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APWA-MN 2018 Fall Conference Summary

December 7, 2018

APWA-MN 2018 Fall Conference Summary
Dec. 7, 2018
Submitted by Chad Isakson – Member, Communications Committee
The 2018 Fall Conference was another well-attended event with great speakers and presentations. Thank you to all the presenters, planning committee, and attendees for making it one to remember.
The conference started out with a moment of silence for Vern Hedquist, who was struck and killed in a work zone on Interstate 94 while performing his job earlier this fall. It was a somber reminder of the dangers public works and construction crews face each and every day on the job.
Jack Morris kicked things off as the first speaker of the day to discuss lessons learned in his life working towards success at the highest level and the importance of setting goals, working through setbacks, and making a difference in someone else’s life. 
Next, Naeem Zafar of Concordia Ventures LLC, provided a thought-provoking presentation on six technology trends poised to change our lives. As the ability to process mass amounts of information improves the realization of these futuristic ideas are becoming a reality. Autonomous vehicles, augmented reality, and natural language processing are just a few technologies that were discussed. Problem-solving and critical thinking will be a key piece in realizing some of these functions as they integrate into daily use.
Prior to lunch was the business meeting which included the presentation of the board election results and the swearing in of the new officials. All business actions and motions were approved.  
Everyone spent the afternoon picking their own destiny attending the various concurrent session options made available. It is always impressive to see the wide variety of topics and professionals gathered each year. If you have an option or idea for next year please reach out to the conference planning committee! 
The networking event moved offsite for the first time in a couple of years. Topgolf was the destination and its attendees spent the night meeting and greeting other professionals. Some spent their time competing in the various golf games while others spread out and enjoyed the ambiance of the facility. 
Friday opened with an engaging presentation by James Joseph with FEMA. Listening to the logistical challenges needed by the organization to respond to disastrous events was eye-opening. A familiar theme in the presentation came up as they are working on educating the general public on who they are, what they do, and providing a level of expectation to accompany their response in moments of crisis. As a member of the public works profession, we hear time and time again how the general public continues to need more educating on who we are and what do we.
Agency updates followed with information on the important work MnDOT, the League of Minnesota Cities, and MN 2050 are completing. Each organization is working hard to keep getting things done as leadership at the capital transitions in the new year. MnDOT’s top ten mean tweets was certainly a fun segment to lighten the mood.
Met Council is working to add a 4th incinerator at the Metro Plant to serve the growing population and handle 850 wet tons of solids each day! It was interesting to hear how the process is structured to get projects of this magnitude approved while handling the wastewater that continues to flow to the plant. 
Prior to lunch scholarships were handed out to deserving students and awards were presented to some impressive projects. It is remarkable what can be accomplished working with the community, business district, and making visions become reality like the City of Hopkins was able to. 
Ethics training rounded out a very packed in two days. Thank you to everyone who made this year’s conference a success!

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