A delegation of APWA members led by John German of APWA's Board of Directors recently attended the Asociacion de Municipios de Mexico, A.C. (AMMAC) 8th National Public Works and Services Congress in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. Accompanying Mr. German were two members of APWA's International Affairs Committee-Bernardo Garcia, Public Works Director of Hillsborough County, Florida, and Bob Kass, Public Works Director of Campbell, California.
Additional APWA attendees included Julio Fuentes, Senior Transportation Engineer for the City of San Diego and Chair of the APWA/AMMAC Task Force; Jose Gamboa, Solid Waste Superintendent for the City of Santa Cruz, California; MartÃn Bernal, City of Santa Cruz Assistant City Manager; Irma Meyers, Assistant to the Public Works Director from Yuma, Arizona; Ed Drusina, Director of Public Works, El Paso, Texas; and Angel Figuereo and Carol Bowen from the City of Virginia Beach, Virginia. Several private sector APWA members also attended, as did several other El Paso, Texas Public Works officials.
Mr. German participated in the opening ceremonies, which included a military color guard and band and a ceremonial ribbon cutting welcoming delegates to the conference and exposition. John German, representing APWA at the conference, informed the group about APWA's programs and encouraged the AMMAC members to attend APWA meetings and to participate in technical information exchanges being planned. Bob Kass and MartÃn Bernal participated on a panel discussion regarding Quality in Public Administration that included Dr. Octavio Chavez from the International City and County Manager's Association (ICMA) Guadalajara, Mexico office. Jose Gamboa spoke about Santa Cruz's integrated solid waste management program; Julio Fuentes was a speaker on a panel dealing with bi-national collaboration; and Angel Figuereo spoke about Virginia Beach's computerized traffic signal system. Mr. Fuentes also served as the translator for Mr. German.
A major objective of APWA's International Affairs Committee is to strengthen ties with its international partnership organizations. The level of participation of APWA members in this year's AMMAC conference was exceptional and will hopefully lead to more cooperation between the two organizations in the future. Efforts are underway to make the 2003 Congress in San Diego the focal point for dialogue and technical exchange between APWA and AMMAC members.
One of the highlights of the conference was the closing night festival dinner hosted by the Mayor of Juarez. All conferees were invited to attend this gala dinner and show at the mayor's house. Under balmy, starry skies, participants were treated to a four-course gourmet Mexican dinner, traditional Mexican beverages, and a Las Vegas-style show featuring song, dance, and comedy.
Next year's AMMAC conference will be hosted by the City of Pachuca, Hidalgo, in the colonial gold and silver mining Sierra Madre region of Mexico.