FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (Oct. 31, 2012) – Sam Schwartz, CEO, Sam Schwartz Engineering, was named the recipient of the 2012 Jerry Allen Courage in Leadership Award, an award recognizing outstanding leaders in the A/E/P and environmental consulting industry.
Schwartz has contended with a number of ethically and emotionally trying situations, always emerging as a brave decision maker. Schwartz faced scorn from merchants, commuters and the mayor, when as chief engineer overseeing bridges in New York City in 1988, he closed the Williamsburg Bridge between Manhattan and Brooklyn. His actions are widely recognized to have saved thousands of lives though Schwartz had to act at expense of his career with the DOT, which ended two years later as a result of fallout from the closure.
Schwartz acted heroically again on the morning of September 11, 2001, when he narrowly escaped the danger of the falling towers and quickly created and enacted a plan to get his 30 employees and his family to safety.
Though he lost six colleagues in the tragedy, was without a home for two weeks and had to move his office out of the evacuation zone, Schwartz set up a plan to keep his firm working so transportation could be rebuilt to his devastated World Trade Center neighborhood.
In other times during his career, Schwartz founded two NYC Public Schools dedicated to studying cities and their infrastructure and coined the word “gridlock.”
A few other exemplary applicants this year included:
Michael K. Kuppinger ExecutiveVice President, Environmental Systems Design, Inc. (ESD), who has served as a selfless mentor within ESD and created an environment that fosters the development of each individual’s strengths. Mike’s leadership and nurturing abilities became evident after his heart attack in November 2010.
D. Wayne Klotz, P.E., president and CEO of engineering firm Klotz Associates, Inc. As president of ASCE he led the association in defining infrastructure as a priority. He appeared on every major television network and was a major voice for addressing our crumbling infrastructure.
Ralph Hawkins, chairman and CEO, of HKS, Inc., a 29-office, 900-plus employee firm. Ralph was diagnosed with kidney disease at age 40 and had a kidney transplant. The transplant was a life-changing event that reinforced his determination to continue to be a leader at HKS and deepened his dedication to his family. When asked the open-ended question in the Best Firms To Work For employee survey, “What do you like most about working at HKS?” employees simply wrote “Ralph Hawkins.”
About the Award:
Born in Texas in 1940, and the first of his family to graduate college, Jerry Allen seemed destined to make an imprint on the AEC Industry, one that would exceed his lifetime. Jerry Allen was a friend and mentor to Mark Zweig, Founder & CEO of ZweigWhite.
After serving as City Engineer for the City of Fort Worth, Texas Public Works Department, Jerry joined Carter & Burgess, Inc., a 40-person engineering, surveying, and landscape architecture firm, on April 28, 1969. Working there for more than 33 years, he became the company — and the company became him.
Known not only for being the CEO of Carter & Burgess, but also as an innovative and inspirational leader, under Jerry's direction, Carter & Burgess grew from some 200 employees and $17 million in revenue in 1988, to 2,300 employees and $381 million in revenue by 2002. Jerry, who was an incredible athlete and in fantastic physical condition most of his life, was struck down by colon cancer at age 62.
In his honor, The Jerry Allen Courage in Leadership Award is given each year to someone working in an A/E/P or environmental firm who has demonstrated in a unique way, personal courage in their actions that have impacted their firm. The award winner is one that has courageously overcome obstacles to advance their firms to a new level of success and accomplishment. Nominees can be in any role and come from A/E/P and environmental firms of all sizes and types.
The 2012 Jerry Allen Courage in Leadership Award winner will receive prizes including free ZweigWhite publications and newsletters and free registrations to The Zweig Letter 2012 Hot Firm Conference. A portion of the proceeds from the awards program will be donated to The American Cancer Society.
For more information about The Jerry Allen Courage in Leadership Award visit, http://www.zweigwhite.com/g-66-the-jerry-allen-award.aspx