Award Program

APWA Awards Information

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APWA recognizes the importance of acknowledging success.  Often, we complete one great project and then move on to the next.  APWA offers a variety of state and national awards to recognize excellence in our industry.  Receiving an APWA award is an excellent marketing tool and instills a sense of accomplishment, recognition and a desire for superior services and products. 

Award Applications

Previous Years' Awards



Presidential Award for Chapter Excellence (PACE) - APWA National award established to recognize chapters for contributions made to positively impact their membership, profession, and community.

Top Ten Leaders Award - Seeks to inspire excellence and dedication in public service by recognizing the outstanding career service achievements of individual public works professionals and officials from both the public and private sectors.

Manager of the Year Award - Recognition of exceptional leadership and management in the areas of: Administrative Management, Engineering & Technology, Facilities & Grounds, Public Fleet, Public Rights-of-Way, Emergency Management, Solid Waste, Transportation, and Water Resources.

Project of the Year Award - Recognizes excellence, innovation and cooperation with regard to management and administration of public works projects through the alliance of the managing agency, consultant and contractor.

Awards are given in four divisions

1. Projects less than $5 million;
2. Projects of $5 million, but less than $25 million;
3. Projects of $25 million to $75 million; and
4. Projects more than $75 million

and five categories:

1. Structures—to include public structure preservation/rehabilitation, municipal buildings, parks, etc.;
2. Transportation, including roads, bridges, mass transit, etc.;
3. Environment including treatment and recycling facilities, landfill reclamation projects, sewer projects, etc.;
4. Historical Restoration/Preservation; to include historical restoration, preservation and adaptive reuse of existing buildings, structures, and facilities, etc.; and
5. Disaster or Emergency Construction / Repair; to include the techniques and timing for safety, community relations, environmental protection, adverse conditions and additional considerations. This award is sponsored by the Awards Committee.

Charles Walter Nichols Award for Environmental Excellence - Established in 1951 by Charles Walter Nichols of Nichols Engineering Research Corporation, this award recognizes outstanding and meritorious achievement in the environmental field in its broadest sense.  This may include, but is not limited to, street sanitation, refuse collection, disposal and recycling, sewers and sewage treatment, water supply, and water treatment.

Harry S. Swearingen Award for Outstanding Chapter Achievement and Excellence in Chapter Service - Established in 1958, this award is intended to perpetuate the memory of Harry Seller Swearingen (1900 - 1957), who worked untiringly on behalf of APWA and its purposes.  A career employee of the City of Los Angeles, Swearingen was an active member of the Southern California Chapter.  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.

Diversity Exemplary Practices Award - Established to recognize individuals and organizations that have made outstanding contributions to diversity.  The American Public Works Association defines diversity as follows: Value of all individuals and different perspectives of those individuals, and providing the process for all to feel included as part of the whole. Diversity includes race, gender, creed, age, lifestyle, national origin, disability, personality, educational background and income level. Diversity is not an affirmative action nor an equal opportunity program.

Sustainability Practices Award - Established to recognize individuals, teams or 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.

Technical Innovation Award/Management Innovation Award - Recognizes an individual, team, or 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.


William A. Bowes Award - This award is the highest chapter award given by the Oregon Chapter of APWA. It bears the names of distinguished Oregon public works professionals, one for each year since the inception of the award in 1978. It was established to recognize a public works leader for their far-reaching, positive impact on public works programs, services or policies. Criteria include promoting chapter growth, signing up new members, participating in committee activities, and gaining public recognition of the chapter. Selection is made by the previous award winner.

Sustainability Practices Award - This award recognizes individuals, programs, agencies and organizations that have made outstanding contributions to promote sustainability in public works. Sustainability is accomplished by the efficient and cost effective delivery of infrastructure in an environmentally and socially responsible way that ensures the best choice in the long term. Up to two Sustainability Practices Awards are presented annually in the following categories: individual or program/agency/organization. This award is sponsored by the Sustainability Committee.

Young Leader Award - Recognizes and encourages young APWA members who have demonstrated an initial commitment to the profession and the Association, and show potential for future growth within the Association. The award promotes the concept that length of career does not necessarily indicate leadership abilities or potential for service. This award is sponsored by the Leadership and Management Committee.

Special Service Award - Regarded as the highest honor that APWA can bestow, this award was established in 1935 as the Honorary Membership Award. This honor is intended to indicate to the greatest possible extent APWA’s esteem, respect and regard. This can be a person that has been working behind the scenes helping the Oregon Chapter or it can be a public figure. This award may be presented in recognition of acknowledged service and well-established preeminence in the field of public works, such as, but not limited to encouraging sustainable practices in the field of public works; smart growth policies i.e.: outstanding mass transit options, encouraging plans that limit sprawl, and/or contributions of special merit and benefit to APWA.

Projects of Year Award - Same criteria as the national award.

Everyday Heroes Award - To recognize public works employees who are identified by their peers or customers for - providing good customer service (responsive, consistent, courteous), making the best use of public resources (efficient, innovative), helping co-workers succeed (assistance, cooperation, solution oriented), and being a great person to work with (friendly, respectful).

Communications Award - Established in 2016, the Oregon Chapter Communications Award, also called the "Bulldog Award" was created in honor of the inaugural recipient:  Eric "Bulldog" Jones.  The award recognizes individuals who are distinguished in the public works field for communication skills or techniques that bring awareness or educate the public and/or the profession about public works or public works communications. 

Gizmo Award - While not an achievement award in the traditional sense, the Gizmo (AKA Golden Knuckle) Award nonetheless is an important function of the chapter. First presented in 1987, the award has raised thousands of dollars for scholarships given by the chapter's Scholastic Foundation. What is the Gizmo? Suffice to say, it's an award most people are willing to pay to not receive.


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