The 2008 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 49th year. Presentation of the individual awards will be made this month at luncheons and functions hosted by the recipients' respective APWA chapters.

The 2008 Top Ten Review Committee consists of Committee Chair David A. Moody, Public Works/Engineering Director, City of Peoria, Arizona; R. Marshall Elizer, Jr., P.E., PTOE, Chief Transportation Engineer, Gresham, Smith & Partners, Nashville, Tennessee; Richard L. Ridings, P.E., RPLS, Vice President-Central Division, HNTB Corporation, Austin, Texas; and Richard F. Stinson, Director of Public Works, Town of Wakefield, Massachusetts.

Winners of the 2008 Top Ten Public Works Leaders of the Year Award are:

Christine F. Andersen, P.E.
Airport Director
City of Long Beach, California

Since 2003, Christine F. Andersen served as Director of Public Works for the City of Long Beach, California, and since last year as the City's Airport Director (the Long Beach Airport is among the top five busiest general aviation airports in the world, serving nearly three million commercial airline passengers annually). In her role as Director of Public Works, she oversaw 712 full-time employees, and an operating budget of $170 million and capital budget of $32 million. Prior to her tenure with the City of Long Beach, Andersen served as the Director of Public Works for the City of Eugene, Oregon and as the Deputy City Manager for Environmental Services for the City of Boulder, Colorado.

During the course of her tenure with Long Beach, Andersen has overseen completion of the seismic retrofit of the Long Beach Public Safety Building, as well as design and construction of the City's first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) building, the MacArthur Park Library, which was completed in April 2007. In addition, she oversaw completion of the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the Long Beach Airport Terminal Expansion Project.

Andersen has been very active with APWA at many levels for more than 25 years. A member since 1982, she served on the National Board of Directors for six years, the Board of Trustees for the Public Works Historical Society for three years, and the Southern California Chapter Board since 2004. She has been a member of the Government Affairs Committee, Presidents Plaque Award Committee and Council on Equal Opportunity (Oregon Chapter). In addition, she has been a member of the Transportation Research Board since 1980, the American Society of Civil Engineers since 1990 and the Water Environment Research Foundation since 2001.

"Consensus building and cooperation have been the hallmarks of Christine's public works career." - Jeffrey M. Cooper, P.E., President, APWA Southern California Chapter

Ronald J. Calkins, P.E.
Director of Public Works
City of Ventura, California

As Director of Public Works for the City of Ventura, California, Ronald J. Calkins oversees a full-service public works department for a city of 106,000 people. The Ventura Public Works Department has 225 employees with a capital and operating budget of more than $138 million. Prior to becoming the Director of Public Works in 1993, Calkins served as Ventura's City Engineer for seven years, with responsibility for transportation, land development, and design and construction management of capital projects.

Calkins' accomplishments as Director of Public Works are numerous. They include developing a Community Beautification Project that has enhanced the community and tackled deferred maintenance programs; taking the lead in drought-proofing Ventura's water supply; developing performance measures to align resources with community and City Council expectations; and coordinating a citywide green initiative effort that resulted in the City of Ventura receiving the state's Flex Your Power Award for decreasing energy usage by 25 percent in two years.

As a leader in APWA, Calkins was instrumental in co-creating the Ventura County Chapter, which was given the Presidential Award for Chapter Excellence (PACE) in 2007. He has served in many positions on the chapter's Executive Committee including president, and currently serves as the National Delegate representing the chapter. The Ventura County Chapter's Executive Committee attributes much of the chapter's success to Calkins' avid and devoted participation over the past 20 years.

"With Ron at the helm, our commitment to water conservation has been so successful that, in absolute terms, we use less water than the community did thirty years ago when we had only two-thirds our current population." - Rick Cole, City Manager, City of Ventura, California

Scott R. Elmer, P.E.
Director of Public Works/City Engineer
City of Missouri City, Texas

Scott Elmer was named Director of Public Works/City Engineer for the City of Missouri City, Texas, in November 2006. Shortly after his appointment, he launched an initiative to restructure and refocus the Department of Public Works with the goal of delivering better service in all facets of the department. Innovative leadership, responsive and targeted public works programs, and achievement of $20 million in federal funding contribute to Elmer's continuing success as a leader in his field.

