We’re proud to announce that Fred Kent, our President and Founder, has been selected by the International Downtown Association (IDA) to receive the Dan E. Sweat, Jr. Award for Lifetime Achievement in Downtown Leadership.
“I am deeply honored,” said Fred upon receiving the award. “Dan Sweat was an inspiration to all of us working to make cities better places for people to live in, and I hope to continue to carry on his legacy through the rest of my career.”
With a diverse network of experts in downtown management, a rich body of knowledge, and a unique capacity to nurture cross-sector partnerships, the International Downtown Association is a world leader and champion for creating vital and livable urban centers.
The IDA Lifetime Achievement Award was renamed for and posthumously presented to Dan Sweat in 2009. Throughout his 30-year career that had far-reaching impacts on the city of Atlanta, Dan Sweat served as the CEO and President of Central Atlanta Progress for 15 years. During this time, he set the standard for moving downtown organizations beyond promotion and marketing and towards truly effective advocacy, leadership, and problem-solving through public-private partnerships.
Among his initiatives were the creation of an in-town neighborhood housing corporation and the spearheading of an effort to rebuild a burned-out daycare center in the heart of a public housing project. Through his mentorship and example, Dan influenced a whole new generation of IDA executives across the country. He was generous with his expertise to the IDA community, and served as Chair of IDA from 1978-79. In his role as a long-time Board member and term as Chair, he mentored many of the next generation, who became leaders of downtown organizations in other cities.
The Award is not given frequently, and is reserved only for those individuals of national prominence who have made major lifetime contributions to downtown revitalization.
“Fred’s work for 40 years in public space planning and management—and in placemaking—has been a real ‘game changer’ for cities and downtowns, setting the stage for BIDs and many other innovations impacting the vitality and animation of downtowns throughout the nation and the world,” said Richard C.D. Fleming, past Chair of IDA, and former deputy to Dan Sweat at Central Atlanta Progress, Inc.
Past awardees of the Lifetime Achievement Award include: Hugh McColl, CEO, Bank of America; Kirk Watson, Mayor of Austin, TX; Daniel Patrick Moynihan, late Senator and U.S. government official; Norman Mineta, former mayor of San Jose, Congressman, and Cabinet Official; Philip Mangano, Executive Director of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness; and Neil Fraser, Central Johannesburg Partnership; and James Cloar of Downtown St. Louis, the Tampa Downtown Partnership and the Central Dallas Association.
This award was selected by the Past Chairs Advisory Council of the International Downtown Association and presented at the recent IDA 61st Annual Conference in San Francisco.