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President's Message

January 20, 2016

President's Message

By Robert Cockriel, APWA-MN Past President

First, let me say “Thank You” to the entire APWA Minnesota chapter, and especially to the Executive Committee, for all of your dedicated hard work over the past year! Because of the combined efforts of this group as well as our membership, we as a chapter were able to accomplish many positive things this past year. 

A few of the obvious and some not so obvious accomplishments for 2015 worth noting include:  

Our chapter grew to 1,016 members in 2015, and we are now the third largest chapter in North America.

We won five APWA National Awards this past year.

  • MN 2050 for Exceptional Performance in Journalism Award- TPT films
  • Jim Grothaus, LTAP for the Donald C. Stone Award
  • Target Field Station for Project of the Year
  • City of Waconia for Excellence in Snow & Ice Award (received at the 2015 Snow Conference)
  • Minnesota Chapter for the Presidential Award for Chapter Excellence(PACE).

We requested and obtained the Public Works Week Proclamation from the Governor’s Office once again in 2015.

Also in 2015, we were recognized by APWA for our efforts to retain and attract new chapter members, with an overall 89 percent membership retention rate.

We sponsored the annual Spring and Fall Conferences, both of which were well attended and received high marks for content, speakers, and timely topics.

And lastly, the Minnesota chapter, along with the leadership of CEAM came together this year to challenge the findings and recommendations made by the Metropolitan Council to the updates of their Master Water Supply Plan. As written, the proposed changes to the plan had potential “onerous” impacts and outcomes for public drinking water systems in the metro area, especially groundwater systems. After some negotiations with MCES staff, a taskforce of subject matter experts was formed and many meetings were held with MCES staff to iron out our differences.

I’m happy to report that the final version of the Master Water Supply Plan Update was adequately influenced by our consortium of water professionals, to the point we could support the final version. I am hopeful this inclusive process, utilizing the APWA-MN/CEAM subject matter experts, will be the model for collaboration with the MCES on future regional water issues.

The chapter has much work to do in 2016 to build on the efforts begun this past year.

The Awards Committee is currently soliciting nominations for the various National Awards. We would really like to see a strong representation of Minnesota chapter members taking home the hardware at the upcoming APWA PWX in Minneapolis later this summer. 

Also, please keep in mind that there is always a need for volunteers to assist in conducting the business of the chapter, as well as hosting the 2016 PWX. I would encourage anyone who may have an interest in doing so to visit the Volunteer Opportunities page of the APWA-MN website or contact Beth Engum, Chapter Volunteer Coordinator, at, to discuss the various opportunities. 

As I begin my term as Past President for 2016, I am buoyed in the knowledge that our chapter is strong, and well served by Sue Mason, APWA-MN President, and Jeannine Clancy, Delegate, along with the other officers and committee chairs. I’m confident that we will all work hard to improve upon the foundations for success that has been laid by those who have served and volunteered before us. 

It has been an honor and a privilege to serve the Minnesota Chapter as President in 2015. 

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