Public Works in modern-day China

Dwayne E. Kalynchuk, P.Eng., General Manager, CRD Environmental Services, Victoria, BC, and member, APWA International Affairs Committee; Rich Berning, P.E., Director of Public Works (retired), City of Springfield, IL; and Brian Usher, Director of Public Works & Engineering, City of Zion, IL, and member, APWA Emergency Management Committee

Having witnessed war as a soldier, President Dwight D. Eisenhower knew the importance of promoting world peace and understanding. With this in mind he founded People to People International to create opportunities for individuals of different nations to interact one-on-one to exchange thoughts and ideas.

More than 100 separate delegations travel abroad annually representing People to People International. One of these delegations in the fall of 2005 focused on public works issues in China and was organized with assistance from APWA. Over a two-week period 15 delegates, mostly APWA members, visited three cities in China: Beijing, Guilin and Shanghai. China is developing into a modern country with scientific and manufacturing sectors that parallel those in North America. It faces challenges of creating and operating modern infrastructure, such as potable water supply, highways, wastewater treatment facilities and air pollution control initiatives. The challenges are enormous, as it one of the most densely populated countries in the world and it is one of the fastest growing economies.

After arriving in Beijing and adjusting to the time change, our first technical meeting was held with senior officials from the China Municipal Engineering Association (CMEA). The organization was founded in 1987 and has over 1,500 group members throughout China. Its main tasks are to study and explore the development trends of municipal construction, carry out professional and technical training and exchanges, assist government departments to manage the industry, and provide consulting services. CMEA consists of 10 branches including municipal facilities management, municipal construction, municipal engineering, asphalt and concrete, road lighting, quality control, construction education, engineering costs, labor, and economics committees.

The afternoon was spent touring the largest sewage treatment plant in China, Beijing Gaobeidian Sewage Treatment Factory. The facility has the capacity to process one million cubic meters of sewage a day which accounts for 40 percent of Beijing's flow. The treatment process is conventional activated sludge process as secondary treatment. The plant has significantly contributed to the water pollution control in the urban and east suburb of Beijing and also has an effective function in cleaning the Tonhui and Hai Rivers.

Day three started with a visit to the Beijing Urban Planning Exhibition Center located near Tiananmen Square. Within this facility exhibits are housed which show the general development of capital planning and construction of the capital city. The models of the proposed facilities for the 2008 Beijing Olympics were extremely impressive.

The public works delegation about to tour the Forbidden City in Beijing. Front row (l-r): Teri Usher, Judy Green, Sylvia Cole, Judy Wright and Carolyn Berning. Back row (l-r): Daryl Cole, Brian Usher, Rob Salaber, Larry Faulkner, Bill Wright, Dwayne Kalynchuk, Rich Berning, Cyrus Kianpour, Gordon Tillson and Mike Hale

No trip to Beijing would be complete without a visit to the Forbidden City and the Great Wall of China. Both were exceptional sites with the Forbidden City having 9,999 rooms which housed the emperors from numerous dynasties; however, the modern era has crept in with a Starbucks now being located within the walls of the ancient city.

The anticipation of leaving Beijing, a city of 13 million inhabitants where so much history of the world exists, for a community known to be a holiday destination spot for both foreigners and nationalists, was exciting. Although our group was involved in a technical exchange, we all certainly enjoyed a couple of days of leisure. After all, when visiting New York City, who wouldn't enjoy a side trip to Bar Harbor, Maine, to get away from it all?

We arrived in Guilin (meaning "Osmanthus Groves") on a cloudy day that provided a couple of spot drizzles. Crossed by the Tropic of Cancer in the central part of China, Guilin has a subtropical monsoonal climate with long summers, warm winters and plentiful rainfall. It has a mean annual temperature of 63 to 73 F and a mean annual precipitation of 49 to 106 inches. However, as we know, the weather patterns of 2005 were anything but normal on Planet Earth, and Guilin was in the middle of a yearlong drought. Guilin is a city of five million inhabitants. And then came the tourists.

