The National Association of County Engineers (NACE) has awarded Otter Tail County Public Works Director, Rick West, the prestigious David P. Brand Safety Award. The award is a non-annual award given to only those that demonstrate the highest standards in public safety over their career.
“Richard has exemplified the very best of our association for many years, I can think of a no more deserving candidate to receive this honor,” said Scott McGolpin, P.E., NACE President and Santa Barbara County Public Works Director. “Richard’s contributions to local road safety initiatives stretch far beyond the borders of Otter Tail County, as he is a recognized national voice in life saving initiatives such as the Toward Zero Deaths (TZD) national traffic safety strategy. His commitment to road safety is unparalleled.”
West earned the award for his professional leadership as he ‘has led some of the most dynamic local road safety infrastructure projects in the Midwest. Being one of the very first counties in the country to develop a Local Road Safety Plan, numerous counties across the country have used West’s work to benefit their own communities, undoubtedly saving scores of lives by identifying high-risk traffic areas and developing safety measures to mitigate their dangers to the community.’
“I am humbled by this achievement. The award has my name on it, but all of you have been a part of our great success,” said West during a surprise virtual gathering of colleagues, staff and family.
West has over 40 years of experience as an engineer and has won several awards in his field including the 2016 NACE Rural County Engineer of the Year and the 2017 Minnesota Towards Zero Deaths Star Award. With over 1,070 miles of paved roads in rural Otter Tail County, local road safety has always been a priority. West, throughout his career, has implemented safety practices and infrastructure to increase safety of drivers on county roads.
“This is an outstanding award to recognize the gifts and talents as an engineer you have contributed. Otter Tail County will see evidence of your efforts long into the future,” commented Lee Rogness, Board of Commissioners Chair. “On behalf of the Board of Commissioners-you have certainly earned this prestigious award-our congratulations.”
NACE is a nonprofit, nonpartisan professional association representing over 3,000 county engineers, public works directors, highway commissioners, road managers, and related professionals. According to NACE, nationwide, counties own and maintain 46% of the nation’s roads and 40% of the nation’s bridges, making them the single largest stakeholder in local road and bridge construction, rehabilitation, expansion, and maintenance.