With communication a fundamental of Elmer's restructured Public Works Department, data has been shared efficiently and freely. Examples where relationships were enhanced include the Fort Bend County Consortium, resulting in cost reductions, better project facilitation, data sharing and project development; and the Fort Bend Mobility Bond Program, allowing Missouri City to use the $5 million garnered to leverage bond funds for capital improvements.

Under Elmer's leadership, the City has undertaken and successfully completed several major infrastructure and capital improvement projects including the reconstruction of Valley Forest Drive, the construction of a new fire station, a municipal courthouse and emergency operations center, the development and construction of the largest City park (Buffalo Run Park), the development of an ultimate 30 MGD surface water plant, and the replacement of a major crossing on Turtle Creek Drive over the American Canal.

"Scott has created an environment where everyone feels comfortable and free to contribute ideas, feedback and plain straight talk." - The Department of Public Works Staff, City of Missouri City, Texas

Leslie R. Henley, P.E., F.ASCE
Deputy Director of Public Works
Clark County, Nevada

As Deputy Director of Public Works for Clark County, Nevada, Leslie R. Henley is in charge of construction management, quality assurance, pavement management, street maintenance, vector control and news rack enforcement. He has been responsible for Clark County's infrastructure construction program for more than 17 years. During this period, more than 600 projects with a value of more than $1.5 billion were delivered, with an average project cost growth of less than two percent.

Henley served as Accreditation Manager and successfully completed APWA Accreditation for the Clark County Public Works Department. At the time, the County was the only accredited public works agency in the state. Other accomplishments include delivery of a 53-mile, $800 million freeway facility passing through three other jurisdictions, a project that was completed on time and within budget; the extensive landscaping and high-tech pedestrian overpass structures of the Las Vegas Strip Beautification; and the development of vehicle-arresting barriers for Las Vegas Boulevard to protect large, special event crowds from possible terrorist-type events.

Constructed projects under Henley's responsibility have won more than 25 APWA Nevada Chapter "Project of the Year" awards; two Institute of Transportation Engineers Intermountain Section "Transportation of the Year" awards; one American Society of Landscape Architects "Landscape Project of the Year" award; one Precast Concrete Association "Precast Project of the Year" award; and numerous National Association of Counties awards.

"Without a doubt, Les has been a vital and instrumental person in helping our community deal with the tremendous transportation issues that we face." - Virginia Valentine, County Manager, Clark County, Nevada

Dwayne Kalynchuk, M.Eng., P.Eng.
General Manager, Environmental Services
Capital Regional District
Victoria, British Columbia

As General Manager of Environmental Services for the Capital Regional District, Victoria, British Columbia, Dwayne Kalynchuk is responsible for one of the most challenging wastewater projects in North America, bringing secondary treatment to a developed urbanized area of 350,000 people. This project, when launched, will be one of the largest public/private partnerships in the world.

Kalynchuk has been responsible for a substantial urban park development in St. Albert, Alberta, which included the first skateboard park in Canada; 40 miles of urban paved trails; interactive viewing platforms; and a heritage village including the preservation of two turn-of-the-century grain elevators. He led a team that developed an asset management system for $4 billion worth of infrastructure for St. Albert which included inventory, condition surveys and a decision logic model for resource allocation, one of the most detailed systems in Canada.

A former APWA National President (2003-04), Kalynchuk has been very active in the Association over the years. He is a former member of the Education, Nominating, Finance and Exposition Advisory Committees, and is currently chairing the International Affairs Committee. He is a Past President of the Alberta Chapter (1988, 1992) and is a former Treasurer and Vice President of the Canadian Public Works Association (1996-7). A past recipient of the Jennings Randolph International Fellowship, Kalynchuk spent a month reviewing urban infrastructure in Vietnam and presented a paper on the findings at the 1996 APWA Congress in Washington, D.C.

