And a good time was had by all
Congress terrific as usual, but Hurricane Katrina victims never far from attendees' thoughts
R. Kevin Clark
Editor, APWA Reporter
Looking back at the 2005 Congress in Minneapolis, two quotes coming out of the conference could probably sum up the emotions permeating the entire event. The first comes from Minnesota Chapter President Tom Colbert who said during Sunday's Opening General Session, "This is an exciting time and it's no wonder that it's called 'The Best Show in Public Works.'" Indeed, excitement was in the air, as it always is during our annual conference, as attendees toured the huge exhibit floor, took in hundreds of educational sessions, and visited with old friends and new.
But this particular Congress was also bittersweet, as many attendees expressed regret about missing friends from the Gulf States due to Hurricane Katrina, and discussed ways to provide support and assistance to the victims of that disaster. When APWA President Bob Freudenthal said during the Closing General Session, "We will not forget those people and we will not forget our friends," he was referring to the decision of the APWA Board of Directors regarding holding the 2006 Congress in New Orleans. "That final decision will be coming very soon," he said.
"We will be going to New Orleans," Freudenthal stated. "Whether it will be in 2006, you will know by the end of October or in November. We will have a successful Congress in 2006, and this organization will grow and do its job. Why? Because we're public works professionals, pure and simple."
Pure and simple, the 2005 Best Show in Public Works was both exciting and emotional. What follows are conference highlights from the presentation of special awards, to pouring magic from a bottle, to chapters and exhibitors stepping up in a big way.
Starting off on the right foot
While the Congress officially began on Sunday, September 11, there was plenty of activity the day before, including a number of Pre-Congress Workshops, Technical Committee meetings, the House of Delegates meeting, and fishing and golf outings to boot. As many of you already know, there are lots of good reasons to start the Congress experience a day early.
I was fortunate enough to attend two of the workshops, sandwiching them around putting the finishing touches on the APWA Reporter booth on the exhibit floor. David Burstein of PSMJ Resources, Inc., delivered an excellent presentation in the workshop entitled "Starting Off on the Right Foot: Public Works Project Management." Although his strategies and techniques were directed toward public works officials, virtually anyone could have benefited from his tips on improving their project management skills. In the afternoon I was able to catch some of the workshop on "The Role of Public Fleets in Disaster Response and Recovery," and it was interesting to hear Marilyn Rawlings, Fleet Manager in Lee County, Florida, discuss the challenges of dealing with the hurricanes that hit Florida in the summer of 2004.
The first event of Sunday morning, the ninth-annual First-Timers Meeting, attracted a record number of attendees, with over 200 participating. The meeting has become one of the most popular events during Congress, and the attendance seems to increase each year.
A record number of attendees enjoyed the networking at the First-Timers Meeting.
As always, the First-Timers Meeting was organized by the APWA Diversity Committee, and the facilitator was committee chair Cora Jackson-Fossett. Each of the committee members spoke to the attendees about how to get the most value out of their first Congress, and President Freudenthal was on hand to encourage the first-timers to take advantage of as many of the Congress offerings as possible. "This Congress will provide a tremendous avenue of learning for every attendee," he said. "Personal growth, professional development and increased industry knowledge are available at each event."
Executive Director Peter King stressed the value of networking during the conference. "Exchange ideas with your fellow professionals at the sessions, roundtables, and even the social outings," he said. "Take advantage of the networking opportunities that will exist over the next four days."
Jimmy Foster, Director of Public Works in Plano, Texas, put particular emphasis on touring the exhibit floor. "I've been coming to Congress for a number of years, and one thing I have noticed is that if you tour the exhibit floor you will get about two-thirds of a mile if you walk all the aisles on the floor," he said. "And I manage to walk the floor about three times each day, which would be about two miles.
"But that's not the primary reason why I come to Congress and why I go to the exhibit floor," he continued. "Prior to coming to Congress I ask myself, 'What are the major issues with which I'm dealing this year?' and 'What improvements does my public works organization need to make?' I search out the vendors on the exhibit floor to find answers to those questions. If you have questions and are searching for answers, you'll find them on the exhibit floor."
