Where has the year gone?

Dwayne Kalynchuk, P.Eng.
APWA President

  Dwayne Kalynchuk

Where has the year gone? It seems like only yesterday when Marty Manning handed me the presidential gavel at the San Diego Congress. However, with that said I have logged over 150,000 air miles, visited two overseas countries, attended 30 chapter events, and took about a dozen other trips to either APWA offices or Board of Directors meetings. The highlight of the year without a doubt has been meeting literally thousands of dedicated APWA members throughout North America.

Immediately after Congress last August I was off to Washington, D.C. to participate in a press conference "on the Hill" with the American Society of Civil Engineers regarding the state of the nation's infrastructure. ASCE produced a report card several years ago and the results were not stellar. As a parent I would certainly not tolerate a "C" from my children on their school report card, but for whatever reasons we as taxpayers allow our governments to have a failing grade on maintaining our infrastructure. Worse yet, the update we focused on at the press event showed that things are getting worse!

Later in September I started the best part about being president: chapter visits. My first trip was to Penticton, British Columbia, for the joint British Columbia/Washington Chapter Conference. Nearly 500 delegates from both sides of the border attended and shared information through 20 general and technical sessions. Many thanks to Dale Beaudry, British Columbia Chapter President; Bob Moorhead, Washington Chapter Past President; and Len Robson, Conference Chairman, for the fantastic hospitality and terrific conference.

Early October brought a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity with a visit to one of our public works partners "down under." The Institute of Public Works Engineering Australia held their Queensland Division Conference in McKay, a small community just off the Great Barrier Reef in northeast Australia. Not only were the scenery and the hospitality exceptional, the technical sessions at the conference were first-rate. One of the keynote speakers from this conference, Heather Swan, will be the first keynote speaker at Congress in Atlanta. Thanks to Ross Moody, IPWEA President; Chris Champion, Executive Director; John Hawkes, Queensland Division President; and Suzanna Barnes-Gillard, Queensland Executive Director, for an unbelievable experience.

Mid-October brought me back to North America for a dozen chapter visits before year-end. Starting with my home chapter conference in Red Deer, Alberta, I then headed to the northeast seaboard with a visit to the fourteenth annual meeting of the New York Metro Chapter. The weekend also allowed time for a visit to Ground Zero as my previous attempt to visit New York was playing hooky from the Philadelphia Congress on September 11, 2001. While I didn't make it all the way to Manhattan, I did end up at Newark, New Jersey at 10:00 a.m. where I saw both towers of the World Trade Center on fire and saw one go down.

Region III Director Bob Freudenthal leads the Region III Leadership Workshop in Lexington

Halloween is usually set aside for ghosts and goblins, not House of Delegates members and Regional Board members, but such was the case for the Region III Leadership Meeting in Lexington, Kentucky. Board member Bob Freudenthal, along with about-to-be Board member Noel Thompson, held an outstanding session. Topics included strategic planning, developing a public works academy, hosting a national APWA meeting, developing Technical Committees in chapters, and success of equipment shows.


Presidential travel vehicle owned by Region II Director Howard LaFever

November was an extremely busy month with visits to the Missouri, Wisconsin, Western Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware State Chapters. For the last three chapters, including a visit to the Washington office, I traveled with Region II Director Howard LaFever. We logged over a thousand miles on Howard's black Impala sedan which doubles as a race car and is covered with sponsorship stickers. It truly felt like the trip in the Blues Brothers movie! It was also an honor to run into Herb Goetsch, National Past President, at the Wisconsin meeting.

APWA President Dwayne Kalynchuk visits with National Past President Herb Goetsch at the Wisconsin Chapter Meeting

December is the festive month and it's no different with our chapters. I made it to the Chicago Metro Chapter for their Christmas luncheon (where they took the time to also celebrate their 75th anniversary), the San Diego/Imperial Counties Chapter, the Tucson Branch of the Arizona Chapter, and the Northern California Chapter meeting in Berkeley. Thanks to Brigitte Mayerhofer, Chicago Metro Chapter President; Linda Scott, San Diego/Imperial Counties Chapter President; Farhad Moghimi, Tucson Branch President; and Heather Ballenger, Northern California Chapter Past President, for including me in your festive plans.

Thirteen Chicago Metro Chapter Past Presidents cut the cake at the chapter's 75th anniversary celebration

January was mostly a month for recuperation. However, the Board's Mid-Winter Meeting was held in Kansas City at the end of the month in conjunction with a two-day Strategic Plan update session. Twelve APWA members from various leadership roles assisted the Board in reviewing and updating the Strategic Plan along with facilitator Gary Stern. The outcome provided direction for staff for the preparation of the 2004/2005 budget. It was also agreed that a major review of the Strategic Plan would be scheduled for 2005/2006.

