A lifelong process: Tim Haynes

Editor's Note: This issue's Member Profile features Tim Haynes, Roadways Technical Coordinator, City of Regina, Saskatchewan; member, APWA Transportation Committee; and Saskatchewan Chapter Past President.

How did you get involved in public works? In the spring of 1975, while I was taking a break from studying for my final high school exams, my father approached me about summer employment. He suggested that I apply for a job with the City of Regina. Because of my respect for my dad's good judgment, I did not hesitate to make an application. I was successful in gaining employment with the City of Regina, which we had planned to be an intern job to help finance my first year of university.

However, as fate would have it, my father passed away shortly thereafter which changed my life responsibilities. Fortunately, because of my father's suggestion, I've found steady employment with the City of Regina, Public Works Department which I have since never regretted.

Favorite Book: I'm a science fiction buff, and I enjoy J.R.R. Tolkien books. I also enjoy a good western.

Hobbies/Interests: I enjoy carpentry, woodworking, golf and for the past half-dozen years, my wife and I have participated in tournament fishing. We consider ourselves aspiring professional anglers.

How much woodworking do you do, and how often do you fish? When requests from relatives or friends to apply my woodworking skills arise, I enjoy these challenges which may occur several times year.

With golf...I've heard it said (rumor has it) that you have to play more than three times a week in order to improve your game. I've purchased a membership this year and I am going to give that process a good try.

With regards to walleye tournament fishing, we make an effort to attend as many events as possible. We have fished as many as eleven tournaments in the year. The only thing holding us back is cash helps to win an event now and then! (laughs)

Do you do all your fishing in Saskatchewan? Yes, there are fourteen or fifteen tournaments in our province. We are considered God's Country as far as walleye fishing is concerned. The biggest one that someone just caught through the ice here was eighteen pounds, three ounces. That's a huge fish.

Role Model: I'd have to go to my parents. My father was an inspector with the City of Regina, Public Works Department. He got me interested in public works when I was just a kid. His focus on responsibility as a civic employee and his ability to balance work and family life were true life skills, ones that I constantly work on.

My mother was a homemaker who was forced into the full-time work force in order to endure. I know just how to describe her. She is a woman who faced every challenge and never neglected a responsibility. She has managed with little for herself but always gave a lot to others, and still does. She has been a steadfast inspiration to me.

Career Accomplishments: I have worked for the City of Regina for the past thirty years. Working with my peers whose wealth of expertise and competence has allowed me to benefit and grow as an individual...this, I believe, is my greatest asset and I trust that the benefit is mutual. My career path has been dedicated to advancing knowledge in areas relevant to public works operations, roadway maintenance, and capital construction.

In my current position I'm in charge of an area called Roadways Technical Support, and we perform condition surveys of road surfaces infrastructure. From these condition surveys we develop the maintenance and capital programs to replace, repair and maintain our surface infrastructure. We also provide alley and easement drainage design and are responsible for the inspection and maintenance of the City's bridges.

In 1990 I became a member of the Saskatchewan Chapter of APWA. I became a member of the Board in 1994, and I became the newsletter editor for the chapter in 1996. I became the City of Regina's conference chairman for the chapter's annual conference in 1998 and 2002. I was appointed chapter president in 2001 for a two-year term. Currently I am the past president and newsletter editor for the chapter and serve on the APWA Transportation Committee.

I am most proud of the work environment that I like to provide for the employees that work for me. I think it's imperative to provide an inviting workplace with teamwork and openness, and a balance of work and family life. So words like creativity, growth, pride, and respect for diversity are what I would hope to be recognized for.

What else would you like to add about the Public Works Department? We're primarily a roadway construction and maintenance operation. We do everything with regards to roads, sidewalks, and the surface infrastructure. Most people, I believe, would know that we move the snow, sweep the street and repair the roads. We do the whole shebang as far as maintenance and capital construction. How would I put it? "We are everything to everyone." At certain moments during the year it sure feels that way!

I know we provide a necessary and invaluable service to the public, and in order to have good public relations we must have a well-informed public. In a severe climate area like Regina, there are rare occasions when it is impossible to deliver services in a timely fashion, according to policy. We do our best to make the public aware that during these severe weather events they must remain patient and not overreact while public operations strive to catch up. Delays should not be taken as an excuse to radically change city policy which is more than satisfactory under normal circumstances.

As you mentioned, you're a member of APWA's Transportation Committee. What has that experience been like for you? I consider it an honor to be allowed to serve at the national level. I feel that I'm part of a process that continues to provide strategic advice to enhance our national leadership program. I really believe that we have to encourage innovation combined with training and experience which will enhance our success with our everyday challenges. I look forward to continuing to work with the Transportation Committee.

When I first approached you about this profile a couple of weeks ago, you mentioned that Regina was having the worst snowstorm that you had ever seen. Here's a two-part question: Just how bad was the storm, and just how cold can it get up there? We usually experience a snow event of five to six inches of accumulation. At the end of December 2004 we received 24 inches of snow in one event. That's an incredible amount of snow up here. We had windrows of snow on our center boulevards of our main arterials that you couldn't see over if you were in a large four-wheel-drive truck. And for us here in Regina that was a large amount of snow to experience in such a short time period. Residential streets were almost impassible and people in government agencies weren't coming to work. During the storm people were sent home early. This additional traffic volume somewhat slowed our efforts to clear blocked major arterials on schedule. Needless to say, we were on 24-hour shifts in an effort to clear the streets according to the time parameters laid out in our Winter Road Maintenance Policy.

But how cold does it get? The two scales, Fahrenheit and Celsius, meet somewhere around minus forty. Well, that's where we are sometimes. I think at one point about a week and a half ago, we were the coldest place on the planet, minus fifty-eight or something.

If you take a glass of warm tap water outside and throw it in the air, the only portion that will hit the ground will be ice crystals that tinkle like shattered glass. The remaining portion suspends in the air and appears like fog. It is unbelievable but that is just how cold it can get up here!

Why do you like being a member of APWA? APWA provides an environment where people can be open and accepting of the expertise that each individual can offer. I'm a people-person, and I believe that APWA is a fantastic resource. It's an organization I'm proud to be a part of, and I've learned so much from the friends and acquaintances I have made and the technical sessions that I have attended.

For me the most enjoyable thing about being a member of APWA is being part of an organization of peers who approach with varying experience our sometimes-common problems with original ideas and interesting comments. And we can always learn, because a circumstance might be such that you're looking for a new way, and maybe somebody is doing it a little better or a little different. APWA has just been a fantastic resource for me personally.