Don’t let all your hard work go unnoticed or your best people go unrecognized!  Step up and shout out!  Western Planner has a number of awards designed to spotlight great accomplishments, outstanding people – even stories that could be classified under, “you can’t make this stuff up.” In 2017, the WPR Board will be seeking nominations for the Western Planner of the Year, Citizen Planner of the Year, the Sheldon D. Gerber Special Merit Award for Excellence in Environmental Planning, the Rural Innovation Award and while we’re at it, the Lester Award! All of the awards will be presented during the 2017 Western Planner Conference .

Award Winners 

Read the list of previous winners

Award Categories

President’s Award

The WPR President’s Award is given at the discretion of the current WPR President.  Most all of those who work with  The Western Planner are volunteers.  Recognition for many years of quality contributions, outstanding dedication, and perseverance through the challenging times and are all qualities that have been honored.

Planner of the Year Award

The Planner of the Year award honors individuals who have the fortitude, skill, and humor necessary to be recognized practitioners and outspoken advocates on behalf of planning in the West. The award gives WPR an opportunity to honor planners who have gained respect as fellow professionals, and it identifies and recognizes the achievements that led to the winner’s selection as WP’s Planner of the Year.

Rural Innovation Award

We encourage small towns to submit their efforts that deserve recognition but may feel that larger towns steal the thunder in these type of award efforts.  As a leader in connecting professionals across the rural West, WP wants to highlight the things that matter to you.  Help us promote your efforts and bring a well-deserved boost to your community’s planning efforts. The award was created in 2013.

Sheldon D. Gerber Merit Award for Excellence in Environmental Planning

WPR seeks nominations for the Sheldon D. Gerber Merit Award for Excellence in Environmental Planning annually. The award recognizes outstanding achievements in environmental planning, which can be in the form of a project, report, or the professional efforts of a planner or citizen planner. A WPR Board member at the time of his death in May 1991, Sheldon inspired many of us whose lives he touched to do two things: “Go the extra distance to accomplish well what it is you set out to do, and take time to smell the roses.” WPR would like to recognize individuals who are striving to improve the environment and protect the natural world. Nominations may be from three categories: a project or report, recognition for a planner’s contribution in environmental planning or recognition for a citizen planner’s contribution in environmental planning.

Individual Planner or Citizen Planner Award

Individual Planner or Citizen Planner Award recognizes either a professional planner or a lay person that has distinguished themselves as a champion and leader of a project or program that embodies the principles of planning.  The individual should have demonstrated exceptional skill at problem identification and solving, process development and implementation, and/or public outreach and communication.  Above all, the planner will have conducted themselves ethically and with humor and compassion towards those they strive to benefit.

Steadman People’s Choice Award

Steadman People’s Choice Award is a take on the past Feature Article of the Year. Over the course of the year, we’ve had outstanding articles that bring real-world planning issues in the west to your doorstep.  While we think all of our material is noteworthy, there are those articles that stand out and deserve a second read. Several years back, The Western Planner Editorial Board advanced the notion that there should be incentives for people to want to submit articles to The Western Planner journal. Theidea of an annual contest to select the best article of the year was born. The incentive factor would be that contributors could feel proud to be personally recognized in their chosen field. The recipient would be identified as a superior author with a fancy plaque to be posted on the wall at his or her job site and could bolster his or her resume for potential advancement in the future. By conducting this contest, WPR aims to cultivate interest in writing excellent articles for the journal. WPR recognizes and honors those who submit superior material for the planning community’s consumption. In 2002, the WPR Editorial Board decided to name the Article of the Year Award after The Western Planner Founder Stan Steadman. Stan was the original publisher of The Western Planner journal and served as editor for many years. Many board members believe that without Stan, there would not be a WP Journal.

Lester Award

Far more tongue-in-cheek than the Planner of the Year or Merit Awards, the Lester recognizes a planner who has, well, “extinguished” him or herself during the last year. Let’s face it: Being a planner in the West can be difficult.  One way planners cope is by having a sense of humor about the crazy things that happen both to them and around them in the course of doing their job. The award honors those who have survived the sometimes bizarre world of planning in the West. Lester was a real person who came out to Montana from the East during the coal boom years in the 1970s. His legend has been told many times (to the delight of his audiences) by Stan Steadman, the father of the WP and an original editor. Lester didn’t have a clue what he was getting into. He got himself removed as a planner over and over again, including being selected as the honorary marshal for the “Forty Below Keeps the Riffraff Out Parade” in Two Dot, Montana.  He was escorted out of town and not invited back. Over the years, the WPR Board has picked a recipient of the Lester during the annual conference. Past winners have extinguished themselves by being fired from a variety of jobs, having dealt with a cruel and unusual boss, taking three or four flights in order to get to a WP Conference, or even having a county commissioner appoint himself to the planning commission in order to vote on his own development plan…twice. WPR enjoys recognizing planners who have carried on this proud tradition.  Please submit nominations for those who have extinguished themselves through unusual and possibly humorous events that represent the hardships Western Planners face. Please keep in mind that this is a fun award and not intended to humiliate or embarrass anyone!  Make sure your nominee has a sense of humor about the situation and won’t mind it being retold.