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Tempe’s Director of Sustainability Receives 2019 Gabe Zimmerman Public Service Award

Post Date:07/18/2019 1:30 PM

July 18, 2019 

Tempe, AZ – Tempe’s Director of Sustainability, Dr. Braden Kay, was selected by the Center for the Future of Arizona to receive the Gabe Zimmerman Public Service Emerging Leader Award for 2019. 

The Gabe Zimmerman Public Service Awards were created to recognize non-elected public servants who contribute to their communities, improve civic life, and collectively shape a better future for all Arizonans. Named in honor of Gabe Zimmerman, who lost his life on January 8, 2011 while serving as Congresswoman Gabrielle Gifford’s community-outreach director, the awards honor individuals in three categories: Community Builder, Emerging Leader, and Civic Leader. Recipients exemplify a true spirit of service and demonstrate the impact that dedicated and talented people can make by connecting communities and engaging citizens, just as Gabe Zimmerman did. 

The awards were presented today by the CFA at a special luncheon during the Arizona City/County Manager’s Association Summer Conference at Tucson’s Westin La Paloma Resort & Spa.  


“With the Gabe Zimmerman Awards, The Center for the Future of Arizona highlights the oft-overlooked works of public servants,” said Tempe Vice Mayor Lauren Kuby, who nominated Kay. “Braden’s work to incorporate issues of equity, clean energy, sustainable transportation, and resilience to extreme heat into our City’s policies, programs, and infrastructure is a model for Arizona cities. I’m delighted for the recognition he is receiving.”  


Kay leads Tempe’s sustainability innovation. Tempe’s City Council has a priority for sustainable growth and development.  He works with city departments on reaching sustainability targets in energy, transportation, waste, water, land use, local food, housing, and social equity. Kay founded Tempe's office in 2016. He is focused on the creation of a Climate Action Plan and supporting the sustainability elements of the city's strategic management plan. “I am grateful to receive an award dedicated to Gabe, who was a model public servant,” said  Kay, “I hope to share the story of how our elected officials, city staff, business community and residents are all working together to lower carbon emissions, build a more sustainable economy, invest in clean energy and sustainable transportation, and improve the lives of our residents.”  


Kay has an outstanding track record of leading successful sustainability initiatives and working with  City staff and the community to spark innovation. His leadership abilities inspire confidence and buy-in as his efforts strive for Tempe to become a shining example of how Arizona cities can create sustainable, livable and socially responsible communities. 


Before his time in Tempe, Kay served as the Sustainability Project Manager for the City of Orlando. He received his Ph.D. in Sustainability from Arizona State University’s School of Sustainability, where he was in Dr. Arnim Wiek’s Sustainability Transitions Lab.  


For more information about Center for the Future of Arizona, visit For more information about Kay and Sustainable Tempe, visit


Media contact: Kris Baxter Ging, City of Tempe, 480-858-2059 

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