The 2003 Top Ten Public Works Leaders of the Year

An integral part of APWA's celebration of National Public Works Week is the announcement of the Top Ten Public Works Leaders of the Year. This recognition of top public works professionals is in its 44th year. Presentation of the individual awards will be made this month at luncheons or functions hosted by the recipients' respective APWA chapters.

The 2003 Top Ten Review Committee consists of committee chair Bud Curtis, P.E., DEE, President, The TAF Group, Virginia Beach, VA; Gordon R. Garner, P.E., Executive Director (retired), Municipal Sewer District of Louisville and Jefferson County, KY; George R. Knecht, P.E., Engineering Manager (retired), Solid Waste Disposal Division, City of Jacksonville, FL; Mark T. Calhoun, Assistant City Manager, City of Henderson, NV; and Michael Kashiwagi, Director of Public Works, City of Sacramento, CA.

Winners of the 2003 Top Ten Public Works Leaders of the Year Award are:

John C. (Jack) Farnan, P.E.
General Superintendent
Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago

John C. (Jack) Farnan has served the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago since 1977 in a series of leadership roles including Chief Engineer, culminating in his current role of General Superintendent. He oversees an annual operating budget of over $800 million, and manages a staff of over 2,250 employees who are responsible for the collection, treatment and disposal of sewage from Chicago and 125 neighboring communities representing a population of over five million people.

Under his tenure, the District has completed some of the largest and most complex public works projects in the United States, including completion of the Tunnel and Reservoir Plan to solve the region's combined sewer overflow problems, and Sidestream Elevated Pool Aeration stations which are "Urban Waterfalls" to aerate the water in local waterways to enhance the aquatic environment, improve and protect fish populations, and eliminate odors.

Farnan has served his professional community in a variety of ways, including chair of a committee to develop the Vulnerability Self-Assessment Tool for wastewater agencies, and a two-year role as President of the Chicago Metro Chapter's City Branch. He has been instrumental in involving his employees in the District in the activities of the chapter as well.

Rhonda Faught, P.E.
Cabinet Secretary
New Mexico State Highway & Transportation Department

Rhonda Faught, currently the Secretary of the New Mexico State Highway and Transportation Department, has experienced a long and distinguished public service career. Faught began a 15-year public service tenure at the state's Highway and Transportation Department in 1988, continually being promoted until she was chosen in 2003 by Governor Bill Richardson to serve at the pinnacle of the Department.

In her first years with the Department, Faught worked on projects involving local governments and coordinated some of the work with state and federal agencies. When she was the Technical Support Engineer in Albuquerque, she created the first automated highway design squad that is now the standard for all Districts in the state. She also established the Department's Local Government Assistance Bureau where she helped city and county governments through the federal aid processes as related to the ISTEA legislation.

In 2002, Faught was appointed Adjutant Secretary for the Department. She worked with the Governor's office and directly with the legislature on issues that affected the Department statewide and nationally. She also was responsible for the state's relations with Mexico, and bonding for the $1.2 billion Statewide Major Investment Program.

Thomas C. Kirkwood, P.E.
Industry Consultant
Kansas City, Missouri

Thomas C. Kirkwood is currently acting as an industry consultant while active in many engineering and community organizations. Since his retirement as Director of Public Works for Jackson County, Missouri, he continues to advise and participate in the public works developments of the Kansas City metropolitan area.

Kirkwood started in consulting engineering at A.C. Kirkwood & Associates (ACKA) in 1948, a firm started by his father primarily working in mechanical and electrical engineering. In 1992, while Kirkwood was President of ACKA, ACKA merged with Shafer, Kline & Warren, Inc. with whom he completed the last eight years of his 52-year career in consulting engineering. In 2001, he was appointed Director of Public Works for Jackson County, Missouri, a role he performed through January 2003.

Kirkwood is active in a number of professional and civic associations, including APWA (Past President — Kansas City Metro Chapter); National Society of Professional Engineers; Missouri Society of Professional Engineers (Past President MSPE and Past President Western Chapter MSPE); Consulting Engineers Council of Missouri; and Society of American Military Engineers (Past President — Greater Kansas City Post). During his career, he has been registered as a Professional Engineer in nine states including Kansas and Missouri.