Our first impression while traveling into Guilin from the airport was the large amount of building projects that seemed to be at a standstill. In the U.S. one would rightfully assume that the ownership was having some financial difficulty. Here we found out that two different forces were affecting this occurrence: 1) unless a business or resident was ready to occupy the unit, only the shell would be completed—very often without the windows; and 2) materials were often in short supply because of the demand for product in the larger Chinese cities. We learned later that supposedly 50 percent of the world's cement is being placed in China at this time. Obviously, Guilin had received its earlier share; but because of the push to provide the needed accommodation for the Beijing summer Olympics, Guilin now had to wait.

Our first evening in Guilin provided us an opportunity to enjoy a leisurely walk around the Li River promenade and the city's retail district. The next day was considered a cultural day; after all, if we were at one of China's travel destinations, we should do as the Chinese do and be a tourist. Our planned trip was a river cruise on the Li River. Although the Li River flows through Guilin, the flat-bottom boats used for our cruise were located some one and a half hours from our hotel. We traveled by coach on a two-lane road where we saw a multitude of small businesses. These small roadside businesses appeared to each have less than 10 employees. But in a stretch of three kilometers, one might encounter 10 separate businesses that produced different sizes of concrete pipe. Other businesses included fire-kiln brick production, window production, recycling of building products, as well as the standard vendors that were in the distribution of steel and building material and foodstuffs. The last 15 kilometers of our trip to the Li River was on an unpaved semi-stabilized road through the valley. In many spots the road was less than 12 feet wide. But road improvements were being made.

This area, we learned, was designated by Premier Zhou Enlai in the late 1970s as an area deserving of expenditures for tourism development. The bus trip through the valley countryside gave us our first true glimpse of the old traditions of rural China. Here we saw very primitive housing structures (many without windows), but only a few were airtight and some brick structures were without mortar. It appeared that electricity was present to any dwelling that needed it, but there didn't seem to be great uses of it. Our preconceived image of the Chinese rice farmer became reality. It was common to see a farmer plowing the field with a single blade steel plow being pulled by a single water buffalo or the field being harrowed by a six- or eight-tine harrow. When we reached the Li River, it seemed that all the tourists had descended at the river bank.

  A boat cruise down the Li River

There were street vendors selling everything—post cards, paintings, food, T-shirts and "stuff." The best bargain had to be the last bargain as there were over 20 triple-deck flat-bottom boats tethered together. Boarding the boats wasn't easy as the drought had caused the Li River to be five feet lower than normal. The majority of the tourists were Asian and they seemed to be enjoying the Li River cruise as much as we did. The meandering Li River is known for its geologic features and natural stone towers. Many artists sketch and paint the scenes that we saw this day. The banks of the river had been reinforced with rocks, stone, mortar and bamboo, but much had washed away and it was evident that proper stormwater methods were not always utilized. Small groups of two or three travel along the waters of China in something the size of a canoe. It is made from attaching six to eight poles of bamboo. The bamboo ends are bent upward in a process that uses heat and moisture to provide for a natural curve in the bow and stern of the raft. A single steersman or a group of paddlers can power this watercraft.

On our return to Guilin from the Li River we stopped at the Guilin Art Museum. This is an art institute as well where students are currently enrolled and producing very fine art pieces. They happened to be doing some construction and we saw up close the use of bamboo for structural scaffolding. We had been advised of its use but had found that steel was the common scaffolding in Beijing. Later we learned that bamboo is not as abundant in the more northern provinces and that was why we had not seen bamboo scaffolding in Beijing.

That evening we visited the downtown area where we witnessed the "event" of the Waterfall Hotel. This hotel has a choreographed light and audio event as water is released from the top of the building over the sides to provide a magnificent waterfall effect. Street vendors, stores and rock bands were ever-present on the downtown streets.

  A tour of a methane pit operation in a rural village

Although our cultural day was filled with great learning experiences and observations, the group needed to get back to work. Our group headed out to Linchau County, an area that is truly rural. We met with Ms. Jin, who as the Secretary of the local Communist Party is the highest-ranking official in the county, and Mr. Lee, the Director of the Marsh Gas Project. There are many rural counties like Linchau where, until recent gas projects, the farmer peasants had to cut trees for firewood to use for cooking. Methane gas ponds have been created in each dwelling area to create methane gas for cooking. Even though this project is still very primitive by our standards, it has provided easier cooking capability and improved their quality of life. Most simply put, methane gas is produced from the decomposition of human and animal waste. The resulting gas is captured and piped through a conduit to gas burners where when ignited it is used for cooking. This is certainly not new technology, but its utilization has helped rural areas. Yes, there are many safety questions, but the savings to China's forests have been substantial. The resulting pond sediment is then used as fertilizer. The farmers that live in this village (pop. 200) are similar to those that we saw in the valley leading to the Li River. They plow the field with a single-blade plow and harvest the rice with their hands. The drying of the rice is done on a concrete slab that no doubt serves as a patio when the rice is not drying in the sun during harvest time.

