To recognize an elected or appointed government service leader for far-reaching impact on local, state, or national public works programs, services, or policies through exemplary public service and commitment. This award particularly recognizes leadership in furthering the mission and goals of public works.


Nonmembers of APWA who are recognized leaders and have made a positive impact or significant contributions to the public works field. Candidates may be any elected or appointed official from local, state, or federal government.


The APWA Board of Directors reviews the nominations for approval.


Applications should address the following specific criteria, which will be evaluated in the selection process:

  • Identify significant contributions to the public works field—provide specific information about the nominee’s involvement and services provided to further the mission and goals of public works
  • Describe the nominee’s positive impact—provide specific information related to the nominee’s actions that created a positive impact on public works.

Nomination Process

Nominations may be made by staff or APWA volunteer leaders such as an APWA chapter or APWA committee. Submissions are limited to 10 pages. The 10 pages do not include a letter of introduction from the chapter/nominator.


March 4, 2024, 11:59 p.m. Eastern time; electronic submittals only. 


The award winner is presented with a plaque at the Awards Recognition Ceremony during PWX or other appropriate venue and featured in APWA publications.

Award Winners

In 2017, the Citation for Exemplary Service to Public Works was changed to the Commendation for Exemplary Service to Public Works. In 2023, the name was changed to Distinguished Service to Public Works.

Anne Watson, Mayor, City of Montpelier, VT

David Gillings, Public Assistance Officer, California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services

Thomas J. Weisner, Mayor (retired), City of Aurora, IL, Northwest Water Planning Alliance

Kevin Western, State Bridge Engineer, Minnesota Department of Transportation, Oakdale, MN

Ann Chanecka, Bicycle and Pedestrian Program Manager, Dept. of Transportation, City of Tucson, AZ

Joseph C. Serra, State Representative, State of CT

Congressman James McGovern, MA, United States House of Representatives

Senator James M. Inhofe, OK, United States Senate