Visions Award

History:  began in 1992 with the Award going to:
Joe B. Allen, Jim Box, Bill Callegari, Bill Corsbie, Myrtle Cruz, Gary Nathanson, and Julien Reeves.

The Visions Award has been given to many individuals in the industry over the past 29 years.  The award is given to those who have made significant contributions to the AWBD, to its members directly, and toward improving the entire water/wastewater industry.  There have been years when the award was not given out and most years where one or more people have received the award.

The Board of Directors of the AWBD has always taken suggestions from the Executive Director, AWBD Board Members, and consultants to the AWBD.  The Board President/Executive Director have collected the suggestions and presented them to the BOD at a meeting for discussion.  The board then votes on a candidate(s) and the award is presented at the Annual AWBD Conference in the summer. The award is usually a surprise to the recipient, however, every effort is made to ensure that person will be there for the presentation at the conference.  

The criteria for this award as follows:

  • Have demonstrated that they  have made significant contributions to the AWBD, to its members directly, and to the entire water community.
    • Increased the awareness of good works and contributions by these Special Districts.
    • Improved the efficiencies of Special Districts through improved processes and procedures.
    • Represented the industry as an important and vital entity for the community.
    • Demonstrated collaboration with outside entities to create projects, improve efficiencies or promote accomplishments of Special Districts.
    • Made great personal sacrifice of time/talents to AWBD and the industry for overall good works and contributions.
  • Have not received the award in the past.
  • Not a member of the current AWBD Board of Directors.
The 2024 Visions Awards Recipient 
Keli M. Schroeder, P.E. 
BGE, Inc.

Leonard Legacy Award

Overview: Merry Leonard has served as a MUD Director since the mid 70s.  Merry was elected to the AWBD Board of Trustees in the early 80s and served in various offices, including President. In 1993, she was hired as the AWBD’s first full-time employee and was later named Executive Director.  Although, she retired from AWBD in 2020, she continues to serve on a MUD.  Merry believed and still believes in the value of service and the power of districts and their directors to make positive, enduring impacts on their communities. The Leonard Legacy Award honors Merry and all the water district directors who champion districts’ efforts that make their parts of the world better.


  • AWBD will send Member Consultant Firms (“Member Firm”) nomination forms;
  • Nominations must be sent to; to preserve the integrity of the nominations process do not send applications to any recipient or address;
  • AWBD staff will accept the first two nominations by a Member Firm (confirming receipt) and will reject subsequent applications;
  • Nominations are anonymous and confidential. The identity of the nominating firm will not be disclosed by AWBD to anyone other than AWBD staff. AWBD staff will provide the nomination forms without the coversheet to AWBD’s judges;
  • Nomination applications for the award will be considered for an additional 2 years beyond original submission.

Criteria: To be eligible for the Leonard Legacy Award, the nominee must:

  • Be a current Board Member on an AWBD Member District;
  • Have served as a director for at least 10 total years on one or more water district boards;
  • Have championed as a director (not a consultant) one or more district initiatives that provided positive,
    enduring impacts on the community that the district(s) serves;
  • Have exhibited outstanding character, setting a high bar in personal and professional conduct and
    demonstrating the value of service in the community; and
  •  Not be a current AWBD employee nor AWBD Board Member.

The 2024 Leonard Legacy Award recipient

A.F. “Bud” Gessel
Timber Lane UD
Past Leonard Legacy Award Recipients:

Diane K. Flynn
Post Wood MUD

Robert Squires
Harris Co MUD 55


  • Nominations are due  
  • Finalists will be announced (AWBD May Board Meeting)
  • The Leonard Legacy Award will be announced on Saturday  during Awards Luncheon

Project Awards

The purpose of this biennial program is to encourage our membership to share information about the wonderful projects that the districts are accomplishing that will improve and enhance the lives of our constituents. These projects must have been completed within the past three years from the date of the application.

The recipients will be judged by category within one of the five award divisions based on the response to the questions under the Summary Review. Applications will be judged by a panel of professionals with experience in the field and the winners will be announced at our Midwinter Conference.

2023 Project Award Recipients:
Harris Co MUD 361
DIV III – Landscaping, Parks & Trails
Fort Bend Co MUD 131 
DIV III – Roads and other Public Infrastructure
Harris Co MUD 149
DIV III – Water and Wastewater Facilities
Harris Co MUD 71
DIV IV – Landscaping, Parks & Trails
Harris Co MUD 344, Harris Co MUD 342
& Harris Co MUD 361

DIV IV – Landscaping, Parks & Trails
Northwest Harris Co MUD 5
DIV IV – Landscaping, Parks & Trails
Montgomery Co MUD 8
DIV IV – Water and Wastewater Facilities
North Fort Bend Water Authority
DIV V – Water Conservation