Donna-Marie Hayes

Since founding Boise Watershed Exhibits Inc., Hayes has educated southwest Idaho's Treasure Valley residents about the value of clean water. In the past 12 months alone, Hayes has raised more than $500,000 to design, build, and install hands-on, interactive water education exhibits at the Boise WaterShed, a water education center under construction at the West Boise Wastewater Treatment Facility. Hayes also created an education committee that coordinates community education providers and develops curriculums that meet Idaho teaching standards. She does all this with little recognition. “She is a silent hero for all of us in the public works profession,” says Catherine Chertudi. environmental programs manager with the Boise Public Works Department.

Eric Hoek

The UCLA researcher led a team that created a nanotechnology-based reverse-osmosis membrane, which cuts the cost of desalination and wastewater treatment. The innovation could prove especially helpful in the face of mounting water shortages in the Western and Southwestern United States.

Alan Hollenbeck

Hollenbeck is a sewer king—and we mean that in the best possible way. As water becomes increasingly scarce, his methods for identifying infiltration and inflow (“Q versus i” measures the relationship of rainfall intensity to sewer inflow, and dual-blower smoke testing finds four to six times more defects in a sewer line and connections than the one-blower method) help managers nationwide tighten up wastewater-collection systems.

I-35W bridge collapse

After the Aug. 1 Minneapolis bridge collapse, there are now 596,842* reasons Americans pay closer attention to infrastructure other than potholes and the placement of stop signs. (*Number of U.S. bridges as of December 2006, per the Federal Highway Administration's National Bridge Inventory; see page 30.)

Rob Jensen

The Roseville, Calif., public works director convinced community leaders to try triple left-turn lanes to ease traffic congestion—which garnered almost immediate success. Plus, with strategic striping, no road-widening work was needed. Although not the first to do this, Jensen has set the standard with his willingness not only to test non-traditional methods, but also to win over constituents before embarking on such endeavors.

Craig Johnson

The Glendale, Ariz., assistant city engineeer's environmentally friendly construction projects transformed the Phoenix farming suburb into the destination for major sporting and entertainment needs—including Super Bowl XLII—without draining the city's budget. He incorporated multiple public-private development agreements with aggressive schedules and cost-sharing provisions based upon schedule completion dates and high quality standards. Johnson used alternative delivery systems—such as construction manager-at-risk, job-order-contracting, and design-build—and he assembled his own staff members with outside consultants. Projects include: a $455 million, 73,000-seat football facility plus roadway, parking, and utility improvements for the Arizona Cardinals Major League Football team; a 160,000-square-foot Cabela's Retail Outfit store and associated hotel, apartment, and office center parcels; and development of a dual-use spring training facility for the Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago White Sox Major League Baseball teams.

Kirkland, Wash.

This Seattle suburb, in an effort to meet the needs of a growing and graying population, has worked to make its streets and roads more accessible for citizens of all ages. The city has installed wide sidewalks to accommodate walkers and wheelchairs, flowered medians to beautify its roadways, and flashing lights embedded in crosswalks for visually impaired seniors. With baby boomers reaching their golden years and facing mobility challenges, Kirkland is setting an example for communities nationwide looking for ways that residents of all ages can get around safely.

Mark Leonard

The public works director for Phoenix is a proponent of smart growth. His is the fifth largest city in the country—and climbing—so he and his colleagues in other departments are taking a proactive stance in providing efficient infrastructure management for years to come. He's opened a new transfer station and landfill, overhauled the city's recycling program, and instituted an automated scalehouse processing system that's saved the city more than $200,000 a year.

David Lewis

Given Canada-based Lewis' proximity to New York state—and his ability to crunch numbers—it's no surprise that New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg is basing his decongestion strategy on two copyrighted computer models that Lewis and his team at Omaha, Neb.-based AEC firm HDR developed to evaluate transportation-infrastructure scenarios. The models are already being used in Cincinnati and Vancouver. In May, he explained the economic impact of transit projects to members of the U.S. House of Representative's Transportation and Infrastructure's Subcommittee on Highways and Transit.

Qiong Liu

The deputy public works director and city engineer of North Las Vegas, Liu is overseeing one of the fastest-growing U.S. cities in the fast-growing Southwest. Her top-down approach has seen significantly improved communication in the department, increased adoption of new technologies, stepped-up mentoring of young engineers, and a number of other smart practices that have helped the city provide better services to its citizens.