For 55 years, the American Public Works Association has named the Top Ten Public Works Leaders of the Year based on careerlong excellence in advancing infrastructure in the communities they serve. Since 1960, 550 men and women have demonstrated the highest standards of professional conduct in overseeing public projects and services.

We asked this year’s honorees to give their successors one piece of advice for a rewarding career in public works. Here is what they had to say.