The Gabe Zimmerman Public Service Awards are a statewide competition created to recognize the role of non-elected public servants as the critical link between citizens and the people elected to represent them.
With support from the Zimmerman family, the 2015 Gabe Zimmerman Public Service Awards are sponsored by the Center for the Future of Arizona, the Arizona Department of Administration, the County Supervisors Association of Arizona, the Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, Inc., and the League of Arizona Cities and Towns.
2015 Emerging Leader
City of Maricopa
Rocky Brown has worked in local government for 12 years serving the citizens of Maricopa, Mesa and Gilbert. In his current position, he serves as the Recreation Manager for the City of Maricopa Community Services Department. Mr. Brown is responsible for managing all parks and recreation activities and facilities, including the Copper Sky Multigenerational & Aquatics Center, which boasts over 7,000 active members. He leads a staff of over 120 employees every day with a positive attitude and a desire to motivate them to do their best.
The team strives to improve the quality of life of local residents through fitness activities, swim lessons and other recreation classes. Rocky also introduced new events and award winning programs to the City including: The Maricopa Youth Council, Teen Open Gym Basketball, Summer Fun & Fitness Camps and the Maricopa in Motion Mobile Recreation Program.
Rocky helped Maricopa receive recognition as a KaBoom Playful City, U.S.A. He has also written and received programming grants for teen afterschool and sports programs and teen leadership initiatives.
Rocky and his wife Tiffany have four children, Reese, Brighton, Brigham and Lainey. Rocky is very active and involved in the community coaching youth sports, serving in his church and working with local scouting groups.
2015 Civic Leader
Dawn A. Melvin
Arizona Office of Tourism
Dawn A. Melvin has been engaged in public service since she was a teenager. Since 2004 she has led Arizona Office of Tourism outreach to enhance, cultivate and grow tourism development and marketing programs for Arizona’s American Indian communities. She serves as the agency Tribal liaison to the 22 tribes in Arizona and has collaborated with Tribal leadership to highlight tribal tourism attractions, place visitor information kiosks on tribal lands, open the first Visitor Information Center on tribal lands and work with global media representatives.
Dawn is also involved with Arizona American Indian Tourism Association, Arizona Commission of Indian Affairs, Arizona Women's Partnership, Inc. and is a member of Valley Leadership, Class XXIV.
She is a member of the Navajo Nation born for the Coyote Pass Clan and is Hopi/Tewa from the Roadrunner Clan.
2015 Community Builder
Robert L. Pickels, Jr.
Robert L. Pickels, Jr. was Yuma County Administrator for 13 years, responsible for managing all County operations, acting as liaison between other County elected offices and the Board of Supervisors, guiding County department heads and communicating with residents about how public resources are utilized. He is passionate about encouraging citizen involvement in local government, and making the civic process easy to understand and accessible.
For example, under his leadership the County brought together experts and developed materials that explain to residents in clear, simple terms how the property tax process works, and how resources are utilized to serve the public effectively and efficiently.
During his tenure as County Administrator, Robert served as Chairman of the Yuma County Intergovernmental Transportation Authority, Chairman of the County Managers Association of Arizona and Secretary/Treasurer of the Greater Yuma Port Authority. He also served as a Board member of the Greater Yuma Economic Development Corporation, Southwest Arizona Futures Forum and the Rio Colorado Chapter of the Arizona Historical Society. In July 2015 Robert returned to his passion of practicing law and is serving the City of Sedona, Arizona as their City Attorney. A sports enthusiast, Robert spends much of his leisure time running, playing golf or watching his favorite teams.
With support from the Zimmerman family, the 2014 Gabe Zimmerman Public Service Awards are sponsored by the Center for the Future of Arizona, the Arizona Department of Administration, the County Supervisors Association of Arizona, the Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, Inc., and the League of Arizona Cities and Towns.
Deputy County Administrator,
Hank Atha, who has been engaged in public service since he joined the Peace Corps in 1966, oversees two Pima County departments that improve living standards for people with lower incomes and in rural, unincorporated communities. Combined, the Community Development and Neighborhood Conservation Department and the Community Services, Employment and Training Department have more than 400 employees and a $50 million annual budget. In addition, he is responsible for the Pima County Public Library System; the Pima County Stadium District; and the Economic Development and Tourism Department, which includes a total of 429 employees and a $45.1 million annual budget.
