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President's Message: Spring Conference wrap up

June 17, 2013

President's Message: Spring Conference wrap up

As the weeks have slipped by since the APWA-MN 2013 Spring Conference, I still find myself thinking back to all the great things that I was able to experience and witness.

Wednesday night was a blast, and it began with a celebration as we watched a wonderful person receive a prestigious national award. Tom Montgomery was awarded an APWA Top Ten Public Works Leaders award from Region 6 Director Larry Stevens. I’ve known Tom for many years, and he truly earned this award for all of his hard work and dedication to the Minnesota chapter and to our public works profession.

Following the award presentation, we were entertained by former Minnesota Twins player Al Newman with his World Series stories, and how he was blessed to have a mother who surrounded him as he was growing up with a “Coach D” philosophy to help him succeed in life: desire, dedication, and determination. I was especially impressed with Al’s willingness to hang around with us Wednesday night, filling the air with more World Series stories and laughter.

Thursday morning, Petra Marquart gave two of the best presentations on customer service and championship performance that I think I have ever seen. Not only was she a great presenter, she was entertaining and kept us engaged throughout both presentations (Jon Ripke discovered that Petra was a former singer, which likely added to her entertaining abilities).

The Thursday afternoon tour to Camp Ripley had mixed reviews. However, as a former Marine I found a lot of it very entertaining, especially the museum, and I saw things that reminded me of the sacrifices many soldiers have made protecting our freedom.

The conference concluded on Friday with some great updates on legislative activities, MnDOT, and the chapter’s newest committee, our Diversity Committee, chaired by Jon Ripke. The last agenda item was an interesting presentation on the private perspective of infrastructure needs.

I left my comments regarding the weather for last, because it definitely was nothing to brag about. But, I’m generally fairly optimistic and will say it always could have been worse. I can also admit it was a first for all of us to see the lake completely frozen during the spring conference and can honestly say, it’s one for the record books!

Thanks to all who attended.

--Lee Gustafson, APWA-MN President

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