Outstanding floodplain managers and exemplary programs were presented with IAFSM awards at 2017
conference in Springfield. The following awards were presented:
Matt Wahl, Peoria County
Matt Wahl received the Outstanding Service award in recognition of his service to IAFSM, including his work to create and manage the Illinois Certified Floodplain Manager program which certified over 500 floodplain managers in the state. He is the Director of Planning and Zoning for Peoria County with more than three decades of progressive community development experience. Mr. Wahl was instrumental in the development of the multi-jurisdictional Illinois River Flood Mitigation Program which included a floodplain acquisition program of hundreds of repetitive loss properties. He developed the County’s first building code program and for that initiative was able to receive a Class 5 CRS Rating from the Insurance Services Office. He has been honored with multiple awards in his career including the Larry R. Johnston Award from the ASFPM as national floodplain manager of the year in 1997.
Anthony Heddlesten, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Rock Island District
Mr. Heddlesten is a civil and environmental engineer for the US Army Corps of Engineers, Rock Island District. He is the lead flood engineer for an area that covers the Illinois River and all its tributaries from the Fox to the La Moine. Through the flood area engineer program, Anthony has responded to numerous floods in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota and Mississippi. For those in central and north-central Illinois, Anthony maintains “the list” of floodplain, emergency management, community and levee district officials. He frequently communicates the most current methods and ideas in flood response and preparation to these officials. He encourages you to email him to be added to his outreach list! Anthony also participates in the Silver Jackets program, leading the Mobile Information Collection Application (MICA) pilot project, and is working on the effort to define, document and replicate the Illinois Valley Flood Resiliency Alliance throughout the state. Mr. Heddlesten is the recipient of this year’s Public Education award in recognition of these efforts.
Illinois State Representative Kelly Cassidy
Illinois State Senator Heather Steans
This year, IAFSM presented two Legislation awards, to the lead sponsors of the Urban Flooding Awareness Act in the State Senate and House of Representatives. Representative Kelly Cassidy was the lead sponsor for the Urban Flooding Awareness Act in the House and represents the Illinois14th District at the Illinois General Assembly. Rep Cassidy is a member of the Green Caucus and has cosponsored several successful measures including significant improvements to both urban and rural composting and growth of wind energy. Senator Heather Steans was the lead sponsor in the State Senate for the Urban Flooding Awareness Act and has represented Illinois’ 7th District in the Senate since 2008. Currently, she also serves on the Environment and Conservation committee as well as various other committees. Steans worked to pass legislation creating commercial composting capabilities.
RainReady is a program of the Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT) that has successfully implemented a “no one-size-fits-all” approach to helping urban and suburban communities in becoming RainReady. RainReady’s program works with the municipal trustees, other government agencies, and residents to develop multi-pronged flood plans for communities. A video showing some of RainReady’s efforts can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GwpsxftGC8c. In recognition of their efforts to improve stormwater management, especially in urban and suburban communities, IAFSM presents the Stormwater Management award to CNT’s RainReady program.
Doug Moslehi, Rock Island County
The State of Illinois is fortunate to have numerous floodplain managers that do excellent jobs. This year’s winner is Doug Moslehi of the Rock Island County Office of Building & Zoning. Doug is one of two CFMs in the office and juggles administration of the Building Code, the Zoning Ordinance, the floodplain management regulations, and storm water regulations. Doug previously worked as a floodplain manager in Madison County and began his career working for both the states of Illinois and Missouri in their mitigation sections. In his long career as a floodplain manager, Doug’s efforts have resulted in hundreds of elevated structures and buyout projects throughout the state. Doug received this award in recognition of his always maintaining high standards and requiring things being done the right way. Doug is a true and vocal believer in the benefits of both proper floodplain management and mitigation.
Village of Oquawka and City of Keithsburg
Although these two “Mississippi River Small Towns” have a combined population of just over 2000 residents, the local officials for these towns have successfully enforced floodplain and zoning rules for their entire communities, despite the fact that most of the staff serves on a part time basis. Being a river community that has virtually eliminated all structures from the floodplain is no small task and both of these communities have experienced this success.
Lifetime Achievement Award
Paul Osman was presented with the IAFSM Lifetime Achievement Award. Paul is the Statewide Floodplain Programs Manager for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Office of Water Resources (IDNR/OWR) and is the Illinois State National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) Coordinator. He has worked with the NFIP program for over 25 years and continues to work with the nearly 1,000 Illinois communities that participate in the NFIP program.
If you’ve had the good fortune to interact with Paul you know that he is a walking book of knowledge on flood insurance, flood regulation, floodplain mapping, flood disaster response and flood mitigation. He has contributed to federal, state and local floodplain policy that has benefited our country and other countries.
Twenty-five years ago, at the onset of Paul’s career with Illinois floodplain issues, Illinois ranked 5th highest in the country with respect to repetitive flood damaged properties. Today, as a result of Paul’s work, Illinois has created the greatest reduction in repetitive flood damaged properties in the nation. Through his promotion of flood mitigation, Paul has saved the tax payers millions of dollars by reducing flood damages and educating about floodplains. Paul has also generously shared his time and energy to further the missions of the Association of State Floodplain Managers (ASFPM) and IAFSM. Illinois has benefited from Paul’s work, but so have many other states and countries with which Paul has shared his knowledge and experiences.
In addition to his mastery of the technical side of his job, Paul is a tireless advocate and problem solver for our local floodplain managers. From his late night public meetings where he has often mellowed an unruly crowd, to “standing FEMA up” for some ill-thought policy decision, Paul’s intentions have always been about making floodplain management better for Illinois, resulting in communities with more livable and enhanced green space. Any of the communities which routinely call on Paul for assistance will say that Paul’s work ethic, personal involvement with the communities and love for his job are nothing short of “incredible.” Paul has equally advocated for the property owners who are hurt by floods and for those who live in harmony with floods. He is a voice for them, a voice for us, and a voice in everyone’s ear.
The Lifetime Achievement Award is the IAFSM’s highest honor. It is reserved for outstanding longtime floodplain managers who have made a noticeable impact on floodplain and stormwater management efforts in the State of Illinois. This award is not always given on a yearly basis. The Award was last presented in 2015. In recognition of Paul Osman’s impact on the state, country and abroad, Paul Osman is the recipient of IAFSM’s 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award.