New England Chapter APWA
President's Message 2019
It seems like it was just yesterday that a cross section of our membership met in Boston to celebrate the holiday season and the many accomplishments of the Chapter in 2018 under the leadership of President Westerling. As I sit here on an early March afternoon, the weatherman promises the beginning of Spring is around the corner, which has me looking forward to many events in the coming year.
The Chapter has been hard at work already this year. For instance, the Awards committee has coordinated the preparation of 21 Chapter submissions for national APWA project and professional awards. The Public Works Awareness committee has begun to plan a variety of programs to highlight the contributions of our profession. In addition, our event committees are well on their way to planning and organized another year of great educational and networking events.
We look forward to kicking off our annual events with the Spring conference at Rentschler Field in East Hartford on April 17th. That educational event will be followed by the National Public Works Week Luncheon on May 22nd at the Venezia Restaurant in Dorchester, MA which is typically our most well attended event each year. In June, the Chapter will be returning to the Red Jacket in Yarmouth, MA for the Summer Conference. Additional educational and networking opportunities will follow later in the year, including the Public Works Expo (PWX) that will take place in Seattle in September.
In every corner of our Chapter, there’s a lot of interest and effort being put in to promoting a greater awareness of the contributions of the Public Works profession among the residents that we serve as well as our elected officials. Examples include the Fill a Truck program that will take place again this year during National Public Works week – May 19th – 25th. The purpose of this annual food drive is to collect food and household provisions for local community food banks and raise awareness of Public Works operations. An event planning guide is available on the Chapter website, as well as a form that can be used to sign up to participate.
Several our members are actively working toward gaining official recognition of public works staff as first responders at the State level. Thanks to Lisa Schaeffler from Williston, VT for identifying the fact that the Homeland Security Presidential Directive HSPD-8 explicitly includes public works in the definition of a first responder. (See https://fas.org/irp/offdocs/nspd/hspd-8.html.) There are some very real potential benefits of gaining official first responder recognition, such as survivor benefits for the family of anyone who is killed on duty, and other possible financial benefits – not to mention a greater appreciation of the contributions to the health, safety, and welfare that Public Works provides to our communities daily.
I would be remis if I didn’t thank our Chapter sponsors for their financial support and their dedication to the Chapter’s members. Finally, I want to recognize and thank the members of our Chapter committees for their passion and the time they volunteer to plan and deliver our educational sessions and to advocate for the Public Works profession. We have several new committee members this year, bringing fresh ideas and energy to the Chapter.