Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs

The Lloyd D. Gladfelter Award for Government Innovation is given to non-elected municipal, county, state, or federal employees who, through their careers or through a specific innovation, have helped solve a problem for Wisconsin residents and improved public service in the state. The award honors the creative ideas and money-saving efficiencies people expect from government at all levels.

Recipients include a state financial officer who helped the state save more than $50 million through new borrowing programs and a city employee who helped his municipality move from manual to automated recycling pickup, saving almost $1.3 million.

Innovation is not limited to efforts that save money. Projects or efforts that address public health needs, educate residents, or solve a civic problem through a collaboration with a non-governmental agency all are good candidates.

Nominations, including self-nominations, can be made until August 18, 2016, via this online form or by sending a brief (250-word maximum) description of the innovation and its rationale and impact to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Finalists will be contacted for additional documentation, with the awards announced in late October.

The award was established at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1999 by the family of Gladfelter, a 1926 UW-Madison alumnus who spent his career at the Milwaukee Journal as a government reporter. The La Follette School took over administration of the award in 2011. Winners for 2004-2009 are listed on the Department of Political Science website.

2016 winners

  • Kirsten Johnson, Thomas Meaux, and Joshua Schoemann: combined Washington-Ozaukee County Health Department
  • Tarna Hunter and Shelly Schueller: Statewide Employee Trust Fund campaign about the retirement savings gap facing women

Innovative projects earn Gladfelter Awards, December 7, 2016, La Follette School News

2015 winners

  • Tammy Conforti: Kenosha Dream Playground Project
  • Jared Knowles: Dropout Early Warning System
  • Sarah Turner and the Barron County Community Coalition: Teen Driving Summit
  • Diane Rondini Harness and the StEPP committee of Matthew Giesfeldt, Richard Jones, Gina Pruski, Eileen Fredericks, Puck Tsai, Catherine Dorl, and Evan Nordgren: Student Expulsion and Prevention Project

Government innovation winners announced, December 15, 2015, La Follette School News

2014 winners

  • Sal Carranza of the University of Wisconsin System and Tom Heffron of the Wisconsin Technical College System
  • Emil “Moe” Norby, technical support manager for the Polk County Highway Department; and Bob Germer and John Morris, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

Government innovation winners announced, August 5, 2014, La Follette School News

No awards given in 2013

2012 winners

  • Kevin Shafer, executive director of the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District
  • Christine Lilek, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources hydrogeologist
  • Mark Van Oss, a mechanic in the village of Kimberly

Government innovation awards to be given today, May 7, 2012, La Follette School News

Questions: Email Outreach Specialist Bridget Pirsch