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Past President's Message

January 11, 2019

Past President's Message
By Kristin Asher, APWA-MN Chapter Past President
 
Happy New Year! I hope everyone enjoyed a safe and joyous holiday season. The New Year brings change for me, as I transition to Past President I am filled with gratitude for the talented and supportive people that have been an active part of this past year. Not only is it an honor to have served as president, but the overwhelmingly positive support that accompanied the role is very much appreciated. Thank you. 
 
Value of Public Works
Our chapter volunteers have made a lot of progress in demonstrating the value of Public Works. In recent years the Public Awareness Committee has been very busy coordinating and participating in many events, including the Science Museum’s 2018 “Civil Engineering Day” event, STEM Day at the State Fair, and multiple career fairs. 
 
Our Young Professionals Committee continues to demonstrate outstanding success conveying the value by outreaching to students, educating them on opportunities in the PW field, and building long-term relationships with our future leaders. Jake Guzik has connected with St. Thomas’s to ensure their new Civil Engineering program includes curriculum that highlights careers in Public Works. We anticipate that program growing and a future Student Chapter to come out of that relationship – WTG Jake! 
 
Lydia Ener, chair of the Communications Committee, keeps our chapter relevant on social media. Success is evident with over 200 followers on Twitter, including Angela Popenhagen (remember her) and Johnny Holm! @APWAMN
 
The dedication and passion that our chapter volunteers exhibit is commendable and necessary for the future success of our profession. One that is rewarding and critical to our families, friends and neighbors to which we serve. Thank you.
 
Voice of Public Works
As for 2019, we have a big challenge ahead. Our chapter’s strategic plan calls for us to “be the voice” of Public Works. One way the chapter intends to accomplish this is through a state-wide focused Raise Our Grade, MN campaign. Building off the momentum of the ASCE Report Card - this will be no easy task. The chapter has enlisted the help of Scott Barsuhn, a marketing design consultant, to work with us to shape the message and build a website dedicated to the Raise Our Grade, MN efforts. The campaign intends to reach the average voter, educate them on the importance of our infrastructure and what it means to “raise our grade,” and ultimately lead them to take action.
 
At the same time, the Government Affairs Committee will be working to develop relationships with our legislators and our membership to determine ‘what are the important issues our chapter can help communicate to elected officials.’ 
 
If you are interested in helping out with this - please do! Just contact myself or Zach Johnson, Chair of the Government Affairs Committee to get involved. 
 
Embrace Public Works
I realize people get busy in their personal lives and (with good intentions) believe that when their time frees up they will get involved. Earlier this year I mentioned that I couldn’t imagine the past 14 years without APWA-MN – over those years I was married, had a child, divorced, and am now a part-time single mother helping to care for my aging father. Life happens. My challenge and advice to you is to become active in the chapter. If you are active, take on a leadership role - champion an effort - make waves. If you are a committee chair, challenge your committee to come up with new ideas on how to further our mission. Embrace the value of our profession, understand that future generations are relying on us, and know that the work we do is rewarding and as a chapter, we need your help to accomplish our goals. You get out of it what you put in, take my word for it – you want in.
 
Happy 2019!

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