Press Release: NARC Presents 2017 Regional Leadership and Excellence Awards

The National Association of Regional Councils (NARC) presented its 2017 General Achievement and Leadership Awards at its 51st Annual Conference and Exhibition Gala Dinner in Monterey, California last night.

“We are honored to acknowledge and celebrate the outstanding leaders and achievements across regional councils this year,” said NARC President Ron Shaffer, Commissioner of Johnson County, Kansas. “Our regions are leading the charge in creating innovative solutions to community issues every day – proving that interjurisdictional, regional collaboration provides effective solutions. The work of our nominees, in particular, showcases just some of the successes of regional commitment and our members’ dedication to excellence.”

NARC General Achievement Awards recognize excellence in programs and service of regional councils and metropolitan planning organizations. The 2017 Achievement Award winners are:

Major Metro Award
Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments

CORIS: Leveraging Data Innovation and P3s in Regional Freight Transportation Planning

The Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments (OKI) works side-by-side with private sector companies in the Central Ohio River Business Association (CORBA), the first private freight association in the region. Together, their work ensures that the region continues to be the nation’s busiest inland port. To ensure the port’s economic prosperity, OKI and CORBA developed the Central Ohio River Information System (CORIS), which identifies key features of a port that may be of importance to potential site selectors, users, investors, elected officials, and industry members. The data contained within CORIS is the result of an intensive surveying process of all 142 public and private dock terminals and countless face-to-face visits made by CORBA members.

Medium Metro Award
Central Texas Council of Governments

Veterans Directed Health Care Program

The Central Texas Council of Governments (CTCOG) Veterans Directed Health Care Program was developed to provide high-quality, flexible care to veterans who need skilled services, case management, and assistance with activities of daily living. The program provides veterans with a flexible budget for services that provide them better accessibility, choice, and control over long-term care services. In a region that hosts the largest military installation in the country, the Veterans Directed Health Care Program supports the bedrock of the local economy and entices veterans to stay in the region. The program has a 95% satisfaction rating by the veterans involved, and its success stems from CTCOG’s collaboration with over 100 Veteran Service Organizations and partnerships between various federal, state, and local entities.

Rural Award
Southwest Colorado Council of Governments

Southwest Colorado Broadband Project

The Southwest Colorado Council of Governments (SWCCOG) operates in a region of approximately 101,000 people across 6,500 square miles. Rural, mountainous, and isolated, the introduction of broadband internet service has been a boom to the region’s historically unpredictable economy. Some communities in SWCCOG’s jurisdiction have been at risk for having no broadband service without SWCCOG’s assistance. SWCCOG works with communities to increase the number of ISPs providing service and to bring stakeholders together to find solutions in under-serviced areas. SWCCOG was the first regional organization in Colorado to partner with the Colorado Department of Transportation on a project, and it has also brought several ISPs, health care facilities, libraries, schools, and 13 county and municipal governments together to improve the quality of life for all Coloradans in the region.

This year, NARC awarded the following leadership awards: the Walter Scheiber Award, Tom Bradley Award, John Bosley Award, and NARC President’s Award. The Scheiber Award recognizes the significant impacts an executive director has made at the local, state, and national levels. The Tom Bradley Award recognizes leadership excellence an elected or appointed official has made in advocating regional concepts, approaches, and programs at any level of government. The John Bosley Award recognizes outstanding service and contributions by an individual with at least 10 years of service with a regional council in advancing the success of the regional community. The NARC President’s Award recognizes any partner, NARC member, or congressional member who has provided time and dedication to benefit regionalism and NARC. The 2017 Leadership Award winners are:

Walter Scheiber Award
David John Preece

Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer, Southern New Hampshire Planning Commission

David Preece, executive director and CEO of the Southern New Hampshire Planning Commission (SNHPC), has been instrumental in promoting engagement and participation with local communities on behalf of SNHPC. His focus on community outreach and engagement has revitalized collaborative planning efforts in the region. In particular, his personal involvement in creating the Housing and Conservation Roundtable—a statewide, incentive-based program to give communities the ability to plan housing, economic development, and conservation as a unified planning strategy—has ensured its success. This roundtable brings together planners from a diverse set of communities and facilitates collaboration and communication across the region.

Tom Bradley Award (2 winners)*
Robert Cannon
Supervisor, Clinton Township, Michigan

Robert Cannon has been the highest elected official in Clinton Township for the past 17 years. As Supervisor, Cannon has championed regional approaches to development. He was instrumental in forming the Clinton and Macomb District Library, which serves approximately 180,000 residents and supported Clinton in becoming the first “Welcoming Township” in the nation. Under his stead, Clinton Township has been transformed to a vibrant, growing community. At the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG), Cannon’s leadership laid the foundation for improving the region’s transportation system, including transit services. Cannon served as chair of SEMCOG’s Transportation Coordination Council, co-chair of the Metropolitan Affairs Coalition’s Transit Tax Force, was a member of the Ann Arbor to Detroit Regional Steering Committee, and serves on the board of directors for the Traffic Safety Association of Macomb.

Vito Chiesa
Supervisor and StanCOG Board Chair, Stanislaus Council of Governments

Under Chairman Vito Chiesa’s leadership, the Stanislaus Council of Governments (StanCOG) successfully developed ballot Measure L for a transportation sales tax, which passed with over 70% of the vote. To achieve the highest vote margin on a ballot measure in California since 1989, Chiesa developed a public-driven expenditure plan based on the input from an extensive public outreach effort. By basing the plan on what the public wanted—down to the names of streets to be repaved—StanCOG was able to win endorsements from a range of community and political stakeholders, including both Republicans and Democrats. The $958 million expenditure plan will allocate revenue across local street maintenance, traffic management, bike and pedestrian projects, as well as transit services for seniors, disabled, and veterans and regional projects.

John Bosley Award
Rick Tollakson

President and CEO, Hubbell Realty Company

Rick Tollakson chairs the Water Trails and Greenways Steering Committee at the Des Moines Area MPO, and his leadership and commitment to turning the 150 miles of rivers and creeks in Central Iowa into recreational attractions has been instrumental in guiding this vision toward reality. As Chair, Tollakson joined MPO staff for presentations to interested groups, took multiple stakeholders on paddling trips himself, engaged stakeholders and potential funders, and became a bona fide water trails evangelist along the way. With Tollakson in the lead, the MPO raised $500,000 to pay for a Water Trails Engineering Study through multiple sources. Thanks to Tollakson, the study is underway and is anticipated to be complete by the end of the year.

President’s Award
Fred Strong

Regional Leader, LOSSAN/NARC/CALCOG/Paso Robles City Council

Having devoted the past 2o years of his life to representing the people in a wide swath of appointed positions, Fred Strong is a public servant of the highest order. He represents the Paso Robles City Council at the San Luis Obispo Council of Governments (SLOCOG), Los Angeles-San Diego-San Luis Obispo Rail Corridor Agency (LOSSAN), California Association of Councils of Governments (CALCOG), League of California Cities, and NARC. Despite the expanse of his obligations, Fred Strong has a perfect attendance record with all of these organizations and devotes so much of his life to these combined duties. As the representative for Paso Robles at all of these organizations, Fred Strong has advocated tirelessly for his community and ensured regional transportation development in San Luis Obispo.

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Copyright © 2013 National Association of Regional Councils