Emerging Leaders enjoy their first Congress
A small but very enthusiastic group of Emerging Public Works leaders and their more experienced Mentors shared the Congress experience in a variety of ways as part of the Emerging Public Works Leaders Forum, according to Ann Daniels, APWA Director of Technical Services. "During the annual APWA Scavenger Hunt they sought and found APWA leaders, committee members, vendors, federal representatives, and their peers, as well as received APWA premium items to take home as a reminder of the event," Daniels said. "All reported a great time."
Plans for next year include encouraging chapters to sponsor leaders through scholarships, changing the format of the Forum to include daily events, and creating opportunities for new speakers and programs. "Plan now for someone in your agency to join next year's fun," Daniels said.
"We will recover and move forward"
After a powerful and inspiring video showing the response of public works professionals to disasters such as 9/11 (which occurred exactly four years earlier that day) and the hurricanes that have hit the country in recent years, APWA President Tom Trice approached the podium to start the Opening General Session. Trice welcomed the attendees warmly, and said, "Today we are mindful of our friends, family and colleagues in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida as they recover from the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina. Our hearts go out to the victims, their families and the members of the organizations providing rescue and relief in those areas devastated by the disaster. Katrina's wrath will test our resolve and our resources but will not get the best of us. I know we will recover and move forward."
Trice mentioned that APWA established an "APWA Katrina Relief Fund" to accept donations during the Congress. "One hundred percent of all donations will be sent to reputable organizations with the means and experience to provide disaster relief in the affected areas," he said. Trice also asked the attendees to join him in a moment of silence "as we honor those that lost their lives in the Gulf Coast states, New York City, at the Pentagon and in rural Pennsylvania, either as victims of the hurricane, terrorism or the public servants responding to the calls for help. And for our colleagues, friends, daughters, sons and others now serving our country to protect and spread the freedoms we are privileged to enjoy."
After a welcome from Minnesota Chapter President Tom Colbert, 2005 Local Host Committee Chair Joel Schilling and St. Paul Mayor Randy Kelly, President Trice returned to the podium to present the Honorary Membership Award to Bob Miller, P.E., Retired Director of Public Works, Village of Schaumburg, Illinois, past APWA President and past Top Ten recipient, for his lifetime of service to APWA and the public works profession. Trice mentioned Miller's numerous accomplishments, including serving as the driving force for the development of APWA's current accreditation program and assisting in the development of APWA's management practices program.
"To receive this award is the culmination of my career," Miller began. Delivering an inspirational speech, Miller closed with, "When asked why she joined APWA, Missy Smith Gentry, one of the recipients of this year's Young Leader Award, said it's because 'APWA provides an opportunity for education to the public works profession.' The public works profession," Miller emphasized. "You are part of a professional organization. We are professionals. We've come a long way. Don't stop now." (Please see p. 29 for photo.)
|New APWA President Bob Freudenthal (left) happily accepts the presidential gavel from outgoing President Tom Trice.|
After the traditional exchange of the presidential gavel, new APWA President Bob Freudenthal began by saying, "It is my belief that there is no greater calling than service to your fellow citizens, and because of this belief my professional career has been based in public service. From the beginning of my public service career as a Building Inspector for the City of Hendersonville, Tennessee, to my present position with the Hendersonville Utility District, my experiences have provided a keen appreciation for all elements of public service from the entry-level laborer to the senior management level visionary. All people in public service deserve recognition, training, and the opportunity to advance in their chosen profession. It is imperative that as leaders of APWA we provide those opportunities through education, advocacy and member services," he said.
