For more than 30 years, the APWA-MN Chapter has sponsored an annual Awards Program that recognizes excellence in public works. In addition, the chapter actively supports the APWA Awards Program with multiple submissions to the annual national awards program.

Learn more about awards and winners in the tabbed section below.

Chapter Awards

Hugo G. Erickson Award

Dave Hutton
Dave Hutton

SEH Inc.

Dave received the Hugo G. Erickson Award for excellence in chapter service. Dave has been actively involved in APWA for a number of years, including serving as the Chapter’s President in 2010. He is an instructor at North Hennepin Community College for the Public Works Certificate program. Dave was also co-chair for the 2016 PWX Get Acquainted Party in Minneapolis.

Maintenance Professional of the Year

Josh Dix
Josh Dix

Maintenance Person of the Year: Joshua Dix, City of Roseville

Superintendent of the Year

Ray Hanson
Ray Hanson

Superintendent of the Year: Ray Hanson, City of Mound

Supervisor of the Year

Michael Lusian
Michael Lusian

Supervisor of the Year: Michael Lusian, City of St. Paul

Director or Manager of the Year

Craig Eldred
Craig Eldred

Director of the Year: Craig Eldred, City of Waconia

Project of the Year

City of Cottage Grove
City of Cottage Grove
As determined by our Awards Committee, the Project of the Year was awarded to the City of Cottage Grove for their Interim Water Treatment Facilities.
Accepting the award on behalf of the City of Cottage Grove, whose project team included Stantec Consulting Services, Inc., was Jennifer Levitt, City Engineer/Community Development Director, City of Cottage Grove, MN. Due to new standards and a new hazard index (HI) issued by the MDH, eight of Cottage Grove’s 11 wells exceeded the HI values. In late May, Cottage Grove utilized only three wells to provide water for the community to ensure full compliance with the new standards. However, these three wells could not meet the community’s peak water demand and the City instituted a watering ban until more capacity could be brought online. An action plan was established with an interim solution to resolve the City’s water quality concerns for five years, thus allowing for a permanent solution to be developed. 
Two projects were recognized as Project of the Year, Honorable Mention Recipients:
Riverfront Renaissance Improvements, City of Hastings, whose team included: Bolton & Menk, Inc. and contractors Sheehy Construction Company and Pember Companies.
CSAH 17 (Lake Elmo Avenue) Corridor Management and Safety Improvements, Washington County, in partnership with the City of Lake Elmo, and consulting City Engineer Focus Engineering, and whose project team included: Short Elliott Hendrickson, Inc. and general contractors North Pine Aggregates and A-1 Excavating. 

National Awards

Presidential Award for Excellence (PACE)

APWA-MN Chapter

The MN Chapter also received the Presidential Award for Excellence (PACE) Award for the 6th year in a row! The PACE award recognizes chapters for contributions made to positively impact their membership, profession, and community.



Project of the Year, Historical Restoration, $25-$75 million

Hennepin County

Hennepin County received the Project of the Year, Historical Restoration $25-$75M, for their Franklin Avenue Bridge Project. Hennepin County retained HNTB to assist with this project and Kraemer North America was the General Contractor. The Franklin Avenue Bridge project, in Hennepin County, began due to the deteriorated original and rehabilitated elements of the Franklin Avenue Bridge, warranting an extensive structural rehabilitation. During this Franklin Avenue Bridge project, historically accurate architectural details were included throughout the structure to restore the historical context of the bridge.

After considering the structural system and user impacts, Hennepin County elected to use an Accelerate Bridge Construction (ABC) approach which utilizes pre-fabricated bridge elements (PBES). By using this precast construction method the bridge closure time was reduced from two years to four months. 

Project of the Year, Environmental <$5 million

City of Mankato

The City of Mankato received the Project of the Year, Environmental <$5M, for their Water Treatment Backwash Reclamation Project. The City of Mankato, partnered with Bolton & Menk, Inc., identified a significant source of water that could be reclaimed for drinking water. The backwashing process required to keep the membranes clean was producing 450,000 gallons of useful water per day that could be returned back to the drinking water supply. Additionally, this relatively clean water was discharged to the sanitary sewer, adding an unnecessary flow at the wastewater treatment facility. The amount of water now saved is the equivalent of the daily use of 5,000 residents.

In the end, the City of Mankato and Bolton & Menk provided benefits to the community and the environment through their commitment to environmental conservation and protection. Gridor Construction out of Buffalo, MN was the City’s Prime Contractor on this project. 

