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Anna city manager named to Traeger Award list

By Joshua Baethge
Van Alstyne Leader
Anna City Manager Jim Proce was named an ELGL Traeger Award.

Anna City Manager Jim Proce was recently named a Traeger Award winner by the Engaging Local Government Leaders (ELGL) organization.  The annual award recognizes an individual’s influence inside and outside of the community through professional associations, mentoring and writing. It is named for Chris Traeger, the city manager of Pawnee, Indiana played by Rob Lowe in the popular television series “Parks and Recreation.”

The honor is named for Chris Traeger, a fictional city manager played by Rob Lowe on the hit show “Parks and Recreation.”

“I’m honored to be associated with this recognition, but even more intrigued to see the stories of the other recipients as there are lots of amazing folks working for cities all over the country being recognized by the group,” Proce says.

The ELGL is a professional organization created to engage government leaders by providing easy access to relevant information through podcasts, blogs, webinars, conferences and other platforms.  Co-founder Kent information sharing between governments after he and his wife Kirsten moved from Virginia to the Portland area. Both of them work in city government. As he was searing for a new job, he found that information was hard to come by, with many professional organizations only focusing on a particular area like finance or planning.

The ELGL started as a 16-member dinner group in Portland back in 2012. Today it has more than 4800 members from across the United States,  Canada, the United Kingdom, Israel and Australia. Wyatt says it’s a big tent organization not looking to compete with other professional organizations. Most members are also involved with other groups 

“We try to be different, more engaging and more fun,” he says. “One of the things we passionately believe in are diversity, equality and inclusion.  WE don’t believe pushing the status quo is in our best interest.”

The idea for the Trager Awards came when Wyatt was watching a summer show on the NFL Network ranking the top 100 players in football. That got him thinking about a way to put together something similar for government workers.  The Trager Awards became a way for the ELGL to not necessarily rank government leaders but to put them on an exclusive list where they can be recognized.  Last year Rob Lowe even gave the winners a shout-out on this Twitter Page.

Since then, awards have also been named in honor of Parks and Recreation characters Leslie Knope (played by Amy Poehler), Tom Haverford (Aziz Ansari) and Donna Meagle (Retta)

“Public service isn’t exactly warm and fuzzy,” Wyatt says. “A lot of the times they are trying to put out fires, so it’s good to recognize those who are doing a good job.  That’s really what it's’ all about.”

As for Proce, he was one of the ELGL’s first Texas members, He’s written for the organization before and spoken at their conferences. Wyatt says that there are lots of things that he can learn from him even though the two work thousands of miles apart and have only met in person on a handful of occasions. He praises Proce’s willingness to become a mentor to others by sharing information and experiences with those who will follow him into civic leadership positions. 

“In my mind Jim’s a great example of somebody who’s not just stamping the timesheet,” Wyatt said. “I think he has a unique approach to work and an energy that we need in government.”