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President's Message

March 8, 2016

President's Message

By Sue Mason, APWA-MN President

Greetings to all!

Wow! February ends with many exciting happenings in and around public works. First of all, we should be proud of ourselves, our chapter, and our colleagues who make this chapter great. As “tribes” go, it is truly so rewarding and an honor to belong. I hope you all feel the same way! 

As far as anticipating exciting happenings, we all immediately jump to late summer when we are hosting the 2016 National PWX. Things are rolling along smoothly due to our esteemed co-chairs, Angela Popenhagen and Jeannine Clancy, and all of the committee members who are working to set it up. We expect successful implementation due to the rest of the chapter standing poised and ready to contribute during the event. Stay tuned for the volunteer signup coming out soon! 

Looking across the chapter, all of our regular business and committee activities continue on, with many opportunities to get involved if you do not want to wait until August. Be sure to contact Beth Engum, our volunteer coordinator, with questions or requests. 

Here are a few highlights: 

Diversity Committee
Some pretty exciting outreach happened in February at the 8th grade career fair in partnership with Minneapolis Public Schools. The Diversity Committee with Public Awareness participated in a huge opportunity to expose a diverse group of students to careers in public works! I hear the students loved Bloomington’s leaky toilet “show and tell” example. It sounds like more activities with Minneapolis Public Schools are being planned, and I am sure they will be looking for interested people willing to share their story with the students.

Public Awareness
This committee crosses a number of other committee boundaries and shares the common goals to educate and inform. They have Future Cities events coming up in May that you may want to check out and help with, and of course Stem Day at the State Fair. They totally rocked the Fall Conference with their fundraising for the Toys for Tots campaign and the after-conference fair/social. Nicely done!

You all should have received a “get out and caucus” request to our members to educate, inform, or just listen. Did you go? I have to admit I had my first time experiencing the grass roots political system up close and personal. Look for a survey coming out soon so we can gather feedback!

Education and Training
This committee has a long history of hitting things out of the park! They continue to support and organize important education opportunities for our members, like the Underground Utilities Construction Inspector School (UUCIS), Public Works Certificate Program at North Hennepin Community College and the Leadership Academy and new Public Works Executive Fellowship being offered through Hamline University. Check it out!

Membership Committee
The next upcoming activity planned is Feed My Starving Children on March 24th. Check in at the website to sign up! I heard our annual golf outing is being planned, but could potentially be a little later this year. Watch chapter email blasts for information as it gets closer. 

Young Professionals
I cannot describe how fun it is to meet and hang out with this bright and energetic group. I missed the Dangerous Man brewery outing, but I did get to play Whirlyball with them. I think they are open to mixin’ it up with any age group, as long as you find your inner “20/30 something”!

Student Chapter
We are lucky to have our younger team of future public works professionals, interested in what we do and in jobs that we have to offer. Thanks to the Young Professionals and the Membership Committee for working on getting it established and the ongoing support! Student chapter events are a fantastic place to check out potential employees. 

Environmental and Sustainability Committee
Our Technical Committee does a great job keeping the pulse on current affairs and keeping the chapter involved in important issues related to public works. They have recently been involved in Metro Cities Regional Water Supply/Groundwater Issue. They are also working on getting a stretch of road to clean up on a regular basis through Mn/DOT’s Adopt-A-Highway Program. Please watch for another cool way to volunteer and connect with public works folks. Stay tuned!

Communication Committee
This committee is the backbone that keeps us all together and coordinated by providing the location for chapter information and news blasts of current happenings. I would encourage us all to check it out on a regular basis. Whether it is new articles of public works interests, our bylaws, committee activities or past conference information -- it is a great resource that we are certainly proud and happy to have.

Audit Committee
This committee holds an important once-a-year meeting in which they provide review of our chapter’s financial activities, reports and information that gets reported to our Secretary/Treasurer and then on to National APWA.

History Committee
Did you know that our chapter is 70 years old? A lifetime of awesomeness! The History Committee is energized with putting together a 70’s something show that will recap our history and help us tell our story. Looking forward to seeing it!

Conference Planning Committee
These guys had a record Fall Conference with attendance of 500 plus! While we love the keynote speakers, the conference also benefits from all of our members and your willingness to share your local technical knowledge and project stories in the breakout sessions -- thank you! The committee is planning for a fun and informative Spring Conference, coming up May 11-13. While I cannot promise sunny and warm weather, I am pretty sure the ice will be off the lake this year! Hope to see you there!

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