2014 Western Planner Awards
by Candi Millar and Dan Pava
President Dan Pava and President-Elect Candi Millar presented five Western Planner awards at the Utah APA/Western Planner 2014 Conference in Salt Lake City. The combined awards ceremony was held on Oct. 2 at the elegant Gallivan Center. From the nominations submitted or voted on by subscribers of The Western Planner Journal, the following recipients were selected.
President’s Award, Ken Waido
This year, the Western Planner President’s Award was given to a surprised Ken Waido. The President’s Award recognizes exceptional accomplishments on behalf of the Western Planner organization and/or accomplishments by a western planner deserving of special notice. The award was in recognition of Waido’s unfailing commitment and enduring contributions to Western Planning Resources(WPR), the publisher of The Western Planner. Waido had served on the WPR Board for over 30 years, and that the certificate thanked Waido for his many, many, many, many years of service to The Western Planner. Further, the award proclaimed that, “Yours will be a hard act to follow indeed!” as Waido has been contemplating stepping off of the board since he retired from the City of Fort Collins a couple of years ago.
The “Lester Award” – Max Johnson
The Lester Award was presented to this year’s conference chair, Max Johnson. The “Lester” is presented to a planner who has nearly extinguished his/herself in the line of duty. In some cases, this involved being fired and/or run out of town. Lester is inspired by real events although the facts may have been changed to honor the specific recipient from year to year. In Johnson’s case, he was recognized for his diligent efforts as the Utah APA/Western Planner conference chair. Johnson was honored for his outstanding creativity perseverance, commitment, and good sense of humor while serving as the Utah APA-Western Planner 2014 conference coordinator. Johnson was also presented with a collector’s item “Lester Lives” t-shirt that was given to Pava by Western Planner founder Stan Steadman earlier in the week. Johnson also received a “Gumby” action toy which Pava noted epitomized Johnson’s ability to remain “flexible” and unfazed over the past year while preparing for the conference.
Planner of the Year Award – Christopher Beck
Chris Beck, AICP, is a Principal with Agnew::Beck Consulting out of Anchorage, AK and Boise, ID and has been instrumental in bringing planning to urban and rural Alaska since 1979. Beck has guided and coordinated planning for Alaska communities, state and federal agencies, and Alaskan Native Corporations. He is known to introduce planning to the uninitiated in metaphorical terms, such as “this land use plan is like a pond full of newts; it looks scary, but it has no teeth.” Outside his consulting responsibilities, Beck consistently has volunteered his time and expertise in public policy, planning education, and astronomy. He served on the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Public Advisory Committee, as an adjunct professor at the University of Alaska Anchorage, teaching the only course in urban planning, and in various citizen advocacy groups in Anchorage. The nomination application indicated he is always willing to be a mentor, adviser and pontificator, and enjoys ending the day in discussion over a cold beverage. Beck’s energetic, pragmatic and diplomatic approach to Western planning inspires his colleagues, clients and community.
Rural Innovation – Fairbanks North Star Borough
The Western Planner 2014 Award for Rural Innovation goes to the Fairbanks North Star Borough for its project, “Parcel Base Map Control with Differential GPS.” The purpose of this project was to provide the Fairbanks North Star Borough better control of its GIS parcel layer by referencing the parcel layer to GPS coordinates. This resulted in more accurate alignment when paired with the aerial photography layers. In areas where poor control exists, inaccuracies can cause frustrations at best and serious boundary disputes at worst. In the area of focus, Harding Lake, the parcel layer was as much as 60 feet out of alignment with the aerial photographs. This project entailed a fair amount of GIS work identifying survey monuments to rectify the erroneous parcel boundaries with GPS coordinates collected in the field.
The Steadman People’s Choice Award – Adrienne Packer
The Steadman People’s Choice – Article of the Year Award is given to the author of a Western Planner Journal article voted by the subscribers of the journal as the best-written piece in the last two years. The recipient of this award is Adrienne Packer for her article “Going Green,” published in the Feb/Mar 2013 issue. The article describes the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada successes at balancing the transportation needs of the residents of Las Vegas and the visitors that flock to the Strip and Downtown. Visitors to the Strip are now accommodated with transit options including the Deuce, a double-decker bus ideal for sightseeing, and the Downtown Express, a bus rapid transit route serving resorts along the Strip. Commuters throughout the Valley also have more transit options with the implementation of several Bus Rapid Transit Routes including the Boulder Highway, Centennial Hills Express and the Westcliff Express. The article also described RTC’s implementation of a Complete Streets program aimed at enhancing transit, pedestrian and bicycling experience on a number of routes. Most notably, were the improvements that contributed to the transformation of downtown Las Vegas. Joining with the City of Las Vegas, the Fremont Street and Boulder Highway Corridor, a 15-mile project was retrofitted with transit lanes and stations, bicycle lanes and landscaping at a cost of $41.5 million.
Congratulations to all of the recipients of this year’s Western Planner Awards. It is an honor to be distinguished by your peers from the 13 states Western Planner represents.