Sylvan Lake man recognized as being among top public works leaders in North America

Sylvan Lake’s Darwin Durnie has been recognized as one of North America’s Top 10 Public Works Leaders in 2015.

Darwin Durnie

Sylvan Lake’s Darwin Durnie has been recognized as one of North America’s Top 10 Public Works Leaders in 2015 for his dedication to providing public works services.

Durnie, along with other nine public works leaders, will be honoured during the American Public Works Association’s (APWA) International Public Works Congress and Exposition in Phoenix, Arizona, Aug. 30 to Sept. 2. Durnie will also receive the award locally at a later date this year.

Durnie has spent over 30 years working in emergency management positions, and currently works as director of business development at Stantec Consulting in Red Deer. He has aided in a number of response and recovery efforts, at events including the 2005 Drumheller flooding, the 2011 fires in Slave Lake and the 2013 flooding in Southern Alberta.

“I helped them recover and make it through and be stronger in the end,” Durnie said.

Durnie said this is the most significant recognition he has ever received and said he is really proud to be recognized.

“There’s only been about three Albertans ever recognized, and the last ones were in the late 70s or early 80s,” Durnie said. “It’s nice to be able to put Alberta on the map for it.”

Durnie said he is humbled for being recognized for the award, but feels hugely honoured.

He also acknowledged the many public works leaders who work hard but don’t necessarily receive recognition for their work.

“These leaders don’t get the luck of being nominated for the top 10 like I have,” Durnie said. “They are the ones that keep it happening every day whether it’s in Sylvan Lake, Drumheller or Rocky Mountain House.”

Durnie said he has also done a lot of things to improve education, infrastructure, training and certification.

Since it’s the public’s money that is being spent and invested, being in a position of public works means he has to be at the top of his game.

“You have to be at the top of your game and make sure you do your job well,” Durnie said. “It’s responsibility and integrity. It’s making certain that we use the public’s money for their benefit, whether that’s for water, waste removal, safe roads or safe buildings. It’s all about investing money wisely and making sure it’s what the public wants.”