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Minnesotans Attend “The Best Show in Public Works”

September 16, 2013

Minnesotans Attend “The Best Show in Public Works”

By John Rodeberg, Vice President, APWA-MN

The 2013 APWA International Public Works Congress & Exposition was held August 25 – 28, 2013 at McCormick Place in Chicago, and the Minnesota Chapter was well represented again.  It was another phenomenal event with many highlights.

Keynote Speakers. Noted author and columnist Thomas Friedman opened Congress with the presentation, “That Used to Be Us: How America Fell Behind in the World It Invented and How We Can Come Back”, a riveting overview of what we need to do as a country and individuals to adapt.

Gabe Klein, Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Transportation, talked about Chicago's Infrastructure Planning. Over 45 percent of the city’s sewer and water infrastructure is over 100 years old, and he outlined plans to address those issues, as well as other efforts to renew and improve the City. 

Cy Wakeman, “Thought Leader” and best-selling author, provided a focused, entertaining, and enlightening presentation on “Reality-Based Leadership: Ditch the Drama and Turn Excuses into Results.” 

Congress wrapped up with a discussion with Mike Ditka, ESPN Analyst, Pro Football Hall of Fame Player, and Super Bowl Winning Coach, regarding, “Attitude, Character and Enthusiasm," which he clearly demonstrated.

Exhibition & Education Sessions. McCormick Place was a wonderful location for both the Congress and Exhibition. Right on the shores of Lake Michigan, we were able to be part of the largest annual exhibit of public works products, equipment, and services in North America. The exhibition included many interactive demos and information sessions. We also were able to select from dozens of terrific and useful education sessions, many with Minnesota-based presenters.

Awards, Awards, Awards. Once again, Minnesota took home more awards than virtually any other chapter, demonstrating our commitment to involvement and excellence. At Monday night’s Awards Program, Minnesotan’s received the following accolades:

  • Top Ten Leader of the Year: Tom Montgomery (Hastings)
  • Project of the Year Award: Historical Restoration/Preservation Award: Ramsey County
    Learn more in the July 2013 issue of the APWA Reporter (pdf)
  • Exceptional Performance Award – Adversity: City of Duluth
  • Sustainable Practices Award: City of Maplewood
  • Charles Walter Nichols Award for Environmental Excellence: Klayton Eckles (Woodbury)
  • Presidential Award for Chapter Excellence (PACE): Minnesota Chapter

We followed up the Awards Ceremony with a celebration at Kitty O’Sheas at the Chicago Hilton, site of the infamous 1968 Democratic National Convention, filming of “The Fugitive,” LBJ’s announcement that he wouldn’t run again for president, and many other historic events.

Minnesota Night with the Aussies. The Minnesota Chapter dinner was held Tuesday night at Riva Crabhouse on the beautiful and historic Navy Pier. The breathtaking views of the Chicago harbor and skyline were combined with incredible cuisine and great fellowship with the Australian delegation to create an unforgettable night. Thanks to Richard McCoy for bringing the Aussies to the party!

And also. . . Our former APWA Regional Director, Larry Stevens, was named President-Elect. Larry has been a close and personal friend to the Minnesota Chapter, attending many of our chapter events over the years. We are proud and excited to have him in his new role. 

We had a great time at Sunday night’s Get Acquainted Reception at Soldier Field, complete with a Soul Review and a great sampling of Chicago foods. Mark Kasma had the distinct pleasure of introducing Anita Rhoade (say it slowly) on stage. 

Get Your Passport for 2014. Next year we will be heading north to Canada for the 2014 APWA International Congress and Exhibition. Get your passport and join us August 17 -20, 2014, in Toronto.

View photos from Congress 

Learn more about the award winners

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