Distinguished Public Leadership Award

The Distinguished Public Leadership Award was established to recognize public leaders who—through their vision, leadership, and knowledge—have influenced traffic safety policy directions that benefit society. Recipients are selected by Minnesota TZD; external nominations are not solicited for this award.

2021 Recipient: Paul Aasen

Paul Aasen
Paul Aasen

The 2021 award was given to Paul Aasen for his efforts to influence individuals, teams, and entire organizations to improve Minnesota’s traffic safety culture through legislative action. As president of the Minnesota Safety Council, Paul was instrumental in the passage of hands-free legislation in addition to being a key leader of the coalition of organizations, associations, and advocates.

Paul has also played a critical role in helping pass the work zone speed management study bill, among other successes. He knows the intricate details of the legislative process and has the ability to bring the right players to the table to make policy happen.

Past Recipients


  • Kristine Hernandez, Statewide Minnesota TZD Program Coordinator


  • Mark Uglem
  • Frank Hornstein
  • Jim Carlson
  • Scott Newman


  • Lisa Kons, Traffic Programs Manager, Minnesota Safety Council


  • David Bernstein, Minnesota DWI Task Force chair and Assistant Minneapolis City Attorney


  • Gary Kroells, West Hennepin Public Safety Department


  • Gordy Pehrson, Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety
  • Captain Michael Hanson, Minnesota State Patrol


  • Lynne Goughler, Mothers Against Drunk Driving 
  • Tim Held, Minnesota Department of Health


  • Tom Sorel, AAA Minneapolis


  • Steve Simn, University of Minnesota


  • Mark Ritchie, Minnesota Secretary of State
  • Michael Campion, Department of Public Safety


  • Jean Ryan, Department of Public Safety


  • Jim Carlson, Minnesota Senate
  • Melissa Hortman, Minnesota House of Representatives
  • Cheri Marti, Department of Public Safety
  • Steve Murphy, Minnesota Senate
  • Kim Norton, Minnesota House of Representatives