Members weigh in on the Snow Conference

Extra! Extra! Read all about it! The North American Snow Conference is just around the corner!!

That's right. By the time you read this there will probably only be a couple of weeks left before the Snow Conference begins in Kansas City (April 17-20). So if you'd still like to go to the conference but haven't made plans yet, to say that time is running out is probably the understatement of the year. Not to worryyou can preregister all the way up to the beginning of the conference or onsite in Kansas City. Can't attend the entire conference? Then take advantage of one-day registrations at only $150 for members or $190 for nonmembers. A special pass to tour the exhibit hall only is also available onsite for just $20.

Speaking of the $20 special exhibit hall passgiven its location near several major population centers in the Midwest, the Snow Conference in Kansas City is the perfect opportunity for supervisors to let staff tour the exhibit floor for one day. The Snow Conference is great for those attendees who are able to attend the entire conference, but it is also a wonderful experience for non-supervisors who can walk the exhibit floor for only $20 per day. It's a chance to have your entire staff gain information on new technology, equipment, and services from more than 100 companies on the exhibit floor.

Anyway, if you need just a little more incentive to get either yourself or your staff to the North American Snow Conference, check out these inspirational words of wisdom from a few members who have attended the conference multiple times. Our thanks go to all of these folks for sharing their thoughts with us.

Jerry Pickett
Streets Superintendent
City of Greeley, Colorado

I have been attending this Snow Conference for the past 10 years. While attending this conference I have met professionals from all over the United States and Canada. The main reasons I continue to attend are due to the quality of information, new technology, equipment, and the opportunity to network with my peers. Every year I have been able to take this information back to the City of Greeley to help improve the operations.

If I had to list the most beneficial element of this conference, I would definitely say networking. I have developed relationships with a lot of my peers and whenever I need any information or advice to improve operations, I have at my fingertips several professionals that have the expertise to help solve any situation I might encounter.

I would encourage anyone who wants to increase their knowledge and improve their operations to attend this conference. In addition, please participate and share your experiences. By doing this everyone benefits.

Hope to see you at this year's conference.

Tom Konieczny
LaPorte District Operations Engineer
Indiana DOT
LaPorte, Indiana

Our District in northern Indiana had heard about anti-icing and had played around with it for several years, so I think that's why I was sent to attend my first APWA Snow Conference in 2000 in Traverse City. The Indiana Chapter was going to host the show the next year, and the Indiana DOT was going to be a partner in putting it on so we needed to get some experience. For the next three days, I thought I had died and gone to heaven. I have been fortunate enough to attend two other Snow Conferences and have always been impressed with the shows.

The Snow Conference is like a giant supermarket: rows and rows of exhibits, materials, and superstars from the industry. It's great being able to see the latest innovations and products, to shop and compare between a number of vendors, and to talk with others about their experiences. The speakers are always top-notch, and with concurrent sessions there's always something of interest whether it be for the novice or the seasoned veteran.

One of my favorite formats is the "Roundtable" discussion. This is where everyone informally opens up and shares the good and the bad, and what works and what doesn't, so you can avoid the problems that others may have experienced. Top-notch facilitators keep discussions flowing and meaningful.

Attending the Snow Conferences and returning home with a pile of great ideas certainly helped shape INDOT's statewide winter policies. We have expanded our anti-icing operations with salt brine and other miracle chemicals; added RWIS, CBT, MDSS and other fancy acronyms; and have focused on the very important task of providing our citizens with the mobility they demand in the winter months. I highly recommend the APWA North American Snow Conference.

Greg M. Bolon, P.E.
Assistant Division Engineer
City of Kansas City, Missouri

The North American Snow Conference is a great opportunity to network with your peers and see the latest and greatest in new technology throughout North America and abroad. Over 100 vendors will be attending for you to view their products as well as 30 speakers to impart their practical experience on how they deal with winter weather conditions.

Whether you are from a region that receives over 100 inches of snow or more to someone who may receive an ice storm once every few years, there is probably someone at the conference who can tell you how they dealt with this situation in their community. Annual attendance for conference participants allows you the freedom to discuss ideas with your peers and keeps you from trying to reinvent the wheel when it comes to snow and ice removal. The techniques we now use in winter operations have transformed from an art to a science and training is necessary to keep up with this changing environment.

Kansas City is in the heart of America and we believe it poses an excellent opportunity to acquire this training and experience with an inexpensive destination. We are all fighting the battles of diminishing budgets, but we must still strive to provide the best possible service to our customers at the lowest price. That next big savings could be just around the corner in Kansas City at the 2005 North American Snow Conference. Come join us and see for yourself.

Gregory A. Dore
Road Commissioner
Town of Skowhegan, Maine

I have had the opportunity to attend three Snow Conferences in the past twelve years. Buffalo, New York, was the first show I attended. I attended a road-striping class and learned about a new product called hot tape. I applied this product and it worked extremely well. The issue was that the downtown crosswalks were worn away by Christmas, and this made it very dangerous for pedestrian traffic downtown. After applying this product the crosswalks have lasted more than two years.

I am always amazed by the vendor displays on the floor. I always find some new innovative product that can save me time and money. I made contact with a firm that sold QPR 2000, which is a pothole repair product that has worked very well for my department. I also attended a class to learn how the City of Buffalo handles snow removal. They easily double the amount of snowfall that Skowhegan receives each year. This was an interesting hour-long session. I attended the Columbus, Ohio, Snow Conference and learned a great deal from a class on making your department an effective workplace. I continue to use several of the ideas that I learned in that class.

I've learned about Dickey-John ground speed controllers and road temperature gauges. I include the ground speed controllers on all my new equipment today. I had the opportunity to try a corrosion preventive product that has become an annual treatment for all our winter maintenance equipment. I enjoyed the session that showed how people from all over the world handle snow removal. I couldn't decide which was more interesting: the road sprinkler in Europe using the underground thermal pockets or the storekeepers shoveling the snow into the sewer system in Japan.

The last conference I attended was in Qu‚bec. At this show I enjoyed the visit to the local public works garage where they brought out all their snow fighting equipment. It was very interesting to see how this department handles snow. I had the opportunity to learn how to make some simple modifications to a few pieces of equipment, which has helped my department be more effective at winter road maintenance.

As you can see, I have yet to attend a Snow Conference where I did not learn something useful during one of the sessions, find a new product or piece of equipment on the display floor, benefit from visiting the local public works garage, or just network with other attendees at the conference. APWA's Snow Conference is a must for all who work in the public works field!

"Attending APWA's North American Snow Conference is something that every public works professional who wants to enhance their agency's program should not only consider, but should do!" said APWA President Tom Trice in the March issue. The list of Snow Conference exhibitors can be seen on the following page, and articles promoting the Technical Tours during the conference are included on pages 12 and 18 in the March issue. For more information on the North American Snow Conference, contact APWA at (800) 848-APWA, go to www.apwa.net/meetings/snow/2005/ or e-mail snow@apwa.net.