Freudenthal provided some thoughts on continued improvement in the areas of education, advocacy and member services, and then emphasized that the Board of Directors "will strive to provide the guidance and direction for the improved administration of all public works operations. In order to help us in our task, I ask each of you to participate in some way—by making a commitment to be engaged in our advocacy program, by recruiting additional members, by being a mentor to a young public works professional, by service on APWA committees, or by making suggestions and contributions that will benefit us all," he said.
|Opening General Session speaker Peter Hutchison provided helpful hints to the attendees on how to improve the budgeting process.|
Freudenthal then introduced the Keynote Speaker of the Opening General Session, Peter Hutchison, Founder and President, Public Strategies Group, St. Paul, Minnesota. A public sector management and turnaround consultant, Hutchison has been the Deputy Mayor of Minneapolis as well as the Commissioner of Finance for the State of Minnesota. He is the coauthor (with David Osborne) of The Price of Government: Getting the Results We Need in an Age of Permanent Fiscal Crisis.
Hutchison opened his presentation by telling the audience when he first became interested in the problems of public budgeting. "I learned early on in my career that the fundamental challenges we face are that our governments are broke, principally because the way we do things have broken them, especially the financial things we do," he said. "And we can get more results from the way we do budgeting, but only if we're willing to give up on the methods we've currently been using. The key to this is leadership. Our job as professionals and as leaders in our organizations is to relentlessly change things and make things better."
Throughout his presentation, Hutchison provided a number of solutions for eliminating the problems in the budgeting process. "In the final analysis, you start only with the money you have, not the money you wish to have," he said. "You focus on what to keep, not to cut. You focus on results, not costs, because results are what the citizens care most about. You put the citizens' interests first, ahead of all the other special interests. Most importantly, budgeting for results makes sense for citizens. We need to talk their language about the things they care about, not our language about the things we worry about."
The Exposition packed 'em in as usual.
Slam the doors and kick the tires
Following Hutchison's speech and the end of the Opening General Session, it was time for what many consider to be the most exciting event of each Congress—the opening of the 2005 Exposition. Nearly 100,000 square feet of exhibit space, almost two football fields in size, awaited the attendees at this year's event. And there were more than 400 exhibitors to fill that space, as well as plenty of doors to slam and tires to kick. To be honest, it's always thrilling to enter the exhibit hall for the first time after the Opening General Session. Simply walking through the world's largest public works exposition is an awesome experience.
It was "Standing Room Only" in a number of the educational sessions.
Education and more education
Regarding the 150-plus educational sessions, Super Sessions and Workshops, the large turnout made it abundantly clear that members go to Congress to learn. Indeed, more than 270 field experts, faculty members and consultants were on hand to share their knowledge and vision in a multitude of educational, technical and personal development sessions. A number of the presenters contributed articles for the September 2005 issue of the APWA Reporter and will contribute articles for future issues as well.
It was obvious by the most popular choices that public works professionals are aware of the need to practice state-of-the-art management techniques; to be outspoken advocates for investment in infrastructure; and to know and use the latest computer technology.
For those of you who missed certain sessions or were unable to attend Congress, the speakers' handouts are on our website at /meetings/congress/2005/handouts/. The handouts are arranged alphabetically by the title of the session.
Great weather, food, music and fellowship made for a memorable Get Acquainted Party.
Stepping up to the plate
It might be tough to recall a Get Acquainted Party that put it all together the way this one did. Situated outdoors on The Plaza by the Minneapolis Convention Center, this one had it all: great weather (we dodged a bullet that evening, as earlier forecasts had it raining about that time); terrific food (everything was good, but I was partial to the "pork chop on a stick"); excellent music (R-Factor did a nice job); and, of course, our wonderful members who were obviously enjoying the occasion after their first full day of Congress. I personally enjoyed wrangling some of our past "Member Profile" participants together for a group photo (see page 10).
Several booths were set up to test the attendees' skills in various areas, including fishing and hatchet-throwing contests, and many attendees who won prizes promptly contributed them to the APWA Katrina Relief Fund bucket. But truly stepping up to the plate that evening was exhibitor Duke's Root Control, whose president, Mike Hogan, announced that they were donating $20,000 to the relief fund. While this was the single biggest donation to the fund during the conference, it was just the beginning. The pot would be getting bigger.
|APWA President-Elect Bill Verkest (right) stands with Duke's Root Control President Mike Hogan at Monday's General Session, after the announcement that Duke's contributed $20,000 to the APWA Hurricane Katrina Relief Fund.|
The world will change
APWA President-Elect Bill Verkest began Monday's General Session by mentioning Duke's Root Control's generous contribution from the previous evening. "One of the great things about America is that when there's a need to be met, somehow we meet it," Verkest said. "And this is a tremendous example of just how that need is being met. I'm going to give Mike [Hogan] an opportunity to say a few words here, and when he gets done I want you to do me a favor—I want you to stand up and applaud that twenty thousand dollars."
