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2016 National APWA Award Winner Announced

June 26, 2016

2016 National APWA Award Winner Announced

By Sarah Rippke Lloyd, Bolton & Menk, Inc.

The APWA-MN Chapter had a successful year for 2016 National Awards thanks to the great nominations made by our chapter members. The Minnesota Chapter received a total of six awards: four APWA Professional Awards and two APWA Member Awards. These awards will be presented to the recipients at the 2016 APWA PWX in Minneapolis in August.

Kevin Western of MnDOT received the Citation for Exemplary Practices Award. This award recognizes an eminent government or other public service leader who has a far-reaching, positive impact on local, state or national public works programs, services, or policies through distinguished public service and commitment.

Mr. Western has made a profound impact on the bridge program in the State of Minnesota through his technical abilities, leadership, and community outreach. Mr. Western’s colleagues had the following to say:

“Kevin is a phenomenal engineer, leader, and a very caring person. This exceptionally rare blend of qualities, along with his passion to do things right, inspires those that work with him to achieve their very best.”

“Kevin Western embodies the rare combination of deep technical expertise, strong leadership, and compassion. While working on projects of any size, he is able to bring an astute clarity to the major issues while not missing any of the specific details that facilitate an excellent project. He carries his enthusiasm for service and the greater good to interactions with everyone – novice or expert; consultant, contractor, or public employee. I owe much of my professional success to Kevin's guidance, mentoring, and support. He encouraged me to try new experiences and develop skills that I thought were beyond my abilities, and he gave me confidence to pursue new and rewarding professional challenges.”

The City of Richfield received the Exceptional Performance Award – Journalism for their development of the Sweet Streets Program. This award recognizes exceptional performance in presenting the story of a public works issue or event that projects a positive image of individuals or agencies in the course of their performance in both broadcast and print mediums.

Sweet Streets is a public awareness campaign to inform residents of the considerable number of public works projects occurring in Richfield over the next six years (2015-2020). The campaign strategy included the following tools for outreach: a website (, social media, promotional items with Sweet Streets branding, Citywide Postcard mailings, and various print advertisements.

The City of Coon Rapids received the Sustainability Practices Award. This award recognizes organizations that have made outstanding contributions to promote sustainability in public works. Sustainability is accomplished by the efficient delivery of infrastructure in an environmentally and socially responsible way that ensures the best choice in the long term.

The City of Coon Rapids has made the practice of sustainability a priority in all of its current operations, as well as its plans for future growth and redevelopment within the City. The City of Coon Rapids boasts one of the largest and most successful recycling centers and programs in the state. Innovation has been key to successful sustainability practices, which has been demonstrated by the implementation of energy efficient facility operations, future ordinance revisions including native plantings and backyard chickens, and storm water management via Minimal Impact Design Standards for new and redevelopment projects.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) received the Technical Innovation Award for its use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) for bridge inspections. This award recognizes an organization for the development, management and implementation of a creative idea, device, process, or system that enhances the goals of public works in serving the public and protecting the environment.

With the increasing costs of bridge inspections MnDOT looked at the use of UAS’s to help alleviate these costs and improve the quality of bridge inspections. The UAS is simply another tool to access bridge components for inspection purposes, it remains the bridge inspector’s responsibility to ascertain the structural condition with certainty. For the majority of bridges, unmanned aircraft systems are a tool to improve the quality of inspections, and in some cases, reduce the need for expensive access and traffic control equipment.

Angela Popenhagen, of Stevens Engineering, received the Harry S. Swearingen Award for Outstanding Chapter Achievement and Excellence in Chapter Service – Individual. This award recognizes outstanding individual achievement through chapter activity and achievement in support of APWA’s strategic plan, goals and objectives, as well as outstanding service to APWA as a public or private sector member at the chapter level.

Ms. Popenhagen has been a dedicated and active member of APWA for more than twenty years. Her leadership and willingness to become involved in numerous initiatives has demonstrated her ongoing commitment to the Minnesota Chapter and APWA that is above and beyond the typical volunteer. Ms. Popenhagen has been a key member with her involvement in various committees, as a member of the Executive Committee, and as Chapter Delegate. Angela was also instrumental in bringing the 2005 National Congress, along with the upcoming 2016 PWX Conference to Minnesota.

Bolton & Menk, Inc. received the Harry S. Swearingen Award for Outstanding Chapter Achievement and Excellence in Chapter Service – Corporate Company. This award recognizes outstanding achievement through chapter activity and achievement in support of APWA’s strategic plan, goals and objectives, as well as outstanding service to APWA as a public or private sector member at the chapter level.

Bolton & Menk, Inc. has been an effective and longstanding partner of APWA and the Minnesota Chapter of APWA. Bolton & Menk has demonstrated an exceptional commitment to the organization with numerous employees chairing and serving on various Chapter committees as well as on the Chapter’s Executive Committee. Bolton & Menk also provides financial support as a Platinum Plus sponsor. Throughout Bolton & Menk’s alliance with APWA-MN, they have sought opportunities to recruit for the engineering profession, to increase public appreciation and support for infrastructure solutions, and to create an awareness and understanding that these services are essential to a higher quality of life.

Congratulations to all of the award recipients! Thank you to everyone that helped prepare award submittal write-ups, providing a strong-showing of the great work and people involved in APWA-MN! We look forward to presenting the awards and celebrating these achievements at the APWA PWX in Minneapolis this August.

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