Oak Ridge City Manager Honored with Lifetime Achievement Award


November 14, 2017

Oak Ridge City Manager Mark Watson was the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Kansas University City Managers and Trainees Alumni Organization (KUCIMAT) on Sunday, October 22, 2017, during a banquet at the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) Annual Conference in San Antonio, Texas.

The KU Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes individuals who have, through cumulative career achievements and successes, furthered the purpose of the KUCIMAT organization. As stated in his nomination for the award, penned by his son Kevin Watson, “Mark’s passion for local government combined with his strong leadership and commitment to mentoring the next generation of managers made him an ideal candidate.”

Speaking about the award, Watson said, “I was deeply surprised and honored that my fellow city managers from across the nation and United Kingdom had recognized me for my work. Members of my family, a number of friends and many of my past interns, who are now practicing city managers, were there honoring me with their attendance.”

Watson is a graduate of the University of Kansas where he received his B.A. and Masters in Public Administration in City Management. Watson was selected as City Manager of Oak Ridge in August 2010 after a 30-year career in local government. He is a second generation city manager and has served in that capacity since 1981. Before arriving in Oak Ridge, Watson served as city manager to six cities in Texas, Montana and Arizona.

During his tenure as City Manager of Oak Ridge, Watson helped achieve the establishment of the Manhattan Project National Historical Park and completed a riverfront development project for the City’s rowing venue to compete for Olympic, NCAA and other national rowing events.

Additional ongoing projects under Watson’s leadership include the revitalization of the center city with the Main Street Oak Ridge development, relocation of the City’s International Friendship Bell, replacement of a 70 year old water plant, upgrades to storm-water and waste-water systems, construction of a new Preschool facility, modernization of City business and utility operations through technology and software improvements, and the construction of a new Senior Center.

“It has been my privilege to work with Mark Watson since my election as Mayor in November 2014,” Oak Ridge Mayor Warren Gooch stated. “Mark is a person of great integrity, keen intellect and he possesses a tireless work ethic. He has a firm grasp and deep commitment to the City Manager/City Council form of municipal governance, and continually works to fully engage elected officials in the decision making process.”

Mark’s partner, Jenna, is an art teacher. They have been married since 1979 and have four children: Kevin, Travis, Hilary, and Caitlin. Kevin is a practicing third generation city manager in Minnesota.