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Get Involved in Chapter Effort to Engage Outstate Members

November 18, 2014

Get Involved in Chapter Effort to Engage Outstate Members

By Troy Nemmers, Outstate Director, APWA-MN

Here it is, November 18, and nearly all of Minnesota has already endured the first major snow fall of the season. And many areas of the state are already on snowstorm number two or three. 

Skilled snow removal specialists work the hours that many of us spend asleep. These men and women make our roads safe by being the first to venture out into the white blankets that exist after a snowfall event.

In outstate Minnesota, often the people that plow the streets are also the people that collect the garbage, mow the parks, monitor the water treatment plant, fill the potholes, inspect the wastewater ponds, and fix the broken toilet at City Hall. These public works employees are the norm in many outstate communities. 

These communities may not have official names for their snow storms, but I’m sure there are many “not for print” names that are thrown around at the local café or bakery after each event. 

These communities often don’t have the budget or staff available to attend an APWA-MN Fall Conference or other multi-day event. They don’t get the opportunity that many of us have to network with other professionals and gain valuable knowledge about how everyone else does their job. They also don’t get to spend an evening bowling for the first time in who knows how long. 

As APWA-MN outstate director (and a member of the inaugural bowling championship team), I think this is one group of people we need to reach out to as a chapter. The executive committee has come to this conclusion as well. One of the current strategic initiatives of the executive committee is to increase outstate involvement and recruit new members from outstate. 

Over the course of the past year, we have held conference calls with other APWA-MN members to discuss ideas ranging from establishing regional “champions”, hosting outstate mini-conferences and outstate technical tours, and organizing selective mailings.  Our first coordinated effort was the recent outstate technical tour of the City of Fairmont’s new $30 million water treatment plant. Several professionals were able to attend, but we could have had many more. 

The outstate membership is a challenge to engage and recruit. The outstate committee currently consists of one person (me). As we move into another winter season I would ask that members consider offering their services to this committee. Please consider ideas for future events and forward them to me or any other executive committee member. 

With the Thanksgiving holiday approaching, please join me in thanking all the public works employees in Minnesota for the good things they do each and every day. That includes all of the “do-it-all” employees that maintain our infrastructure and take pride in their rural communities in outstate Minnesota. 

Happy Thanksgiving! 

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