Media release: District Council engineer wins local government Emerging Leader Award

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Southland District Council’s senior project engineer water and waste services, Matt Keil, has been named as this year’s recipient of the prestigious Brookfields Emerging Leader of Year Award.

The title was one of several handed out to those in local government by the New Zealand Society of Local Government Managers (SOLGM) at an awards gala in Auckland.

Judges praised Mr Keil’s strong leadership attitude, technical expertise, and commitment to engagement.

“Matt stands out through his commitment to making the council water industry accessible and understandable,” Fiona Purchas, SOLGM’s manager of professional development, says.

“He has led some significant infrastructure projects and has demonstrated a strong commitment to professional development.”

The Brookfields Emerging Leader of the Year Award is presented to an individual with a proven track record of delivering innovative and successful programmes or projects. Sponsored by Brookfields Lawyers, it includes a fully paid trip to attend the ICMA Annual Conference in the United States, the largest annual event in the world for those in local government.

Mr Keil says he is extremely humbled to have received the award, and is appreciative of the opportunity to see how the rest of the world operates within local government when he attends the conference in Baltimore in September.

“These sorts of things are always reflective of a team effort, not just an individual one,” he says.

“I’ve been fortunate to have worked under some well-regarded industry mentors over the years. I’ve always been well supported at Council to undertake training and development, and to professionally challenge myself,” he says.

“I would also like to acknowledge the role my grandparents and matriarchs of my whānau, Lesley and Pik Rewi, have played in helping me attain this honour. They have supported and challenged me from day one of my own journey, both professionally and personally, and without them I would not have achieved what I have.”

SOLGM’s chief executive Karen Thomas says the awards gala is a special event for the local government sector.

“It recognises the outstanding contribution and commitment to communities. Throughout New Zealand local government professionals are working on inspiring and collaborative projects and investing in their professional development. We are proud to acknowledge and celebrate this, and the important impact that local government professionals have on the communities we all serve,” she says.

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