"Thank you, Bill, that's a very gracious introduction," Hogan said. "It's a simple thing to do when you know what's right. Our company is Duke's Root Control, we're based in New York, and we've had the opportunity to serve many municipalities across the country in all those years. When this event happened in the Gulf Coast states, our directors got together and, on behalf of forty-three other people that I work with at Duke's, we felt that this was something that we had to do. It feels right."
A big crowd was on hand to hear Joseph W. Grenny's presentation on the crucial conversations we need to have in business and in life.
Verkest then introduced General Session speaker Joseph W. Grenny, President of VitalSmarts, Provo, Utah, and New York Times best-selling author of Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High. Grenny's superb presentation focused on what he calls "crucial conversations"—the conversations that need to occur in business but often don't, sometimes with disastrous results. Throughout his presentation Grenny included videos depicting situations where crucial conversations desperately needed to occur.
"Anytime you find yourself stuck in a relationship, on a team, or in some organizational issue that's causing you fits, at the heart are crucial conversations you're either not holding or not holding well," Grenny said. "So here's the leadership principle: When you find yourself stuck, always stop and ask the question, 'What are the crucial conversations that I'm not holding or not holding well?' If you answer that question, then you chart the path forward. Avoid the answer to that question and you will always get involved in an expensive, wasteful and ridiculous workaround. At the heart of all political problems in organizations are conversations people are either not holding or not holding particularly well."
Grenny challenged the audience members to seek out and hold those crucial conversations. "Learn to think about this in a more systematic way," he said. "If you do, results will change. The world will change."
|CPWA Luncheon speaker David Rudberg spoke about infrastructure planning for the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver.|
Juneau and Rudberg speak at CPWA Luncheon
Also on Congress Monday, Canadian Public Works Association members and others gathered at the annual CPWA Luncheon. "Over 130 Congressgoers attended this year's lunch making it a record turnout," said Megan Zadecky, APWA Communications Manager. "Attending guests heard keynote addresses from Andre Juneau, Deputy Head of Infrastructure Canada and David Rudberg, General Manager for 2010 Olympic Operations for the City of Vancouver, BC, each of whom highlighted the important role that infrastructure planning, policy and development plays in sustainable communities."
In the opening speech, Juneau discussed current issues and upcoming initiatives at Infrastructure Canada. Specifically, he discussed in detail the gas tax issue and the Department's commitment to asset management. "CPWA was honored to have Andre Juneau and his staff from Infrastructure Canada who are familiar with the vital role public works professionals play in the management and operation of Canada's civil infrastructure, specifically," said Ian Neville, CPWA President. "We look forward to continuing our work with Infrastructure Canada."
Following Andre Juneau, David Rudberg delivered a closing address focusing on sustainable infrastructure planning and development for the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver. In his remarks, Rudberg discussed new and reuse development projects, while also detailing infrastructure and planning challenges that the City is facing.
At the PWHS Luncheon, Dr. Michael Rawson (right) accepted the Michael Robinson Award from PWHS President Howard Rosen.
St. Anthony Falls discussed at PWHS Luncheon
Monday's Public Works Historical Society Luncheon packed a great deal of information into a 90-minute time period, according to Teresa Hon, APWA Technical Services Coordinator and PWHS staff liaison. "The recipients of the PWHS Abel Wolman and Michael Robinson Awards, which recognize the best new book and article (respectively) published in the field in public works history, were announced," Hon said. "Recipients included Assistant Professor of History at Colorado State University, Dr. Jared Orsi, for his book Hazardous Metropolis: Flooding and Urban Ecology in Los Angeles. Dr. Michael Rawson, author of 'The Nature of Water: Reform and the Antebellum Crusade for Municipal Water in Boston,' was present to receive his award."
