “This feature has provided us with an excellent tool for communicating with our peer agencies, vendors, and providers of winter maintenance services and products.”

The Community Involvement Award

Recognizes outstanding public works leaders employed by a public agency at the local, regional, state, provincial, or federal level who are also leaders in their community.

Presented to:

Barbara J. Huner, Public Works Director,
City of Longmont, Colorado
Dan Mikkelson, City Engineer,
City of Salisbury, North Carolina

In addition to the time she has spent as an active member of APWA and a dedicated public works professional, Barbara J. Huner, Public Works Director for the City of Longmont, Colorado, has always made the time for community service and involvement. From 1972 to 1989 she was a member of the Greeley, Colorado, Sertoma (Service To Mankind) Club, and received the Sertoman of the Year award. When she moved to Longmont, she became a member of the Optimists Club, who serve as “friends of youth” in the Longmont community. She helped to raise funds for a Fire Prevention House that is now used by the Longmont Fire Department to educate children on fire safety.

Huner has been involved in numerous service projects including bike rodeos, tri-star basketball competition, and bell ringing for the Salvation Army. In addition, she has been a very active member of her church (currently the Chairperson of the Building Fund Committee), and has contributed much time and energy to the Girl Scouts of America for many years.

“Barb’s involvement strengthens the public works/citizen relationship and reminds us all why we are here-to enhance the quality of life for people in our community,” said Michael Woodruff, Public Works Operations Manager for the City of Longmont.

During almost 12 years with the City of Salisbury, North Carolina, City Engineer Dan Mikkelson has exhibited all the traits worthy of the Community Involvement Award. He served two years on the Rowan County United Way annual campaign and was a volunteer in the 1999 United Way “Day of Caring.” He is currently serving his first year on Morgan Elementary School Principal’s Advisory Group, and he has been very active in his church.

Mikkelson has donated 47 pints of blood and platelets to the American Red Cross, is listed on the National Bone Marrow Registry, and has volunteered two years for the Leukemia Foundation fundraising luncheon. He has been an influential participant in many City Council goals and planning efforts, including Salisbury 2020 Strategic Growth Plan, Town Mall Redevelopment Task Force, and the Eastern Gateway Task Force.

“Dan has a postive attitude and genuine concern for the public good,” said David W. Treme, Salisbury’s City Manager. “He makes an excellent role model for public employees and private citizens.”

The Abel Wolman Award

Recognizes the best new book published in the field of public works history and is meant to provide encouragement and recognition to historians whose research and publications have made outstanding contributions to the history of public works.

Presented to:

Susan Strasser, Professor of History,
University of Delaware

Susan Strasser, author of Waste and Want: A Social History of Trash (New York: Metropolitan Books, 1999), is the recipient of the Abel Wolman Award. A strikingly original exploration of one of the most ordinary-and least thought about-aspects of daily life, Waste and Want illuminates an essential, yet hidden aspect of American social history, revealing that we are as powerfully defined by what we choose to throw out as by what we decide to keep.

Drawing on a wide variety of sources, Strasser describes a fundamental transformation in American habits over the past two centuries. In the 19th Century, trash was virtually nonexistent: scavenger pigs and “swill children” cleared the streets, junk men bought and reused the dismantled pieces of broken goods, and women practiced ingenious recycling methods from remaking scraps of fabric into quilts to preserving lard to make soap. Since the turn of the century, America’s definition of trash has dramatically shifted, and the thrifty habits of the 19th Century have been replaced by a consumer culture of disposability and waste.

“Susan Strasser has excavated from two centuries of trash a fascinating story that reveals as much about what has mattered to Americans as what has not,” said Lizabeth Cohen, author of Making a New Deal. “A model of imaginative, groundbreaking research.”