Hat's off to a great leader!

R. Mark DeVries
Maintenance Superintendent
McHenry County Division of Transportation
Woodstock, Illinois
Chair, APWA Winter Maintenance Subcommittee

Have you ever lost an employee with years of experience and wondered how you will replace him or her? Have you ever seen a change in management and wondered how it will affect you and your organization? Well, these are the very challenges facing your Winter Maintenance Subcommittee.

Bret Hodne has spent the past six years serving as the subcommittee's chair. Bret is well-known throughout the industry as one of the leading individuals when it comes to snow and ice. He has worked diligently to promote the subcommittee and best practices in snow and ice operations. What many people may not realize is how many other commitments are required of the position. Chairing this subcommittee often means being APWA's liaison to many other industry committees. It means teaching, writing articles, presenting, arranging speakers, meetings and involvement in the North American Snow Conference's planning and implementation.

Bret has not only accomplished all of this, he has set the bar to new heights along the way. He is a Past President of the Iowa Chapter, the recipient of the Donald C. Stone Award for Excellence in Education, and most recently a Top Ten Public Works Leader of the Year. While fulfilling his role as chair, Bret has managed to serve his community as Superintendent of West Des Moines and transform it into one of the most recognized cities for proper, innovative and efficient public works operations. Bret has been both a friend and mentor to me and all those on the subcommittee.

Bret has decided to step down as chair and assume a lesser role on the subcommittee. I wish to commend Bret on his efforts over these past years and I will do my best to continue the tradition of excellence for which he has set the standard.

This is a transitional time for the subcommittee as we assume new roles. In many of the presentations I have done I talk about change and how to embrace it. Change is inevitable, yet we often fear it and the uncharted course it holds for us. In embracing it we can mold a vision into reality.

The subcommittee has already taken similar steps—the vision of a Snow and Ice Award is about to come to fruition. New computer-based training modules are nearly complete and will be available through the APWA Bookstore. The Snow Conference now has heavy equipment and will continue to from this time forward. Our subcommittee's outreach and partnerships are the best we have had in many years.

As the new chair I will work with the subcommittee to not only continue these great programs but to incorporate new ideas and programs as well. APWA has undertaken a new and exciting program with certifications. I believe this is a program that the Winter Maintenance Subcommittee would participate in and an area that public works would find extremely beneficial if offered. I believe the Educational Summit held this past year will offer new ideas for educational programs and snow and ice will be one of the focus areas. We are seeing more global participation in our Snow Conference and I hope to continue to incorporate their participation in educational sessions. Most of all I hope to continue the trend to incorporate members to the subcommittee from all across North America. This cross section helps us to understand what area programs are in place and what the needs of agencies in the different areas are.

I want to once again thank Bret for his tireless efforts over these past years. I welcome new prospective members as well as current members who are willing to dedicate themselves to the goals of the subcommittee.

Check out the Winter Maintenance Subcommittee web page on APWA's website under Technical Committees (/About/TechSvcs/Transportation/Winter-Maint/). The subcommittee is always looking for feedback and willing to assist in any way it can.

DeVries has presented at numerous seminars across North America and in-state. He has shared his experiences with many local agencies as well as at local seminars and expos. The Chicago Metro Chapter and the Fox Valley Branch have asked him to speak on several occasions and he serves as Chair of the local snow and ice conference and awards committee. Besides presenting at these events, his national exposure has allowed him to bring other experts to present at these events as well. He also volunteers for the Illinois Local Technology Transfer Program (LTAP), and teaches flagging safety and snow and ice removal for new operators for all local agencies in northern Illinois.

Mark DeVries is the recipient of the 2007 Donald C. Stone Award for Excellence in Education. He is a member of the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) Technical Committee for deicing chemical specification and the Midwestern States Snow and Ice Group. He also volunteers for the Illinois Local Technology Transfer Program (LTAP), and teaches flagging safety and snow and ice removal for new operators for all local agencies in northern Illinois. He can be reached at (815) 334-4975 or at