These dwellings do have electricity as well as satellite television receivers. Utility infrastructure in the rural areas seems to have never been a priority. When cell phone technology was introduced in China it provided a virtual explosion of phones to people that never had a phone because land lines were not in place in the rural areas. Even though electricity and substations are in existence there appears to be a shortage for any major load use. As major electrical generating plants come online and more manufacturing plants are built in the rural areas, it is expected that more infrastructures will be constructed and more of the farming community will flock to these higher paying manufacturing jobs. The quality of life will then improve immensely in rural China; thus the Chinese Industrial Revolution is taking place.

Back in Guilin, our delegation saw the results of the government putting a priority on the cleansing of a polluted, sediment-filled group of lakes and rivers known as the Two Rivers and Four Lakes Project. Design on the project started in 1998 and was completed in 2004. International competition was sought and public input from the citizens was accepted. Buildings were razed, 56 commercial buildings and 1,896 houses were relocated, and the project was completed in less than four years. Altogether, 7,083 kilometers of ditches were dug to link the Li River to the four inner lakes, 18 kilometers of storm drains were built to control flooding, 600,000 cubic meters of silt was removed, and 19 bridges were constructed for the movement of people and commerce and to add to the scenery of the lakes. Each bridge is designed to be a scaled replica of a famous international bridge such as the Golden Gate in San Francisco or the London Bridge. Locks and dams have been installed to provide for pleasure crafts to move from the lakes to the rivers. This improvement, like any improvement in the U.S., spawned additional development of new businesses and housing developments with numerous trees, flowers, and green space to improve the environment in the city. We saw pollution in China, but we also saw an effort to eradicate it.

The last evening gave us the opportunity to visit the retail shops and many of us took the opportunity for body massages. One could receive a full one-hour massage for between $2.50 and $5.00 U.S. It was too good to pass up. With five million people it is hard to think of Guilin as a quaint city; yet that is how we felt.

On the morning of our departure we were walking the promenade of the Li River. Along with seeing people commuting to work we witnessed men and women practicing all types of exercise: jogging, dancing, samurai sword exercises, tai chi, use of fixed exercise machines, and people engaged in meditation and prayer. The people of Guilin were happy, content, and helpful to this group from the U.S.

  The Shanghai business district

Like China itself, Shanghai is a city of contrasts. Billed as the economic heart of China, it is also the most cosmopolitan as well. In one block you will find a high-rise tower whose entire 60-story wall turns into a television screen at night. In the next block there will be 100-year-old adobe brick hotung neighborhoods with four or five families sharing the communal toilet. There were broad vistas of green space being developed with air pollution so thick you could hardly see across the river downtown, and water pollution which affects hundreds of millions of residents across the country.

As we approached the city on our flight from Guilin, we were all amazed that we flew over miles of apartment block neighborhoods, each over a mile square. These areas were interspersed with canals and waterways choked with barge and small boat traffic.

Our professional tour began with a visit to the School of Environmental Science and Engineering at Tongji University, located about 15 miles from downtown Shanghai. The delegation's visit was hosted by Dr. Zhao Youcai and attended by three other professors and four doctoral students, with another dozen students sitting in the room to observe. Founded in 1952 as the Department of Public Health, the School has undergone five restructurings since. There are 31 full-time professors on a staff of 125 professors. The School has 600 undergraduate students, 300 post-graduate students, and 50 Doctoral candidates. The School is broken into three departments: Environmental Science, Environmental Engineering and Municipal Engineering.

The host group was asked what the greatest challenge was in China and Shanghai. Their answer was air pollution, sewer treatment, and potable water. They stated that while air pollution is an important issue and "officially" one of their key concerns, in reality it was being shoved aside by development needs. Booming economic and industrial activity is overwhelming their ability to address the needs properly. They stated that while many policies have been adopted, they are not always implemented. Fees charged for permits and for operations are not high enough to cover operating costs, much less funding for new construction.

