These ten Traeger Award winners represent everything that’s good in local government.
Join ELGL in celebrating their accomplishments, and connect with them on Twitter and LinkedIn to learn from their expertise. ELGL and Zencity are proud to honor these ten leaders with a Traeger Award!
The Top Ten Traeger Award Winners are invited to keynote #ELGL20 in Portland Oregon – May 13-15, 2020 – so ELGL can learn from their experiences and perspectives!
Monica Croskey Chaparro
Assistant Budget & Management Services Director – Strategy & Performance , City of Durham, NC
Three words to describe Monica: Inspiring, Effective, Ardent
Why Monica is on the Traeger List: Over her twelve year career in local government, Monica has worked with the City of Charlotte, NC, the City of Rock Hill, SC, Mecklenburg County, NC, the City of Raleigh, NC, and the City of Durham, NC. At each organization, Monica has made a big impact and advanced strategic planning and performance management. At the City of Raleigh, NC, Monica built the program from the ground up. She developed the plan, and did the hard work of implementing it. She executed and created a process around the City’s stat program, CORStat, for departments to come together and take an enterprise approach to performance management. She also worked with each department to help them develop departmental business plans. Throughout each step of the journey, Monica was always looking to make things better for city staff, and most importantly, citizens. As the city became more mature with data collection, Monica’s team recognized a need for further education around data and performance management. Along with Rafael Baptista and support from others, they created the Analytics Academy, which is an internal continuing education program for city staff. The results have been transformational with 100% departmental participation, over 300 employees trained, and a return rate of 53%. Monica has had a big impact everywhere she has gone and any organization would be lucky to have her!
Monica is a leader in the state of North Carolina in local government strategic planning and performance management. She has developed and led successful programs in Charlotte, Rock Hill, and Raleigh North Carolina. I can’t wait to see where she takes Durham! She has been very involved in growing the practice across the southeast during her career and is an expert in the field. I have been fortunate to learn a ton from her and apply in my work.
I have known Monica for 14 years and she has always been a leader and someone that inspires action through her hard work. She is what the Traeger award is all about!!
More kind words: Monica is recognized as a true leader in the space and a very accomplished professional who will undoubtedly reach even greater heights. In 2018, Bloomberg Cities named Monica one of six “Data-Driven Women to Watch,” and she is involved in numerous causes and professional organizations.
Business Administrator / Chief Innovation Officer, City of Jersey City
Three words to describe Brian: Doer, Smart, Leader
Why Brian is on the Traeger List: He’s one the most able governmental executives I’ve ever met. Has created and implemented major innovations in Jersey City and he’s approachable nice and highly regarded by all who do business with him. He can change the way people think about government
Brian Platt brings energy, innovation, direction, and humor to the City of Jersey City. Under his leadership, the City has modernized operations, crafted and codified sustainable environmental policies, and widened services for entrepreneurs. He is diligent, creative, and calming while consistently raising the bar for Jersey City’s residents.
Brian Platt adds value to everything he is involved in. Jersey CIty is lucky to have him. He is always willing to help
More kind words: He’s a good family guy too. He can dead lift 300 pounds
Assistant City Manager, City of Scottsdale
Three words to describe Brent: ambitious, supportive, energetic
Why Brent is on the Traeger List: Brent is a pillar of the local government realm — in ELGL and many other areas. He’s always looking for the next innovative solution for local government that makes life #SimplyBetter for the citizens of Scottsdale. He’s a passionate supporter of those around him, a big part of his blue tendencies and wants to give people a platform to learn and succeed. His work in performance management and strategic planning have shaped our community and the world of local government.
Brent’s extraordinary efforts during the Knope Award contest alone should earn him a spot on this list, but realistically he brings that same energy to every interaction I’ve ever had with him and he’s an exemplary public servant because of it.
Brent is a tireless worker for the progression of local government performance in Scottsdale and around the country. His selfless service to public service is beyond inspiring.
More kind words: Brent is a well known individual, and his passion for local government is notable to everyone who interacts with him. But it comes from a place of purity in him really wanting to make the world a better place through the lens of local government.
I have yet to meet a local government official as tenacious and progressive as Brent.
