Richard H. Sullivan, former APWA Executive Director, dies

  Richard H. Sullivan

Richard H. Sullivan, 72, former APWA Executive Director (1989-1993), died July 20 at Exempla Lutheran Hospital in Wheat Ridge, Colorado. He was a resident of Arvada, Colorado.

Sullivan served in a staff leadership role at APWA for over 27 years. He joined the association in 1966 as Assistant Director for Technical Affairs. Later, as Director of Research for APWA's Research Foundation, he directed numerous studies relating to the management of public works activities. He also served as the Secretary, Institute for Water Resources, and prepared testimony and background information for presentation to the federal government on water resource and public works issues.

While serving as the Associate Executive Director of Management and Research, Sullivan was appointed Acting Director following the retirement of Robert D. Bugher on November 1, 1989. He was named Executive Director in December 1989 and served until 1993.

Prior to joining the association staff, Sullivan served as Public Works Director of Phoenix, Arizona, and City Manager of Pacific Grove, California. He served in the Army Corps of Engineers, stationed in Okinawa, retiring as a captain.

Sullivan earned a bachelor's degree in civil engineering from the University of Colorado, and a master's degree in sanitary engineering from the University of Texas. He is survived by his wife of 53 years, Shirley J. Sullivan; son Roger Sullivan of Grand Junction, Colorado; and daughter Robin Najman of Los Angeles, California.

"Dick was one of the key members of the staff when I had the pleasure of serving as Executive Director," Bugher said. "The success of our cooperative research program, beginning in the 1960s, made it necessary to expand the staff to meet the challenges of the time. We needed a talented person, with practical experience, to oversee such activities. Dick was not particularly interested in research, but he graciously accepted the responsibilities that went with the position. As time went by, he acquired increased interest in developing and managing a wide variety of research projects of significant benefit to public works agencies throughout the nation."