"Dwayne's tireless commitment and dedication to the public works profession have definitely enhanced the image of public works in Canada." - Len Robson, Past President, APWA British Columbia Chapter

Samuel P. Lamerato, CPFP
Fleet Maintenance Superintendent
City of Troy, Michigan

Samuel P. Lamerato has a long and valued history of service to his community and profession, as well as to APWA at both the national and chapter levels. Joining the City of Troy in 1974, he worked his way from service person to mechanic, leader, heavy equipment mechanic, foreman and, in 1982, to his current position as Fleet Maintenance Division Superintendent. Lamerato oversees a fleet operation in excess of 500 pieces of equipment including 100 police vehicles, 36 pieces of fire apparatus and 56 pieces of snow removal equipment. He supervises two locations, with two shifts in operation and twenty full-time employees. In addition, the Fleet Maintenance Division performs contract repair services for seven other municipalities.

Lamerato has been an active member of APWA since 1982, and has held the position of Co-Chair for the Michigan Chapter Education Committee for a number of years. Nationally, he was appointed Fleet Services Committee Chair for 2002-04; received appointment to the Daimler-Chrysler Fleet Advisory Council in 2004; and chaired the APWA Fleet Certification Governance Council in 2006. He received a Civilian Commendation from the Troy Police Department in appreciation for his contributions to law enforcement and, in August 2006, was appointed to the Daimler-Chrysler Police Advisory Board.

Lamerato received the APWA Michigan Chapter's Meritorious Service Award in 1997, the Harold M. Hultquist Award in Recognition of Outstanding Service in 2002, and the Professional Manager of the Year Award, Fleet Maintenance, in 2005. In September 2007, he became one of APWA's first Certified Public Fleet Professionals (CPFP). Lamerato runs two educational seminars in the winter, two seminars in the fall and a three-day seminar in the spring.

"He is my ideal of a true leader, leading by example through his service but with humbleness that deflects praise to others." - Larry W. Frevert, P.E., APWA President

Richard E. (Dick) McKinley
Public Works Director
City of Bellingham, Washington

As Public Works Director for the City of Bellingham, Washington (pop. 75,000), Richard E. (Dick) McKinley leads the largest City department, with a staff of 240 and an annual budget of approximately $100 million. He is responsible for the following programs and services: Administration; Development Services; Engineering; Environmental Resources; Facilities/Property Management; Finance/Budgeting; Fleet; Parking Services; Solid Waste Utility; Storm & Surface Water Utility; Streets & Traffic; and Water & Sewer Utilities with Plants.

As an officer in the APWA Washington State Chapter, McKinley has been instrumental in strengthening the chapter through preparation of the Strategic Plan and improving the semi-annual conferences. In 1998, average conference attendance was 150. In 2002/2003, McKinley took the lead in redefining the chapter conferences with improved education programs, exciting keynote speakers, high-quality entertainment, and more exhibitors. His department hosted the spring conference in 2003, which attracted 350 attendees. This trend continues today.

At Bellingham, McKinley has taught his entire management team how to properly prepare and administer budgets, and they now set the standard within the City organization. Grant writing is one of his major strengths, and he has been awarded more than 80 percent of all the grant requests he has written. McKinley also led an effort to implement a "cost of service" rate system for the water and sewer utilities in Bellingham. This analysis resulted in rates that were adequate to meet the needs of the utilities, and fair for all of the ratepayers.

"I know from firsthand experience that many of us who serve in positions of leadership of the Washington State Chapter do so because of the encouragement received by and the example set by Dick." - Michele Percussi, Director of Client Relations, Brown and Caldwell, Seattle, Washington

Judith M. Mueller
Director of Public Works
City of Charlottesville, Virginia

Judith M. Mueller has been the Director of Public Works for the City of Charlottesville, Virginia since September 1985. Her responsibilities include planning, administration and management in the areas of Engineering, Contract Administration, Construction Administration, Traffic Engineering, Building Maintenance, Transit Operations, Fleet Maintenance, Streets and Sidewalks, Refuse Collection, and the utilities for Water, Wastewater and Gas. She manages 330 employees with an operating budget of more than $67 million and a capital budget of $99 million.

