Pullman National Monument Superintendent Teri Gage and Pullman Project Manager Todd Ravesloot celebrated for their innovative and unwavering work to transform Chicago’s first and only national park site.
CHICAGO – National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) will present this year’s Stephen T. Mather Award to Pullman National Monument Superintendent Teri Gage and Pullman Project Manager Todd Ravesloot for their innovative and unwavering work to transform Chicago’s first and only national park site: Pullman National Monument. The Mather award is named after the first director of the National Park Service and given to individuals in the National Park Service who have shown steadfast leadership and persistent dedication to our national parks.
Teri and Todd are recognized for their innovation and dedication in transforming Pullman National Monument for visitors and for the people who live in this urban national park. Located on Chicago’s far South Side, Pullman faces a variety of challenges from historic disinvestment to equity of access. Through their important work here, the National Park Service has pulled residents in to create a stronger sense of community around the park.
“Being the Superintendent at Pullman National Monument is the highlight of my National Park Service career and I’m pleased to accept this award on behalf of all the employees, volunteers, and partners who helped to stand up this new park,” said Teri Gage, Superintendent for Pullman National Monument. “The Town of Pullman was originally built as a model industrial community and today it is an exemplary model of public-private partnership, in which NPCA played an important role. We are thankful for their ongoing support at Pullman National Monument.”
Through their collective patience and persistence, Teri and Todd successfully led the renovation of the $34 million visitor center and 12-acre site, overcoming the challenges of a global pandemic to open on schedule Labor Day 2021. The famed Pullman Clock Tower had been relatively untouched for more than 25 years since it was devastated by fire. Today it serves as the gateway to the park and welcomes people to learn the important history of the nation’s labor and civil rights movements.
“After working for the National Park Service for several years in the Washington, DC area, I was given the incredible opportunity to move to my hometown of Chicago to join the staff of Pullman National Monument,” said Todd Ravesloot, former Project Manager for Pullman National Monument. Today Ravesloot is Chief of Facilities at nearby Indiana Dunes National Park.
“While there, I helped lead the construction management on the Pullman Clock Tower Building and assisted the State of Illinois with the renovation of the factory site,” Ravesloot added. “Due to my family connections to the Pullman story, it was a privilege for me to just be involved with the project, as my grandfather grew up down the street from Pullman and my father worked for Pullman Standard when I was born. The Stephen Tyng Mather award is icing on the cake, and I couldn’t feel more honored.”
Teri and Todd’s work, along with NPCA and partners, has been recognized with numerous local, state and national awards for innovation over the years.
“America’s third largest city didn’t have a national park until Pullman was established, and any new park in a city this size comes with challenges,” said Theresa Pierno, President and CEO for the National Parks Conservation Association. “Teri knew the key to the park’s success would be to fulfill the promise of renovating the Pullman Clock Tower, building strong relationships and ensuring the area was safe and welcoming for visitors and residents alike. She is doing that one neighborhood meeting and one new relationship at a time. Together with partners, Teri and Todd established new neighborhood access points, new safety systems with the Chicago Police Department, and many new programs to connect residents to the park and the powerful stories Pullman tells. They exemplify leadership, have overcome obstacles, and have lifted Pullman up to become the gold standard for launching new urban national parks across the entire park system. And we are so proud to recognize and celebrate them with the Mather award.”
About the National Parks Conservation Association: Since 1919, the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) has been the leading voice in safeguarding our national parks. NPCA and its more than 1.6 million members and supporters work together to protect and preserve our nation’s most iconic and inspirational places for future generations. For more information, visit www.npca.org
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