Kane County’s Division of Transportation is setting a standard for performance and community service that was recognized with two high-profile awards Tuesday (Jan. 13, 2015) from the Fox Valley branch of the American Public Works Association.
In a Tuesday press release, the county announced that Kane County Engineer Carl Schoedel was awarded with the Community Involvement Award and Deputy Director of Transportation Thomas B. Rickert was named Manager of the Year.
Community Involvement — A Personal Commitment for Schoedel
The Community Involvement Award recognizes public works professionals who are active leaders in their community and encourages public trust in public works professionals through recognition of outstanding community involvement.
“We are so thrilled to have such an individual as our transportation leader for Kane County,” Kane County Board Chairman Chris Lauzen said. “Carl has not only demonstrated extreme talent professionally, but a personal devotion to his community that rises above and inspires others to follow suit. He leads with humility, and we are privileged to have him as part of the team.”
Schoedel joined Kane County in 1997, and as a result of his many accomplishments both at Kane County and in previous positions in Energy Distribution, Water Supply, and Transportation was appointed county engineer in 2003.
He is involved in a number of charities, including the Northern Illinois Food Bank, the Naperville Area Humane Society, and CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) Kane County.
His generosity also promotes the development of future leaders of government and public works, including his contributions to Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis.
Understanding the extraordinary professional development opportunity afforded by his academic engagement at the University, Schoedel and his wife, Lisa, have provided two substantial academic scholarships to IUPUI since 2003.
The “Schoedel Scholarships” are designed to support students pursuing degrees in Public Policy. In recognition of their significant and continuing support, the School of Public and Environmental Affairs bestowed the 2007 “Spirit of Philanthropy” award on Mr. and Mrs. Schoedel.
Schoedel has been an inspiration and a frontrunner for service to our local community and those in need. His main philanthropic focus over the last few years has been on CASA Kane County. He has raised awareness and support of the organization through the involvement of friends and colleagues in the group’s mission, and now sits on the Board of Directors for CASA Kane County, which helps abused and neglected children that are not being adequately addressed in court. CASA volunteers are considered Guardians ad Litem which gives the advocates a far stronger voice in court, making them a full party to the cases with attorneys appointed to represent them.
CASA Kane County will be honoring Carl and Lisa Schoedel as the Children’s Champion Couple at its annual Gala and Auction on March 7, 2015.
Gloria Bunce, executive director of CASA Kane County, said the Schoedels are examples for the community.
“Their names came to the top of our list for the tremendous impact they have made in the lives of children and for the other worthy causes they support in this community,” she said.
Manager of the Year Award — Tom Rickert Sets the Bar
The Manager of the Year award was created “to the inspire excellence and dedication by recognizing the outstanding career service achievements and exceptional leadership and management of public transportation professionals.”
Lauzen said Rickert is a rock star in the Chicago-area public works community, well known for his dedication to transportation infrastructure and services to citizens.
“He has earned the respect of his peers across the region and has fostered a culture of intergovernmental cooperation that has greatly contributed to the success of the county’s transportation program,” the County Board chairman said.
Rickert began working for Kane County more than 26 years ago as a transportation planner and Council of Mayors planning liaison. He eventually became the chief of Permitting, Planning and Programming and now serves as the executive director of the Council of Mayors in addition to being Kane County’s deputy director of transportation.
Rickert is commonly recognized as someone who can find common ground between agencies and individuals to successfully implement projects and programs that may face great barriers in the categories of funding, design, policy and programming.
Rickert has overseen the planning and project development of many of the landmark projects in Kane County including the award-winning Stearns Road Bridge Corridor, the development and evolution of the Randall/Orchard Road corridor, the Metra West Line Extension to Elburn, and the ongoing planning and development of the Longmeadow Parkway.
Rickert’s devotion to transportation goes beyond infrastructure and captures the needs of those who may not have traditional transportation options available to them. Under his and the Association for Individual Development’s leadership, the Ride in Kane Program was developed, providing expanded transportation services for many senior, disabled, and low-income individuals in Kane County.
Additionally, Tom serves as the chairman for CMAP’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Task Force, which seeks to improve walking and bicycle travel conditions in metropolitan Chicago. He has also led efforts to improve transit ridership conditions on the county’s busiest arterial, Randall Road, proving to be an advocate for improved conditions for all users of the transportation system.
“Tom is someone who genuinely cares about outcomes,” Schoedel said. “He takes his responsibilities as a steward of public funds as a deep personal commitment and lives and breathes the work of Kane County Division of Transportation. His commitment to developing a first class transportation system has resulted in the sustainability of the transportation/public works industry in Kane County and is well deserving of the APWA’s Professional Manager of the Year – Transportation award.”
SOURCE: Kane County press releases