Congratulations to the 2013 SDA Annual Award Winners

Publication Date: 
October, 2013

The 2013 SDA Awards presentation began with the J. Evan Goulding District of the Year Award presented to the Roxborough Water and Sanitation District.

The J. Evan Goulding Award was established by the SDA Board to single out a district that signifies leadership, community spirit, and selflessness. This year’s winner exemplifies those qualities.

Roxborough Water and Sanitation District is one of Douglas County’s smaller districts, supported by a committed board and staff with a service capacity of only 3,800 customers. In the mist of building a new state-of-the art water treatment plant that will provide the Roxborough community with sustainable water for decades to come—the District looked to help its neighbor Plum Valley Heights.

The 2013 SDA Collaboration Award was presented to three outstanding districts. The award was shared by Hyland Hills Park and Recreation District, South Suburban Park and Recreation District and Upper Pine Fire Protection District. A three-way tie celebrated these three districts that have effectively and efficiently partnered with other entities and local governments to form successful working relationships for the benefit of their citizens.

Hyland Hills Park and Recreation District received the Award because of their efforts in working with the City of Westminster. The District and the City have had a successful partnership for over 25 years sharing resources, to avoid duplicity and saving taxpayer dollars. Their collaboration to present a celebration for their community for the 4th of July, in a safe and patriotic way, for a crowd of between 10,000 and 18,000 brings together local citizens and their families to enjoy a fireworks spectacular, entertainment and food booths.

South Suburban has a rich history of collaboration and partnerships which unfold over many years and through many people and their contributions. The collaboration has benefited the community by improving wildlife habitat and by promoting economic development and enhanced connectivity to recreation for people in Western Arapahoe County along the South Platte River corridor.

A recent example of this collaboration is between South Suburban and the City of Lone Tree. They worked together to fund projects on District land. South Suburban provided the land and will provide operation and maintenance of the facilities. Lone Tree provided funding for the construction of the projects with an approximate cost of $6,000,000. The City of Lone Tree also used bond proceeds to develop six tennis courts (four lighted), a picnic pavilion and playground adjacent to the Lone Tree Golf Club and Hotel for an approximate cost of $3,000,000.

The District is involved in collaboration with:

  • Arapahoe County
  • South Platte Working Group
  • City of Littleton
  • City of Englewood
  • City of Sheridan
  • City of Lone Tree
  • The City of Centennial and
  • The Highline Canal Working Group

Upper Pine River Fire Protection District and their involvement with:

  • Bayfield Marshal
  • Bayfield School District
  • Southwest Coalition for Occupant Protection
  • La Plata County Sheriff
  • Hood Mortuary
  • Flight For Life
  • Animas Surgical Hospital
  • City of Durango Communication Center
  • Colorado State Patrol, and
  • Rocky Mountain Every 15 Minutes Chapter

This yearlong partnership began with the idea to bring the “Every 15 Minutes” program to the Community of Bayfield. This program is a community collaboration raising awareness regarding the issue of teen drunk driving.

Three law enforcement agencies came together with the lead from the Bayfield Marshal, and the District served as coordinator, along with other local agencies, providing the extrication activities. The impact on the local community was to heighten awareness of alcohol issues and more productive high school events versus drinking and keg parties.

This program dramatically increased awareness and resulted in a community event that reduced incidents of alcohol related events. This resulted in no injuries or deaths during the prom and graduation months.

The selection of the 2013 SDA Board Member of the year award also presented the Awards Committee with a dilemma with several considerations. The Committee agreed that another three-way tie was needed for the following award winners for their outstanding contributions to their districts.

Jim Vance is the Chairman of the Southern Teller County Health Service District. His contributions have benefited the District and Cripple Creek Care Center. After two failed attempts, the District was successful in getting voters to approve a mill levy increase. In addition, he initiated a significant capital improvement program for the District.

Examples of Jim’s influence can be seen in:

  • Voice of the Workforce surveys, resulting in performance evaluations based on metrics and quality improvement plans
  • Retaining top-rated experienced personnel while managing replacement of top managers at the nursing home with employees
  • Involving each Board member according to their skills and interests


As a former city manager and construction manager, he understands how to manage finances. The nursing home was nearly bankrupt and several members of the District’s Board were also advocating bankruptcy for the District or possibly turning over the two agencies to the City of Cripple Creek. Jim didn’t agree. In 2005, the District had a bank loan and debt to a management company totaling over $800,000. As of July of 2013, the District is completely debt free.

SDA Board President Jim Kullhem expressed SDA’s sincere condolences to the Plateau Valley Hospital community as he announced that 2013 award winner Helen Spence had passed away. Helen Spence was elected to the Plateau Valley Hospital District Board in 1994, in 2004 she was elected President and had served in that capacity ever since. Her historical knowledge of the District was invaluable.