Atha views Pima County government's community and workforce development activities as part of a larger, communitywide effort. Instead of having Pima County duplicate the work of other jurisdictions, institutions and organizations, he has been a leader in bringing relevant parties together and making existing resources available to get the job done. Among his many accomplishments, when one of Atha's departments was awarded a $22 million HUD grant in 2010, it collaborated with the City of Tucson and seven local nonprofits to make foreclosed and vacant homes energy efficient and affordable. He has also been instrumental in bringing training and good-paying jobs to the county.
"Since Atha joined Pima County in 1979, he has done more for community and workforce development than any other single person in southern Arizona,” the nomination states. “The programs and partnerships he developed have helped countless Pima County residents survive the Great Recession and will provide our community a firm foundation in years to come."
2014 Civic Engagement
Deputy City Manager,
City of Flagstaff
Jerene Watson, who has dedicated more than 25 years of her career to public service, currently serves as deputy city manager of Flagstaff. She oversees mayor and council staff; legislative affairs; Economic Vitality and Development, including airport operations and the Convention & Visitors Bureau; Human Resources; Police; Public Works; and Risk Management. According to Watson's nomination, "remarkable" is oftentimes used to describe her. “She views public service as a calling and noble profession, being a leader who walks the talk of integrity and humility," it says.
As a leader in connecting Arizonans to civic health, Watson's impact is varied, tireless and far-reaching. For example, as an initiator and champion of the "Peek Behind the Curtain” speakers’ bureau, she was successful in bringing about public education on the value of municipal services. Her development of a Neighborhood Toolkit for use with budding neighborhood associations and Homeowner Associations provided insights into effective leadership and how to leverage city resources.
Among many outstanding initiatives, she also co-founded Southwest Valley Citizens Academy, an eight-week course on local governing providing a forum for civic-minded residents to embrace their municipalities. Most recently in Flagstaff, she established the Women's Leadership Network to encourage professional, public and community service, which has earned accolades. During her career as Oro Valley's city manager, Watson worked directly with Gabe Zimmerman and is especially honored to receive the award.
Amelia Craig Cramer
Chief Deputy Pima County Attorney
Amelia Craig Cramer, a public servant for 13 years, has been the chief deputy Pima County attorney since 2006. She manages southern Arizona's largest law office with more than 100 prosecutors and civil legal advisors.
Pima County, one of the most active illegal drug corridors in the United States, is home to 15 percent of Arizona's drug crimes. Cramer recognized the need to address the demand side of drug wars with implementation of Pima County's Drug Treatment Alternative to Prison program that provides treatment and rehabilitation to offenders who commit crimes as a result of their addiction. In addition to benefitting those addicted to drugs, the program benefits Pima County, which apprehends and prosecutes offenders, and Arizona, which bears the cost of incarceration. The program saved Arizona taxpayers more than $1 million in its first two years of operation and is helping people get their lives on track and become contributing members of society.
Recognizing that the desire to provide rehabilitation must be balanced against the need for public safety, Cramer, as program director, took a chance with this innovative program by offering drug-addicted individuals who have committed felony drug offenses an alternative. Two independent cost-benefit studies have shown that the program costs less than half the cost of incarceration with a success rate of approximately 70 percent. Approved by the Arizona Prosecuting Attorney's Council to be an acceptable alternative to incarceration, it is the only program of its kind in Arizona.
With support from the Zimmerman family, the 2013 Gabe Zimmerman Public Service Awards are sponsored by the Center for the Future of Arizona, the Arizona Department of Administration, the County Supervisors Association of Arizona, the Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, Inc., and the League of Arizona Cities and Towns.
President and CEO of Maricopa Integrated Health System
Betsey Bayless, who has been engaged in public service for more than 40 years, is the Maricopa Integrated Health System's first CEO of Arizona's only public health system, appointed in 2005. Since her arrival, she has led a financial turnaround of the organization, made substantial facility and equipment capital improvements, implemented a system-wide electronic medical records system, increased the number of physicians, and achieved clinical quality accreditation.
Today, Maricopa Integrated Health System includes the Maricopa County Medical Center, the Arizona Burn Center, the Arizona Children's Center, two psychiatric hospitals and 11 neighborhood health clinics. It is a comprehensive public health system focused on community need and the provision of primary care, specialized services, clinical research and education. Under Bayless's leadership, services, programs, staff and volunteers provide care for 400,000 Maricopa County residents annually.