In Shanghai they are trying to discourage the use of gas-powered scooters, coal heating stoves and wood burning appliances. Natural gas heating and cooking appliances are being installed in their place. There are now over one million cars registered in Shanghai and the number is growing by the week. Their emissions standards are still in development, and many of the vehicles are older and predate the standards. Heavy industries also add to the burden with air and water pollution discharges. The Chinese are addressing air pollution in a multi-pronged approach including moving polluting industries away from population centers, desulfurization of emissions, reduction of suspended solids, energy planning, greenfield development, and exploration of renewable or low-impact energy production facilities.

Sanitary sewerage treatment is just beginning. Today only 661 cities have active sewer treatment programs, and they treat only 64 percent of the waste generated. Two hundred twenty cities have no form of treatment and 400 others have minor treatment facilities. Two thousand three hundred counties have no treatment methods and 30,000 villages with populations of 10,000 or more have minor treatment activities. China still utilized combined sewer systems until 1980 when a policy of separate systems was adopted for new construction. This leads to additional stress in the production of drinking water. China is plagued with high organic levels in surface water sources. This sediment clogs filters and other separators. Additionally, high phosphorus levels lead to additional treatment problems. Officials at the university reported that water plant operators experience great difficulty regulating chlorine levels due to the organic loading of the raw and even treated water. Industrial pollution of surface and groundwater is gaining widespread international attention. The delegation had only been back in the U.S. two weeks when a major chemical plant in Harbine released thousands of gallons of benzene into the river, causing a 50-mile spill and shutting off drinking water to the city for four days over our Thanksgiving weekend, affecting water supplies all the way to Russia for weeks after.

The future appears bright for China's engineering students. In 2006 more than 360,000 engineers will graduate from their universities. To go to a university in China students must first pass a national entrance exam. Only the highest-scoring students are considered for engineering admissions. Tongji University is rated as the third best in the country and generally gets the top students. They have an exchange program with a university in Portland, Oregon and a number of European colleges. We ended our visit with a tour of the laboratory facilities at the School where students learn and do research to support the country's ongoing environmental research activities.

During the afternoon we were taken to a senior citizen drop-in center to meet with the leaders of a local neighborhood, the Cao Yang Community. This neighborhood, the home to former Chinese President Jiang Ze-min, has been named a "model neighborhood" for its efforts on planned development and environmental friendliness. The neighborhood comprises 4.6 square kilometers and is home to 95,000 residents, a density that would make many of our zoning officials pale. Delegates were met there by Ms. Ding Xiunuan with the Foreign Affairs Department of the Cao Yang Community. Also present was Ms. Wang Jing, the Vice Director of Public Environmental Management for the community. Ms. Jing presented a history of the area and explained some of the activities they have undertaken. The neighborhood area was built in 1951 and is the earliest laborer's residential community in China. There are eight kindergartens, six elementary/primary schools and six middle schools in the community. There are also two professional schools (Vocational/Technical). The community boasts two hospitals, one with 1,000 beds and the other with 50. Both provide care in Traditional as well as Western medicine. This vibrant community area has 400 shops, 50 larger "super" markets, and one open-air market.

The community attaches great importance to its environmental protection efforts. We were given a tour of the neighborhood to see the results of their work. We began by walking along the Suzhou Creek. The neighborhood recently upgraded this waterway, which until recently had the distinction of being one of Shanghai's worst-polluted rivers. The neighborhood formed the Suzhou Creek Rehabilitation and Construction Company and, working with the community, they added to the canal area some water purifying plants, decorative bridges, and a canal-side walking path. It is now known as the Forest in the Water. Along the path were seating areas, decorative plantings, rock waterfalls and fountains, and a number of sculptures. Young and old alike were out sitting, talking, and fishing along the walkway. This new greenbelt area covers 33 percent of the community's total area indicating their dedication to preserving a high environmental presence.

Delegates were taken to a newer apartment block, designated as a Green Block. This apartment block houses multiple recycling centers. Each center utilizes a two-cubic-yard garbage digester which composts the organic waste generated. Paper, plastic, glass and batteries are all recycled. Three hundred seventy-six households utilize the sorting center we visited.