In February 2003, Mueller led the effort to write the City's initial Environmental Sustainability Policy. This was the beginning of a sustained effort on her part for the Department of Public Works to become the lead agency in driving environmental sustainability into every aspect of city government operations. Adopted in 2007, the Charlottesville City Council Vision - 2025 describes Charlottesville as a Green City, where citizens live in a community with a vibrant urban forest, tree-lined streets and lush green neighborhoods.

A former APWA National President (2000-01), Mueller has long been an active member of the Association. She has been a member of the national Finance, Nominating, PACE, Exposition Advisory, Membership and Government Affairs Committees. She has served as Treasurer, Second Vice President, President-Elect and President of the VA-DC-MD Chapter. Mueller has presented papers and presentations for APWA, the International City/County Management Association, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality.

"Judy's passion for public works is evident in everything she does and every challenge she tackles." - R. James Henrikson, Past President, APWA VA-DC-MD Chapter

Steven F. Parkinson, P.E.
Public Works Director
City of Portsmouth, New Hamp

Steven F. Parkinson has served the City of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, for 27 years, beginning as City Engineer in 1981 until his promotion to Public Works Director in 1989. In this role, he manages several divisions in the Public Works Department as well as 135 employees while overseeing a $21 million operating budget and $11 million capital budget. Parkinson has demonstrated technical expertise as an engineer and fiscal responsibility to his constituents.

Parkinson's many accomplishments for the City of Portsmouth include embarking upon a 10-year sewer separation project to eliminate stormwater from the sanitary sewer system; designing a new water treatment plant to replace the 1950s vintage plant and meeting current and future drinking water standards; developing an innovative snow removal program for the City; moving the Public Works Department into a new facility through a design-build process with minimal cost to the taxpayers; and building a new library facility that was the first municipal facility in the State of New Hampshire to attain LEED Certification (Silver).

Parkinson is a tireless volunteer to Rotary International in Portsmouth, which provides humanitarian service to countless people in need throughout the New Hampshire Seacoast area. He has volunteered his time to this organization for more than 25 years, including serving on the Portsmouth Rotary Board of Directors. His tireless service has led to construction of a homeless shelter, improvements at a senior center, improvements to open space recreational facilities and countless fundraisers for charitable organizations.

"Regardless of the issue, Steve has never failed to get the job done in the finest tradition of public service." - Robert P. Sullivan, City Attorney, City of Portsmouth, New Hampshire

Harry L. Weed
Superintendent of Public Works
Village of Rockville Centre, New York

As Superintendent of Public Works for the Village of Rockville Centre, New York, Harry L. Weed supervises the Highway Division, which handles road maintenance and tree-trimming; the Sewer Department, which takes care of the pump stations, sanitary, and storm sewers; the Sanitation Department; and the Central Garage. He also oversees parking meter and console repairs and maintenance, street sweeping, road opening permits and sidewalk inspection program.

Among Weed's managerial accomplishments include presenting a class in Weapons of Mass Destruction Awareness to the Village Sanitation Department staff and meter readers; presenting, on behalf of the New York Conference of Mayors, Public Works Planning Commission, a program for public works schools on plastic recycling, dealing with board members, and new superintendent training; and the selection by APWA to attend the Third National Conference on Strengthening the Public Safety Response to Terrorism and Other Hazards.

Weed has been a member of APWA's Facilities & Grounds Technical Committee since 2005, and is currently chairing the committee through September 2009. He is a Past President of the New York Metropolitan Chapter, chaired the chapter's Government Affairs Committee in 2003 and is the chapter's current Delegate and has acted in that capacity since 2005. Weed has been a contributor to the APWA Reporter's annual Facilities & Grounds issue, penning "Workplace Safety" (April 2007) and "Intergovernmental cooperative initiatives" (April 2006).

"Harry has contributed to the overall success of APWA—locally, regionally, and nationally." - Howard B. LaFever, P.E., BCEE, former APWA Director of Region II

Editor's Note: To see the Top Ten recipients from 1960 to 2008, go to APWA's National Awards Program web page at