Created by the  APWA Board of Directors in 2008, the APWA Center for Sustainability is embarking on an exciting new initiative to drive the transformation of public works management so that public works professionals can confront the challenges facing their communities. The fundamentals of sustainability center on creating balanced solutions, solutions that deliver services at levels citizens expect; doing so in an environmentally and socially responsible way and that insuring the best economic choice in the long term.

In establishing the APWA Center for Sustainability the APWA Board of Directors recognized that new challenges such as shrinking local budgets, increased cost of materials, more engaged and better informed public and stakeholders and new regulatory mandates, are confronting public works professionals and making their daily jobs even more challenging. These new challenges require a new approach to public works management. This new approach must focus on innovative, collaborative and whole systems thinking. The next generation public works professional must look at the problem at hand in its broadest context and ensure that decision makers, government and private, are aware of the consequences and opportunities of a wide variety of possible solutions.

The 12 members of the Leadership Group are working to build a strong foundation and action plan for to ensure APWA becomes the driving force for sustainability in public works management and develop the next generation of public works leaders with strong sustainability credentials and commitment. Four long term priorities guide are work: (1) establish a framework for sustainability to assist public works professionals in taking a systems approach to a situation (2) develop professional development training and education opportunities for APWA members; (3) identify strategic partners at the federal, state and local levels to leverage resources and promote change; and (4) advocate for sustainability principles at the federal, state and local levels of government.

I hope that all APWA members actively participate in the efforts of the APWA Center for Sustainability. If you are interested in learning more, feel free to contact Gail Clark (

To download a copy of the Center for Sustainability brochure click here.