We were treated with a visit to the apartment block's environmental library where they have a collection of books and articles regarding ecology and environmental issues and where they conduct educational training for young and old alike on the need for environmental stewardship. The community's goals are to become a sovereign community, become a garden community, become an academic community and become an education community.

The hosts then took the delegation to an apartment of a local resident to see what the living units looked like in this newer development. The apartment we visited comprised 1,500 square feet, had three bedrooms and was home to five people: the mother, father, son, daughter-in-law and grandson.

On day two in Shanghai the delegation had a cultural day. The day began with a visit to the Bund. Located along the waterfront in Shanghai, the Bund is home to many buildings built by the British in the early 1900s. The City has built a large promenade along the river allowing for sightseeing, exercise and community interaction. The Bund also allows great views of the Podung District of Shanghai, home to the Pearl Tower and many newer skyscrapers.

The next stop for the delegates and guests was the Shanghai Museum of Art. This facility is home to some of China's oldest antiquities, including 4,000-year-old jade figurines, 2,500-year-old cast bronze pieces, and carved ivory. It also houses an incredible collection of diamonds, emeralds, and other precious stones found throughout China.

The group also toured a silk rug factory to see how silk rugs are made. We were surprised to learn that China has become the major manufacturer of not only Chinese silk rugs, but Persian rugs as well. With the unrest in the Middle East and Pakistan, many of the rug orders have shifted to rug manufacturing factories in the Shanghai area. Rugs are graded in three basic grades: display, light traffic and fine quality. Display quality rugs may have 200-250 knots per square inch, intended for use as wall hangings. Light traffic rugs have between 300 and 350 knots per square inch, while the fine quality rugs have in excess of 450 knots per square inch. An 18 x 36-inch fine quality rug will take the weaver over three years to complete. A rug of this quality retails for around $2,000 U.S.

The last stop for our day was at the beautiful Yu'an Gardens. Located south of downtown Shanghai, this garden area was restored about 30 years ago. Originally built by a Chinese businessman for his homesick parents, today this area houses beautifully redecorated and rebuilt examples of tea houses, outdoor theaters, and traditional garden elements. The area surrounding the gardens is home to a very bustling traditional shopping area with open market stalls of silk, jewelry and jade merchants (and a Starbucks coffee shop which was considered an essential by Past National President Dwayne Kalynchuk).

Our long, tiring day was capped off by a Going Away dinner at a wonderful restaurant overlooking the river. The views of the river and buildings were incredible as most of the buildings along the river are not just buildings but performing works of art. Equipped with LEDs, some buildings display moving pictures covering the entire side of the building, while others create a two-hour light show with the buildings changing color, patterns and shapes. It was hard to eat while keeping on eye on the ever-changing color show out the window.

Day three in Shanghai brought our departure from China. We traveled by bus to the new Shanghai International Airport for our Dragon Air flight to Hong Kong. Along the way we saw a working Mag-Lev train. This train services the new airport from a station in the southeastern section of downtown Shanghai. Traveling at speeds of almost 300 miles an hour, it covers the 20 miles in just over five minutes. According to our guide, China plans to expand these into other areas of the country.

After a two-hour flight we were in Hong Kong where three of our delegation stayed for a three-day sightseeing tour. The remainder of the delegation boarded our Cathay Pacific 747 for the long flight back to reality, with wonderful memories, experiences and friendships that will last a lifetime.

Dwayne Kalynchuk can be reached at (250) 360-3092 or; Rich Berning can be reached at (217) 529-7833 or; and Brian Usher can be reached at (847) 746-4064 or

Memoirs of an APWA spouse

China was never a place to travel to until APWA and People to People International made it impossible to resist, along with a little nudge from my husband Brian. The price was right and a bargain for our experience of a uniquely designed professional tour of three cities: Beijing, Guilin and Shanghai. These three cities offered us a broad and varied view of what was once known as the Middle Kingdom.

The People to People International staff put together an outstanding tour for both the APWA delegates and their guests. The airline and hotel accommodations were five-star rated and service was outstanding. Aside from three dinners on our own, all our meals were included and we had a large sampling of authentic Chinese cuisine and regional "delicacies." Transportation was always provided for delegation meetings and guest tours.

