Got snow? We do!

Bret Hodne
Superintendent of Public Works
West Des Moines, Iowa
Chair, APWA Winter Maintenance Subcommittee

Snow and ice! If you get it, then you certainly are familiar with the challenges associated with trying to get rid of it. Agencies that deal with the "white stuff" during the winter season know that it is an activity that can "make you or break you." Oftentimes the performance of a public works department is judged solely on how good a job they do with the management of snow and ice during the winter months. Lack of planning and not keeping up with new technology and winter maintenance practices can many times lead to an agency being labeled a "poor one" by its residents.

Fortunately, there is a group of APWA members that has been assembled on the APWA Winter Maintenance Subcommittee to help agencies across North America in dealing with this issue. The mission statement of the subcommittee is:

On behalf of the citizens we serve, to be an informed action and advocacy group to promote the development and use of the safest, most cost-effective, efficient, and environmentally sensitive winter maintenance technologies, equipment, materials, and practices; so these citizens can enjoy an excellent quality of life during the snow and ice season.

As you can see from the mission statement, this group is here to help other APWA members with the management of snow and ice. The group has worked diligently during the past year in providing assistance with the planning of the North American Snow Conference, submitting articles on snow-related issues for the APWA Reporter, and participating on various national committees comprised of snow and ice professionals from around North America.

Bret Hodne, Superintendent of Public Works for the City of West Des Moines, Iowa has just taken over as chair of the subcommittee. Other members include: Kevin Koch, Philadelphia, PA; Diana Evans, Ohio DOT; Barry Belcourt, Edmonton, AB; Dr. Wilfred Nixon, University of Iowa; Gary Welsh, Toronto, ON; John Scharffbillig, Minnesota DOT; Rachelle Cornelius, Kansas City, MO; and Scott Peppler, Provo, UT. If you have an interest in participating, please contact Bret Hodne at

This subcommittee also has other participants who share in the discussions along with the formal members. Anyone who has an interest in the area of snow and ice management is welcome to participate. Currently, Dick Hanneman, Salt Institute; April Heston, Cryotech Deicing Technology; Steve Karr, Envirotech; Mohamed Alkoka, Ottawa, ON; and others share this level of involvement.

Currently the subcommittee is working with the National LTAP on developing a program that will assist states that would like to develop a snow and ice training program. The goal will be to have the program available to interested agencies on CD in the near future. There will be good examples included from entities that are currently sponsoring and have experience with this type of training.

Another activity that has been receiving a lot of emphasis by the members is the updating of the website. Several new links have been added recently and there is a lot of information that can be accessed through this site. I would encourage you to visit the Winter Maintenance Subcommittee site on the APWA web page.

This should be an exciting year for the Winter Maintenance Subcommittee. We have several new members and many new challenges to explore. The members of this group have extensive knowledge in the area of snow and ice management and are willing to help out where needed. Since they are dealing with snow and ice, they don't "blow a lot of hot air" either.

Have a great winter season. And remember, if we can be of any assistance to you, don't hesitate to call!

Bret Hodne can be reached at (515) 222-3536 or at