Technical Committee planning new facilities management seminar

Karen Bloodworth
Professional Development Program Manager
APWA Kansas City office

The Facilities and Grounds Committee is one of ten APWA Technical Committees. Each committee serves as the "center of expertise" in a specific subject area. As such, they provide recommendations on policy, educational, technical and professional development programs in their jurisdiction. You can find committee rosters, business plans, minutes of each monthly meeting, policies, and committee interest forms at Choose "Technical Committees."

A major project for the Facilities and Grounds Committee this year is a proposal that would lead to the development of a new two-day seminar entitled "Facilities Management." The new seminar would involve a wide range of property management and user-related functions brought together for the benefit of the organization and its employees. Areas include raising the efficiency and suitability of managed space and other related assets at the best combination of efficiency, cost and quality.

According to Patricia Kutt, APWA Director of Education, a focus group of APWA members will work closely with the committee and the education department to develop the course content. Subject areas under consideration include:

  • Smart energy savers
  • Vulnerability assessments
  • Emergency planning
  • Indoor air quality
  • Developing performance guidelines and measurements for facilities
  • Private-public partnerships to enhance facility operations
  • Regulations
  • Contract labor
The program will offer targeted case studies, exercises and activities that provide practical application. According to Mary Ann Summerfield, Facilities and Grounds Committee Chair, course development is expected to take several months. "The committee agreed there is strong interest in this topic and anticipates high attendance," she said.

APWA Technical Committees do an excellent job of responding to member needs by working closely with the Government Relations, Education, Marketing, and Communications Departments at the national office. This effort brings specialized education programs and publications to APWA members. Your committees also provide current and timely information through the Internet.

The Technical Committees also play an essential role in the success of our infoNOW Communities, which allow our members to network with other professionals across North America. A recent example of the Facilities and Grounds Committee's leadership involved a question from Florida Chapter member Gib Peaslee, who posted a question about contract mowing of the right-of way. He recently sent us a message that "Mary Ann Summerfield...went out of her way to help and provided much solid information. This will impact a number of agencies across the country. What a wonderful ambassador she is for APWA!" Summerfield responded to Peaslee's request as part of her Technical Committee responsibility—at the same time showing the power of the infoNOW Communities as a valuable membership benefit.

Each of your Technical Committees has technical information posted on the APWA web page. If you have not signed up for the infoNOW Communities at, you are missing an excellent opportunity to share in the expertise of public works professionals nationwide. You can submit, via e-mail, a query on any issue and receive feedback from your member peers. A recent example came from Brian Kennedy, Financial Analyst with City of Hillsboro, Oregon, who posted the following message:

"We're working on developing a model to forecast growth in our Public Works Department. For other city departments, we've presented service level options to our City Council. Those options have been based on national standards for the most part (e.g., sworn officers per 1,000 of population for police). I'm wondering if there are established service level standards for PW activities (particularly maintenance activities—street sweeping, catchment basin cleaning, etc.) or what else do people use? If you do use these standards, are they available in one place? Any help you can provide will be greatly appreciated. Thanks!"

The infoNOW Communities, combined with the leadership from our Technical Committees, are a terrific resource for APWA members. From the Internet to publications, to electronic and live seminars and workshops, there is a wide variety of choices available to increase your professional skill and knowledge.

Take a few minutes to view the APWA catalog, investigate upcoming education offerings on-line, sign up for an infoNOW Community, take advantage of the many offerings your association has available. If you have questions, comments, or input for your Technical Committees you can contact Karen Bloodworth, staff liaison to the Facilities and Grounds Committee, at the national office in Kansas City at (816) 472-6100 or by e-mail at