This award recognizes a person or organization that has had a far-reaching, positive impact on public works programs, services, or policies through distinguished public service and commitment to their community and the State of Wisconsin.
This award recognizes a person or organization that has provided a positive, far-reaching impact on public works programs, services, or policies through distinguished public service and commitment to their community and the State of Wisconsin.
The recipient of this year’s William J. Rheinfrank Award is Paula Vandehey, Director of Public Works for the City of Appleton.
Paula’s 35 year career has been spent largely in public service working for the City of Milwaukee and the City of Appleton. Paula joined the city of Appleton 1989, first as a staff engineer, then traffic and parking engineer, Assistant City Engineer, City Engineer and currently as the Director of Public Works. Paula’s accomplishments are too many to provide you this evening, so I will just mention some highlights – some typical public works activities and some atypical.
- Working with the Dept. of Justice to provide human trafficking training for all public works employees.
- Obtaining Bike Friendly Community Silver designation from the League of American Bicyclists
- Working with Appleton’s Diversity Coordinator to provide a Dignity and Respect pledge
- Implementing an automatic recycling program for residential properties.
- Implementing a downtown mobility study
- Developing wholesale water agreements with two neighboring communities.
- Managing a diverse staff of 156 employees
- She has been involved in the revitalization of the downtown area, Southpoint Commerce Park and the US Venture Corporate Headquarters.
- Development of a formal career development plan for various groups within the Dept. of Public Works.
Paula has been active in the Wisconsin Chapter of APWA and has shared her expertise with other professional organizations such as the American Planning Association and several local universities. Paula has presented on a variety of topics to a variety of organizations. She has been a guest lecturer for several classes. Topics she has presented include, but are not limited to:
- The Influence of the Arts on Community Development”
- “Public Works Role in Creating an Active Community”
- “Bicycling and Sustainable Cities”
- “Appleton’s Roundabout Journey”
- “The Softer Side if Public Works”
Paula’s preference is to make a positive impact on the community without the fanfare or recognition. Paula’s dedication to public works and to the City of Appleton has definitely provided a positive, far-reaching impact on public works programs, services, policies and people in the City and in the surrounding area.
Please consult the following documents for further information and to prepare a nomination:
- Program Information
- Award Nomination Form
- Individual Supporting Data Form (to be submitted with Award Nomination Form)
- Organization Supporting Data Form (to be submitted with the Award Nomination Form)
Past William J. Rheinfrank Award Recipients:
2021 Howard Crofoot, City of Platteville
2020 David Biebel, City of Sheboygan
2018 Rick Eilertson, AECOM
2017 Jeff Mazanec, R.A. Smith, Inc.
2016 Maurie Rott, Cities of Janesville and Shawano
2015 Steve Pudloski,University of Wisconsin EPD
2014 Clark Wantoch, City of Milwaukee
2013 Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission
2012 John Edlebeck, City of Waupaca
2011 Tom Grisa, City of Brookfield
2010 Christine Walsh, City of Beloit
2009 North East Wisconsin Stormwater Consortium
2008 William Tarman-Ramcheck, City of Wauwatosa
2007 Daniel Lynch, City of Janesville
2006 Madison Area Municipal Stormwater Partnership
2005 Howard Rosen, University of Wisconsin EPD
2004 Mike Barnhardt, City of Eau Claire
2003 Herb Goetsch, City of Milwaukee (Retired)