Transportation design and construction firms and public agencies from across the country were recognized for excellence in community relations and public education during the American Road & Transportation Builders Association Transportation Development Foundation (ARTBA-TDF) 2011 PRIDE Awards ceremony, held May 24 in Washington, D.C., during the association’s Federal Issues Program.
Established in 1999, the PRIDE Awards honor outstanding programs that enhance the image of the transportation design and construction industry. An independent panel of public-relations professionals and journalists reviewed nominations and selected the winners. Awards were presented in these categories:
• Community Relations: Honors programs which demonstrate positive involvement with the community in which a public agency, firm or association is located; and
• Public-Media Relations/Education: Recognizes activities that educate the public and opinion leaders about the significant contributions the industry makes to the economy and/or quality of life.
In the Community Relations: Private Sector category Tilcon New York Inc. took first place for its community relations program. Tilcon, a division of Oldcastle Materials Inc., has made community relations a key part of its corporate culture. The firm and its employees donated over 550 lb of food to a northern New Jersey pantry, worked with the boy scouts and held an annual book drive. Tilcon also regularly holds open houses and conducts plant tours to educate the public, media and other stakeholders about the construction materials business.
The winner in the Community Relations: Public Sector category was the DFW Connector Public Information Team, a product of the Texas Department of Transportation and NorthGate Constructors. The $1 billion, 8.4-mile design-build Dallas-Fort Worth Connector doubles the size of the current highway around the airport’s north portal. Working with TxDOT, NorthGate Constructors, a joint venture of San Antonio-based Zachry Construction Corp. and Fort Worth-headquartered Kiewit Texas Construction LP, executed a collaborative outreach program to keep airport users and the community informed about the project’s progress. It included more than 100 public presentations, monthly meetings with the business community through the local chamber of commerce, regular briefings by airport officials and airline staff, and open houses attended by more than 600 people.
In the Public-Media Relations/Education: Public Sector category, the Illinois DOT and CH2M Hill took top honors for the Elgin-O’Hare West Bypass Project. A team from IDOT, Federal Highway Administration and CH2M HILL coordinated an effective public-relations campaign to secure stakeholder approval of a new multimodal area transportation plan for the Elgin-O’Hare West Bypass Project in suburban Chicago. Located adjacent to the airport, the area is also home to 27 separate communities and two counties encompassing some 125 square miles—a project area full of planning, community and engineering challenges. Nevertheless, the team generated positive involvement by attracting groups ranging from 400-1,000 residents to attend 130 project review meetings and public forums. They also helped generate 38,000 letters of public support, demonstrating that building consensus one block at a time can be effective even in diverse and developed metropolitan areas.