Aug 22, 2013

Sunday Congress Recap

Sunday Congress Recap

APWA International Public Works Congress & Expo
Sunday, August 25th
Initial Day: "Engineering Change"


Taking place in Chicago at McCormick Place Lakeside Center, APWA’s 2013 International Public Works Congress, known as “The Best Show In Public Works,” began bright and earlyon Sunday, August 25th featuring sunny weather. The theme of this year’s conference is “Engineering Change,” which is reflected in the signage and banners, as well as the many educational sessions, and the latest from exhibitors.

Starting off the day, the First-Timers Meeting began at 7:00 a.m.for those attending the annual APWA conference for the first time. The first-time attendees heard from the new APWA President, Ed Gottko, PWLF, who will lead the organization for the next year. Also, Executive Director, Peter King, advised attendees about how to get the most from the monetary and time invested in the Congress experience. The APWA Diversity Committee coordinated the meeting, which was sponsored by Cartegraph, Parsons Brinkerhoff, and Stantec.

Educational sessions and business meetings followed, which included a variety of topics such as; the sustainable building program tool, funding-to-construction, green streets and porous pavements, as well as new tools for your winter maintenance arsenal.

The Opening General Session began at 10:00 the Arie Crown Theatre, and was highlighted bythe introduction of the 2013-2014 APWA Board of Directors, andthe new APWA President Gottko, who gave a Past President’s pin to the immediate Past President Elizabeth Treadway. In his remarks, Gottko congratulated the public works professionals who participated in the heroicand extensive emergency management efforts of public works crews in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy on the East Coast, following the Moore, Oklahoma tornado,and during and after the Alberta, Canada flooding.He also noted that much has happened to engineer change in the field of public works and changes in the APWA organization, such as the development and implementation of the Donald C. Stone Center and the public works Institutes to offer new educational opportunities and provide the best resources for members. He stressed taking back what attendees have learned at Congress to develop new technologies and techniques to make their communities better for tomorrow.

The Sunday Keynote Speaker, Thomas Friedman, the best-selling author and New York Times columnist, highlighted for attendees his opinions on the engines of change in the U.S., and how globalization has affected us, along with the world of technology to go from a society of connectedness to “hyper-connectedness.” His speech tracked the explosion of renovation involved in the convergence of three elements– PC’s allowed authority of content in digital format, the emergence of the internet to send content anywhere in the world, and the newworkflow software, which enabled individuals to collaborate with others around the world, making it even “flatter.”

Friedman also cited robot technology and the occurrence of “artificial intelligence,” as two areas that are improving basic services that humans have traditionally received from other humans, by improving the time and resources spent doing various jobs and occupations, with illustrations he cited in legal services, phone services, restaurant services and other white and blue collar jobs.

On Sunday evening after the first day of the 2013 Congress, hundreds of attendees, volunteers and exhibitors attended the annual Get Acquainted Party which was held at Soldier Field, home of the Chicago Bears. The party, which was hosted by the Chicago Metro Chapter, featured great food and beverages and also gave attendees the opportunity to hear some live Chicago blues. The "Blues Brothers" and their cast of characters performed to entertain the crowd. The event was a perfect way to end a terrific first day of Congress.Photos of the event are on Flickr at the APWA 2013 Congress site at: