Robert La Fave Receives 2022 Community Builder Award

Morgan Schwanky
Michigan Municipal League
[email protected], 734-669-6320


ANN ARBOR, Michigan – L’Anse Village Manager, Robert La Fave recently received the 2022 Community Builder Award from the Michigan Municipal League.

The Community Builders Award honors individuals whose leadership creates positive community change through efforts such as encouraging civic engagement, supporting up-and-coming leadership, fostering good working relationships, and thinking strategically. In short, they make their community a place where people truly love to live and work.

“We are very pleased to be awarding Bob this year’s Community Builder Award,” said Barb Ziarko, the President of the League’s Board of Trustees and Sterling Heights city councilmember. “His work has created and will continue to create a positive impact on the L’Anse community and beyond. The strides in sustainability made under his leadership is a great example of Michigan’s communities investing in their future.”

La Fave has served as the L’Anse Village Manager for over 14 years. He has worked with multiple community stakeholders (Village Council, DDA, Chamber of Commerce, Baraga County EDC, Planning Commission, and citizen groups) to engage in placemaking and downtown revitalization efforts to improve the quality of life of local residents and to help make the community more attractive to visitors and business alike. LaFave has served on the Michigan Municipal Executives board, MSU Extension Statewide Board, is currently on the Baraga County EDC, and various other community boards. He holds a Master of Public Administration from Grand Valley State University, holds a Citizen Planner Certification from MSU Extension, and is currently a PhD. student in Michigan Technological University’s Environmental and Energy Policy Program.

The award was presented during a dinner Oct. 18 that took place as part of the Michigan Municipal League’s annual Convention happening in Muskegon.

“The opportunity to serve L’Anse in my role as Village Manager has afforded me the opportunity to be a part of building a stronger, more resilient community. We’re ready to play our role in creating a better Upper Peninsula, and a better Michigan,” La Fave said. “While this is an individual honor, I graciously accept it on behalf of our entire community. In L’Anse, we’re focused on programs and initiatives that serve everyone. This includes our many placemaking initiatives, such as our splash pad, street scaping, pocket parks, marina improvements and murals. It also includes our commitment to sustainability by chasing down energy efficiencies for our buildings and community, our LED lighting initiative, or deployment of renewables at our water plant, and our community solar project. Even though we are a small place, we are proof that we can be a leader, embracing the future and change.”

Download and view photos from our award winners on the League’s flickr page here.

For additional information contact the League’s Morgan Schwanky, Content Developer, Marketing and Communications, at (734) 669-6320 and [email protected].

Michigan Municipal League is dedicated to making Michigan’s communities better by thoughtfully innovating programs, energetically connecting ideas and people, actively serving members with resources and services, and passionately inspiring positive change for Michigan’s greatest centers of potential: its communities. The League advocates on behalf of its member communities in Lansing, Washington, D.C., and the courts; provides educational opportunities for elected and appointed municipal officials; and assists municipal leaders in administering services to their communities through League programs and services. Learn more at


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