The Nursing Home portion of the District was one of the largest employers in the District. The community took pride in being able to care for the elderly and keeping them in the valley they love. In 2002, the Board had to make a very difficult and unpopular decision to close the Nursing Home. The District's reserves were dwindling rapidly and there were changes in regulations that were adding additional financial strain. The decision to close the Nursing Home allowed the Medical Clinic portion to continue to operate. The Medical Clinic affects a greater number of taxpayers and allows the District to offer high quality health services.

The Board went to the taxpayers to allow the District to "deBruce" and reinstate the mill levy to its original level by approving the election question. Helen was also a part of the rebuilding of the District when it opened a second clinic in the town of Mesa with the help of several grants.

The District now has a new clinic building in the town of Collbran, which was completely funded.

Gregory Martin, Board Member from Clifton Sanitation District, is in his thirtieth year of service on the Clifton Sanitation Board. He has served in many capacities, including President and Secretary, as well as serving on committees such as the Planning and Finance Committees. He has also provided extensive leadership during the design and construction of the new facility.

Greg has been instrumental in the following:

  • Retiring the District's initial bond several years early and abolishing the mill levy
  • Consolidating Clifton Sanitation District #1 and Clifton Sanitation District #2 in 2005, removing duplication of governmental services
  • Developing a cooperative Intergovernmental Agreement with the Whitewater Public Improvement District to provide wastewater treatment
  • Making the District the first wastewater treatment facility to meet the federally mandated ammonia discharge requirements for the designated section of the Colorado River
  • Partnering with the Colorado Division of Wildlife, DOLA, and the USDA-NRCS
  • The construction of the new facilities and transformation which involved numerous public and private entities.

The 2013 Manager of the Year Award joined the “year of multiple winners” with three outstanding managers being named Manager of the Year.

The first winner is Diane Bower who has been with the Pagosa Fire Protection District for over 33 years. She quickly rose through the ranks to District Manager and most recently District Fire Chief.

The Pagosa Springs Fire Department was combined with the Pagosa Fire Protection District under Diane's guidance, which eliminated duplicate administrative services and significantly reduced overall costs to the taxpayers. In addition, several areas have been included into the Fire District, more than tripling its original geographic area, including seven stations.

Diane has improved intergovernmental relations and increased open communications with other entities, not only in Pagosa Springs, but throughout the State of Colorado. She also improved staff morale and communications and significantly increased the number of volunteer firefighters. She has also been successful in securing short-term bond issues and led the District's mission in successful implementation of impact fees.
She was Colorado's first certified fire investigator, and an adjunct instructor for the National Fire Academy and has taught classes at Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms Academy.      ·

She was Chair of both the Upper San Juan Health Services District Board and San Juan Water Conservancy District Board. Diane has been actively involved with the Colorado Firefighters Academy for more than twenty-five years and hosted the Academy in Pagosa Springs for the past two years (and will again this fall).

The next winner is Terry Nolan; he is the General Manager of the Highlands Ranch Metro District. However, putting that title aside for just a few minutes, it’s easy to see who Terry is by the list of accomplishments that were submitted with his nomination.

  • Terry is a man of personal and professional integrity
  • He treats employees fairly and always keeps their best interests in mind and recognizes and rewards good work
  • He is the first person to help with all duties at community events and the last to leave when it's time to tear down the event
  • Terry spends time on a regular basis working with employees in the field to understand their challenges, successes, ideas, and opportunities

In his position with the District Terry has only held one position… General Manager for seventeen years. Terry leads a lean organization that benefits from many smart cost-saving practices. His wise approach to keeping costs low and collaborating whenever possible provides high quality services to Highlands Ranch taxpayers at a very low cost. Terry is proud that property taxes in Highlands Ranch remain among the lowest in the Denver metro area.

Terry's vision helped to establish the Metro District's Major Repair Fund, which provides funding for aging infrastructure. He also founded the Highlands Ranch Park and Recreation Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving, enhancing, and advocating for Highlands Ranch parks, recreation, open space, and urban forest projects.

The next winner was Sandra (Sam) Boster; she is the Manager of the Bear Creek Water and Sanitation District, a job she takes very seriously. Those who know her know that she is very conscientious in all her business and management responsibilities. Sam is a hands on, pro-active manager who has maximized the investment return for the District’s portfolio during this past down turn in the economy.

In her 26-year tenure as manager, she has:

  • Proposed and accomplished refinancing of outstanding general obligation bonds
  • Managed the District to a debt free organization
  • Directed the development of computerized accounting and billing systems
  • Implemented computerized database management programs for utility locates verification of properties on the tax roll
  • Developed system to use GIS mapping
  • Mentored a friendly and professional staff with very low turnover to administer the daily operations of the District
  • Researched and authorized an Emergency Disaster Plan for the District
  • Served as moderator at training sessions and conferences for SDA, CGFOA and other organizations


Sam has managed the District to be proactive in its operations and maintenance and promotes continuing education and training for the staff to adapt to changes and serve the District's customers.

SDA congratulates all of the winners!