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Take Advantage of APWA

June 17, 2014

Take Advantage of APWA
By John Rodeberg, APWA-MN President
As I sit down (yet again) to start writing this article, I realize how many of us in the public works field are struggling, as I am, to find the right work-life balance. 
Staff members at many of our offices are working long and stressful hours, and almost all private firms I talk with cannot find enough qualified staff. Our company alone has more than 30 positions open in Minnesota and I hear the same story from others. I’m concerned about staff burnout, as I see many staff working 12-hour days and 6-day works weeks. We also have the stress of many of our most seasoned staffs and colleagues retiring. 
We all continue to try a find a way to “do more with less” (a popular political statement). Reorganize, rethink, think outside the box, plan to win, focus on alignment, disruptive innovation. . . There are an unlimited number of business buzzwords that describe a variety of the paths we are often asked to follow. 
Of course, that’s only the work side of the work-life balance. On the personal side, I don’t remember any time in the past when we’ve had to continually reschedule events so often due to a multitude of conflicting circumstances. Most of us have families with whom we want to spend quality time and likely some other passions as well. 
One of my interests, has been helping run a music festival in Hutchinson ( After helping initiate and lead the festival for the last 8+ years, I have made the tough but necessary decision to step back a bit. This year I added a co-chair for my part of the festival as well as a couple of new team members, and I plan on stepping down from my vice-chair role after this year’s festival. Although this was really difficult for me, I have found new energy and more enjoyment by sharing this effort and working as a team.
Although it is sometimes overwhelming, it has also been really exhilarating to see our industry picking up steam (aka, Science-Technology-Engineering-Arts-Math). In order to reach our professional goals and enjoy ourselves, we need to use the resources and support available to us. 
APWA can be one of those great resources to support your professional and personal life, and I urge you to take check out some of these:
As I noted in my last article, get involved in one of our many committees and task forces. You can learn more about volunteer opportunities on our chapter website.
As our work-life balance becomes increasingly hard to manage, it is more and more important to use the resources available. Personally, I have managed my balance by developing and working with great teams and using great resources like APWA. 
Take advantage of your APWA membership and your experienced colleagues. Stay involved!

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