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The Bob Lowry Scholarship

Bob was appointed in July 2011 to be the Director of Public Works for the City of Colleyville,Texas. Prior to that, he served for nearly seven years as the Director of Public Works and Transportation in Arlington, Texas. He also served nine years as the Public Works Director for Overland Park, Kansas and before that held public works positions in Lenexa and Leavenworth, Kansas. Bob is a native Texan and received his bachelor’s degree from the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York. He began his municipal government service in 1991 in Leavenworth, Kansas, after a twenty-six year career in the US Army Corps of Engineers. He has masters’ degrees in civil engineering and applied mechanics from Stanford University. He earned his MPA from KU in 1996. Bob served as the Practitioner-in-Residence for the intern-option class of 2004.

In addition to numerous military awards and decorations, Bob was selected as the Federal Engineer of the Year by the US Army Training and Doctrine Command in 1986 and was designated a Top 10 Public Works Leader of the Year by the American Public Works Association in 2000. In 2003 he was awarded the Distinguished Leadership Award for a public sector employee by the Design-Build Institute of America and in 2011 he was designated a Leadership Fellow by the American Public Works Association.

About his scholarship, Bob said: “After I retired from the army and began my second career in local government it became obvious to me that if I was going to maximize my contributions I needed to get an MPA. Being located so close to Lawrence made it easy for me, and KU’s excellent reputation made it even more enticing. Little did I realize what a difference it would make. There is a world of difference between the way the federal government works and the way local government works. Even though I had several public works assignments in the army, I didn’t know a thing about plats and zonings and special use permits and all the stuff that goes with development and a lot of other things unique to local government as well.

The first four city managers I worked for were KUCIMATS – Mark Pentz (1980), David Watkins (1978), Don Pipes (1955) and John Nachbar (1980) – and I firmly believe that being enrolled in and graduating from the program opened the doors for me that allowed me just to get to work for them. Even though the focus of KU’s program is city management, the things one learns are applicable to any managerial position in local government. Since virtually all of my post high school education was paid for by the government (the army, the GI Bill and tuition assistance from my employers), I see the scholarship as a way to give back something that I got from someone else.”