Ames City Manager receives Dwight Ink Award


Jacob Rice

Ames City Manager Steven Schainker listens to a concerned citizen on Jan. 24.

Having served as Ames city manager since 1982, Steve Schainker has received the 2022 Dwight Ink Public Service Award at Iowa State University, which is nominated and reviewed by Iowa State faculty.

According to a press release from the City of Ames, the award honors Iowa State alumnus Dwight Ink, who was responsible for organizing federal departments and agencies and served every U.S. president from Dwight Eisenhower through Ronald Reagan.

“I’m very honored to be recognized for that award, and of course, a lot of the credit goes to all the employees that I’ve worked with over the past 43 years,” Schainker said. “It’s always good to get recognized, and I appreciate it very much.”

Mayor John Haila commended Schainker during council comments at their meeting Tuesday, having said it is a big deal even if Schainker downplays the achievement.

“He’s a great leader, and he’s a great manager, and great managers look to their staff to accomplish things, and so he really entrusts [city staff] to do their work and he holds them accountable,” Haila said in an interview with the Daily.

Assistant City Manager Brian Phillips said a big piece of his legacy is the values he instilled among the employees in the city government and the organization.

“In the past four-plus decades that he has led this organization, he has overseen projects that improved the community’s infrastructure from utility projects to parks projects to roadway improvements, bridges, airports,” Phillips said. “[There are] a number of different tangible things that you could point to and say those wouldn’t have existed if Steve wasn’t a part of them.”

Haila said Schainker’s integrity is “off the charts.”

“He’s so careful with whatever he does that it does not reflect negatively upon the city or on him or on staff,” Haila said. “He will not compromise his values.”

Phillips said Schainker frequently mentions that he has had opportunities to relocate to another community, but he has opted to remain in Ames.

“He decided that he wanted to stay here and to really build something special in terms of how the city employees and the organization work for the community and to support an enjoyable environment for the employees to work in,” Phillips said.