Reflections on a Rewarding Year
As my year as president draws to a close I look ahead to its conclusion with mixed emotions. I will be glad to return to a normal life; however, I will miss the chapter visits, even though they required extensive travel and time away from home and work. My experiences as APWA president have been some of the most rewarding of my life. I have visited chapters across the United States and Canada and have been impressed by the quality and dedication of the public works community. I have also been impressed by the hospitality of the chapters and would like to thank those chapters that invited me to attend their meetings.
It was interesting to note, as I visited the chapters, talked with chapter members and attended the technical sessions, how common the issues and concerns are. No matter the location we seem to be grappling with many of the same problems. Inadequate funding for public works infrastructure, traffic congestion, stormwater, and hiring and retaining qualified staff are just a few of the areas that were frequently brought up. Specific chapter-related issues included membership growth and retention, member education programs, scholarships, and finances.
However, regardless of the issue, the public works community is responding to the challenge. Public works departments are developing new and innovative ways to provide service to the public. Public-private partnerships, the Internet, and new technologies are being utilized extensively to ensure that quality service is provided to the citizens of our communities.
The Board of APWA has long recognized that the chapters are the strength of APWA. They are on the front line of service to the members, and for many members they are the only direct contact with APWA. I was pleased with the valuable feedback that every chapter I visited provided me. This feedback, whether through the House of Delegates or directly from the chapters, enables the board and national staff to be responsive to our members needs. I was also impressed with the extensive services chapters provide to their members.
I would like to take the opportunity in this last column to recognize the APWA staff. I have had the opportunity to work with virtually every member of the APWA staff and we can be proud of their dedication, professionalism, and the quality of their work. They have been a tremendous resource to me in fulfilling my duties as your president.
I look forward to seeing the many new friends I made over the past year at the APWA Congress in Louisville. At the Congress I will be turning over the reins of leadership and assuming the less hectic role of past-president. The association is fortunate to have Judith Mueller with her extensive background and involvement in APWA as our new president.
In closing, I would like to thank all those who have helped make this the most memorable year of my professional career.