NARC Presents 2018 Regional Leadership and Excellence Awards


Washington, D.C. (June 6, 2018) – The National Association of Regional Councils (NARC) presented the 2018 General Achievement and Leadership Awards at its 52nd Annual Conference and Exhibition Gala Dinner in Orlando last night.

“We are excited to celebrate the achievements and leadership of our members and nominees this year,” said NARC President ­Bob Dallari, Commissioner of Seminole County, Florida. “Their hard work is on display throughout our communities, as they strive to meet challenges in innovative and effective ways. We thank all of our regions for their dedication to excellence, and our leaders for their personal efforts – and can’t wait to see the progress they will surely make going forward.”



Southeast Michigan Council of Governments
Water Resources Plan for Southeast Michigan

This plan focuses specifically on policy recommendations and actions related to protecting and restoring water resources in Southeast Michigan. The policies developed from the plan will be incorporated into a number of SEMCOG efforts, such as the 2045 Regional Transportation Plan. Three general focus areas are highlighted in the plan: Blue Economy, Infrastructure, and Natural Resources. The next stage in this innovative plan is implementation, which includes initiatives such as water trail visual mapping, integrated climate resiliency analysis, and wetlands mapping. SEMCOG used a strong public and stakeholder engagement process – establishing a Water Resources Task Force, which was comprised of 70 representatives – and holding public input meetings which engaged over 250 people throughout the process.


Indian Nation Council of Governments
Regional Advocacy Program

INCOG is a strong advocate for legislative and policy issues that impact local governments in its five-county service area of northeastern Oklahoma. Their advocacy program consists of four parts: the Coalition of Tulsa Area Governments (CTAG); Federal Policy Agenda; Public Policy Official’s Orientation and Annual Reception; and Tulsa Region’s OneVoice Legislative Agenda. These components work to drive changes in state law to improve the environment, fund major infrastructure projects, increase funding for city and county operations, and much more. CTAG is especially critical in spearheading bills important to the region and opposing those that would harm local governments. INCOG’s Regional Advocacy Program created recognition among local governments that their collective voice is more powerful than many individual voices.

Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission
Greenways + Blueways 2020 Plan

The NIRPC G+B 2020 Plan highlights the benefits and relationships of both environmental and non-motorized transportation planning through three main topics: conservation, recreation, and transportation. The Conservation chapter focuses on opportunities to connect large but fragmented patches of conservation land across Northwestern Indiana. The Recreation chapter discusses trails on both land and in water. Finally, the Transportation chapter outlines policies and practices to continue advancing non-motorized culture in Northwestern Indiana. The G+B 2020 Plan is an ambitious vision for tying together distinct but mutually beneficial focus areas in conservation and non-motorized transportation.


Heartland Regional Transportation Planning Organization
Highlands Transit Plan

Adopted in October 2017, the Highlands Transit Plan is the first adopted transit development plan for Highlands County, Florida. The strategic vision will guide planning, development, and implementation of potential future public transportation services. The development of the Highlands Transit Plan exemplified regional cooperation as the planning process was coordinated and implemented among multiple local and regional organizations, including Highland County, City of Avon Park, City of Sebring, Town of Lake Placid, the Heartland Regional Transportation Planning Organization, and the Florida Department of Transportation.



Ron De Carli
Executive Director, San Luis Obispo Council of Governments

Ronald De Carli serves as the Executive Director of the San Luis Obispo Council of Governments (SLOCOG), and throughout his 40+ year planning career has been an advocate for protecting the environment, enhancing the quality of communities, and furthering more walkable communities. SLOCOG Board President and Mayor of Atascadero Tom O’Malley said: “Ron’s greatest strength has always been getting local agencies to work together to plan, prioritize, fund and construct transportation improvements that benefit the region.” Ron will be retiring this September after 38 years of service, 28 of which serving as SLOCOG’s Executive Director.

Jack Steele
Executive Director, Houston-Galveston Area Council

Jack Steele has led the Houston-Galveston Area Council for nearly 40 years, serving 131 local governments and managing a budget of 355 million dollars. He was at the helm of the council during the difficult recovery period after Hurricanes Harvey, Ike and Rita, providing indispensable guidance.  Jack has been a consistent resource and partner to the Texas Association of Regional Councils – serving as chair for the environmental quality committee and state affairs committee, and vice-chair for the transportation, criminal justice and strategic directions committees. He also is an active member of the community outside of his public service- supporting the arts and serving in the United Methodist Church.


Teresa Rochetti-Cantrell
Mayor, City of Mayfield, Kentucky

City of Mayfield Mayor Teresa Rochetti-Cantrell will reach her 30th year of service with the city this year. She is currently in her second term and eighth year overall as Mayor. She currently serves as the Chairperson of the Board of Directors for the Purchase Area Development District (PADD), which she has expanded into a new type of program – the Regional Mayors’ Purchase Area Leadership Symposium (PALS). This program is an excellent opportunity for mayors in the region to network and share ideas on a monthly basis. Mayor Rochetti-Cantrell has helped drive this innovative work to bring localities together to promote the region’s common assets.

Nelson Wolff
Judge, Bexar County, Texas

Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff has had a long and varied career in public service, which has taken him to the Texas House of Representatives, Texas Senate, San Antonio City Council, and San Antonio Mayor’s Office. Judge Wolff took on the role of Bexar County Judge in 2001, and his leadership was critical to several growth and development initiatives in San Antonio and Bexar County. These successful initiatives include the San Pedro Creek Culture Park project, helping attract companies such as GM Financial and Toyota Motor Manufacturing to the region, and helping lead efforts to secure UNESCO World Heritage designation for the Mission Reach stretch of the San Antonio River. Judge Wolff has been an outstanding long-serving public presence who has helped steer the region along a path to success.


Dennis Smith
Executive Director, Maricopa Association of Governments

Dennis Smith has provided over 41 years of service to the Greater Phoenix region and is the Executive Director of the Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG). He has been a member of NARC for over a decade, mentoring other members throughout the country and advocating continuously for shared priorities such as transportation funding. His work involves many successful initiatives across multiple areas such as economic development, transportation, and social well-being. These include leadership in developing the MAG Economic Development Committee (EDC), championing the development of an e-platform for businesses located in Canada, Mexico, and Arizona, catalyzing the establishment of a statewide interactive online literacy map, and chairing the Arizona Council of Governments/Metropolitan Planning Organization Directors Association multiple times. His leadership and work has consistently cultivated cooperative relationships, leveraged innovation, and contributed to regionalism.

Information about NARC awards, conferences, and leadership can be found at