Tony Leffin
Director of Public Works
City of Maitland, Florida

Tony Leffin has been the Director of Public Works for the City of Maitland since 1987. His staff is responsible for providing potable, irrigation, and fire protection water services, the wastewater infrastructure, maintenance of all city buildings, city vehicles and small equipment, city streets, signs and striping, including grounds maintenance tasks for all city-owned property.

Under Leffin's direction, Maitland's Public Works Department established one of the first successful newspaper recycling programs in central Florida; implemented a highly successful water conservation program in 2000 that produced high reduction results and increased community awareness of water conservation; implemented the first comprehensive Citywide Stormwater Lakes Management Plan in Florida in 1996; set up the first public/private partnership with the 189.2-acre Maitland Center, considered one of the premier office parks in the southeast; and helped establish the Emergency Response Team within the City of Maitland.

In the past 10 years Leffin has served APWA's Florida Chapter as Vice President, President-Elect, President, Immediate Past President, Chapter Delegate, and chair of several chapter committees. He has also been a three-time President of the Board of Directors of the City of Maitland's Chamber of Commerce, and is a past President and District Governor for Maitland Rotary.

Diane M. Linderman, P.E.
Director of Public Works
City of Richmond, Virginia

As Director of Public Works for the City of Richmond, Diane Linderman is responsible for the overall management and leadership of the Department that consists of the Support Services, Transportation Services, Environmental Services, and Special Project Services Units. She is responsible for an operating budget of $40 million, a capital improvement budget of over $10 million, and enterprise funds totaling over $25 million.

Linderman led the initiative to obtain an increase in maintenance funding for streets for cities from the Virginia Department of Transportation as well as other legislation to promote local control of transportation funding. She organized the Public Works Directors in Virginia and created the Virginia Public Works Alliance of the VA/MD/DC Chapter of APWA. Her peers elected her as the chair.

Linderman has served in several leadership positions that actively promoted APWA's involvement in the area of public rights-of-way management, including her involvement on a task force that recommended the creation of the Utility and Public Right-of-Way (UPROW) Technical Committee; UPROW Committee Chair; Steering Committee Member for the 2001 APWA Forum, "Communications Facilities and Public Right-of-Way Management: A Peaceful Coexistence"; and frequent speaker at APWA and National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors events.

Tim Madhanagopal, P.E., DEE
Plant Manager
Orange County Utilities Department
Orlando, Florida

As Plant Manager for the Orange County Utilities Department, Tim Madhanagopal is responsible for operations and management of multiple water reclamation facilities, wetlands system, planning, budget, compliance with regulations, technical oversight of capital improvement programs, staffing, training and counseling of personnel, and plant engineering projects. He participates in the rulemaking and policy development process, public education, and public relations activities; initiates and participates in the wastewater capital improvement projects; and represents the county on task forces and before regulatory agencies.

Madhanagopal is one of the founding members of the Industrial Pretreatment voluntary certification program in Florida. This team had developed and implemented the first voluntary certification program for pretreatment professionals and trained and certified hundreds of professionals in the field. This certification program continues to attract professionals from other states and serves as a model for other states. He continues to serve as volunteer instructor at this training school every year.

Madhanagopal has been an active Boy Scouts volunteer for the past 14 years; served as a Mathcounts volunteer for the past 14 years and coordinated the "Project Create" program in a local elementary school for the past two years; and served on the University of Central Florida's College of Engineering Minority Engineering Program Industry Advisory Committee.

Jack McCorkell, P.Eng.
Commissioner of Works
Regional Municipality of Durham Works Department
Whitby, Ontario

Jack McCorkell began working for the Regional Municipality of Durham Works Department in 1974 and was appointed to the position of Commissioner of Works in 2000. As Commissioner of Works, he is responsible for the provision of municipal services to Durham Region's 517,000 residents and businesses employing 170,000 people. He oversees a Works Department staff of 641 employees.

Key initiatives introduced by McCorkell during his tenure with Durham Region include the implementation of a Work Measurement System to improve productivity, utilizing industrial engineering principles to set work standards and measure performance of field crews; the development of Council-approved performance standards for maintenance activities to provide employees with guidelines on maintenance requirements and performance expectations; and the introduction of one of the first computerized Maintenance Management Systems in Ontario for Regional Roads, Water & Sewerage Systems to track activity-based expenditures, accomplishments, productivity and unit costs.

