2018 IAFSM Awards

Outstanding floodplain managers and exemplary programs were presented with IAFSM awards at the 2018 conference in Tinley Park.  The following awards were presented:

Outstanding Service

Shauna Urlacher, PE, CFM

For her many years of service to IAFSM, the 2018 Outstanding Service Award was presented to Shauna Urlacher. Shauna has a long history of service with IAFSM, serving on and chairing several committees over the years including the Floodplain Management Committee and the Stormwater Management Committee. Shauna is active and enthusiastic in her committee leadership and has been very successful in planning and organizing numerous educational seminars annually. Under her leadership, Shauna’s committees have consistently produced high quality, well attended seminars, training, and outreach to fl oodplain and stormwater professionals.  Shauna worked with the Stormwater Committee and the IAFSM Board to create the annual Stormwater Management Project Awards to recognize projects for the purpose of promoting eff ective design approaches for water quantity and water quality purposes. She also organized stormwater management workshops, assembles the stormwater management presentation blocks for the annual conference, and she is happy to assist in moderating sessions
or presenting. Shauna and has gone above and beyond normal expectations and duties to promote or encourage IAFSM goals, and she has made a difference in IAFSM.

Public Education


WBEZ radio station stepped up and presented a series of programs called “Heat of the Moment, Everyday life on an Changing Planet” www.heatofthemoment.org which speak to climate change. They address not only global impacts but also look at Urban Flooding in the City of Chicago, and specifically the issues faced by the Chatham neighborhood. In addition to this series, WBEZ also published several pieces on the July 2017 flooding in Lake County. For WBEZ’s efforts to educate their listeners on Illinois’ flood damage issues, WBEZ was presented with the IAFSM Public Education Award for 2018.


Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD)

Since 1889, the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) has been an international leader in addressing the changing landscape of the water industry, adding value to both traditional and non-traditional approaches. The Board of Commissioners began working to achieve legal authority for stormwater management in 2003-2004. The authorizing legislation was enacted in 2004 and provides MWRD with regulatory authority for floodplain and stormwater management, and allows them to fund stormwater management projects. The Cook County Countywide Stormwater Management Plan was adopted by the MWRD Board in 2006.

The MWRD Board saw to the creation of Watershed Planning Committees within the major watersheds of Cook County to ensure municipal and public engagement. MWRD partners with municipalities in their service area and in other areas of the County to facilitate projects that not only solve stormwater issues but provide community assets and economic growth. The MWRD Board holds listening session and other events to learn and to share approaches for addressing stormwater management. MWRD has continued the legacy of innovative stormwater management, most recently through the completion of five stormwater master planning pilot studies, centered on solving urban flooding, and continues this momentum of innovation into the future through the plan to establish a Stormwater Master Planning Program to achieve outcome based solutions to urban flooding challenges across the MWRD service area.

For their efforts to address stormwater management throughout Cook County through their legislative authority, the 2018 Legislative Award was presented to the MWRD Board of Commissioners. 

Stormwater Management

City of St. Charles

The City of St. Charles has done an outstanding job in its pursuit of effective and sustainable floodplain and stormwater management within its municipal boundaries and beyond. The City is participating in the National Flood Insurance Program’s Community Rating System (CRS) and has achieved and maintained a CRS Class 5 rating, one of the highest ratings achieved by any community in the State of Illinois. St. Charles has shown tremendous leadership, courage and vision in their floodplain and stormwater management, and flood mitigation efforts.

Recently, the City started a parallel process, alongside the FEMA map revision process, to allow the City to start implementing mitigation projects in advance of FEMA map revision. St. Charles has worked to ensure projects are providing co-benefits, not only reducing flood risk but also including greenway corridors and other water quality improvements adjacent to major waterways.  

For their efforts to protect citizens from fl ood damage, the City of St. Charles received the Stormwater Management Award.

Floodplain Manager of the Year

Marilyn Sucoe, PE, CFM, Village of Lisle

Marilyn Sucoe took the position of Storm Water Administrator for the Village of Lisle just after the devastating April 2013 flood. Since that time she has spent countless hours working with the residents impacted by the flooding that occurs throughout the Village. During her short time at the Village she has secured nearly $4 million in grant funds to elevate or purchase flood prone properties within the Village. She is also the Village of Lisle Community Rating System (CRS) Coordinator. She never hesitates to ask the right questions as she works to address flood damage, and she is always willing to assist other floodplain managers and CRS Coordinators with their questions.

