David T. Harden (MCP ’68) Wins Richard (Dick) Simmons Lifetime Achievement Award
David T. Harden, MCP ’68, was awarded the Richard Simmons Lifetime Achievement award by the Florida City County Management Association. A graduate of Georgia Tech’s master’s program in City & Regional Planning, Harden was the long-time city manager of Delray Beach, Florida. After service in the Navy during the Vietnam War, he spent 40 years working in local governments in Florida.
The Richard Simmons award is a memorial to Dick Simmons, a Florida pioneer in the planning profession,FCCMA uses the award to recognize planning professionals who have made considerable contributions to the improvement of a local government and local government management, to the public’s understanding and appreciation of responsive and well-managed local government, or the development of future managers in the profession.
Harden served as city manager of Delray Beach for over 22 years. Delray Beach was transformed under Harden’s leadership, from a run-down commercial strip to a regional destination. The city received numerous awards during Harden’s tenure, including twice being recognized as an All-American City. Delray was additionally recognized twice by the Alliance for Innovation for innovative projects in providing services.
Harden oversaw more than $200 million in capital projects while working in Delray, including public buildings, streets, and water and sewage facilities. He relocated the high schools serving the city, built a new elementary school, and replaced the buildings for the other two serving the area.
Prior to working in Delray, Harden served as Winter Park’s city manager for 12 years. He negotiated Winter Park’s purchase of the water system serving the city and the suburban areas, and initiated legislation that enabled Winter Park to be a pioneer in Central Florida by producing reclaimed water for irrigation. He also started a program to reverse the deteriorating water quality in the city’s lakes.
Harden has also served as a planner for Winter Park and Orange County, and served in the Navy as disbursing officer and head of the Supply Department while on board a ship.
Harden retired from Delray Beach in 2013, but has remained active in the Florida planning community. From August, 2015 to September 2016 he served as the Interim Manager for Port Orange, Florida. He is currently working at the Village of Palm Springs, Florida, serving as Public Service Director.