The nomination submitted on behalf of Bayless states, "Her leadership has improved the lives of everyone in Arizona. She is an extraordinary person whose public service spans decades, during which time she has also been a state agency director, Maricopa County Supervisor and Secretary of State. The latest chapter of her public service career is a government success story. Her commitment to the underserved in our community shines forth in the remarkable turnaround of the old 'county' health care system."
2013 Civic Engagement
Planning Director at Pima County Development Services
Arlan Colton has dedicated almost his entire 30-plus-year career to public service, focused in the area of land use, planning, conservation and creation of community. His nomination highlights that his "personality, character and time in our community have changed the platform for discussion around land use issues to encourage informed, engaged decision-making and connection of citizens to the process."
The nomination states, "Arlan works tirelessly to improve the quality of life in the state and Tucson region. His passion for community building is inspirational and contagious. His intellectual curiosity and self-confidence make him comfortable with engaging opposing viewpoints. A debate on the relative merits of an issue is commonplace in Arlan's world, and he makes those around him comfortable as it occurs. His clear and undisputed motivation is to make this a better community for future generations."
Among his many accomplishments, Colton was key at the Arizona State Land Department in fine-tuning and implementing the Arizona Preserve Initiative, which was a revolutionary change to how the agency addresses open space and that led to successful permanent conservation of more than 16,000 acres. His efforts helped change a century-old management structure to one that embraces conservation goals. A founding board member of Imagine Greater Tucson, Colton is a proponent involving citizens to achieve productive change. He also inspires others to be involved in public service and was integral in establishing a University of Arizona graduate planning degree mentorship program.
James Glen Jayne
Manager of Navajo County
James Glen Jayne serves as the chief operating executive of Navajo County, a position he has held for 10 years. During his career, he has managed thousands of employees and worked with hundreds of elected officials to improve public policy and serve the interests of Arizonans. His nomination defines him as a manager with a "persistent determination to improve" and an approach based upon building lasting relationships, motivating people to best utilize their talents and continuously looking for new paths to success.
Recognized as a humble and masterful team builder, Jayne always encourages exploration of new ideas. He and his team are now working with multiple emergency response agencies in the White Mountains to create a regional dispatch center to improve service and lower costs for the region. Additionally, they are finding ways to improve Navajo County’s new internal leadership academy through a partnership with the Alliance for Innovation.
Jayne and his team have put together an outstanding list of accomplishments through the use of new technology and creative thinking. In 2011, Navajo County implemented an online back-tax land auction process resulting in a 48 percent sales rate, drastically improving on the 6 percent pace of the previous four years. In 2013, Navajo County’s Public Works team implemented the use of a new smart phone application allowing one inspector to track 2,000 signs in two months, eliminating the use of paperwork. Recently, the new solar array for the Navajo County Holbrook Government Complex was completed. It will reduce traditional energy consumption by 80 percent.
With support from the Zimmerman family, the 2012 Gabe Zimmerman Public Service Awards are sponsored by the Center for the Future of Arizona, the County Supervisors Association of Arizona, the Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, Inc., and the League of Arizona Cities and Towns.
David K. Byers
Director Administrative Office
of the Courts
Arizona Supreme Court
David K. Byers has dedicated his entire career to public service and has served as director of the Administrative Office of the Courts for nearly 20 years. His position is like that of a CEO for the entire Arizona court system. He oversees a system that employs 10,000 people, operates in more than 200 locations and processes more than three million cases per year.
The nomination submitted on Byers behalf states, "He is a thoughtful leader, who always strives to improve systems and programs that promote an independent judiciary. As a leader, Dave is bold, but thoughtful. No person has dedicated as much time, energy and commitment to the administration of justice as Dave Byers."
Byers has successfully kept Arizona on the forefront of modern court practices and has championed numerous ground-breaking programs that have sustained long after he turned over management. Among his many accomplishments is the Foster Care Review Board system that engages statewide citizen volunteers to review cases. Today, 515 citizens serve on 103 Review Boards. The program is recognized as a national model by the National Project of Juvenile and Family Court Judges and by the U.S. Department of Justice.
2012 Civic Engagement
City of Cottonwood
Doug Bartosh became city manager of Cottonwood nine years ago after a successful career as a police officer, including chief of police positions at Arizona State University, the City of Scottsdale and the City of Cottonwood. As city manager, he is the administrative head of the city with the responsibility for all city government affairs.
Bartosh's nomination highlights that he epitomizes the ideal servant-leader who is content to stay in the background, avoiding well-deserved accolades, while consistently rocking the world around him through his innovative and courageous deeds. It states that he is "a model of how to engage citizens in solutions to community problems."
