Orange County Receives National Honors for 2021 Initiatives
Orange County has been recognized with six 2022 Achievement Awards from the National Association of Counties (NACo). The awards honor innovative, effective county government programs that strengthen services for residents. They also validate just how diligently the County works every day to build a healthy, safe and thriving community.
Initiatives awarded include IGotMyShot Campaign to Combat Vaccine Hesitancy; Orange County Code Amendments for Pedestrian Safety/ADA Orange County Government—Transportation Planning Division/Public Works Department; Orange County Corrections Department Remote Video Visitation; Parks and Recreation Virtual Community Meetings; The Power of Partnerships in Energy; and Orange County Utilities We’re Testing What?!
“The We’re Testing What?! campaign has provided a safe, non-invasive way for us to monitor the different COVID variants and their impact on our community,” said Ed Torres, director of Orange County Utilities. “It has also enabled us to advise our staff and other departments on safety protocols; and assist County leadership in strategizing an informed public health response.”
Nationally, awards are given in 18 different categories that reflect the vast, comprehensive services counties provide. The categories include children and youth, criminal justice and public safety, county administration, information technology, health, civic engagement and many more.
“The County and its employees work at such a high level, pouring everything they do into their work,” said Despina McLaughlin, Orange County Communications Division, Senior Public Information Officer. “It’s nice for a little light to shine on them for their continuing efforts, and it reaffirms what we’re doing is making a difference in the community,”
Orange County Communications was also recently recognized by the Florida Public Relations Association (FPRA), winning the Association’s ImPRess Award for Professional Achievement (which celebrates a trailblazer who has achieved an extraordinary milestone in their career or has left a lasting impression on the Central Florida community); 2022 Image Award for Public Relations Programs (#IGotMyShot Campaign to Combat Vaccine Hesitancy); and 2022 Grand Image Award for Public Relations Programs (#IGotMyShot Campaign to Combat Vaccine Hesitancy). Orange County Convention Center also won a FPRA Image Award for its integrated marketing #BusinessBetterThanUsual campaign.
McLaughlin, the recipient of the ImPRess Professional Achievement Award, stressed it was a team effort. “The support and leadership from my team allowed me to bring the #IGotMyShot campaign to life and make it successful,” said McLaughlin, who also gave a shout out to her partner in the campaign, Sarah Dillon.
Orange County has also recently been honored with the Florida Association of Counties (FAC) Award of Excellence (which recognizes county leaders’ efforts to create efficient and effective solutions to challenges facing local governments) for #IGotMyShot Campaign to Combat Vaccine Hesitancy; and the PRSA Silver Anvil (the highest national award for PR campaign excellence) for #IGotMyShot Campaign to Combat Vaccine Hesitancy.
Orange County Utilities won a J.D. Power 2022 U.S. Water Utility Residential Customer Satisfaction Study award this year for top marks in customer satisfaction with water utilities. The Utilities division stood out for its communication efforts, quality and reliability, conservation and customer service.