Donald C. Stone Award for Excellence in Education

APWA-MN Chapter

The Donald C. Stone Award for Excellence in Education was established to recognize APWA chapter for their work in delivering educational opportunities for all levels of persons engaged in the delivery of public works services.

The MN Chapter maintains a robust education and training program that seeks to provide ongoing educational opportunities for public works professionals throughout the state. From the Chapter’s Underground Utility Construction Inspector School (UUCIS), which seeks to training those “boots-on-the-ground” inspectors charged with ensuring proper installation of our infrastructure, to the Public Works Executive Fellowship Program, where public works managers and directors meet to discuss the issues most critical to the profession; the Minnesota Chapter seeks to educate all levels of our public works teams.

Two MN Chapter communities received Public Works Project of the Year Awards. This award was established to promote excellence in the management and administration of public works projects by recognizing the alliance between the managing agency, the consultant engineer/architect/engineer, and the contractor who, working together, complete public works projects.

(Photo - from L to R: Ron Calkins, Monica Heil, and Chris Petree)

Exceptional Performance Award - Journalism (Chapter)

APWA-MN Chapter

The Exceptional Performance Award – Journalism (Chapter) was awarded to the Chapter for their development of a 70th Anniversary Celebration Video for the MN Chapter. This award recognizes exceptional performance at the chapter level for their newsletters, magazine and/or other publications and broadcast mediums and raises the level of the public works profession.

The Chapter’s History Committee, chaired by Dave Hutton (see photo), embarked on putting together a 70th Anniversary Celebration Video. The video was showcased at our Fall Conference in November 2016. The video stressed the diversity in age of our chapter through the four members interviewed and highlighted our Chapter’s core values and mission of providing educational opportunities to further advance our Public Works knowledge and practices.

Our History Committee worked with Chapter members to obtain videos and photographs used in the video, wrote the script, hand-selected the four interviewees and worked with a member’s local cable commission to film, narrate and edit the video. Many hours went into the final production. You can view the video here.

Professional Manager of the Year - Water Resources

Tim Kelly

Tim Kelly, District Administrator of the Coon Creek Watershed District, received the award for Professional Manager of the Year – Water Resources. The professional manager of the year award in water resources category seeks to inspire excellence and dedication by recognizing the outstanding career service achievements of water resources professionals.  

Mr. Kelly has provided a thoughtful, cost-effective, and common sense approach to watershed management as District Administrator of the Coon Creek Watershed District. Tim has a career that spans 37 years and is highly respected throughout the watershed and public works communities. Tim is a tireless advocate of water quality issues and works hard to develop positive long-term solutions to challenging problems within all the stakeholder communities in the district.

Myron Calkins Young Leader of the Year Award

Mark Ray

Mark Ray received the Myron Calkins Young Leader of the Year Award. This award promotes the concept that length of career does not necessarily indicate leadership abilities or potential for service. It recognizes young APWA members (younger than 35 years old) who have demonstrated an initial commitment to the profession and the association and show potential for future growth within the organization.  

Mr. Ray has been an active member of APWA for over 6 years and is extensively involved at both the Minnesota Chapter and APWA National levels. Mark has been involved in public works for over 10 years, working in both the private and public sectors. Mark’s accomplishments and contributions to the public works profession, at both the local and national level, are unparalleled for someone of his age. Mark’s demonstrated passion and commitment to public service is an example to other young people in the public works profession.

Top Ten Public Works Leaders of the Year

Lee Gustafson, PE

Lee Gustafson of WSB & Associates received the Top Ten Public Works Leaders of the Year Award. This award recognizes the outstanding career service achievements of individual public works professionals.

Mr. Gustafson has been a key member of the Minnesota engineering and public works community for nearly 34 years. He brings to the table a wealth of professional experience in the public and private sectors, most recently as Director of Engineering for the City of Minnetonka, and currently as a Senior Project Manager at WSB & Associates.

One of Lee’s great strengths is to “think outside the box” on project issues, and push the envelope on creativity. He is known for his high-energy approach to generating productive public/private partnerships and his skill in consensus-building for public improvement projects.

The Minnesota Chapter of APWA has also benefited greatly from Lee’s dedicated service and approach to solving problems. As a committed chapter leader, he has served on the Executive Committee for more than 7 years, as Director, Secretary-Treasurer, Vice President, President, Past President, and currently serves in the role of Deputy Treasurer.

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