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Swanson Award Announcement

PAG presents annual Swanson regional leadership award

Pima Association of Governments announced in May 2013 that the 2012 Honorary Thomas L. Swanson Regional Leadership Award recipient was Timothy “Tim” M. Ahrens. The award was presented posthumously on Jan. 23, 2014, to his wife Mary Ann Ahrens during the PAG Regional Council meeting.

The late Mr. Ahrens previously served as the Regional Transportation Authority Manager during the plan implementation process and election in May 2006. Prior to that, he was PAG’s Transportation Finance Manager and also worked in Finance Planning at the Arizona Department of Transportation. While at ADOT, he helped establish Arizona’s State Infrastructure Bank, otherwise referred to as the HELP loan program.

Over the years, Mr. Ahrens provided an immense amount of leadership and guidance in the field of transportation. He understood the dynamics of working with people to reach a common goal, his financial acumen served the region well, and he was able to successfully navigate the political scene, and serve as a mentor. He exemplified how to work with others in the spirit of cooperation.

Mr. Ahrens was instrumental in the passage of the RTA plan, including his commitment to give several hundred civic, business and neighborhood presentations during the educational outreach effort leading up to the RTA election. Mr. Ahrens served as a volunteer on the RTA Technical Management Committee. He previously represented the PAG region as a volunteer on the state’s Transportation Enhancement Review Committee.

The Swanson award is given in honor of PAG’s former executive director, the late Thomas L. Swanson, to acknowledge an individual or organization affecting positive change in the Tucson metropolitan region.

Criteria for the Swanson award include:

  • Enhancing the regional community despite often restrictive jurisdictional boundaries.
  • Promoting cooperation among citizens and local elected officials.
  • Providing leadership for regional growth via strong local government representation.


Past Recipients

  • 2011 Award Recipient, Sarah Smallhouse, president, Thomas R. Brown Foundations
  • 2009 Award Recipient, T. VanHook, the Town of Marana’s Community Development Director
  • 2008 Award Recipient, Greg Gentsch, Tucson District Engineer for the Arizona Department of Transportation.
  • 2007 Award Recipient, the late William R. "Bill" Reilly, a transportation engineer with a career spanning more than 45 years. 
  • 2006 Award Recipients, Dick Roberts and Chet Davis, Green Valley residents who served several years on the Green Valley Community Coordinating Council.
  • 2005 Award Recipient, Sheila Bowen, vice president and Public Works Division manager for Castro Engineering in Tucson.
  • 2004 Award Recipient, Thomas McGovern, vice present and regional manager of MMLA/Psomas, an engineering and information technology firm.



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