As an example, Bartosh was instrumental in creating MATForce, a grass roots effort asking the community to be a part of designing solutions to substance abuse problems, which were driving the crime rate, destroying lives and consuming public services. The Yavapai County Substance Abuse Coalition emerged and today is a vibrant, active coalition recognized for its integrative approach to substance abuse issues. Recently, Yavapai County was selected by the Governor's Office as a pilot site to develop a model strategy to address drug abuse.
Michael J. Hemesath
Director of Public Works
City of Sierra Vista
Michael J. Hemesath, who has spent his 29-year career with the City of Sierra Vista, originated the "PRIDE In Service" slogan, which stands for Pride, Respect, Integrity, Dependability and Excellence. He oversees the Public Works Department and is responsible for all public works functions, including supervision of 130 employees.
His nomination states that he consistently demonstrates superior technical skills and professionalism, but, more importantly, "has always placed the needs of the community first, continually looking for new and innovative ways to address growth." He's characterized as a director who is "always looking for a better way to do things."
Hemesath's innovative initiatives are reflective of a body of work over his career, not a single project. However, among his many successes, was a new wastewater treatment plant that resulted in the largest water mitigation project in the region, essential to helping Fort Huachuca.
Through a chemical-free process, the plant utilizes aerators, microorganisms and wetlands to clean the water. Through connections with local birding organizations, a bird viewing platform was built adjacent to the wetlands, which allows groups to conduct weekend tours.
With the support of the Zimmerman family, the Center was proud to recognize the inaugural honorees at the 2011 National Conference on Citizenship, which was held in Arizona on September 23, 2011.
Director of Elections
Maricopa County is the second largest voting jurisdiction in the United States, with 1.9 million active registered voters. As director, Karen administers all federal, county and jurisdictional elections. She supervises early voting, polling sites, campaign finance, voter registration, ballot layout and petitions. Karen is also responsible for ballot signature verifications and for redrawing lines for voting precincts and districts.
"All of us who know her, who have worked with her, been inspired by her work ethic and humbled by her integrity believe she is the ideal public servant.
"She has been Arizona's most credible and supremely respected election official for decades, a guardian of democracy, one of the highly principled servants who restored Arizona's competence and credibility after a series of scandals in the 1980s.
"Karen has trained, inspired and helped three generations of Arizona attorneys, reporters, election officials and citizens.
"One of these days, I'll write a piece about good bureaucrats who actually serve the public. I haven't done it yet because I've been short of material. When I do, Karen will be at the top of the list."
2011 Civic Engagement
Former District Director
Office of Congresswoman
Ron has been serving the public at state, local and federal offices for more than 30 years. He was director of Headstart in Southern Arizona and director of the Arizona Department of Economic Security's Division of Developmental Disabilities prior to joining Congresswoman Giffords' staff in January 2007, where he was responsible for building the team during her transition into Congress.
"As the Tucson Citizen noted upon Ron's retirement from the state in early 2006, 'Barber spent 32 years helping people thrive away from institutions. Tucson families credit him with creating a system that encourages people to live to their potential.
"Ron always puts others first, both in moments of crisis and day-to-day. He has spent most of his career serving some of the most vulnerable members of our community and he applies the same compassion to the constituents he serves on behalf of Congresswoman Giffords.
"Despite the increasingly heated political climate, Ron has consistently supported the office's expansive outreach efforts and is most often on the ground himself at events, setting a tone conducive to dialogue, interacting with constituents, and working to resolve their issues."
A key member of the Maricopa County Procurement team, Matt is responsible for county purchases and bidding involving a wide scope of commodities and services. Despite his youth, he has responsibility for negotiations on contracts about $100 million and is involved in the county's move to an electronic procurement system that will support more than $700 million in county contracts.
"Matthew injected his energy and enthusiasm into public administration within months of his hiring out of the Supply Chain Management program at ASU's W.P. Carey School of Business. His great success in implementing a reverse auction system resulted in the county saving nearly $1 million dollars on one procurement. The county now hosts a dozen auctions each year, mostly on food commodities. The reverse auctions have saved county government more than $2 million over competitive sealed bids.
"Matt is destined to lead a new generation of change-oriented procurement officers who will innovate and reform processes. His accomplishments have already been nationally publicized, inspiring colleagues throughout America to take a second look and have the confidence to take risks, innovate. Change and improvement are his mantra. Arizona's future will be the beneficiary."