City's Public Works director named top leader

The City of Tacoma’s Public Works Director, William L. Pugh, was recently named a 2007 Top Ten Public Works Leader of the Year by the American Public Works Association (APWA). Pugh will receive the award during a Tacoma City Council Meeting on at 5 p.m. on Tues., May 15, at 747 Market Street in the Council Chambers, First Floor.

APWA selected 10 public works professionals from across the U.S. and Canada for their professionalism, expertise and career-long dedication and service. Marking the 48th year of the award, the honor is among the most coveted and prestigious presented by the Association.

Pugh was selected on the strength of a number of accomplishments during his leadership. Tacoma’s curbside yard waste program began in 1990 during Pugh’s tenure as Utilities Superintendent. The program continued to expand and evolve after he became Public Works Director. Yard waste recycling has increased more than 225 percent since the inception of the program. In addition, the curbside commingled recycling program was implemented in 1998 during Pugh’s tenure as Public Works Director. The program is one of the most comprehensive in the nation.

Pugh was also a leader in the $100 million cleanup and redevelopment of the Thea Foss waterway, a national superfund site.

Jay Manning, Director of the state of Washington’s Department of Ecology, praised Pugh’s work on the conversion of brownfields properties into productive projects, such as the cleanup and restoration of the Thea Foss Waterway along Tacoma’s downtown waterfront. “His skilled management has taken brownfields and turned them into revenue-generating properties that have fueled hundreds of millions of dollars of economic development for the City of Tacoma,” said Manning.

Pugh is currently involved in an “Urban Village” Local Improvement District north of the downtown core area. This 11-block area will provide upgraded infrastructure to accommodate the construction of 2,600 additional living units, representing more than $300 million in private development construction.