Thank you to all the students and recent graduates who submitted images to ICMA’s 2018 Life, Well Run Student Photo Contest!

We received submissions—which display the inspiring work of local government, the tireless dedication of public servants, the value of an engaged community, and the impact of professionally managed communities—from nearly every region in the U.S.!

We congratulate this group of future local government leaders, who contributed to this contest not only by sharing their photos of local government in action but for the enthusiasm and inspiration they demonstrated through the narratives that accompanied their photos. We are inspired and humbled by their stories and wish them the best as they continue in their academic and professional pursuits.

This year’s winners will join local government leaders from around the world at the 104th ICMA Annual Conference in Baltimore, Maryland, where their photos will be on display in the Member Pavilion.

First Place

Angelica Massey, MPA Student, University of North Texas
Parks & Recreation Aide, City of Sachse, Texas
Expected completion: Spring 2020

Maintaining high employee morale is a critical component of public management. Department heads met with City Manager Gina Nash to enjoy a Frisco RoughRiders game as a “thank you” for their hard work throughout the year. After being contacted by Sachse’s city manager’s office, the city of Frisco kindly donated their suite at the ballpark for leadership staff to interact on a personal level outside of the office. Employee appreciation is an important value for Ms. Nash, and it permeates the local government organization. For this year’s Employee Appreciation Day, for example, City Manager Nash began her day at 6:45 a.m. by hand delivering cookies to every employee as a personal “thank you.” Since Ms. Nash became city manager, Sache’s employee turnover rate has dropped from 25 percent to 11 percent.

Second Place

Kevork Kurdoghlian, MPA Student, University of Southern California
Management Services, City of Glendale, California
Expected completion: May 2019

When Glendale, California City Manager Yasmin Beers goes before the Northwest Glendale Homeowners Association membership during one of its regular meetings, she’s building trust with the community. Trust is the greatest challenge facing local government, and to have the leader of an organization take charge on efforts to build bridges with residents makes a significant positive impact on the relationship between city hall and the neighborhoods it serves.



Third Place

Ana Elizarraga, MPA Student, Northern Illinois University
Administrative Intern, Village of Elk Grove, Illinois
Expected Completion: May 2019

This photo was taken July 25, 2018 at the ceremonial groundbreaking of the Elk Grove Village Technology Park. Elk Grove Mayor Craig Johnson, village officials, and representatives from the Brennan Investment Group were joined by Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner to celebrate the groundbreaking for the Elk Grove Technology Park—an 85-acre, $1-billion-dollar project with an expected 1.5 million feet of speculative space. The Technology park is designed to house data centers and industrial space focusing on lean manufacturing. This photo demonstrates the positive impact of professional local government leadership who worked with internal and external stakeholders to create public-private partnerships to bring this project to life. The park will create thousands of jobs, making Elk Grove Village an economic development hub for the region.

More from ICMA’s 2018 Life, Well Run Student Photo Contest Winners:

  • From Angelica Massey: The City of Sachse is currently in the bidding process for its first-ever Community Center. This long-term council goal was finally achieved under the guidance of City Manager, Gina Nash. Ms. Nash has been working closely with Parks and Recreation staff and Architect Ron Hobbs on this exciting project. The facility will include: a basketball court, indoor walking track, classrooms that hold recreation classes, and meeting rooms that will be available for reservations. The upcoming Community Center is a much-needed facility that will host citywide events and activities that truly enhance the quality of life in the City of Sachse. Under the direction of the City Manager, Parks and Recreation staff provide consistent updates for City Council and residents on this exciting development.