New England Chapter APWA
President's Message 2017
It is an honor and a privilege to represent The New England Chapter of the American Public Works Association as its President. Through the hard work, focus, and expertise of our members, the New England Chapter continues to be recognized among the top tier of Chapters within the American Public Works Association (APWA). As I consider the future of our Chapter, I am pleased to note that while our membership has shifted over the decades, we continue to attract talented professionals to our ranks.
Over this past year the Chapter has been recognized on many fronts, namely, the “Public Works Makes It Happen” campaign, the Top 10 award to Walter Veselka, along with numerous acknowledgements and awards in many categories from APWA National. The Chapter also hosted and provided for a great 2016 National Snow and Ice Conference in Hartford Connecticut. Our Spring, Summer and Fall Conferences were also well attended and supported by our many Sponsors.
I believe that the strength of the Chapter is directly related to the members from the past. In my own history of 39 years in the profession, I had the pleasure of working alongside, and under the tutelage of, four of our past presidents; Roger Mullins, Jim Sollmi, Lon Hultgren, and Mike Mancini. Each of these leaders is well known for their passion for the vocation of Public Works. Some may even have described themselves as being called to the profession. Each came into their presidency with a goal of bettering the Chapter, be it through education initiatives, a focus on membership growth, or the distinct insight to effect change in our profession.
Ove the years, I have seen many organizations form, and then crumble, while others steadily move forward. The New England Chapter has continuously strived to enhance the overall development of our profession. I am proud of many of our initiatives, such as providing educational sessions with C.E.U.’s, improving networking opportunities for our members, and promoting young professionals. I firmly believe that the fact that our Chapter has remained focused on these initiatives each and every year has created an environment, and established a culture, of forward-thinking professionals. If we continue on this path, we will secure the foundation of our Chapter in the future.
I have found that when your staff gets on board with the Public Works profession, and engages in the many programs offered, it secures the foundation for the continued growth of our profession. Here, in Ellington, CT, I have established a strategy that provides opportunities for staff to grow and become more involved in the Public Works profession. This is being done thru the enrollment of staff into the various educational programs provided by the University of Connecticut T2 Programs, and changing the Town’s membership from an individual membership to a group membership that allows four full members.
Looking back at Chapter history allows us to look forward. To enhance the sustainability of the Chapter, we must continue to bring forth young professionals. As we all approach our golden years, we must embrace the fact that young professionals need to be included and promoted from within our ranks. It is up to us, the established members of the Chapter, to welcome and encourage young professionals to join the APWA.
Every year, committee assignments are forwarded to the EC Board. Each of these committees is chaired, co-chaired, or vice chaired by at least one public works board member, who then ensures their committee is enhanced by reaching out to the membership for assistance in promoting the New England Chapter. As we move forward we will start to transition the young professionals to move into Chair, Co-Chair, and/or Vice Chair positions of said committees. We, as good leaders, should recognize our membership and seek to encourage them to become involved within the Chapter. The Chapter cannot stand still or it will only become stale and we cannot let that happen. Between the existing Board and our membership there must be an avenue for moving up onto the Board. By reaching out into our community, and training those that will follow us, we ensure the longevity of our Chapter.
Please know that I look forward to working with all members of the New England Chapter and believe 2017 will also be another banner year for the Chapter. In fact, with the support of our membership and sponsors, I am confident we will end 2017 in a stronger position than ever before.