2001 APWA SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA CHAPTER PUBLIC LEADER OF THE YEAR
STEPHEN H. WILLIAMS, DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC WORKS
CITY OF PALMDALE
APWA High Desert Branch Founder and President, Stephen H. Williams, Director of Public Works for the City of Palmdale has been selected as the Top Public Sector Leader of the Southern California Chapter of the American Public Works Association. The Chapter represents 1,100 members within a four-county area including Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties. The intent of the award is to recognize outstanding career service accomplishments of public works professionals and officials. Williams was honored at the Southern California Chapter awards ceremony on December 6 in Lakewood.
Williams was hired by the City of Palmdale in 1987 as its first director of public works. Since joining Palmdale, the population of the city has grown from about 33,000 to about 130,000. Census records indicate Palmdale was the fastest growing city in the State of California and the 12th fastest growing city in the Nation during the last decade. This dramatic growth required major investments in public infrastructure. During Williams’ tenure, the City completed $300 million in capital improvements including eight parks, four park-and-ride facilities, 50 traffic signals, a community arts center, the first library in California built exclusively for youth, a new City Hall building, a County operated courthouse, the Amargosa Dam & Spillway and numerous drainage, traffic, street, bridge, transit amenity and trails projects.
Williams manages the largest City department in Palmdale with 140 employees. His major accomplishments since joining the City include: developing master plans for Traffic, Flood Control, Sewer, Street and Waste Management systems; establishing the City’s first public works central maintenance facility after transferring street and traffic maintenance and operations from the County; chairing the Antelope Valley Water Group, a committee of many local agencies with an interest in water availability in the Antelope Valley; administering re-votes on over 180 individual landscape assessment districts with a 95% success rate; and establishing a dedicated project management program that has been honored in the past nine years with twelve awards for various city projects.
Williams established the High Desert Branch of the American Public Works Association with a current membership of over 60 members and is currently serving as its President. He holds a Bachelors degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Arizona and a Masters degree in public administration from California State University, Northridge.