Marilyn has nearly three decades of experience working for local government in Illinois, Arizona and Washington, and worked as consultant in Illinois. She has worked in permitting, ordinance development, project development and planning, and is a member of the RAFT team. Throughout her career she has helped numerous Illinois communities apply for the CRS and maintain compliance with the program.

For her dedication to Lisle and to improving floodplain management throughout Illinois, the 2018 Floodplain Management Award was presented to Marilyn Sucoe.


Jon Duddles, PE, CFM, City of Des Plaines

Jon is a tireless advocate for the residents of Des Plaines who are exposed to fl ooding hazards. He has managed several mitigation projects for the combined acquisition of nearly 100 homes. These projects involved multiple funding sources including FEMA, IDNR and MWRD.

He was a valuable resource in shaping the Flood Prone Property Acquisition Program for the MWRD when it was initially being developed. Jon has thorough knowledge of the mitigation process, the agencies involved, and their requirements. He is dedicated to the residents and understands the process is not always smooth, but does what is necessary to get the job done. Jon exemplifies the qualities that all mitigation professionals need to have.

For his successful mitigation efforts, Jon Duddles is the recipient of the 2018 Mitigation Award.

French Wetmore Award for Lifetime Achievement

P. Kay Whitlock, PE, D.WRE

The Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to P. Kay Whitlock for her devotion to Illinois’ efforts to address flood damage, her service to IAFSM, and for her contributions to water resources efforts around the country.  Kay has dedicated over 40 years of her career to floodplain and stormwater management and water resources in Illinois and in other states. Her career began as the only woman graduating from the University of Illinois’ Agricultural Engineering program in 1970. Her first engineering job was with the Illinois Division of Waterways in the Department of Public Works and Buildings in a hydraulics design squad. Over the years, she has served in other public service roles, including the Illinois Department of Agriculture, Illinois EPA, DuPage County, and the Santa Clara Valley Water District in San Jose, California. Kay is currently a Vice President with Christopher B. Burke Engineering, Ltd.  

Kay spent over eighteen years with the State of Illinois and the most of them with the Department of Transportation, Division of Water Resources (DWR). Kay represented DWR on a technical committee of the Upper Mississippi River Commission, and she was instrumental in the development of the 1982 Comprehensive Master Plan for the Upper Mississippi River, which was adopted by Congress in 1989. This effort involved all the states within the Upper Mississippi River Watershed and many competing interests. Later in the 1980s, Kay was responsible for administration of the State’s participation in the cooperative flood control programs and initiative throughout northeastern Illinois, and later served as Chief of Engineering Studies statewide.

Kay joined DuPage County in 1990 as the Chief Stormwater Engineer where she developed a multi-faceted Stormwater Management Plan for DuPage County, Illinois, and achieved adoption of regulatory component as embodied in the Stormwater and Flood Plain Ordinance. The Plan and the Ordinance set the foundation for the DuPage County Stormwater Management Program. After serving as Assistant General Manager for the Santa Clara Valley Water District in California, Kay returned to Illinois.

For the last seventeen years Kay has been part of Christopher B. Burke Engineering, Ltd. As a part of the Master Civil Engineering team, Kay currently manages the hydrology, hydraulics and water resource permitting for the O’Hare Modernization Program, and she worked with the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District to develop the Stormwater Management Plan for Cook County.

Kay has been actively involved in IAFSM since its early years and she has chaired the Legislative Committee for many years. She has worked to ensure that IAFSM’s voice is heard on both state and federal legislative issues. Kay co-chairs the Advisory Board for the Prairie Research Institute (PRI) at the University of Illinois, advising U of I’s Vice Chancellor for Research. PRI houses the scientific research arms of Illinois including: Illinois State Water Survey, Illinois Natural History Survey, Illinois Geological Survey, Illinois Sustainable Technology Center and Illinois Archeological Survey.

Kay’s family is very important to her, and through the years her family has grown to include many people not related to her. She has given countless hours to her community, whether making costumes or painting sets for a high school theater group or working to end homelessness. As said in an advertisement by the American Society of Civil Engineers featuring Kay, her “… efforts deserve a standing ovation for her as an exceptional citizen engineer.”

The French Wetmore Award for Lifetime Achievement 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, but this year, the IAFSM is pleased to honor Kay Whitlock as the recipient of the French Wetmore Award for Lifetime Achievement.

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