Budget Manager, City of Brighton
Three words to describe Kayla: Energetic, Passionate, Effusive
Why Kayla is on the Traeger List: Kayla is a new addition to the City of Brighton’s team, but she certainly has not wasted any time getting to work and making a huge contribution here. I think about her hiring as like a +1 for team positive in our organization and the impact has been exponential. Recently, we had a supervisor’s team meeting with a theme of gratitude. Kayla gave such an impassioned speech about writing thank you notes and showing coworkers appreciation that the entire tone of the meeting changed. I mentioned that as a follow-up I planned on purchasing a supply of thank-you notes. Kayla came to my office the next day with an entire appreciation station complete with a Parks and Recreation meme and branding. Not only is her positivity contagious, she put together the best budget book our community has ever had in less than one month. She is a committed mentor and is incredibly thoughtful about making sure that graduate fellows have literally the best and most well-rounded experience in the country. Her influence goes beyond our community in the passion of her questions. I had to go back to her facebook post in the ELGL group to save the amazing book recommendations! I also am forever grateful that she managed to also hire my mentee! I was thrilled for my mentee to land with such a capable mentor and manager. Whenever I ask Kayla a question, she gives me at least four answers. Her knowledge has branches and depth that allows her to make connections across departments and best-practices. Kayla was an absolutely incredible recruit for our finance department and leadership team and her influence in our organization and state profession is 100% beyond Treager-like!
Kayla has a strong interest and dedication to public service. Her character, work ethic and drive helped to implement change at a city where there was resistance every step of the way. She was our main contact for the budgeting process and she was so thorough in her research, questioning and recommendations that it was obvious that she cared deeply about how to spend public funding appropriately, by supporting the staff on their requests when appropriate.
More kind words: Kayla is the best thought partner! I am so thankful her office is in the same building where I work!!!
Although Kayla no longer works for the City of Thornton, she made her mark on the organization which will last years into the future. We now have a internal website which offers employees a place to interact with each other on their level. This type of internal social network has been intrinsic to culture change at the city.
Innovation Team Director, City of Mobile, Alabama
Three words to describe Terrance: Innovative, Passionate, Engaging
Why Terrance is on the Traeger List: Terrance is the model for how someone that is passionate about their hometown can make a difference in local government. Thanks to the i-Team at the City of Mobile he has been able to address complicated and sticky issues to improve the neighborhoods that need it most. Thanks to his leadership and the work of his team they were able to change the State law in Alabama to allow the City to better address blight. He’s also willing to share his perspective and expertise.
I love working with Terrance because he cares so deeply about the community but also his coworkers. It’s so important to like the people you work with, and in this case he is the ultimate motivator for me and others.
More kind words: Terrance spoke at ELGL19 and appeared on GovLove this year.
Performance Excellence Administrator, City of Fort Worth, TX
Three words to describe Amethyst: collaborative, effective, kind
Why Amethyst is on the Traeger List: Amethyst joined the City of Fort Worth just over five years ago and currently serves as the city’s Performance Excellence Administrator. Amethyst is a leader in the strategy and performance management space in local government. Not only has she made a significant difference in her own community, but she also willingly shares her journey and lessons learned with others.
Amethyst Sloane is such an amazing human. As the Performance Excellence Administrator at the City of Fort Worth, she is constantly looking at finding new ways for the City to do what it does best: serve the people. It can be *really* hard to try new things, but Amethyst asks the right questions and has opened the doors for the City of Fort Worth in ways that the City may not even realize yet. Amethyst never gives up, always learns, and has a genuine interest in people doing (and being) their absolute best.
More kind words: Beyond her day-to-day, Amethyst also serves as an adjunct professor at the local college sharing her passion and helping to shape our next generation of local government leaders.
Amethyst is the reason why our #ELGLRoadTrip event was amazing. She helped to double the registrations in 24ish hours. At the end of the event, she stayed behind to help clean up. We had a lovely discussion about local government, innovation, progress – all of the things that make you excited about your work all over again. She is brilliant, genuine, and I want everyone to know how amazing she is.
