Robert “Bob” Wessels, former court manager for the Harris County Texas courts, has been named recipient of the 2011 Warren E. Burger Award. One of the highest awards presented by the NCSC, the Burger Award is named for the former Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court who helped found the NCSC in 1971. NCSC presents the Burger Award annually to an individual who has made significant contributions in the field of court administration and who has contributed to NCSC’s mission.
Wessels worked the Harris County Texas courts for 37 years -- 35 of those as the county’s first court manager. His leadership has been felt nationwide. He’s a past president and board member of the National Association for Court Management (NACM), he served on the NCSC Board of Directors, and he has chaired numerous state and national committees on court management and technology.
In Texas, Wessels is a leading figure in court and justice system improvement. He developed a highly effective staff that provides support for the Harris County judges. He and his staff gained a reputation for their ground-breaking work in developing what has become recognized as the leading web-based courts’ intelligence system in the country.
Nationally, Wessels is considered a leader in helping to modernize and to promote the best practices in court technology, including serving for a number of years as a member of the Conference of State Court Administrators and NACM’s Joint Technology Committee.