American City & County magazine selected Fort Wayne Public Works Director Bob Kennedy as 2009 Public Works Leader of the Year for his accomplishments in 2008. An article naming Kennedy the “master of disaster” appears in the September edition of the publication.
Mayor Tom Henry and 2nd District Councilwoman Karen Goldner submitted an application highlighting Kennedy’s proactive and responsive efforts to prevent flood damage, cleanup from the December ice storm and adding multiuse trails in Fort Wayne.
“Bob has been the City’s go-to guy in times of floods and following the massive debris left behind by the ice storm at the end of last year,” Mayor Henry said. “He has an amazing knowledge of Fort Wayne’s infrastructure, yet he has a gift of working with his employees and the public to create effective solutions that save money and satisfy residents.”
A lifelong resident of Fort Wayne, Kennedy started in the Street Department more than 20 years ago and worked his way up to public works director in 2007. He led the City’s flood-fighting efforts in 2003, 2005, 2008, and again earlier this year. Not only has Kennedy worked on immediate flood-control measures, he was instrumental in long-term solutions to river flooding including the construction of a rain garden following voluntary buyouts of houses on the Spy Run Creek and the $3.2 million Woodhurst flood control project, which was finished this year.
“One of the secrets to Bob Kennedy’s success as a public works director is his ability to size up a problem and know how to work with people who can fix it,” said Bill Wolpin, editorial director of American City & County. “His lifelong investment in his community will pay dividends that will last for generations.”
Another project featured in the article was Kennedy’s collaborative efforts with Aboite New Trails and the Oprah’s Big Give Fort Wayne Trails fund-raising project last year. Kennedy worked with Mayor Henry to secure $500,000 from a bond dedicated to trails to use as matching funds during the six-week campaign that transformed $10,000 of seed money into more than $1.2 million for local trail efforts. In 2008, Public Works added 4.7 miles of trails.
“Bob is willing to expand successful programs with a ‘make it happen’ attitude, which is a hallmark of his management style. He has an amazing institutional knowledge of Fort Wayne City government and his departments,” said Councilwoman Goldner. “He is the first person to work on solving a problem and the last person to take credit for that solution. He is not afraid to help other City departments, such as the limb pick-up program following the ice storm.”
The subscribers of American City & County submit nominations for the Public Works Leader of the Year Award. The magazine’s editorial staff selects the award’s recipient each year.