Our group consisted of 13 APWA delegates led by 2003-04 APWA President Dwayne Kalynchuk and four guests. We were all strangers when we gathered together at the Beijing Airport and met with our Chinese national guide "Helen" Yan, but we were all friends, including Helen, by the time of our departure. The national People to People guide accompanies the delegates through the entire trip and acts as guide, translator, interpreter, helper, assistant and general overseer. The national guide is assisted in each city by a People to People city guide who escorts the guests on tours during delegate meetings and helps on cultural days when both delegates and guests tour together. As a delegation guest member in a foreign country, I always felt secure with our assigned city guides who were knowledgeable and helpful.

Our guest tours were thoughtfully selected and provided opportunities to experience China in ways other tourists may not have. In Beijing, not only did we see the Summer Palace, Forbidden City, Great Wall and Temple of Heaven, but were driven through a hutong (old Mongolian walled neighborhood) on a rickshaw and were welcomed into one of the hutong homes to see how a Chinese family lives.

In Guilin, we enjoyed a lazy cruise on the Li River while soaking in the breathtaking and poetic limestone hills, cormorant fishermen on their bamboo boats, and rural Chinese farmers plodding along in their rice paddies behind their water buffalo. Also in Guilin, many of us were amazed by the spectacular sights inside the Reed Flute Cave.

In Shanghai, the guests toured the Senior Citizen University where seniors attend classes of their choosing including art, computers, flower design and English to name a few. The school's outside electronic sign welcomed our People to People group and each class greeted us as if we were visiting dignitaries. It was a wonderful program to observe. We also toured a silk rug factory, the beautiful Yu'an Gardens in old Shanghai, and marveled at the feats of Chinese acrobats at the Shanghai Theater. We were also privileged to see bronze and jade pieces dating back to the 10th century B.C. at the Shanghai Art Museum.

Our 11 days in China went by quickly, but every minute was packed with everlasting educational experiences. For Brian and myself, it truly was a trip of a lifetime and we gained incredible knowledge, insight, understanding and appreciation for China and its people. Words cannot describe the feeling of being able to see, touch, and stand on some of the world's most ancient and historic sights. In addition, the focus of professional exchanges was an enriching experience for both cultures.

As a guest member, I am grateful to have had this wonderful opportunity provided by APWA and People to People International. Wherever the next selected country might be, I would strongly encourage any APWA member and their spouse to go. You won't be disappointed.

Contributed by Teri Usher, wife of Brian Usher, Director of Public Works & Engineering, City of Zion, Illinois. Brian will give a presentation at the 2006 APWA Congress in Kansas City.

Czech and Slovak Republics' Summer 2006 Public Works Conferences

As mentioned in the March issue of the APWA Reporter, public works professionals from all parts of the United States and Canada as well as from other countries throughout the world are invited to attend the Public Works Conferences in the Czech and Slovak Republics, June 6-8 and 9-10 respectively.

The Slovak portion of the conferences will take place in Bratislava with visits to several other surrounding towns. A suggestion for the trip plan is to arrive in Prague for the Czech Conference, continue to Slovakia, and depart from Vienna, Austria. The Slovak members will provide transportation from Prague to Bratislava and will also provide transportation to the airport in Vienna.

  Winter in Bratislava

In 1993 Bratislava became the capital of the independent Slovak Republic. Today it is considered one of the most prospective and dynamically developing regions of Europe. During its development Bratislava belonged to important Central European towns and it played a decisive role in ethnic and social metamorphoses and historical relations from the economic, administrative and cultural points of view. The Old Town Hall and St. Michael's Tower remind us of the Gothic towns of prosperity in the 14th century. Many palaces with the gardens and large baroque and monastery churches represent the creative period of the 18th century. The 19th century is commemorated by the Slovak National Theatre; the early 20th century by Blue Church. One could go on to architectural representatives of modernism and post-war period. Huge residential areas were built around the historical town and its older suburbs. That significantly changed the appearance of the town. The period after the year 2000 is mostly characterized by construction of shopping/entertainment centers such as Polus City Center, Aupark, Avion and the newly-constructed Shopping Palace.

