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International Conference on Asphalt and Traffic

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The Ed Rapp Leadership in Action Award

2017 Award Recipient


The Honorable Gary Manier

Mayor, City of Washington


Gary Manier, City of Washington’s longest-serving mayor, plans to run for a final term in April to bring his total time in public service to 28 years.  Over the past decade, Washington has been among the fastest growing communities in central Illinois: 1500 new housing starts, new construction totaling about 900,000 square feet, and a 40% growth in population.  Mayor Gary Manier has been instrumental in leading this growth.  Essential to Manier’s and the City’s success is strong community initiative programs too numerous to mention, geared toward energy efficiency, parks and recreation, education, and serving the needy. 

Back in November 17, 2013 a devastating tornado ripped through the City of Washington - destroying the fully developed urban environment in its 3-1/2 miles by 1/8-mile wide path. Over 1000 homes were destroyed by a 200 mile an hour wind. Debris flew over 200 miles away. Washington was seriously wounded, but not broken. Mayor Gary Manier was on the scene and provided leadership, showed compassion, tenacity and courage through this massive emergency effort. Mayor Manier took charge and provided direction, leadership and guidance.   

 Without question, the biggest challenge Mayor Manier faced during his 16 year tenure as mayor was the EF-4 tornado that devastated Washington on November 17, 2013 and destroyed more than 1000 homes and killed one citizen. Manier will long be remembered for his leadership efforts necessary to rebuild Washington and for safeguarding the security and resilience of the community. Three years later, Washington is alive and thriving and has many plans for continued growth. 

One of many notable community collaborative accomplishments during Manier’s tenure is the addition of Five Points Washington in 2007, which features a performing arts auditorium, a public library and aquatics center, a banquet center and a state-of-the-art recreation, wellness and fitness area.  Manier spearheaded this collaborative enterprise involving a not-for-profit corporation, four units of local government and many civic-minded donors and volunteers.