The Facilities and Grounds Committee schedules their own operations and maintenance

Colene Vogel
Technical Services Program Manager
American Public Works Association
Kansas City, Missouri

APWA's Technical Committees meet in person only twice per year. They meet once at Congress and once in the spring in Kansas City. The rest of the year, they meet monthly by conference call. The face-to-face meetings are times for the committees to brainstorm education topics for Congress sessions, articles, publications, etc., as well as put together annual business plans. Consequently, committees like the Facilities and Grounds Committee complete much of their planning many months in advance of events or publication releases.

Committee members make plans early not only to fit into the organization's overall scheduling but also to give themselves time to develop all of the educational products they produce. Each committee is responsible for providing articles for the Reporter. Committee members often write their articles but they also find authors to write about special topics or projects. Once again, this issue of the Reporter is filled with articles gathered by the Facilities and Grounds Technical Committee. And, once again, the articles cover quite a variety of topics within facilities and grounds.

Technical Committees are responsible for Congress sessions each year. It takes time to locate speakers or projects for the chosen topics. Often, little changes are made along the way as new ideas emerge or different speakers become available. The Facilities and Grounds Committee has some great educational sessions planned for Congress in New Orleans. They include taking care of employees during a crisis, tree and sidewalk conflicts, "greening" existing facilities, and a joint session with the Public Works Historical Society on the restoration of a historic city hall building.

The Facilities and Grounds Committee has been working on a new position statement regarding emergency shelters. Positions are developed by Technical Committees, reviewed by staff and approved by the Board of Directors. If you're not familiar with APWA's position statements, take a minute to go to and look them over. You can access the full list, grouped by topic, by choosing Advocacy from the top menu and selecting APWA Positions. There are two types of positions: advocacy and guidance. The advocacy position statements are used by the Government Affairs Office in D.C. to communicate with members of Congress. Guidance statements are for use by members. They include things like best management practices, leadership tools or resource conservation measures.

While it may seem nearly impossible for any committee to put information in front of members that is truly current with so many of their projects going on months in advance, never fear. Besides articles, Congress sessions and position statements, the Facilities and Grounds Committee utilizes APWA's infoNOW Communities for information exchanges. When possible, they also have the opportunity to select new outside publications for the bookstore rather than starting something new.

Facilities and Grounds Committee members are: Harry Weed, Chair, Village of Rockville Centre, NY; Venu Gupta, P.E., City of Milwaukee, WI; Al Olson, City of Ankeny, IA; David Fain, City of Haltom City, TX; George Gonzalez, City of Los Angeles, CA; and Michele Ohmes, City of Kansas City, MO (retired). The Board Liaison to the committee is At-Large Director Ken Nerland, and the Staff Liaison is Colene Vogel. For more information on the committee, go to and select Technical Committees and Facilities & Grounds.

Colene Vogel can be reached at (816) 595-5221 or