Mayor, City of Sharonville
Three words to describe Kevin: open-minded; influential; integrity
Why Kevin is on the Traeger List: Last year, ELGL recognized Mayor Hardman as #30 on the Chris Traeger Award list. This was very much deserved and appreciated. In that nomination, the City’s explosive job growth; aggressive road improvement effort; and other recent accomplishments were highlighted, along with Mayor Hardman’s volunteering efforts in the City and region. Although those all continue on, this nomination will primarily focus on other items of significance. One of the key initiatives that Mayor Hardman started at the end of 2018 is our “Sharonville Gives” volunteer leave program. Our Mayor knows the importance of volunteer work to the community and to the volunteers. At the same time, he also realized that volunteering often takes a back seat to family and work responsibilities. Therefore, the Mayor started Sharonville Gives, which allows employees to take paid volunteer leave anywhere in the City limits without any time limitations. Mayor Hardman asked that department heads be as flexible as possible in approving this leave because of the benefits to the community. This has also helped with relationship-building between the City and the entities. Numerous employees have expressed their appreciation that this program exists. Based on a survey of jurisdictions throughout the region, we are not aware of any similar type of program near Sharonville. Under Mayor Hardman’s leadership, the City also continued with numerous infrastructure improvements in 2019, including the construction of a new Police Station; renovations to City Hall, an expansion to the City’s fitness center; a renovation to one of the City’s parks; and a renovation to one of our fire stations. All of these were either completed toward the end of 2019 or should be completed in 2020. Another key improvement that will start in 2020 is the expansion of the City’s Convention Center, which will primarily enhance the exhibit hall space of the facility from 20,000 square feet to 40,000 square feet. With Hamilton County’s partnership with this expansion, the Convention Center will continue to be a jewel in the Cincinnati/Dayton region. The above would not have been possible without Mayor Hardman’s dedication to job growth, along with the support of the City’s other elected officials and employees. Since he started as the City’s Mayor in January 2013, the City’s income tax revenue has increased by over 34% in this 7-year span. By choice for the last 30 years or so, the City of Sharonville does not collect any property taxes; therefore, our community relies heavily on income tax collections. The Mayor stresses the importance of working with our business community to achieve these results. Mayor Hardman’s efforts have revitalized Sharonville and our residents and employees are reaping the benefits of his leadership. I believe the above warrants consideration again for this ELGL recognition.
Through an initiative by Mayor Hardman, City of Sharonville employees are encouraged to participate in Sharonville Gives allowing employees to volunteer with various organizations within our City during their work hours. This program not only encourages us to give back, but additionally fosters strong relationships with our organizations and community. Through this program, employees have contributed over 175 hours to schools, food pantries, trash pick-up, food packs and local grassroots initiatives to clothe under privileged children. This program serves as a reminder that it is important to give back throughout the year, not just during the season of giving. Beyond this initiative, Mayor Hardman lives and breathes this passion to give back through his creative ideas and dedication to bring multiple layers of the community together. For the first time, over 300 Sharonville residents, city employees, local businesses, Kiwanians, school sports teams, scout packs and troops, and church parishioners gathered at a Sharonville Serves event to pack food and give hope for starving children in Haiti. By Mayor Hardman recognizing the community’s passion, building upon it and leading by example, the City of Sharonville is known as The Sharing-ville community.
More kind words: Mayor Hardman’s efforts for our community have been recognized not only by ELGL last year, but he was also named the country’s Municipal Leader of the Year by American City & County Magazine in 2017 and Cincinnati Business Courier’s Public Sector CEO of the Year in 2017 as well. Ohio Business News has also recognized the City for having one of the top workplaces in Ohio the last 2 years. ELGL’s Traeger Award is yet another way to recognize people like Mayor Hardman. Without it, and other ELGL Awards, many would not know about the wonderful things happening throughout the Country. Thank you.
Director, Office of Equity & Inclusion, City of Asheville, NC
Three words to describe Kimberlee: Real. Direct. Passionate.
Why Kimberlee is on the Traeger List: Kimberlee is addressing racial equity in a way that is model for other local government. They recently received an award for the use of GIS in support of mapping racial equity and she is one of the best speakers on the topic.
I am also grateful for how welcoming and helpful Kimberlee is to her coworkers and community members. She is a welcoming presence and that matters to me and also people who live in Asheville.
More kind words: Kimberlee spoke at ELGL19.
City Manager, City of Pflugerville
Three words to describe Sereniah: Incredible Visionary Leader
Why Sereniah is on the Traeger List: I don’t know of anyone that has Sereniah’s combination of knowledge, wisdom, charm, and wherewithal, inside or outside of local government.
Where do I begin. Sereniah brings an energy and love to local government that is exactly what Chris Traeger would do. She makes the work look fun, and that’s a huge driver as we try to attract more talent to local government. Sereniah is always willing to listen. I’ve asked her for career advice and she’s always been real, authentic, frank, helpful.
In addition to the obvious talent she brings to the local government world and ELGL, she’s also working to make TCMA a stronger organization and I respect the energy she’s putting in as a leader with that group.
Innovation Director, City of Syracuse
Three words to describe Adria: passionate, innovative, dedicated
Why Adria is on the Traeger List: Adria has a drive to get things done. She is able to take on a challenge, get the right people together and come up with tangible solutions. While she is eager to get into the work, she also empowers staff to do things on their own as well.
Adria makes the work we do accessible and meaningful. She understands the bigger picture and doesn’t just throw around “innovation” as a buzzword. I respect how she approaches big projects, is encouraging of new ideas, and really walks the walk when it comes to driving local government change.
More kind words: Adria is awesome. She also was a major planner and organizer at #ELGL19.