DOWNERS GROVE – Downers Grove Public Works Director Nan Newlon is in rare company.
She is one of only 27 women to be recognized by the American Public Works Association as a national Top 10 Public Works Leader of the Year over nearly six decades.
Newlon received the award at the May 15 Downers Grove Village Council meeting from David Lawry, Schaumburg’s director of engineering and public works.
“This is an evening for Nan to be celebrating her achievements, her accomplishments and her career,” said Lawry, a member of the American Public Works Association Board of Directors and a previous winner of the award.
The association has presented the annual award to 580 individuals since 1960. Newlon is the first female member of the association’s Chicago chapter to receive the honor.
Newlon, the village’s public works director since 2009, credited her colleagues during brief remarks at the Village Council meeting.
“As they say, ‘It takes a village.’ This is certainly not about me,” Newlon said. “It takes a lot of things to bring this type of award together.”
Newlon said the high standards and expectations set by the village for service, professionalism and innovation were instrumental in her winning the award.
“It takes a team that can bring all those components together,” Newlon said. “We have an amazing public works team in this village. And I would just like to commend all of them. I have an excellent team. All of our departments, we work together. This is not a solitary award. It’s a top 10 village. It’s a top 10 Public Works Department.”
Mayor Martin Tully said the award is another example of civic pride.
“We couldn’t be more proud of you, and the award couldn’t be more well-deserved,” Tully said.
Tully credited the Public Works Department for working behind the scenes to ensure the community gets the services it expects and deserves.
The award honors excellence and dedication in public service by recognizing career service achievements of public works professionals and officials from both the public and private sectors, according to an association news release.
Newlon provides community leadership and policy recommendations related to infrastructure investment and service delivery, participates in strategic plan development and implementation, manages a department with seven divisions and an annual operating budget of $15 million, manages public works’ response to extreme weather events, and serves as a member of an interdepartmental emergency response team, the release stated.