In addition to his membership in APWA, McCorkell is a member of numerous other organizations including the American Water Works Association, Canadian Water and Wastewater Association, Ontario Good Roads Association, Composting Council of Canada, American Management Association, Institute of Transportation Engineers, Recycling Council of Ontario, Transportation Association of Canada, and Water Environmental Association.

Richard F. Stinson
Director of Public Works
Town of Wakefield, Massachusetts

As Director of Public Works for the Town of Wakefield, Richard Stinson is responsible for the Department's $12.8 million operating budget and its 78 employees. He also administers and is responsible for an average of $2.5 million in capital improvements. He directly oversees ten divisions, which include Highway, Water, Sewer, Parks, Forestry, Cemetery, Fleet Maintenance, Buildings, Administration, and Engineering. Stinson also serves on the Town's Traffic Advisory Committee, Stormwater Management Committee, and serves as the Town's representative on the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority Advisory Board.

Among Stinson's initiatives as Director of Public Works are construction of a $2.8 million water treatment facility, rebuilding of the Town's largest sewer pumping station (a $1.3 million project), construction of a $300,000 passive park on Lake Quannapowitt, and rebuilding of the town hall parking lot (a $100,000 project). Additionally, Stinson has instituted an annual snow and ice staff training program, employee recognition day, and built a five-year capital plan that is updated annually and allows the Town to plan for the future.

Stinson's community service in the Town of Wakefield includes serving on the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority Advisory Board (Community Representative, 2001-Present), Wakefield Traffic Advisory Committee (2001-Present), Saugus River Watershed Committee (2001-Present), Wakefield Board of Public Works (1985-1988), and Muscular Dystrophy Association — MDA Lockup Fundraiser.

L. Scott Tucker, P.E.
Executive Director
Urban Drainage and Flood Control District
Denver, Colorado

Since 1972, L. Scott Tucker has been the Executive Director of the Urban Drainage and Flood Control District, which encompasses 12,200 square miles consisting of six counties and 28 cities and towns. During his 31-year tenure as Executive Director, he has seen the District grow from a relatively small agency focused on the planning of flood control improvements to a major force in the design and construction of flood control projects throughout the Denver metro area's numerous urban waterways.

Tucker facilitated the District and FEMA in executing the first Cooperating Technical Partnership agreement in the U.S. in May 1999. He believed that because of the continuing growth of the Denver region it was important to work with FEMA to create and maintain accurate, up-to-date flood hazard data for the 32 communities participating in the National Flood Insurance Program, which are served by the District.

Tucker has been a member of APWA since 1972. His involvement with the association includes President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, and Chapter Delegate of the Colorado Chapter (1976-1980), Executive Council Member, Institute for Water Resources (President 1984-1985), and the Product Users and Suppliers Council (1990-1993). He is also a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, Denver Regional Council of Governments, EPA Federal Advisory Committee on Phase II Stormwater Sources, and the Metro Wastewater Reclamation District.

James C. Wood, Jr., P.E.
Director of Maintenance
North Texas Tollway Authority
Plano, Texas

James C. Wood, Jr. has 28 years experience in public works and engineering organizations. As Director of Maintenance with the North Texas Tollway Authority, he is directly responsible for the maintenance of all roadways, bridges, signing, striping, facilities, and vehicles/replacement for the rapidly expanding organization. Additionally, Wood manages the Authority's Maintenance/Rehabilitation Capital Improvement Program, and manages the delivery of maintenance services for the Authority through a balanced program of in-house forces and contract personnel.

Accomplishments throughout Wood's career include managing the North Texas Tollway Authority's Asset Management Program; managing the creation of an "Ice and Snow Sanding Plan" for the Authority using the agency's GIS system; managing a five-year $47.5 million Capital Improvement Program for the City of Bedford, Texas; and developing and implementing an asset management program for the City of Bedford's street system using Micro-Paver that resulted in $22.7 million in increased funding for street resurfacing/reconstruction and the elimination of all potholes within the city.

Wood has given numerous presentations throughout his career, including "Using Asset Management to Protect Investments" (APWA Teleconference, 1998); "Pavement Preservation Seminar" (Texas Hot Mix Asphalt Pavement Association, 1999); "Bedford Capital Improvement Program" (Mid-Cities Kiwanis Club, 1996); and "Implementing Micro-Paver Results in Increased Funding" (Texas Hot Mix Asphalt Pavement Association, 1998).

Editor's Note: To see the Top Ten recipients from 1960 to 2003, go to APWA's National Awards Program web page at