Gary Turner Wins APWA Award


Gary TurnerEvery year the Georgia Chapter of the American Public Works Association (APWA) recognizes a Public Works employee from across the state by awarding the APWA Chapter Employee of the Year Award to an employee with outstanding achievements. This year, the APWA Awards Banquet was held on August 10, 2022, at Jekyll Island. Gary Turner, Groundskeeper II for the Right-of-Way Maintenance Division of the City of Valdosta was selected as the recipient. The Right-of-Way Maintenance Division falls under the Public Works Department. This division is primarily responsible for repairs, general ground maintenance, and landscaping of the Downtown Main Street area, including mowing grass, weed control, pressure washing, and litter control. Seasonal activities include changing decorative banners to installing Christmas Décor, shrubs, flowers, and mulch.

Gary Turner began his career with the City of Valdosta in June 2004. He is integral to the behind-the-scenes operations at special Downtown events, ensuring that everything runs smoothly and effectively for the enjoyment of the citizens of our community. Rather than being micromanaged, Gary takes the initiative to get things done. Even on weekends and evenings, he is always available for these events. He serves the City as a role model when interacting with citizens and visitors daily as he maintains Downtown. The City constantly receives praise complimenting the appearance of the Downtown area. Gary's actions display great dedication and a "Service-Before Self" attitude. 

The Downtown Valdosta community wholeheartedly endorses Gary Turner as APWA Employee of the Year. His commitment to his work is always noticed and appreciated by the Downtown Development Authority, the Main Street Office, other City staff, and the Downtown community. With a smile, a friendly remark, or an exuberant "hello," Gary can often be seen Downtown going about his daily tasks, such as clearing the gutters of the seemingly endless amounts of leaves.

Many Downtown merchants appreciate Gary’s dedication and work ethic. One such person stated, "Gary is such a hard worker. He goes out of his way to keep our buildings and Downtown looking great. I only know him from talking with him when he is working around our building, but from what I see when others take a break, he keeps on working. He takes pride in what he does, and it shows!"
Another person wrote, "Gary is energetic, cooperative, and friendly. He assists the Downtown business and property owners whenever asked and goes out of his way to do things correctly and on time. We always know that for events such as First Friday, Art After Dark, and others that Downtown will be looking great!" Gary's commitment to his work and the City of Valdosta pleases the City's residents and Downtown business owners.

Gary's leadership initiative in preparing the Woman's Building for the Mayor and Council's Strategic Initiatives Summit is another example of his exemplary dedication. Gary continued to assist with specific tasks beyond his regular duties. Because of his perseverance, the deadline was met, resulting in a successful event. Besides his assigned responsibilities, he also devoted considerable time to maintaining the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Park.

Gary has also received numerous nominations for the City's Employee of the Month Award. He was nominated for the Chamber's World Class Employee Program and another City employee. As a finalist in the program, he was served breakfast at the James H. Rainwater Conference Center. He was also honored by the Employee Relations Committee for his dedication and go above and beyond mentality.

Gary is an excellent representative of the City of Valdosta through his interaction with citizens and Downtown visitors. A simple thank you isn't enough for recognizing his hard work and caring attitude to make Downtown Valdosta a better place to visit, work, and own a business.