NARC Presents 2019 Regional Leadership and Excellence Awards

The National Association of Regional Councils (NARC) presented its 2019 Achievement and Leadership Awards at its 53rd Annual Conference and Exhibition in Omaha, this Tuesday evening.

“It is such a great honor to be able to recognize the valuable contributions of my colleagues …We know that this work can be slow, frustrating and challenging at times, but we also know how valuable it is to our communities and how rewarding it can be.” said NARC President ­Geof Benson during his remarks at the dinner.

ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS

MAJOR METRO ACHIEVEMENT AWARD

Triangle J Council of Governments Nation Council of Governments

Innovation Sandbox Challenge

Triangle J Council of Government’s (TJCOG) Innovation Sandbox Challenge began in 2018 as a response to the need for more innovative, flexible, and responsive projects on behalf of their member governments on issues that arose suddenly or became too challenging for localities to tackle on their own. It focuses on public sector challenges and provides a safe space outside of any single local government for experimentation. Every other year, TJCOG staff will lead research, facilitate conversations, and manage workstreams to identify and implement unique approaches and solutions on a regional scale for challenges selected by stakeholders of the COG. The success and regional interest of the Sandbox Challenge continues to grow as partner organizations and member governments actively look to future “calls for challenges” as an avenue for advancing solutions to issues they are facing in their local communities.

Alamo Area Council of Governments

TXServes – San Antonio

In 2017, Alamo Area Council of Governments (AACOG) opened the first AmericaServes Coordination Center in Texas, TXServes-San Antonio, to provide unequaled access to the very best and most comprehensive network of services, resources, and care designed exclusively for military service members, veterans, and their families within the region. In 18 months of operation, AACOG has received over 4,000 requests for services and have 91 service provider partners in their network. Compared to other networks across the country, TXServes-San Antonio is operating at a larger scale while maintaining their timeliness in serving clients. It was recently recognized as the Regional Practice Champion by the Institute for Veterans and Military Families and in a recent report from the Governor’s Committee to Support the Military.

Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency

Signal Timing Optimization Program (STOP)

Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency (NOACA) has studied various roadways to find that outdated and inefficient signal timing has caused unnecessary delays and congestion in several major corridors situated in our busiest workforce areas. Their Signal Timing Optimization Program (STOP) is a regional collaboration pilot program between NOACA, local government and the state department of transportation to improve corridors by optimizing traffic signals. The program has become a recognized solution in the NOACA metropolitan area that has shown reduction in emissions, fuel and delay savings along with benefit cost ratios. NOACA has met much success, as STOP was implemented in four distinct regional districts under the pilot program.

MEDIUM METRO ACHIEVEMENT AWARD

Eastgate Regional Council of Governments

Youngstown SMART Squared Network

Eastgate Regional Council of Governments’ Youngstown SMART Squared Network will connect Strategic & Sustainable, Medical & Manufacturing, Academic & Arts, Residential & Recreational, and Technology & Training centers in the heart of Eastern Ohio Appalachia’s largest metropolitan area – the City of Youngstown. The network will enhance mobility, improve safety, and integrate technology into a modern and efficient multimodal transportation system in Downtown Youngstown that is responsive and adaptive to the needs of current and future users. Eastgate is the proud recipient of a recent $10.8 million BUILD grant to fill the funding gap to complete this comprehensive effort. The SMART Squared Network project is a clear demonstration of the collaboration and trust amongst the community anchor institutions, city residents, and local and state governments.

Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council,

South Florida Regional Planning Council, and

South Florida Regional Transportation Authority

Transit Oriented Development Education and Outreach Program

Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council’s Transit Oriented Development Education and Outreach Program provided a collaborative, multi-agency effort to improve mobility, access, ridership, and land development potential for the Tri-Rail Commuter Rail Corridor in Southeast Florida. An extensive outreach program engaging local governments and stakeholder agencies expanded the understanding of Transit Oriented Development in the region. A regional Idea Exchange Network emerged through regional workshop discussions to help facilitate adoption of Transit Oriented Development policies and codes and approval of projects. The program established a more collaborative relationship between local government, MPOs, FDOT, RPCs, and the SFRTA as a resource and development partner for station-area land development and infrastructure investments.

Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council

The Transit Oriented Development Education and Outreach Program created by Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council, South Florida Regional Planning Council, and South Florida Regional Transportation Authority provided a collaborative, multi-agency effort to improve mobility, access, ridership, and land development potential for the Tri-Rail Commuter Rail Corridor in Southeast Florida. An extensive outreach program engaging local governments and stakeholder agencies expanded the understanding of Transit Oriented Development in the region. A regional Idea Exchange Network emerged through regional workshop discussions to help facilitate adoption of Transit Oriented Development policies and codes and approval of projects. The program established a more collaborative relationship between local government, MPOs, FDOT, RPCs, and the SFRTA as a resource and development partner for station-area land development and infrastructure investments.

RURAL ACHIEVEMENT AWARD

Green River Area Development District

Reducing Food Waste and Helping Homebound Seniors

A regional hospital approached the Green River Area Development District (GRADD) with a problem: they discard 300-500 meals a week, and want to find a way to assist the older adults in the region while reducing their food waste. Meanwhile, the Senior Community Center of Owensboro Daviess County makes food deliveries to homebound seniors Monday through Friday, but not during the evenings or on weekends. GRADD connected these organizations, providing technical assistance and encouragement to help them work together to provide frozen meals for homebound seniors. To date, the program has helped provide 8,542 frozen meals to homebound clients to provide evening and weekend meals. There are about 60-90 seniors receiving two frozen meals every weekend. The program has been so successful, the Kentucky Department of Aging and Independent Living are currently working with GRADD to find a way to replicate the program statewide.

LEADERSHIP AWARD

2019 WALTER SCHEIBER LEADERSHIP AWARD

Tim Brennan

Executive Director, Pioneer Valley Planning Commission

Tim Brennan has led the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission (PVPC) for nearly 4 decades, serving 43 cities and towns in western Massachusetts. He began his career with PVPC as an intern, working his way up to eventually take on the role as executive director in 1981. One of his first accomplishments was helping to modernize and grow the Pioneer Valley Transit Authority. More recently, PVPC played a critical role in the launch of high-speed passenger rail service in 2014. Under his leadership, PVPC has helped launch an electric bike-sharing program called the ValleyBike, craft community development plans for numerous communities, assist organizations that deal with domestic violence, and work hand-in-hand with membership communities to clean up the Connecticut River.

“I am extraordinarily proud of my staff and my board who have supported me for 40 plus years …and I am grateful for all of you and to have served with all of you. Keep up the good work” said Tim Brennan, in his remarks following acceptance of the award.

Information about NARC awards, conferences, and leadership can be found at www.NARC.org.

Eli Spang

I am responsible for a variety of NARC's communications work, including editing the eRegions and Transportation Thursdays newsletters and managing the NARC website and blog. I also provide legislative support for NARC’s Environment and Energy Committee.

About the Author

Eli Spang
I am responsible for a variety of NARC's communications work, including editing the eRegions and Transportation Thursdays newsletters and managing the NARC website and blog. I also provide legislative support for NARC’s Environment and Energy Committee.

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