About Community Development Leader Awards (CDLAs)

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Honoring those who keep our communities safe, strong, growing, and thriving

For more than three decades we’ve had the honor of partnering with all kinds of leaders in municipalities of all sizes, facing all kinds of challenges. But it’s you, the people who experience their work on the day-to-day, that understand their impact best.

The Community Development Leader Awards (CDLAs) are your chance to honor the people making an impact in your town, city, community, and life every day — from City Managers to Civil Engineers, from Community Development Directors to Sustainability Stewards.

It’s time to give these leaders the recognition we all know they deserve.

Submit your nomination now

Why nominate someone for a CDLA?

Nominating someone for a CDLA is an opportunity to:

  • Recognize the recipient’s accomplishments and contributions to your municipality
  • Validate their hard work, effort, and commitment over time
  • Promote the individual, their team, and their work in the news and on social media
  • Appreciate their setting a new standard of excellence in your community
  • Stand as a symbol of distinction amongst their peers
  • Create a platform to share their knowledge and experience
  • Open up an opportunity to increase visibility and exposure for the accomplishments of a team, department, and/or municipality
  • Encourage others to follow their example
  • Give your nominee, their team, and their community an extra feeling of pride

There is no cost to submit a nominee, and multiple submissions are permitted!


01City Manager of the Year

Honors a city employee who has demonstrated outstanding leadership, innovation, and commitment to improving their community. This award recognizes the ability to collaborate across departments and with external partners to deliver efficient, responsive services that enhance residents’ quality of life.

02Community Development Director of the Year

Recognizes a community development director who has demonstrated visionary leadership in planning and executing transformative community enhancement projects, including engaging diverse stakeholders, forming public-private partnerships, and utilizing creative solutions to build stronger, more resilient neighborhoods.

03City Engineer / Public Works Director of the Year

Honors a city engineer or public works leader who has demonstrated excellence in designing and managing complex capital improvement projects, leveraging technology and data to optimize operations, and spearheading initiatives to enhance resilience and environmental stewardship.

04Transformational Leader Award

Honors a city or town manager who has made significant strides in transforming their city or town in innovative ways, including, but not limited to, technology adoption, green initiatives, or community engagement strategies.

05Resilience Champion Award

Recognizes a city or town manager who has demonstrated extraordinary resilience in managing crises – including but not limited to natural disasters, public health emergencies, and economic crises – and the ability to lead effectively under pressure.

06Public Service Innovator Award

Celebrates a municipal leader who has implemented an innovative project or policy that significantly improved the quality of services offered to citizens, including, but not limited to, digital technologies, unique partnerships, and other creative strategies.

07Community Builder Award

Honors a municipal leader who has significantly enhanced the feeling of community within their city or town through initiatives that foster community participation, inclusivity, or social engagement.

08Sustainability Trailblazer Award

Recognizes a municipal leader who has made substantial efforts towards sustainability, whether that’s through environmental initiatives, social equality, or economic stability measures.

09Future Leader Award

This award recognizes an up-and-coming deputy or assistant municipal leader who shows promise to be an impactful leader in the future as demonstrated by innovative ideas and their potential to drive significant change.

10Infrastructure Visionary Award

To recognize an outstanding Public Works professional or City Employee who has made significant contributions to their community through exceptional work,  engineering, innovative solutions, and dedicated public service.

Submit your nominee now

Eligibility Requirements

In order to be eligible for a CDLA, nominees must meet the following criteria:

  1. U.S.-Based: Nominees must be a U.S. resident and work for a municipality or public agency within the United States.
  2. Innovation: Nominee has implemented or introduced an innovative technology, approach, or process that has significantly improved the quality, efficiency, or sustainability of their municipality.
  3. Community Impact: Nominees have achieved tangible results in the form of community enhancement, improved safety, or added value through projects, strategies, or initiatives.
  4. Sustainability: Nominee has introduced or executed projects that significantly contribute to environmental sustainability, longevity of infrastructure, responsible use of resources, and/or overall quality of life.
  5. Leadership: Nominees exhibit leadership not only in the execution of projects but also in mentoring, guiding, and developing teams within their department.
  6. Engagement: Nominee demonstrates a commitment to engaging with the community, understanding their needs, and adjusting projects and services to better meet those needs.
  7. Collaboration: Nominee effectively collaborates with other departments, agencies, or organizations, demonstrating the ability to work cross-functionally for the betterment of the community.
  8. SAFEbuilt retains the discretionary authority to revoke any submission or award should the recipient engage in conduct that is inconsistent with our fundamental values or involves criminal activity.
  9. The awardee of the CDLA shall be conferred with a certificate and acknowledged through social media channels associated with the CDLA awards. Furthermore, the recipient is granted the privilege to utilize the CDLA awards emblem and icons on their personal social media platforms and electronic mail signatures.
  10. It is expressly stated that there shall be no pecuniary or financial remuneration accompanying the receipt of this award. Decisions regarding award recipients are final and rest solely within the discretion of SAFEbuilt, and are not subject to challenge or appeal.
  11. Submission of an entry for the CDLA awards constitutes the recipient’s acknowledgement and acceptance of all criteria, rules, and terms and conditions governing participation in the award process.
Submit your Nominee now

How to nominate someone for an award

Submission requirements:

  1. Nominators must complete the online nomination form in its entirety. A confirmation of successful submission will be provided via email.
  2. Only one nomination per individual per award/category. However, nominators may nominate multiple individuals.
  3. SAFEbuilt reserves the right to check the references provided.
  4. The nominee’s eligibility requirements must be demonstrated before the submission deadline of January 15, 2024. 
  5. All nominees and nominators will be notified of award outlines via email in June 2024.
  6. If selected as a finalist for an award, the nominee must be available for an online or in-person interview with a SAFEbuilt representative.
  7. Nominees who are not shortlisted may be submitted for consideration the following year, but only for their demonstration of the eligibility requirements for the current year.
Submit your nominee now
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About SAFEbuilt

SAFEbuilt and the SAFEbuilt family of Community Development and Community Infrastructure Services companies — including SAFEbuilt, Calvin, Giordano & Associates, Interwest, Winston Services, M.T. Causley, Inc, and MTCI Private Provider Services, LLC — support local communities and developers. Founded in 1992, our business was built on the principle of serving the communities where we live, work, and play by enabling their local government’s building departments to improve service quality, save money, and improve community satisfaction.

For more than two decades we’ve had the honor of partnering with all kinds of leaders in municipalities of all sizes, facing all kinds of challenges. The Community Development Leader Awards are our family of companies’ way of not only recognizing these extraordinary partners but honoring their tireless work and their connections to their communities.

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