A highlight of every conference is when we get to honor our coworkers and colleagues who have done an amazing job to support and encourage good floodplain and stormwater management. This year, the awards were actually very easy. The winners were clear cut winners.
FLOODPLAIN MANAGER OF THE YEAR
Andrew Brawn, a Planner in the Peoria County Department of Planning was given the floodplain manager of the year award this year.
In 2008, Peoria County had a major flood, one of the largest floods recorded. Andrew assisted local fire departments, building departments, zoning and ESDA offices in the coordination of damage assessments and public information meetings. Currently, over 50 structures are being elevated using Increase Cost of Compliance funds. Andrew was also instrumental in securing over $400,000 in Illinois Department of Public Health Funds to assist the elderly and disabled residents in the floodplain.
In addition, our winner has successfully coordinated the Community Rating System Program for Peoria County, resulting in a Class 5 Rating, the third highest CRS Score in the State of Illinois.
Andrew’s dedication, drive, and commitment towards floodplain management and flood mitigation is inspiring.
Newsletter Editor Jennifer Maercklein was awarded the IAFSM Outstanding Service Award. Jennifer’s award was a hand down, no competition, no doubt, no debate, unanimous choice.
The IAFSM Current is a lot of work. Gathering articles, editing articles, doing the layout, doing the advertisements, meeting deadlines, ….
Jennifer has done an amazing job. She didn’t just take over the work…she made it infinitely better!
In addition to the Outstanding Service Award the Awards Committee named Jennifer our “Newsletter Editor Supreme For Life”.
Village of Frankfort
This year’s Stormwater Management Award winner is the Village of Frankfort. Frankfort is one of the few communities in Illinois with a multi-faceted Water Resources Plan. Frankfort is a rapidly growing community. Loss of open space and aquifer recharge are major concerns. Stormwater management and pollution control are ongoing issues. The Frankfort plan both identifies all water resources and provides a plan to ensure that the functions of these water resources is maintained. The plan identifies all the floodplain areas, both studied and unstudied. The plan identifies all the facilities designed to manage stormwater. The plan maps and identifies all wetlands in Frankfort and ensures these wetlands are protected. This is not just a plan, but a working document to establish a holistic plan to manage the Village of Frankforts storwater, floodplain, and wetland resources both to reduce flood losses, but also to maintain a natural environment that benefits all the residents of Frankfort.
Russell Rickert of FEMA Region V was awarded the 2010 IAFSM Mitigation Award. Like many of our award winners, Rusty has a non-stop drive and determination to get the job done. However, Rusty goes a step further. When State officials come into work, it isn’t unusual for late night or weekend message to be on their phones from Rusty.
In 2008, when Illinois had a string of floods, Rusty worked long hours every day for weeks, even months without taking a day off. It got so bad that his boss ordered him to take time off and go home. Illinois is fortunate to have a partner who is willing to fight for the locals on anything that was reasonable. Typically it is Rusty, behind the scenes, doing his best to cut through the bureaucracy and help mitigation projects move along as smoothly as possible. Most of his work is invisible to people, but anyone that has worked with Rusty Rickert, knows it is his depth of knowledge and his ability to get things done that are making mitigation projects succeed in Illinois.
JOURNALISM AND PUBLIC EDUCATION AWARD
This year’s Journalism award goes to Terry Hillig who is a reporter with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Terry has been doing accurate floodplain stories for very many years. He is based in the Metro East St. Louis area which is one of the most flood prone areas of the state. He has covered flooding and it’s impact on citizens, flood mitigation, floodplain regulations, flood policies both locally and nationally, and most importantly, levee issues.
Terry has been an Illinois-based reporter with the Post-Dispatch since 1998, covering a variety of news that has included floods and levees and development. Before that, he was with the Alton Telegraph for 19 years as an editorial writer and reporter and an editor and reporter for the Edwardsville Intelligencer for nine years.
For the first time in several years, IAFSM presented a legislation award. This year’s winner is State Representative Elaine Nekritz of Illinois. Representative Nekritz has been a champion of floodplain and stormwater management in her district. Representative Nekritz recognizes the impact flooding has on residents of the 57th district. In 2004, Representative Nekritz sponsored legislation to create the Cook County Stormwater Management Commission to address the concerns of residents living near the Des Plaines River. The Commission, under the authority of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District, provides a unified approach to combating flooding problems throughout the region.
In 2006, she worked to obtain obtain $6.3 million from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources for the completion of Levee 50. Located in Des Plaines, Levee 50 already provides significant flood protection and saved hundreds of homes during the August 2007 storms. Recently, she has been working with local, state, and federal officials to expand the Buffalo Creek Reservoir in Lake County. This expansion would allow the United States Army Corps of Engineers to complete flood control projects in Mount Prospect and Prospect Heights needed to defend thousands of homeowners in the area.
LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
No lifetime Achievement Award was given this year.
AUSTRALIAN AMBASSADOR “AWARD”
IAFSM also gave a special award to Ian Dinham of Australia who was our first foreign representative to give a keynote presentation. Australia and the Floodplain Management Authorities of New South Wales have developed a very brotherly relationship with the US Association of State Floodplain Managers. Bringing Ian over to speak was a great idea. Ian is not only a local floodplain manager, but a professional floodplain engineer, and an elected government councellor. Ian’s presentation was a conference highlight and Ian made friends with virtually every IAFSM member during his visit. The awards committee appointed Ian the “IAFSM Ambassador to Australia”.
ISCE GOVERMENT CIVIL ENGINEER OF THE YEAR
IAFSM member Gary Jereb was awarded the Government Civil Engineer of the Year award by his engineering peers in the Association of Civil Engineers. Quite a compliment and certainly worthy given the amount of work done by Gary and his staff in Bartlett.
2010 IAFSM Awards Committee: