By Mary Jane Smetanka
The 2018 C.C. Ludwig and James F. Miller Leadership awards were presented on June 21 during the League of Minnesota Cities Annual Conference in St. Cloud. The winners were Apple Valley Mayor Mary Hamann-Roland and Waconia City Administrator Susan Arntz. The C.C. Ludwig Award for elected officials and the James F. Miller Leadership Award for appointed officials honor individuals who have consistently done outstanding work to improve the quality of their own cities as well as cities throughout the state.
C.C. Ludwig Award Winner
Apple Valley Mayor Mary Hamann-Roland says she’s an optimist, and to prove the point she tells the story of being an enthusiastic 8-year-old at a fishing derby. Seconds before the contest ended, she caught the biggest fish and won a bike.
“I’m from a family of nine kids, and I never would have had my own bike,” Hamann-Roland says. “The first lesson is believing it and doing it and winning.”
That optimism and focus have fueled her rise from the Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan School Board to later becoming the mayor who was concurrently president of both the League of Minnesota Cities and the Minnesota Mayors Association, and subsequently had leadership roles at the National League of Cities.
Giving her best to her community
Within three years of moving to Apple Valley, Mary’s husband passed away. “I had no family here, but the children loved their teachers and friends. We laid down deep roots, and this community became our family,” says Hamann-Roland, who was elected mayor in 1998. “It makes me want to do the best for this community.”
Apple Valley City Administrator Tom Lawell says Hamann-Roland’s leadership in founding an environmental studies high school in cooperation with the Minnesota Zoo is indicative of her passion and commitment.
“She has abundant energy and works hard every day to make our city a better place,” Lawell says. “She gets the value of partnerships at all levels. She knows if you can leverage your resources, you can do a lot for your community.”
Lawell says that as Apple Valley developed over the last 20 years, the city had to work with businesses and the Chamber of Commerce to navigate those changes. Hamann-Roland was a good partner in that process, listening to people, determined to find solutions, and always optimistic.
“She talks with everyone she meets and is a very supportive individual,” Lawell says.
Bringing in a variety of viewpoints
Hamann-Roland believes that differences in opinions and perspectives contribute to stronger outcomes. “Groupthink is not a good idea,” she says. “We’ve learned to work together, and it’s helped us achieve success,” including two AAA bond ratings and an ISO rating of 2 for fire department service and water quality, which puts Apple Valley at the top 2 percent of cities in the nation.
In 2003—when it was clear that Apple Valley was going to lose its state local government aid— Hamann-Roland helped lead an effort to build collaboration among Dakota County cities with the aim of improving services and saving money. That led to the creation of the High Performance Partnership (HIPP), which she co-chaired.
A direct outcome of HIPP was the Dakota Communications Center, which consolidated six 911 answering points operated by five cities and the county. A second result was the HIPP Dark Fiber Committee, which she co-chaired, and from that a broadband board was created to help advance broadband service and the interconnection of all cities in Dakota County.
Hamann-Roland was also part of the drive to draw rapid transit bus service to Apple Valley. The service began in 2013. “We got our foot in the door and were able to achieve an urban partnership agreement that was only one of five in the country,” she says. “It was critical to inform people about how important the service was.”
Apple Valley is unusual among Twin Cities suburbs in paying for street reconstruction through its property taxes, with no individual assessment of homeowners. “We made road reconstruction a priority and funded it,” she says.
A passion for the arts and future leaders
One of the things Hamann-Roland is passionate about is the Apple Valley Arts Foundation, which she founded when she was still on the school board. The foundation sponsors 10 summer concerts in a park and gives away bikes and bike helmets to children.
“It’s a way to use the arts to build community,” Hamann-Roland says. “In Apple Valley children are heard and seen as growing leaders.”
Her own children are grown and on their own now. “I raised the kids by myself and a lot of times they came with me to meetings and community events. They learned so much and now they are community builders,” she says.
“I’m passionate about local government and about our kids, and I want them to live in a world worth living in,” Hamann-Roland adds. “Whatever we focus on is what we achieve in this life. The best way to predict the future is to create it.”
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Mayor Mary Hamann-Roland files for Historic sixth term as Mayor of Apple Valley.
Tuesday, July 31st at 8:00 AM sharp, Mayor Mary, surrounded by her energetic campaign team, officially filed for an unprecedented sixth term as the Mayor of Apple Valley. Mayor Mary is proud of her accomplished team of who’s, who in the City of Apple Valley, and is honored to be the Mayor of Apple Valley.
Apple Valley is Healthy to the Core and fit for life, says Mayor Mary.
The Mayor’s seeds for success for a strong, healthy community include:
🍎 Consistent job growth of 4% over the last 4 years
🍎 One-third of a Billion dollars in economic development and private investment in the last four years
🍎 Maintaining 2 AAA bond ratings – Top 2% of US cities
🍎 Achieving an ISO Rating of 2 for fire safety and water – Top 2% of US cities
🍎 Focusing on a healthy, prosperous, connected, stable, and safe community
🍎 Strategic budgeting and planning for no assessments for street maintenance and reconstruction
🍎 Creating a predictable, strong, stable budget
🍎 One of America’s best cities – CNN/Money Magazine
🍎 The Mayor was awarded a Lifetime Achievement award from the League of MN Cities, CC Ludwig Award. The award affirms proven leadership with proven results.
“My name is Jay Tentinger and I relocated my law firm to Apple Valley in March 2014 to my office building located at 15000 Garrett Ave. I purchased the office building in late 2013 from the previous owner so I was not aware of the street improvements that were planned for Garrett Ave. In April 2014, a representative from the City stopped into my office to tell me about the planned improvements. I was very surprised and immediately thought to myself, another expense that I was not planning on just after purchasing the new office building and relocating my office from Eagan. I was pleasantly surprised to learn from the City representative there would not be a cost to me, as the City was paying the entire cost of the improvement without the need for a special assessment. This information was very much appreciated as a small business owner, and to me it speaks volumes about how Apple Valley helps small businesses!”
Jay A. Tentinger
Tentinger Law Firm, P.A.
15000 Garrett Avenue
Apple Valley MN 55124-9018
952-953-3330 – Telephone
952-953-3331 – Facsimile
Apple Valley is home to the North American headquarters of Finland based Uponor. On April 11th, 2014 Uponor USA was been named 2013 Manufacturer of the Year by Manufacurers Alliance. Congratulations Uponor!
More info here.
From left, are: Apple Valley Chamber of Commerce President Ed Kearney, Uponor North America President Bill Gray, Apple Valley Mayor Mary Hamann-Roland and Manufacturers Alliance President Art Sneen.