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President's Message

April 16, 2021

President's Message

Spring has sprung and every day we are a little closer to the chance that snow is behind us (for now), or at least that it will melt by noon.

In Public Works, we look forward to grabbing our vest and spending more time outside as warmer-weather routine maintenance begins, or we check out the site one last time before sending that next construction project out for bid. In Minnesota, there’s no avoiding it: spring thaw also brings back potholes. Speaking of potholes, the next virtual Infrastructure Talk at the Capitol is scheduled for Thursday, April 22 at 7:45 a.m. and is called Is springtime pothole season? If you haven’t yet heard of these sessions, they are designed to get our state legislators thinking and talking about the state of Minnesota’s infrastructure. So far this year, Raise our Grade, a subcommittee of MN2050, has organized four talks. Each session has been well received with about 50 people jumping on the zoom call to participate. Whether you would like to learn about what causes pesky potholes and how much they cost taxpayers, have expert knowledge to share, or simply want to show your support for Raise Our Grade, please register for the event online.

On a less distressing note, our annual spring conference is less than a month away! We are pleased to introduce Mary Detloff with Crescendo Consulting Solutions, who has been supporting the committee in their planning efforts since early this year. Mary comes to us after many years serving as Executive Director of MnSPE/Engineering Alliance Minnesota. Mary’s industry knowledge and expertise facilitating similar educational events has been a breath of fresh air. 

This year, as always, the Conference Planning Committee has assembled a fantastic line-up of speakers who will engage us with timely topics focused on improving your ability to manage, lead, and serve your community through Public Works. Sessions will be online and run from 8 a.m. to around noon on both Thursday and Friday, May 6 and 7. We are keeping the volunteer event tradition alive on Thursday afternoon, this year with your choice of seven service projects for different organizations taking place around the Twin Cities and in Rochester. Follow up the afternoon of volunteering by joining friends and colleagues for an evening of friendly competition we are calling Bags, Beverages, and Banter. Try your hand at yard games, grab a bite to eat from one of two onsite food trucks, and bring your own beverage to Skyview Picnic area at French Regional Park in Plymouth. Registration for each of these events (online conference, service projects, and networking) is separate and available on the Chapter website.

Did you know that 2021 is the Minnesota Chapter’s 75th anniversary? Stay tuned because we are raising the bar with several upcoming events planned by various chapter committees, including Infrastructure Walks with Legislators, technical tours, and social events. The History Committee has the honor of planning the main celebration to take place in-person at the Fall Conference scheduled for November 18 and 19 at Earle Brown Heritage Center in Brooklyn Center. We are working hard to make sure your APWA membership offers you all of the benefits you’ve come to expect and enjoy. If you have any questions, suggestions, or want to become more involved in any of these or other events, PLEASE reach out to me at bengum@cbssquared.com or our Chapter volunteer coordinator Eric Fosmo at eric.fosmo@kimley-horn.com.

Planning for PWX in St. Louis August 29 through September 1 is well underway with an announcement regarding whether the event will be held in person, coming within the next few weeks.

On a final note, I sincerely hope you and your loved ones are enjoying the new season and adding some normalcy back into your life while embracing what you learned throughout the past year about what is truly important.

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