ICMA Executive Director Marc A. Ott has been selected as a 2017 recipient of the prestigious National Public Service Award. Established by the American Society for Public Administration (ASPA) and the National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA), the National Public Service Award honors individuals who make outstanding contributions to and whose accomplishments can be viewed as models of public service, both inside and outside the work environment. Ott will receive the award on March 19, 2017, during ASPA’s 2017 Annual Conference in Atlanta, Georgia.
"On behalf of the board and members of ICMA, we are delighted that Marc has been chosen as a 2017 recipient of the National Public Service Award," said Lee Feldman, ICMA Executive Board President and city manager of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. "Marc’s celebrated public service career spans nearly four decades, and his receipt of this award is only one more validation of his success as a local government management professional.”
National Public Service Award recipients come from diverse backgrounds and are often willing to take risks to achieve change, make a profound difference to improve service to the public, achieve substantial savings in government operations, develop a cadre of other government leaders, and contribute to the communities in which they live. While there are a number of awards that honor public servants, only the National Public Service Award recognizes the contributions of public service practitioners across all sectors of government.
“I am overwhelmed and humbled to be recognized with the National Public Service Award,” said Ott. “My sincere appreciation and thanks go to ASPA, NAPA, and the individuals who nominated me. When I changed directions many years ago from law to public management, I realized I would have the opportunity to serve and improve the lives of others,” he said. “I have tremendous optimism for local government and for our communities, and I truly believe that the future is as bright as we choose to make it.”
Before joining ICMA as executive director in late October 2016, Ott served as city manager of Austin, Texas, a full-service city with 40+ departments, 14,000 employees, an all-funds budget of $3.7 billion, and a Triple-A bond rating that was maintained throughout his tenure. During his nearly nine years as chief executive and chief administrative officer, Ott championed employee empowerment, civic dialogue, innovation, and fiscal sustainability with the goal of having Austin recognized as the "Best Managed City in America."
Before joining Austin, he served as assistant city manager for infrastructure services for Fort Worth, Texas (2002-08), where he was responsible for the infrastructure operations carried out by the Water, Transportation and Public Works, Engineering, and Aviation departments. He was also responsible for implementing one of the city council's top strategic priorities of promoting orderly growth.
Prior to moving to Texas, Ott served as city administrator of Rochester Hills, Michigan (1998-2002), where he had administrative and managerial oversight over all municipal operations. He served as city manager (1993-97), deputy city manager (1991-1993), and as an assistant city manager (1990-91) in Kalamazoo, Michigan. He served in leadership and support roles for the cities of Grand Rapids and Jackson, Michigan (1982-90), and as a staff assistant to the Michigan Municipal League (1981-82).
Ott earned a bachelor's degree in management with a concentration in economics from Michigan's Oakland University and a master's in public administration from the same university. A graduate of the program for Senior Executives in State and Local Government at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, Ott serves on the board of directors for the Alliance for Innovation. He received an ICMA Service Award in 2012 in honor of his 30 years of service to local government.