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Special Achievement Awards

Communicator of the Year Award and
Lifetime Achievement Award

These awards recognize individuals who have helped build public trust in government by effectively presenting accurate, timely and meaningful information. The awards may also recognize an individual whose work has gone well above and beyond the normal duties and responsibilities of his or her position. The recognition could stem from a single event during the year, from work done over the course of the year, or from a career-long body of work and achievement culminating in the award year.

  • Communicator of the Year
    Someone who has excelled in communicating for a government entity in 2015 or 2016.
  • Lifetime Achievement in Government Communication
    Someone who has been in a government communications role for the majority of their career and has documented successes during that time.

Awards are given in May of each year.

Awardees are chosen from the submitted nominations by the MAGC board. MAGC reserves the right to award more than one nominee, and to refrain from granting either award, in any given year.

Eligibility Criteria

The individual must have communicated the messages, conveyed the information or completed the work for a government entity during the preceding calendar year. The nomination may be centered on one project, a body of work during the year (Communicator of the Year Award) or work during a career (Lifetime Achievement Award).

Recipients must have generated substantive media coverage or public recognition for their government employer.

Recipients need not work in a “communications" field. Mayors, city managers, sheriffs, agency executives, and people in other occupations are eligible for nomination.

Recipients must have been in compliance with the MAGC Code of Ethics in performing government duties with truth, accuracy, fairness, responsibility and accountability to the public.

Recipients need not be MAGC members. Current MAGC board members are ineligible to receive these awards.

Any current MAGC member in good standing may submit a nomination.

How to Submit a Nomination

Nominations for this year's awards are due at the end of the day, April 7, 2017. Your nomination should include:

  • A summary (maximum of two pages) of the nominee’s work history, education and other background. You may submit the nominee's resume if available.
  • Any supplemental material you would like the selection committee to consider. This might include news articles that provide information about the individual's accomplishments or other materials that demonstrate the individual's achievement.
  • If you have obtained letters of recommendation in support of your nominee, include these in your supplemental material.

Email the above materials to Jennifer Bennerotte at by the deadline. 


Communicator of the Year

 1986  - Ted Kolderie, senior fellow, U of M Humphrey Institute
 1987  - Dr. Michael Osterholm, Minnesota Epidemiologist
 1988  -  Jan Smaby, Host, KTCA Almanac public affairs TV program

(no recipients in the intervening years)

2011  -  Tom Conroy, Department of Natural Resources      
 2012 - Tom Hedges*, City of Eagan      
    Julie Lehr, City of Woodbury      
 2013 - Margie Vigoren, City of Plymouth      
 2014 - Buddy Ferguson*, Minnesota Department of Health      
    Kevin Olson, Minnesota National Guard      
 2015 - Bob GIbbons*, Metro Transit      
    Scott Pengelly*, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources      
 2016 - Sergeant John Eastham, Ramsey County Sheriff's Office      
 2017 - Helen LaFave**, City of Plymouth      
    Libby Caulum, Minnesota Department of Revenue      


* - “Lifetime Achievement Award” designation.
** - In 2016, the Lifetime Achievement Award was renamed the “Scott Pengelly Lifetime Achievement Award” designation.