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Ponderings from Our Past President

January 28, 2015

Ponderings from Our Past President

By John Rodeberg, Past President

I’ve started to write this article many times. Due to wanting to cover so many topics and maybe a little procrastination, it’s been hard to finish. 

Is this a “Thank You” article related to the end of my “reign of terror,” as another past president liked to term his year as president? Is it a time to talk about the goals and accomplishments we’ve had as a chapter? Or maybe we should talk about the upcoming Congress, the opportunities to volunteer and get involved, or the great resources we have available to us as members of the American Public Works Association?  

I guess we’ll cover a number of things. So here we go!

Chapter Growth
In 2014, we reached 1,000 members for the first time -- making us one of the largest APWA chapters. While having a large number of members is good, having such an active and successful chapter is an even better accomplishment. We continue to grow our nationally-recognized training and education opportunities within the chapter, as well as our support for national training opportunities. We’ve grown our Student Chapter as well, making it the most successful student chapter in APWA. Our Young Professionals Group is up and going, and growing. We continue to grow our events, our outreach to outstate, our diversity efforts, and we have greatly improved our internal operations and financial systems. Please get involved and help us continue to grow!
Chapter Recognition
Minnesota has always done well at receiving national awards, and this year we received more national awards than any other chapter -- creating more than a little envy among other APWA chapters. Although some may see this as a little self-aggrandizing, these awards represent an immense amount of selfless, innovative, and exceptional effort by our members in serving their communities and the public works field.
Chapter and National Resources
As APWA -Minnesota Chapter members, we have an incredible amount of chapter and national resources available to us. Please check out our chapter and national websites, and take advantage of all the opportunities available for your professional growth and support. We also created and helped lead the MN2050 efforts that have produced some great resources for supporting our infrastructure needs, including the “State of Repair” videos in conjunction with Twin Cities Public Television.
Chapter Goals
We continued our efforts to broaden our outreach. We focused on both working at addressing diversity within our current chapter membership, as well as growing our efforts to increase diversity in the people entering the public works field. We also focused on reaching out to our outstate members, and increasing their opportunities and involvement. And we focused on applying to host a future APWA International Congress and exposition, which led to Minnesota being awarded the 2016 APWA Congress!
2016 APWA Congress
This event will draw thousands of national and international public works leaders to Minneapolis. Our efforts have just started, and we will need the help of hundreds of volunteers in preparing for and running the event. Our public works professionals will have unmatched access to training, networking, and a world-class equipment exhibition. Let’s take advantage of this great event!
Thank You
I really became aware of just how lucky I was to serve the Minnesota Chapter -- as well as the number of people I need to thank -- when I helped lead the Nominating Committee, and then attended the Past-President’s Breakfast at our Fall Conference. We have so many innovative and talented public works professionals in our association, it was hard to nominate just a few. 

At the conference, a dozen or so of the chapter’s past presidents met to enjoy a little networking, and celebrate our growth and success. This distinguished group helped build the foundation for our chapter’s success and I was in awe. I need to thank each and every one of them, as well as all of the directors, committee members and chairs, and all of our members for their active and dedicated support of the chapter.

 I particular want to thank the Executive Board members that helped make me a better president --Jeannine Clancy, Lee Gustafson, Angela Popenhagen, Bob Cockriel, and Sue Mason -- as well as Chapter Administrator Pat Schutrop and APWA President Larry Stevens. 

It was a great year for both me and the chapter. I am looking forward to a successful future as a past president!

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