Lifetime Service Award - 1995

Arthur W. Zimmerman
Arthur W. Zimmerman

The Public Lands foundation has awarded Art Zimmerman its Outstanding Public Lands Service Posthumous Award at its Phoenix, Arizona annual conference on September 29, 1995.  This award is given for the purpose of perpetuating and enhancing the proud tradition of Public Service in the Bureau of Land Management and in recognition of Art’s substantial contributions to the improved well-being of the public lands.

Art Zimmerman (1919 – 1981) devoted his life to public service and to improved management and protection of the public lands.  The beginning of his BLM career was delayed by two tours of active duty in the Marine Corps.  His BLM career began in 1956 in the Dillon Montana District, followed by 24 years in BLM covering nine duty stations in five States and the BLM Director’s office in Washington, DC.  In that short time he rose for entry level duties to District Manager positions in Miles City, Montana and Montrose, Colorado, and Associate State Director in Oregon, where he had prolonged periods as Acting State Director.  He ended his career after serving as State Director for New Mexico from 1973 to 1980.

Wherever he went, he quickly earned the admiration of his associates and gained new respect for BLM both inside and outside the Bureau.  Many people changed career plans, often with sacrifice, for the privilege of association with Art Zimmerman.

Without exception he inspired greatly improved morale and heightened “pride in the outfit”. Among his many leadership qualities was a quiet, but quick, sense of humor which often relieved tensions in many situations.  His approach to problem solving was invariably creative and constructive.

As a role model, Art was a thinking manager.  His mind worked along the lines of “give me the facts….let’s consider the options….what is your recommendation?”   Junior Managers were drawn to Art because he would review their thinking and as long as it was sound, go with their recommendations 99% of the time.  This built immense self esteem, and they always knew they could count on him.

Among his many honors, Art was awarded both the Department of the Interior’s Meritorious and Distinguished Service Awards.   But these formal awards pale when considered along with the enormous and lasting admiration and respect with which Art Zimmerman is universally remembered.

The Award was made posthumously to Art Zimmerman at the Foundation’s Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona in September, 1995.