Celebrating 50 years!

Teresa Hon
Technical Services Coordinator
APWA Kansas City Office
Staff Liaison, Public Works Historical Society

The year 2004 is a milestone year for six of the APWA chapters. Wisconsin, New England, San Diego/Imperial Counties, Tennessee, Arizona and Manitoba Chapters are celebrating their 50th anniversary. Following is a brief overview of several chapters' plans for recognizing and celebrating this significant landmark.

Wisconsin Chapter
At the Executive Committee Meeting on July 19, 2002, a 50th Anniversary Planning Committee, to be chaired by the 2004 president, Bill Kappel, was appointed. As plans progressed, additional individuals were added to the committee.

Most of the "celebration" will take place at the fall conference. Taking a page from the national celebration a few years ago, announcements of the "Top Ten Public Works Projects" in Wisconsin will be made at the Spring Conference May 5-7, 2004 in West Bend, Wisconsin. Details regarding the submittal process and categories are available.

For the 25th and 40th anniversaries the chapter printed a history. An update will be produced which will feature the addition of summaries of important events—the annual snow plow roadeo, the website development, the newsletter, etc. A 16-month calendar (September 2004-December 2005) will feature historical photos portraying public works in Wisconsin.

Finally, plans are developing for a special Fall Conference Program featuring well-known Midwestern speakers addressing past and future trends in public works. Dave Schultz from Northwestern University will be the keynote speaker. This program promises to have the potential to attract a much wider audience than might normally attend the fall conference.

This high-energy group continues to discuss and consider additional programs and events to recognize the anniversary.

Obviously many of these projects had costs involved. The Executive Committee had allocated funds for anniversary-related projects and events in the 2003 and 2004 budgets. Expenditures were approved by the Executive Committee. An additional effort will be made to defray costs by asking for sponsorships from loyal supporters.

Since the Public Works Historical Society (PWHS) will have a booth on the exhibit floor at the Atlanta Congress, the chapter plans to have all material available for display at the 2004 Congress. Plan to stop by and take a look.

New England Chapter
The New England Chapter began making plans for the anniversary recognition in 2001 through the formation of a 50th Anniversary Committee. The committee has been expanded each year as the anniversary drew closer. The 50th Anniversary Committee is still planning and the process now involves all other chapter committees.

Each chapter meeting will have a special event, and the events are scheduled to reach out to all areas of the chapter.

  • Spring Meeting - Coast Guard Academy, CT - trip to Mohegan Sun Resort after the meeting and the presentation of a $2,200 scholarship award

  • Western Meeting - Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, MA, featuring a presentation from K.C. Jones of the Celtics and the presentation of a $2,200 scholarship award

  • National Public Works Week Luncheon, Boston, MA - Keynote speaker and the presentation of two $2,200 scholarship awards

  • Summer Workshop (three days), West Dennis, MA, Cape Cod - Casino Night on Thursday and the presentation of a $2,200 scholarship award

  • Chapter Dinner - Program to be determined but will include the presentation of a $2,200 scholarship award

  • Fall Meeting, Providence, RI - Program to be determined but will include the presentation of a $2,200 scholarship award

  • Snow and Ice Meeting, NH - Added snow plow rodeo as part of the meeting

Three to four special recognition awards will be given at each meeting. The award is titled "Public Works Pride." A total of 30 awards will be given out at the following meetings: Spring, Western, NPWW, Summer, Fall, Snow & Ice, as well as the 50th Anniversary Gala. The Gala is a special event which will include awards, dinner, dancing, a gift for each attendee and a raffle. The program will also include the presentation of a $2,200 scholarship award.

Fund-raising projects are underway in several areas. Letters of invitation were sent to current contributors requesting participation at one of three levels. Incentives for participation are offered at each level which includes copies of the history book, acknowledgement in the history book, or a hotel room at the gala.

A raffle featuring some spectacular prizes will fund the additional scholarships. The prizes include a trip to Aruba, VCR and one hundred dollars cash.

The chapter is in the process of publishing a history book with the goal of distributing it during NPWW.

Arizona Chapter
The Arizona Chapter's 50th anniversary month is October. Plans began in June 2002 when a very large and diverse group met under the leadership of Cindy Cornelius, the 2004 Chapter President-Elect. This group became the 50th Anniversary Planning Committee. The planning process included numerous chapter members and was coordinated by the 50th Anniversary Planning Committee of over 30 chapter members. Four subcommittees were formed: Advocacy, Membership, Kids Education, and Careers and Community Outreach. All four subcommittees were very active.

A number of events are scheduled throughout the year.

  • On February 18, 2004 a presentation was made at the Monthly Chapter Membership Meeting which focused on the planned 50th Anniversary activities throughout 2004.

  • A press conference at the State Capitol in Phoenix, officiated by Chapter President Cindy Cornelius, was held on February 24, 2003. Specially-developed press kits were distributed to all attendees and will be widely distributed to all the media across the state. All speakers received a 24 x 30 framed copy of the 50th Anniversary Commemorative Poster developed by the Advocacy Subcommittee.

  • Presentations at city council meetings will be held where framed commemorative posters will be distributed.

  • Arizona's Governor Janet Napolitano has been invited to speak at the Monthly Chapter Membership Meeting during National Public Works Week, as well as the Statewide Conference in July. Other activities during NPWW will include various cities showcasing public works activities including information on the 50th Anniversary and some of the city council presentations of commemorative posters, press kits and media guides.

  • The Statewide Conference in July will include anniversary celebrations, where the Chapter History will be unveiled.

  • The October Chapter Membership Meeting will highlight the actual 50th Anniversary date.

  • There will be a community project, press release on major public works projects completed throughout the year, and an extensive program to target schools with presentations and information on public works.

  • A commemorative plaque, approved by the new light rail system, will be prominently displayed in one of the downtown stations.

Two publications are planned: a Chapter History and a History of Public Works in Arizona. A professional historian has been hired for both projects. The History Committee has also developed an extensive fund-raising program and is targeting the chapter membership, public agencies and private business. Other activities are funded by the chapter; however, logo shirts, ball caps, the Chapter History and commemorative posters will be sold.

Manitoba Chapter
Planning for Manitoba's anniversary recognition started three years ago with the appointment of Tony Esposito (2004 Chapter President) as the event coordinator. The event planning has been undertaken by a few key individuals, with frequent discussions at fall, winter and spring monthly board meetings.

Several events are planned for the coming year. While it isn't possible to provide complete details, a brief overview follows.

  • On April 23 the Past Presidents' Dinner was held in Winnipeg with the APWA President and Past Presidents from the last 50 years invited.

  • The 50th Anniversary will be publicized during NPWW, including municipal open houses and shopping mall displays with a Big Social on Saturday the 15th.

  • A nine-hole golf tournament will take place in May and will feature a luncheon guest speaker.

  • A 9/11 event is scheduled on September 9 and will feature speakers from New York City and the World Trade Center disaster.

  • The Mid-Canada Snow Conference is planned for October at the Winnipeg Convention Center and includes a Rock 'n Roll Social on Friday night.

  • November is the scheduled date for the Festival of Lights, an event that will include CPWA in lights and a fireworks display.

Many members have been involved in planning these chapter events. While it is not possible to acknowledge all individuals by name, APWA National and the chapters thank these members for their contributions, dedication and hard work.

Teresa Hon can be reached at (800) 848-APWA or at thon@apwa.net.