During your conference visit you will be taken on a tour of the new, state-of-the-art recycling plant, incineration plant and some unique landfills. You will also visit towns where recycling is just in its infant stage and see how it is handled. You may want to see the differences in the equipment used and operations established.

  Christmas in Bratislava

Come and see the latest types of machinery used in the Slovak Republic and how they are handling public works problems. Don't miss exciting and interesting excursion events. Slovak conferences feature field visits and informal meetings as well as educational and technical excursions. This year's main focus is on solid waste recycling.

We are looking forward to seeing our members there together with John Lisenko, a successful recipient of the Jennings Randolph Fellowship who will be attending the conferences and making a presentation.

So don't delay and plan your extended European holiday prior to or after you attend these two public works events. The local contact for the Czech event is Dr. George Neuzil ( and the local contact for the Slovakia conference is Ing. Peter Benes ( Dr. Neuzil attended our APWA conference in Minneapolis in 2005 and he gave a presentation, and also helped organized last year's conference in the two countries.

Anyone interested in these events should contact members of the APWA/SPWA/CZPWA Task Force, Helena Allison at or Geoff Greenough at for more details.

Submitted by Helena Allison, Design Manager, Willdan, Sacramento, CA, who can be reached at (916) 924-7000 or

2006 Jennings Randolph Fellowship recipients named

The American Public Works Association is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2006 Jennings Randolph Fellowship. The following APWA members were selected through a formal application process to present public works/infrastructure-related papers at APWA's international partnership countries' public works-related conferences coupled with a one-week study tour of public facilities and issues in that country. All four recipients will prepare articles for the APWA Reporter reflecting their experiences and will make a presentation at the 2007 APWA International Public Works Congress and Exposition on their findings.

The 2006 Jennings Randolph Fellowship recipients are:

  • Patricia Bugas-Schramm, Assistant to the Director, Portland Transportation Maintenance Bureau, Portland, Oregon. Bugas-Schramm will attend the Association of Local Government Engineering New Zealand Incorporated (INGENIUM) Annual Conference to be held in Auckland, New Zealand on June 8-10, 2006 and will study New Zealand's method for assessing risk in funding public infrastructure needs and the calculated tradeoffs stakeholders would experience given various funding scenarios.

  • Julio C. Fuentes, Senior Traffic Engineer, City of San Diego Transportation Department. Fuentes will visit Mexico and attend the AMMAC Congress to be held in Merida in the Yucatan on November 16-18, 2006 and will evaluate a study he began six years ago with the City of Tijuana in implementing short-term traffic engineering measures along a congested corridor.

  • John Lisenko, Public Works Director, City of Foster City, California. Lisenko will attend the International Czech Republic Public Works Association and Slovak Public Works Association Conferences to be held June 6-8 and 9-10 respectively, and will study the public works infrastructure for suburban development in Slovakia/Czech Republic as the two countries move toward democratization and free enterprise economies.

  • Tammy Qualls, Project Engineer, RMC Water and Environment, San Jose, California. Qualls will visit Mexico and attend the AMMAC Congress to be held in Merida in the Yucatan on November 16-18, 2006 and will study sewer collection systems in Monterrey and Guadalajara.

The APWA International Affairs Committee looks forward to receiving applications for the 2007 international conferences in Australia and Mexico. To learn more about this program, please visit the APWA website at under "About APWA - International Activities" or contact Kaye Sullivan, APWA Deputy Executive Director, at or (800) 848-APWA, extension 5233.

Cultural Proverbs

"Better a mouse in the pot than no meat at all." - Romanian Proverb

"Deliberate often, decide once." - Latin Proverb

"A handful of patience is worth a bushel of brains." - Dutch Proverb

"He who asks is a fool for five minutes, but he who does not ask remains a fool forever." - Chinese Proverb

"One meets his destiny often in the road he takes to avoid it." - French Proverb

"Advice is least heeded when most needed." - English Proverb

"Confessed faults are half mended." - Scottish Proverb

"If you want to be respected, you must respect yourself." - Spanish Proverb


"The ideal of happiness has always taken material form in the house, whether cottage or castle. It stands for permanence and separation from the world." - Simone de Beauvoir

"Cleaning your house while your kids are still growing is like shoveling the walk before it stops snowing." - Phyllis Diller

"Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in." - Robert Frost