Departments of Public Works, Utilities, and Parks & Recreation again achieve American Public Works Association Accreditations

The City of Norman’s Departments of Public Works, Utilities, and Parks & Recreation have recently received full accreditation by the American Public Works Association (APWA) for the fourth time. This accreditation formally verifies and recognizes that the agency is in full compliance with the recommended management practices set forth in APWA’s Public Works Management Practices Manual.

Open to all governmental agencies with responsibilities for public works functions, initial accreditation from APWA is for a four-year period, during which time semi-annual updates will be required to demonstrate continuing compliance. After that time, there is a re-accreditation process which builds on the original accreditation, encouraging continuous improvement and compliance with newly identified practices. This year, APWA Site Visit Team members included peer public works professionals from Texas and Missouri.

“We are incredibly proud of the work staff has done to achieve re-accreditation through the APWA, which requires an exceptional amount of preparation, commitment and follow through,” said City Manager Darrel Pyle. “Norman joins the ranks of only 177 other cities throughout the United States and Canada in achieving this level of distinction. It is truly a privilege to work with the best in the business.”

The purpose of accreditation is to promote excellence in the operation and management of a public works agency, its programs and employees. Accreditation is designed to assist the agency in continuous improvement of operations and management, and in providing a valid and objective evaluation of agency programs as a service to the public and the profession.

“My proudest element of this achievement involves the collaboration of Public Works, Utilities and Parks/Recreation,” said Public Works Director Shawn O’Leary. “When we first undertook this momentous effort in 2008, the City had the option of accrediting only those practices performed within the Public Works Department. However, the formal definition of ‘public works’ includes many of the practices and programs performed by the City Department of Utilities and the City Department of Parks and Recreation. I am ecstatic that fellow Directors Chris Mattingly of Utilities and Jason Olsen of Parks & Recreation continued our collaborative tradition and joined with me to seek reaccreditation of 468 different public works practices performed by the three City departments. Very few accredited agencies have taken this approach.”

O’Leary said staff from 11 of 13 City departments spent hundreds of hours reviewing and improving City policies and practices over the past year as part of the re-accreditation process, emphasizing that public works operations cannot function without good finances, human resources, communications, City records management, planning services, information technology, emergency management and legal services.

“The Department of Utilities deeply appreciates the working relationship we share with Public Works and all other City departments,” said Chris Mattingly, Utilities Director. “We each bring different strengths and assets from our fields of expertise and, together, we are able to reach great heights. This has been a wonderful and valuable experience for our entire team.”

The Norman Departments of Public Works, Utilities, and Parks & Recreation were first awarded the prestigious APWA Accreditation in 2010, making the City of Norman the first agency in the State of Oklahoma to earn this honor. Re-accreditation was achieved again in 2014, 2019 and 2023. Norman is one of only two Oklahoma municipalities to be accredited by the APWA at this time.

“The team-driven culture of collaboration makes the City of Norman a great place to work and grow,” said Jason Olsen, Parks & Recreation Director. “Undergoing the monumental task of APWA Re-Accreditation and seeing its success underscores our commitment to provide the best public service to people of Norman in terms of preparedness, operations, accountability and transparency.”

For more information about APWA Accreditation, please contact APWA Accreditation Manager, Jeanette Klamm at or (816)595-5295.


About APWA

The American Public Works Association ( is a not-for-profit, international organization of more than 30,000 members involved in the field of public works. APWA serves its members by promoting professional excellence and public awareness through education, advocacy and the exchange of knowledge. APWA is headquartered in Kansas City, MO, has an office in Washington, DC, and 63 chapters in North America.