National Public Works Week: Colorado style!


This month brings National Public Works Week, May 18-24. This is a week to talk to your customers and citizens about what you do. Just as significant, it is an opportunity to step back and say "thank you" to your employees and make them feel good about what they do in public works.

With that in mind, check out our special section on how some agencies in the Centennial State celebrated National Public Works Week last year and what they'll be doing in just a few weeks. We hope you're suitably inspired and excited after reading about their experiences. Come on and celebrate—it's your week to shine!

Public Works Day in the City of Loveland
Last year the City of Loveland, Colorado's Public Works staff displayed everything from City trucks to a 100-year downpour at our annual Public Works Day Celebration. The day was a great success and once again offered the community a glimpse of the types of services the department provides our community on a daily basis. There were over 1,700 participants from five elementary schools and many more families that came to one of the City's parks to celebrate.

Project Engineering designed a mini roundabout that the children maneuvered through. Staff sent several kids through at one time so they could experience yielding to traffic.

Public Works made an effort to create a learning environment, so the kids got a little education on the field trip along with the fun. Some of the highlights were the WaterWheel sponsored by the Stormwater team. Children stand under a shower head and feel what the rain shower would be like in a flood. The Project Engineering Division teamed up with our Transportation Development Review staff to create a mini roundabout that the kids walked through and learned to "yield" to traffic. The Traffic Division sponsored a tricycle track that featured a stoplight and crosswalk. Their booth also displayed many of the school zone signs the children see on a daily basis. Solid Waste was also there to help separate recyclables and displayed a sample of the items accepted in the City's curbside program.

The event has grown to more than 2,000 attendees over the last four years and the local elementary schools now plan the event into their curriculum. This year we are brainstorming new ways to get children excited about their city and take pride in the services our employees provide to the citizens of Loveland.

Submitted by Jodi Lessman, Business Services Coordinator, City of Loveland, who can be reached at (970) 962-2555 or lessmj@ci.loveland.co.us.

National Public Works Week: Greenwood Village style
For the last nine years, the City of Greenwood Village has opened their Public Works maintenance facility to five- and six-year-old children. These children tour the site for two hours and take part in various learning activities set up by Public Works Department employees.

Children see where their street signs originate from and how they are made.

Large equipment that the children see throughout the year such as street sweepers, dump trucks and snowplows are displayed so they can climb on them. They learn about snow and ice control operations on roadways in addition to parks, trails and streetscape maintenance. Various lawn mowers are on display for the children to sit on and employees explain what work is done to keep the parks beautiful. The children gain an appreciation of the value of planting trees and flowers and why it is necessary to monitor the various insects in our community. The mechanic's bay is visited along with the sign shop. A miniature roadway and drainage system is used to illustrate how water runoff from our streets ends up in our water streams. The children learn how they can help prevent water pollution and ensure water quality.

The children have fun and leave with a greater awareness of what it takes to make a community safe and enjoyable. They receive souvenirs to remind them of the day in which the longstanding favorite is putting their name on a small street sign.

Submitted by Karen Rowley, Public Works Administrative Coordinator, City of Greenwood Village, who can be reached at (303) 708-6120 or krowley@greenwoodvillage.com.

Denver Public Works 2007 Employees of the Year Recognition Luncheon celebrating our employees and excellence

City and County of Denver
The City and County of Denver, Public Works Department has a National Public Works Week celebration/recognition program which includes an Employee of the Year Recognition Luncheon. Employee of the Year eligibility is open to all division/agency employees. Public Works chooses 10 employees within the department of 1,100 employees. They are nominated and selected by their peers. During NPWW a luncheon is planned for the EOY, their families and guests. During the ceremony, the Manager of Public Works introduces each Employee of the Year and the agency Director who speaks on their behalf. The employee is presented with a watch and trophy. This is a very nice recognition event for our employees.

Also, on the first Monday of the week during NPWW, the Employees of the Year are invited to the full City Council meeting to hear a resolution recognizing the department and the Employees of the Year. Comments are made by City Council members and an original copy of the resolution is transmitted to the department and each Employee of the Year. The council meeting is taped and recorded for posterity, and a copy is also given to the recipients.

Finally, a Mayoral Proclamation is presented from the Mayor and read at the EOY luncheon, and is displayed in the Manager's office.

Submitted by Randy Schnicker, P.E., Engineering Supervisor, City and County of Denver, who can be reached at (720) 865-3025 or randy.schnicker@ci.denver.co.us.

El Paso County Department of Transportation
We held our first open house in 2006, and invited elected officials, the general public, and schoolchildren. There were more than 100 people in attendance. We provided tours of the Household Chemical Waste Collection facility, Fleet Management, and Transportation. We had several displays including posters showing various projects, a work zone safety display, demonstrations of how we make road signs, and a hands-on demonstration of an Enviroscape model that demonstrates sources of water pollution.

  Young visitors pose at the equipment display

We also had several different types of equipment set up in the parking lot where visitors could climb aboard and ask drivers what the equipment is used for. We provided a "covered wagon" ride around the transportation yard where visitors learned about recycled road materials, saw the salt/sand building, and had a first-hand view of many of the things public works professionals are responsible for. We also had GIS displays, and two of our CAD technicians provided live demonstrations of the work they do.

We had activity books for the children, and gave out goodie bags with pencils and rulers made from recyclable materials, brochures, and county maps. Every visitor was given a safety vest to wear, just like the vests we give our Adopt-A-Road volunteers.

We're looking forward to our open house this May. We have about 30 volunteers on this year's open house, which will be Tuesday, May 6. We've already had several meetings and assigned tasks to everyone. The reason we have our open house early is to have a better opportunity to get schoolchildren here.

Submitted by Pamela R. Podhirny, Office Manager, El Paso County Department of Transportation, who can be reached at (719) 520-6812 or PamelaPodhirny@elpasoco.com.