Town of Vail Street Superintendent Charlie Turnbull will be honored as Professional Manager of the Year by the Colorado Chapter of the American Public Works Association at its annual APWA Awards luncheon on Monday, Oct. 23 in Arvada. Recognition will also be given to Vail’s skatepark which has been selected to receive the outstanding Parks and Trails Project in the small community category.
Turnbull, a 40-year veteran in the town’s department of public works and transportation, was nominated by his co-workers for top professional in the administrative management, small community category. Turnbull started his career as a maintenance worker with the town and soon after became a heavy equipment with the town after graduating from high school and diligently honed his skills to become one of the town’s most experienced, versatile and trusted operators, according to Greg Hall, department director. In 2000, his hard work was rewarded when he was promoted to street superintendent, a position once held by his long-time mentor and supervisor, Pete Burnett.
During the past 17 years as street superintendent, Turnbull’s leadership has guided the streets division through substantial growth, change and challenges. Recognizing his ability to run an efficient, customer-driven, high standard operation, he was later tapped to take on the management of the town’s summer landscape division which includes the flower, turf, irrigation and park janitorial crews.
On any given day, Turnbull can be seen walking the streets of Vail to ensure his crews are upholding the “Vail Standards” of maintenance and cleanliness as evidenced by some of the highest and most consistent scores on the town’s citizen survey year after year.
His 40 years of service is a milestone in the public works industry that very few achieve, according to Hall. “Charlie has seen Vail grow from its infancy to a full-fledged, progressive municipality,” he said. “From an eager, hardworking young adult to a seasoned, accomplished manager/professional, he’s truly an asset to the public works industry and the Town of Vail community.”
Also receiving recognition at the APWA awards ceremony will be those responsible for the design and construction of the Zeke M. Pierce Skatepark, which is considered among one of the best in Colorado. Todd Oppenheimer, the town’s capital project manager, led the effort with designer/contractor California Skateparks, while Molly Eppard, Art in Public Places coordinator, managed the installation of four tile mosaic art pieces created by Valerie Theberge.
Completed in 2016, the concept for the Vail skatepark took hold when a 15-year-old student from the Vail Ski and Snowboard Academy made a presentation to the Town Council suggesting an unused area between the Lionshead parking structure decks be converted into a unique and innovative, permanent skatepark. Cameron Chaney’s presentation in 2014 was the catalyst in moving the $1.7 million project forward after years of searching for a location for a permanent skatepark. Oppenheimer convened the Vail Recreation District, Chaney and a group of local skaters to work with California Skateparks to design the facility. A grand opening and dedication ceremony was held Sept. 10, 2016. The park has been named to honor the memory of Zeke M. Pierce, Chaney’s friend and fellow skateboarder who lost his life in a mountain bike accident in 2013.
Managed by the Vail Recreation District, the skatepark includes features for all ages and abilities and includes a large variety of street and transition style elements. It also includes a signature “vert” feature, mini-bowl and full-size halfpipe.