Downers Grove, Illinois’s Director of Public Works, Nan Newlon, P.E., was recently named to the American Public Works Association (APWA) national 2018 Top Ten Public Works Leaders of the Year. Each national Top Ten Public Works Leader will be honored during the Awards Ceremony of the APWA 2018 PWX annual conference taking place in Kansas City, Mo., during August 26-29, 2018 at the Kansas City Convention Center. Newlon will be presented the award locally at the Doubletree, located at 2111 Butterfield Road, Downers Grove, Ill., on Friday, June 1, 2018, at 11:30 a.m.

The APWA Top Ten Public Works Leaders of the Year program honors excellence and dedication in public service by recognizing career service achievements of individual public works professionals and officials, from both the public and private sectors. As one of the most prestigious awards presented by the association, the Top Ten Public Works Leader award is given to honor the public works professional’s career, in which he or she demonstrated excellence in public works, services and infrastructure in his or her community through advancement of public works services and technology.

As Director of Public Works for the Village of Downers Grove, Newlon provides community leadership and policy recommendations related to infrastructure investment and service delivery; develops and implements the Village’s annual capital budget of $20 million; actively participates in strategic plan development and implementation; manages a department with seven divisions (Administration, Engineering, Water, Fleet, Forestry, Drainage, and Streets/Traffic) and an annual operating budget of $15 million; manages public works’ response to extreme weather events; and serves as a member of an interdepartmental emergency response team.

When Newlon began her tenure in Downers Grove, one of the first projects she spearheaded was the completion of a pavement condition assessment for every street in Downers Grove. This assessment was a critical step in telling the story of the physical condition of the streets in Downers Grove and identifying the financial resources that would be needed to maintain them at an optimum level. Newlon’s approach to gathering data and presenting it in a clear, understandable manner to citizens, Village management, and elected officials is reflected in the Village’s commitment of financial resources and improved infrastructure. Newlon and her team continue to implement roadway improvement projects reducing the percent of the Village streets’ unmaintained condition from 22% to 1% in just six years.

Newlon’s leadership at the Village of Downers Grove has extended to multiple modes of transportation, which make a positive impact on the residents and businesses in town on a daily basis. She has gone above and beyond to ensure that all residents have access to public transportation, which is often overlooked in suburban communities. For many years the Village ran its own bus service to shuttle residents from neighborhoods throughout the Village to its three commuter train stations. While a popular service, the operation was costing the Village approximately $100,000 per year. Newlon successfully worked with Pace, the Chicago suburban area’s regional bus service provider, and transitioned the operation to Pace. This not only saved the Village money, it also allowed for service expansion in this area.

For more information about APWA’s awards program, contact Rhonda Wilhite, Awards & Chapter Relations Associate, at (816) 595-5261 or For APWA media queries, contact Jared Shilhanek, Sr. Marketing & Communications Manager, at (816) 595-5257 or For advocacy-related media queries, contact Emily Dowsett, Government Affairs Media Manager, at (202) 218-6736 or