Civic Federation Honors Chicago Fire Commissioner Annette Nance-Holt with 31st Annual Excellence in Public Service Award

January 31, 2023

On Wednesday, Jan. 18, the Civic Federation honored Chicago Fire Commissioner Annette Nance-Holt with the 31st Annual Motorola Solutions Foundation Excellence in Public Service Award. The full award ceremony video is available for viewing here.

The award, presented and administered by the Federation, annually honors a non-elected government official who has made had an extraordinary impact on the quality of state and local government services in Illinois. The award seeks to honor individuals who show dedication to a vision of quality management, leadership and innovation that leads to lasting achievements and more effective government in Illinois.

The in-person award celebration was held at the Fairmont Chicago in Millennium Park. Featured speakers included Donovan Pepper, chair of the Civic Federation Board of Directors; Evelyn Holmes, ABC 7 news reporter and salutation speaker; Laurence Msall, president of the Civic Federation; Cynthia Yazdi, senior vice president of communications and brand at Motorola Solutions; and Commissioner Nance-Holt.

The Civic Federation publicized a call for nominations in 2022, and an Advisory Committee comprising business and civic leaders and past honorees came together to unanimously choose Commissioner Nance-Holt from a slate of exceptional nominees of state and local government leaders.

Commissioner Nance-Holt has dedicated her career to public service. She is a 31-year veteran of the Chicago Fire Department (CFD) and is responsible for the day-to-day operational and administrative oversight of the country’s second largest fire department. Commissioner Nance-Holt has steadily progressed through the ranks of Firefighter, Lieutenant, Captain, Battalion Chief, Deputy Chief, and First Deputy Fire Commissioner. She is also the first woman, and first African American woman, to serve as Fire Commissioner.

Commissioner Nance-Holt is committed to life safety and the protection of property for all residents and visitors of Chicago, in addition to the safety and continuing education for all CFD members. She is acutely aware of the importance of training and preparedness and works with many external groups and organizations to ensure that Chicago is as prepared as any metropolitan city can be. She is committed to having a membership that mirrors the communities it serves, and for the Department to be an inclusive work environment for all members.

Commissioner Nance-Holt is also an active advocate for gun violence prevention, having helped found the nonprofit Purpose Over Pain after losing her own son to gun violence several years ago.

The Excellence in Public Service Award was originally established in 1990, when executives at Motorola recognized the need to identify and promote the exemplary work of public servants across the State of Illinois, whose hard work is so often under-acknowledged. The award, now in its 31st year, has been entirely overseen, presented and administered by the Civic Federation, with the generous support of the Motorola Solutions Foundation, since 2008.

For more information or to watch a video recording of the event, please visit

Click the arrows over the photos below to scroll through the event's photo slideshow.