LeDerick Blackburn honored with 2018 Jo Atwater Continuous Core Values award
Thursday, March 15, 2018

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CONCORD – At the March 8 City Council Meeting, LeDerick Blackburn of the Planning and Neighborhood Development Department was surprised with the news that he is the 2018 recipient of the Jo Atwater Continuous Core Values award. After comments from colleagues and community members, City Manager Brian Hiatt presented the award to Blackburn, which is the City's highest honor for coworkers.

The Continuous Core Values award was created in 2003 to recognize one coworker annually who embodies the organizational core values and commitment to serving others in the community. Jo Atwater, who was Concord’s Human Resources Director until she passed away in 2004, was the first recipient of the award that was named in her honor.

At a presentation during the meeting, Customer Service Advancement Team facilitator Cherie Jzar began revealing the details of the winner while Blackburn's family, friends, and Planning Department team members filed in the Council Chambers in a show of support.

"LeDerick is known as a coworker who exemplifies the City’s Mission and Core Values, consistently goes above and beyond to deliver excellent service to the citizens of Concord, and truly has a passion for service to the community," said Jzar. "He has over 24 years of public service in community development and project management, with 12 of those years working for the City of Concord. LeDerick has a gift for serving as a “bridge” for connecting people to others. One great example is his leadership and personal involvement with Habitat for Humanity and commitment to helping those in need find decent and affordable housing. He is described as a humble servant with a large impact felt by his team and within the community roles."

Service is ingrained in his approach and style, as noted in excerpts from LeDerick’s nomination: …he helps the City shine through his unceasing attention to moving forward impactful community development projects with a maximum of efficiency and innovation…service is within LeDerick’s DNA…his passion, drive, and deep level of commitment to public service, and to making the City of Concord and the citizens he serves lives better, is a great example for other to follow.

“I am so honored to receive such a prestigious award. I never had the pleasure of meeting Jo, but hearing about her character and core values makes it humbling to be mentioned as a worthy recipient," said Blackburn. "I am grateful for the opportunity I have to serve the citizens of Concord and I recognize that none of my efforts would be possible without the support of the City Council, City Management, and my coworkers. I am looking forward to continuing to work with the many community partners and public service agencies that create decent, safe, and affordable housing and help to meet the needs of the most vulnerable citizens in our community.”

As Community Development Manager, Blackburn is tasked with administering Federal Community Development Block Grant funds that are used to construct and rehabilitate affordable housing, revitalize neighborhoods and support community public service agencies. Prior to arriving in Concord, LeDerick served as the Director of Public Space Operations and Interim Executive Director for the Downtown Development District of the City of New Orleans. His responsibilities included oversight of the agency’s multi-million dollar urban design/capital projects and public space maintenance enhancement contracts.

Blackburn is a member of the North Carolina Community Development Association and President-Elect of the Concord Afton Sunset Rotary Club. He has completed the UNC Municipal and County Administration and Community Development Academy courses, and is a graduate of Leadership Cabarrus. He is a certified Fair Housing Specialist, Tax Credit Specialist, Green Certified Government Leader and a Fellow of the Institute of Politics from Loyola University. LeDerick also served in the Louisiana Army National Guard for six years, receiving an honorable discharge upon the completion of his service. In 2003, he received a distinguished commendation for being a City Government Public Servant Role Model from the New Orleans City Council.

He holds a bachelor of science degree in business administration/human resource management from Louisiana State University and a master of science degree in urban studies/urban affairs with a concentration in community development from the University of New Orleans.

LeDerick and his wife Joslyn have been married 23 years and have two children; Kirsten, who is a junior at UNC Chapel Hill, and Donovan, who attends Cabarrus Early College High School.