Plan to attend 2001 Congress

R. Kevin Clark
Editor, APWA Reporter

Want to know more about "The Latest in Managing and Enforcing Traffic in Neighborhoods"? Interested in checking out the latest and greatest in street sweepers, chippers, and grinders on a massive exhibit floor? Care to listen to a Pulitzer Prize-winning author and historian, who served as an assistant to Lyndon Johnson in his last year in the White House, give the keynote address at the Opening General Session?

If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then Philadelphia and the 2001 International Public Works Congress and Exposition is the place to be Sunday, September 9 through Wednesday, September 12. This year's Best Show in Public Works is being held at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, the most technologically advanced center in the country.

For those wanting to participate in the Pre-Congress Workshops or optional tours, the Congress experience actually begins on Saturday, September 8. The following workshops are scheduled: "Developing Strategies for Effective Communications with the Public"; "Best Fleet Management Practices and Trends for the 21st Century"; "Design and Operation of Work Zone Traffic Control"; and "Self-Assessment: Using the Management Practices Manual: A Tool for Improving Operations and Management."

Other activities in which attendees can participate on Saturday include a tour of the "most historic square mile in the country" in historic Philadelphia; a fishing trip; a golf outing; a tour of historic Brandywine Valley; and a visit to Atlantic City. Or, you might consider donating your time and a little sweat to building a home for Habitat for Humanity of North Philadelphia, a non-profit homebuilder working on revitalizing the community several blocks west of Temple University.

Congress switches into high gear on Sunday with the Opening General Session at 10:00 a.m. Doris Kearns Goodwin, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, historian, and political commentator, is presenting the keynote address at this session. Her book, No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The American Home Front During World War II, was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1995. Presenting "The Moral Authority of the Presidency," Goodwin will describe the social context of the times in past presidents' moral authority, and explore the parallels between those times and the moral authority of leaders today.

Congress continues in full swing with the Exposition Grand Opening on Sunday at 11:45 a.m. This equipment show gathers together the greatest, most diversified collection of public works equipment under a single roof on this continent. With over 90,000 square feet of exhibit space and more than 400 exhibiting companies, it affords public works officials the opportunity to examine and compare the various units and discuss them with manufacturers' representatives. Be sure to schedule as much time as necessary on the equipment floor to cover it thoroughly.

Sunday is also when the education sessions get underway, starting at 2:00 p.m. A sampling of titles from Sunday's session includes, "Managing Small Public Works Construction Projects," "Using Mobile Computing to Improve Maintenance Operations," and "Leaving a Legacy: Defining the New Age of Public Works Leadership." These are just a few of the 150 different papers and discussions to be presented throughout the week.

Also on Sunday's agenda are the Emerging Public Works Leaders Program, bringing public works employees with less than five years of experience in the public works field together with experienced public works employees in a mentor-coach/mentoree relationship; the First Timers Meeting, helping newcomers make the best of their first Congress experience; and the One-Call Systems International Luncheon.

Get down, get funky
Prepare to be entertained by a Rock 'n Roll Welcome at the Get Acquainted Party Sunday evening. If you missed some of your friends at the equipment show in the afternoon, there's a good chance you'll see them here. This year's party, complete with refreshments like Philly cheesesteaks and the music of American Bandstand, will be held in the Grand Hall of the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

You want fries with that?
Of course, the exhibit hall and the education sessions will again be in full swing on Monday and Tuesday. In addition, this year we're introducing a convenient way for you to maximize the efficiency of your education time at Congress. On Monday and Tuesday we're offering Super-Sized Sessions consisting of 21/2 hours of concentrated learning on the following four topics: Asset Management; Pavement Management; GASB Statement 34; and Storm Water Phase II.

Along with the regular education sessions and the Super-Sized Sessions, Roundtable Discussions will again be held on the exhibit floor on Monday and Tuesday during lunch. A variety of current technical, professional, and management topics will be covered.

The Canadian Public Works Association Luncheon and Diversity Luncheon are on the Monday agenda, along with the Awards and Recognition Ceremony, honoring the best in our business, from 4:45-5:45 p.m. The Public Works Historical Society Luncheon takes place on Tuesday, and the popular chapter dinners will be held on Tuesday evening.

It ain't over 'til it's over
And even then it's not over. Keep in mind that, following the Closing General Session on Wednesday, there are a number of interesting Technical Tours starting at 12:15 p.m. Plus, we have two excellent Post-Congress Workshops lined up: "How to Create Your Own Super Second Life: What Are You Going to Do with Your Extra 30 Years after Public Works?"; and "Maintaining Your Professional and Personal Edge in a Chaotic Dot-com World." Both workshops are from 1:00-4:00 p.m. and are free.

It all wraps up Wednesday evening with the Annual Banquet at the Philadelphia Marriott. This year's banquet will begin with a reception and some foot-stompin', toe-tappin', finger-snappin' country music entertainment, followed by a terrific dinner and program. This is one banquet you won't want to miss. After all, how many people can say they've seen P.W. Paws-APWA's mascot standing nine feet tall-do the two-step?

All in all, the International Public Works Congress and Exposition this September promises to be one of the most exciting and informative ever. And the setting-the birthplace of America-might persuade you to add a few days at the beginning or conclusion to enjoy the historic nature of the city.

If you haven't already done so, plan now to attend Congress in Philadelphia September 9-12. For more information, check out our Congress web page under "Meetings" at www.apwa.net, where you can read about the education sessions and speakers, see the list of exhibitors, and even register for Congress and make hotel reservations on-line.

See you in Philly!