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APWA-MN President's Message

March 11, 2015

APWA-MN President's Message

By Robert Cockriel, APWA-MN President

We are now in the third month of 2015 and I can’t believe how fast my term as the APWA-MN Chapter President is flying by. I want to say that it is an honor to serve the chapter in this capacity, and that I am grateful for the opportunity to do so.

I’d also like to acknowledge and extend my appreciation to the other officers I serve with: Angela Popenhagen-Delegate, Sue Mason-Vice President, Chris Petree-Secretary/Treasurer, John Rodeberg-Past President, Lee Gustafson-Deputy Treasurer, all of our dedicated Committee Chairs, and lastly Pat Schutrop, our Chapter Administrative Assistant, who is the glue that holds us all together.

There are currently a great many irons in the fire for our chapter as I pen this message. Many of our committees -- such as the Awards Committee, the Communications Committee, the Audit Committee, the Conference Planning Committee, the Education and Training Committee, to name several -- have been working hard in their various areas of responsibility. The officers have been busy as well. 

At the end of February, Sue Mason, Chris Petree, and I attended the APWA Chapter Leadership Training in Kansas City, hosted by the staff from National APWA. In conjunction with this training opportunity, the newly named Council of Chapters (the old House of Delegates) met at the same location for their winter meeting. Our Chapter Delegate, Angela, was there representing us. 

While there, we were joined by more than 120 other dedicated public works professionals, representing their respective regions and branches from all across the country, as well as some participants from Canada. It was an excellent opportunity to interact with these other chapter leaders, as well as listen to presentations from APWA President Larry Stevens, APWA Executive Director Peter King, motivational speakers Marty Stanley and Colonel John Hinck (retired), and a host of other national staff members presenting on a variety of topics. 

I left this training opportunitywith a renewed sense of pride in how far we have come as a chapter, how favorably our chapter is viewed by others, and how it has grown and prospered these last many years. 

Our past leadership teams -- led by the “Toms,” the “Jims,” Angela, Mark, Dan, Jeannine, Lee, and John -- are but a few of the many leaders who have dedicated their time, talents, and effort to make the current Minnesota Chapter one to be envied and emulated. 

As everyone should be aware of by now, Minnesota was selected to host the 2016 APWA Congress and Exposition to be held at the Minneapolis Convention Center, August 28-31, 2016. Our chapter has been very busy forming the core committees, led by MN 2016 Congress Management Committee Co-Chairs Angela Popenhagen and Jeannine Clancy, who will be tasked with coordinating the efforts of 11 separate subcommittees, and ultimately hundreds of volunteers as our chapter works to bring a memorable Congress to all attendees. 

With the formation of these subcommittees, many of our members have once again stepped up and assumed responsibility for leading these very important committees. See a list of the individual committee descriptions (pdf). Anyone interested in joining one of these committees should contact our Chapter’s Volunteer Coordinator Beth Engum at Also, be sure to check the the APWA Congress 2016 page of the APWA-MN website for the latest information.

Lastly, I’d like to put in a plug for our upcoming Spring Conference. This annual event will once again be held at Grandview Lodge, in Nisswa, May 6-8, 2015. Our Conference Planning Committee, co-chaired by Jupe Hale and Sue Mason, has met several times already and is working to finalize the agenda. As an aside, we have recently received word that APWA President Larry Stevens and Region VI Director Chuck Williams are planning to attend our conference again this year. We are anticipating another great educational opportunity, as well as some well-deserved decent weather, so I would invite you to try to attend the conference this spring!

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