In Honolulu for the Hawaii Chapter's Annual Meeting, President Kalynchuk met with Mayor Jeremy Harris. From left: Larry Leopardi, Chapter Past President; Rouen Liu, Chapter President; Mayor Harris; and President Kalynchuk

One of the dilemmas you face as National President is multiple invitations for the same dates. Such was the case for early February. The Ontario Chapter was having their Annual Meeting in Brampton, as was the Hawaii Chapter in Honolulu. President-Elect Tom Trice truly enjoyed suntanning in Brampton, while I had to force myself for the six-hour flight to Honolulu! One should never assume that small chapters are not active. Not only did the chapter executives hold an excellent workshop, they also showed that they are very connected with their municipal and state governments. We visited Mayor Jeremy Harris and also met with Calvin Say, Speaker of the House, and Robert Bunda, Senate President. Many thanks to Rouen Liu, Chapter President, for all the arrangements. The month wrapped up with a visit to an exotic Canadian location, Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan for the Annual Conference of the Saskatchewan Chapter. This is a chapter that certainly knows how to work hard and play hard!

March is usually a cold month in Alberta, and an invitation to be a keynote speaker at the International Transportation Conference in the United Arab Emirates at their expense couldn't be passed up. After flying for 20 hours and spending the night in London, where it snowed, I touched down in Abu Dhabi, where the temperature was over 100 degrees at 10:00 p.m.! The conference was very technical in nature and focused on the latest technology in the transportation field. It was extremely interesting to visit a country that is investing billions of dollars into new infrastructure. However, my message to them in my presentation was to not forget their existing infrastructure needs.

One of the strengths of our organization is our Technical Committees, under the guidance of the Directors-at-Large from the Board of Directors. Annually the committees meet jointly as a group, then individually to discuss the challenges we face within our profession in each technical field. This joint meeting was held in Kansas City at the end of March and was also attended by the majority of the Board members.

April in most parts of North America is usually when spring is in the air, but not at APWA as our main focus for the month is snow with the annual North American Snow Conference. This year's conference was well attended in Lexington, Kentucky, with over 1,000 delegates. I took the long way to Lexington via Winnipeg, Manitoba where the oldest chapter in Canada, the Manitoba Chapter, was celebrating their 50th anniversary with a Past Presidents Dinner at a historic fort. One of the highlights of this dinner was meeting Nick Diakiw, former Commissioner for the City of Winnipeg and National Past President of APWA.

Numerous chapters within APWA hold joint conferences, but I believe the Mid-America Conference held in May in Overland Park, Kansas probably holds the record for having the most chapters participate with five: the Kansas City Metro, Kansas, Missouri, Iowa and Nebraska Chapters. National Past President Judith Mueller, who serves on a National Homeland Security Committee, was one of the keynotes and provided an update on homeland security within the public works field. National Past President Myron Calkins, who lives in Kansas City, remains active in the Kansas City Metro Chapter and was also present.

Not only is National Public Works Week in May a time when we promote our profession across Canada and the U.S., it is also the time we recognize APWA's Top Ten Public Works Leaders of the Year. I was fortunate to attend the National Public Works Week luncheon in Boston to personally present the award to Dave Hanlon. Over 550 people attended, including Mayor Thomas Menino and Public Works Commissioner Joe Casazza, a National Past President of APWA. Mayor Menino commented that only people in the public works profession would hold a lunch in one of Boston's finest seafood restaurants, Anthony's Pier, and order beef from the menu for lunch! From Boston I hopped on a flight to Washington where several functions were planned on the Hill by staff to further the awareness of public works. In addition to a very successful Public Works Showcase, Congressman Bobby Scott and Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton addressed the VA/DC/MD Chapter luncheon. Top Ten recipient John Keifer was also recognized at this event. The month wrapped up with a quick trip to Orange Beach, Alabama, where the Alabama Chapter held their Annual Conference. Over 200 delegates attended technical sessions and participated in a tabletop show.

Summer in the Canadian Rockies is one of the best times, and the APWA Board members were called to Banff, Alberta for our mid-year meeting to deal with several business items and approve the annual budget. The location on the side of Tunnel Mountain was spectacular, and the budget prepared by staff and submitted by the Finance Committee is probably the best budget ever approved by the Board of Directors. Our reserves are topped up, our services to members increased, and the general health of the organization is excellent.

To the Cape for summer was the calling of the New England Chapter, with the Summer Workshop held at West Dennis on Cape Cod. This has been a tradition with the chapter over numerous years and a "must attend" event for APWA National Presidents. The chapter celebrated its 50th anniversary this year with several excellent technical sessions, and fresh lobster was enjoyed by all. Thanks to Chapter President Larry Bombara for the great time.

A trip to the headquarters office in August for new Board member training, and then a visit at the end of the month to the Southern California Chapter for their Annual Barbeque, will complete my duties as APWA National President. I have been fortunate over this term to be able to work only part-time in order to devote as much time as possible to the National Office. In my time as Board member and President, I have had the great honor of visiting 40 of the 67 chapters in APWA. Every chapter and branch has impressed me with the services they provide to their members and the great part they play in our APWA family. I personally know the sacrifices volunteers make in APWA, and I am humbled by the amount of people we have who are willing to step up to the plate to serve in our organization on a local and national level. Our staff, with Executive Director Peter King and Deputy Executive Director Kaye Sullivan, is a remarkable group of dedicated employees who I have had the privilege to work with. The present and past members of the Board of Directors have worked hard for this organization and have become close friends over the last number of years. Lastly, my family has allowed me to pursue my dreams to lead this group. Thank you to all of you. This is the greatest group of members in the greatest association, in the two greatest countries!