Larry W. Frevert

APWA Certification Programs: Taking our members to the next level

Larry W. Frevert, P.E.
APWA President

Last September, the APWA Board of Directors adopted a "blueprint" to guide the development and implementation of certification and education programs into the future. At the same time, we heightened the role of construction inspection when we announced the Certified Public Infrastructure Inspector (CPII) certification program. As our first set of candidates waits to hear the results from the March CPII exam, we are reminded of the importance of not only offering professional development opportunities to our members, but recognizing those individuals who have demonstrated professionalism, expertise and a personal dedication to advancing public works services in their communities.

The CPII certification program is intended for individuals who inspect the construction of public infrastructure (e.g., roadways, highways, utilities, bridges, dams), facilities (e.g., pump stations, treatment plants, water storage facilities) and other types of construction work and materials to ensure compliance with plans and specifications.

The three-part Public Infrastructure Inspector Certification includes an eligibility application process, a multiple-choice examination, and a five-year recertification application process. The exam is intended to test an inspector's body of knowledge representing the following areas:

  • Testing, Measurement and Inspection - underground construction, at-grade construction, structural construction, and general construction
  • Project Planning and Management
  • Project Compliance and Documentation

All APWA certification programs are designed to ensure individual competency and provide the public works industry with recognized hiring and promotion standards. Looking back, it seems like only yesterday that we launched our first certification program, the Certified Public Fleet Professional. Since the launch in September 2006, thirty-one fleet professionals have earned the Certified Public Fleet Professional (CPFP) designation.

The CPFP is intended for both the seasoned, career local government public fleet manager, and those with experience in the field who are interested in a credential that will promote a career in public fleet management.

Like the CPII program, the Public Fleet Professional Certification system includes an eligibility application process, a multiple-choice examination, and a five-year recertification application process. The exam is intended to test a fleet professional's body of knowledge representing the following areas:

  • Operations - maintenance of vehicles, equipment, and fixed equipment, parts, facilities management, fuel and lubricants management, and repair policies and strategies

  • General Development and Business - developing credibility/marketing (both internal and external), strategic and business planning, customer service and collaboration, emergency preparedness, and ethics

  • Asset Management - needs determination, research acquisition, utilization, replacement and disposal of vehicle, equipment and fixed equipment and parts

  • Financial Management - budgeting, cost recovery, fleet operating purchasing, vehicle replacement funding, and record keeping

  • Human Resource Management - staffing, work environment, employee training, policies and procedures

  • Risk Management - workplace safety management, vehicle damage, contract compliance, regulatory compliance, and security

  • Environmental Management - shop best practices and regulatory compliance

  • Information Management and Technology Systems

APWA continues to seek opportunities to offer professional development and recognition in public works. A Stormwater Manager Certification program will roll out at the 2008 APWA International Public Works Congress and Exposition in August. We have recently completed the job analysis for the program which provides a detailed study of the job activities of the stormwater manager. This study provides a sound basis for the development of a professional, job-related certification examination.

Don't miss these opportunities to take you and your staff to the next level by continuing your professional development and seeking certification! Public works departments will benefit from enhanced job performance, competency, best practices, financial management and professionalism. Individuals will enjoy enhanced career opportunities, credibility and recognition. Everyone will benefit from increased industry professionalism.

NPWW and the Top Ten
May—a great month! In the northern part of the United States and in Canada, April promises spring, but May delivers. The sun finally comes out from behind the clouds with some degree of regularity. Maybe that's one of the reasons why APWA chose May as the proper time to celebrate National Public Works Week. This year it's May 18-24.

Of course, one of the primary objectives of National Public Works Week is to recognize exceptional public service by the thousands of dedicated public works professionals who labor day in and day out to improve the quality of life of our constituents. Featured in this issue of the APWA Reporter are the Top Ten Public Works Leaders of the Year for 2008. I had the pleasure of notifying the awardees of their selection and it was an honor to do so. The reactions varied from total silence while they allowed the news to sink in to immediate exuberance that their colleagues would choose them for this honor in 2008. Each was quick to emphasize that while they may be the ones chosen for recognition, the credit goes to their staff and coworkers, and their efforts are symbolic of those of many who serve our wonderful profession.

This is the forty-ninth consecutive year that well-qualified panels of judges have undertaken the arduous task of singling out for special recognition ten individuals who exemplify the high caliber of public servants in the public works profession. What factors led the judges to make their decisions? Some insight may be found in the capsulized descriptions of accomplishments performed by the 2008 Top Ten Public Works Leaders of the Year, beginning on page 20.

These are ten great public works professionals we honor this year, but from my travels and visits with our members across North America, in my mind, each one of you is a leader that deserves recognition and credit for your service. Thank you for all you do daily for the public works profession and for APWA.