ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Howard County Executive Calvin Ball today announced that Howard County has received a record 63 Achievement Awards from the National Association of Counties (NACo). Howard County received the most awards in the state of Maryland from NACo and the fifth highest in the nation, compared to more than 3,000 counties. The innovative and equitable policies in the County’s new General Plan, HoCo By Design, received the Best in Category award for Planning.


A center for innovation and transformation, these awards reflect Howard County’s commitment to being the very best place for all people to be and achieve their very best selves. I would like to thank your incredible County workforce who year-in and year-out to make these programs and achievements possible. You are what makes Howard County the best place to live, work, play, grow and thrive for all.

Calvin Ball
Howard County Executive

NACo Achievement Awards are the premier national honor to recognize innovative and transformative programs that provide new services for county residents, improve existing programs, upgrade working conditions, and enhance citizen participation and public policymaking. Since taking office in December of 2018, Howard County Executive Calvin Ball has led the County in becoming a national leader in innovation and transformation, leading to a total of 132 NACo awards earned between 2019 and 2023.

The winning entries include:

Children and Youth

  • Howard County Office of Workforce Development Summer Youth Program
  • Youth Engagement Programming (YEP!) Initiative

Civic Education and Public Information

  • Youth Engagement Leadership Workgroup – Youth Public & Civic Engagement Campaign

Community and Economic Development

  • Apprenticeship Program
  • Creating and preserving affordable rental units
  • Howard County Veteran and Military Spouse Owned Small Biz Expo
  • Maryland Innovation Center’s Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR) Program
  • Route 1 Commercial and Industrial Property Tax Credit Program–Version 2.0
  • Work on Wheels

Community Administration and Management

  • Creating An Ecosystem for Racial Equity, Inclusion & Belonging: Investing in Cross-System Leadership
  • Paperless Building Plans & Permit Applications

County Resiliency: Infrastructure, Energy, and Sustainability

  • Commercial Meter Replacement
  • Howard County Climate Forward Dashboard
  • Howard County Climate Forward Subcabinet and Work Groups
  • Howard County Purchased Conservation Easement Pilot Program
  • Implementation of County-Wide Food Waste Collection Program and Landfill Waste Diversion
  • Increasing Community Resiliency through Community Stormwater Partnership Grant Program
  • Native Landscaping Retrofit for Habitat, Stormwater Treatment, and Education
  • Street Trees in Underserved Howard County Communities
  • Trees for Bees Giveaway: Enhancing Pollinator Habitat in Howard County

Criminal Justice and Public Safety

  • CDL Program
  • Nonprofit and Faith-Based Security Grant Program

Financial Management

  • GM (Grant Management) Tool


  • Howard County Food Connection Map
  • Howard County Health Department Overdose Response Program
  • Medically Tailored Home Delivered Meal Program in Howard County
  • P.E.A.C.E Project
  • School Based Wellness Pediatric Dental Program

Human Services

  • East Columbia 50+ Center
  • Family Support Center
  • Trualta: A Family Caregiver Education and Support Platform
  • Using rehabilitation loans to preserve homeownership

Information Technology

  • APX Radio Management Project
  • Broadband Team’s Public-Private Partnership
  • Customer Service Tracking Tool for DPZ
  • Expanded Cybersecurity Training
  • Implementation of New Human Resources Information System
  • Innovative Electronic Plans Review System
  • Installing Public WiFi at the Fairgrounds
  • IT's Contribution to Improved CAD Routing
  • IT’s Contribution to Boards and Commissions Application
  • IT’s Contribution to Finance Taxation Platform
  • IT’s Contribution to Fire Department’s Hybrid and Remote Learning Initiatives
  • IT’s Contribution to New Housing System
  • IT’s Contribution to Public Information Act (PIA) Application
  • IT’s Rebuild of Council Applications
  • Police Crime Dashboard
  • Records Management “Spring-Cleaning Campaign”
  • Senior Leadership Tabletop Exercise

Parks and Recreation

  • AEDs in the Parks
  • Backpacks and Fades
  • Centennial Park South – Boat House Area ADA Improvements
  • National Girls and Women in Sports Day
  • Play for All Fest

Personnel Management, Employment and Training

  • New Employee Orientation
  • Workforce Commitment and Development through Innovation


  • Innovative and Equitable Policies in the HoCo By Design General Plan (Best in Category)

Risk and Emergency Management

  • Business Disaster Preparedness Workshops
  • Community Hazard Handbook
  • Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment
  • Howard County Workplace Safety Inspection Program


  • Collaboration, Coordination, and Creativity to Promote Transportation Demand Management in an Urbanizing Suburb
  • County Right-of-Way Wireless Antenna Permitting Program


Media Contacts
Safa Hira, Director of Communications

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