The featured speaker of the luncheon was Dr. Scott Anfinson, archaeologist for the Minnesota State Historic Preservation Office based at the Minnesota Historical Society. According to Hon, Anfinson's presentation "Place of Nature to Place of Work: The Transformation of St. Anthony Falls in Minneapolis" provided a look at the growth of Minneapolis from a "natural wonder" tourist center to one of the world's leading industrial centers of lumber and flour production in only a quarter century. "Highlighted by historical photos, the presentation served to heighten the interest in the St. Anthony Falls Lock and Dam area," Hon said.
Tuesday's General Session speaker was Roger Herman, President, The Herman Group, Greensboro, North Carolina, who was an award-winning public works director in the 1970s before he became a city manager. His book on employee retention, Keeping Good People, was the first in the field when it was published in 1990. Herman was there to remind us that as managers we can't run or hide from issues revolving around labor shortages, workforce stability and productivity.
Roger Herman spoke about labor shortages and mission-critical vacancies during his presentation at Tuesday's General Session.
While his presentation wasn't entirely about doom and gloom, Herman did put particular emphasis on "the most severe shortage of skilled labor ever to hit this country. As we look at the numbers, what we're projecting is that by 2010 we could have a shortage of over ten million skilled workers. Of course, it could be eight million or fourteen million, but it really doesn't matter how many millions it is if you don't have the people that you need in your organization to get the job done. As the economy picks up, more of these jobs will be created and more of these jobs are going to be vacant.
"Let's take a survey of the audience this morning," he continued. "How many of you have vacancies today? [Hundreds of hands went into the air.] Keep your hands up, please, and take a look around the room at all the hands. These are mission-critical vacancies. You would not have that position on your organizational chart if it wasn't designed into how you achieve your mission, to help you accomplish the objectives that you've laid out. When you have to fill those positions you're going to find that the people just aren't out there to meet those qualifications. We don't have the people who are trained in the skills. Unfortunately, we're not producing enough people from our schools today that are qualified vocationally to get the job done."
Herman stressed the importance of career guidance to help young people see the kinds of careers available to them and the kind of preparation that will be necessary for various kinds of jobs. "If your education and training are minimal, opportunities will be minimal," he said. "If you have strong education and training, you'll have all kinds of opportunities practically laid at your feet. So the next step would be for career and technical education as a profession to assure that we are providing focused training for these young people—and even retraining for older people who are going to be coming back into the workforce needing to be retrained."
Futures Day a success
Part of the 2005 Congress included a special day just for students, called APWA Futures Day, held Tuesday, September 13. APWA Futures Day is designed for students interested in the engineering, public administration, planning, construction and technology fields. "We had a total of 18 participants from schools including the University of Minnesota, Hamline, Brown College, Patrick Henry High School, and North High School," said Elise Ebhardt, co-chair of Futures Day. "Emma Corrie from the MnDOT Seeds program also arranged for a group of students to participate."
A highlight of Futures Day included panel presentations and discussions with APWA members Heidi Hamilton, Public Works Director/City Engineer, City of Northfield, MN; Bruce Loney, Public Works Director, City of Shakopee, MN; and Michael Marti, Principal, SRF Consulting Group Inc., Minneapolis. Additional highlights included the viewing of a civil engineering-related video from the Minnesota Local Road Research Board entitled "You Can Build Minnesota" and exploring the exhibit hall by conducting a scavenger hunt.
"APWA Futures Day was an excellent opportunity for local students and engineering educators to attend the APWA Congress, network with public works professionals, see the latest equipment and technology that supports our quality of life, and explore the many career opportunities in public works," Ebhardt said.
"That's what we're good at and that's what we do"
President Freudenthal began the Closing General Session on Congress Wednesday by providing an update on the Katrina Relief Fund. "Public works people have once again answered the call," he said. "Beginning on Monday we started out with about twenty-two hundred dollars. Then we had a twenty-thousand-dollar contribution from Duke's Root Control that you saw presented at Monday's General Session. Many of the chapters have stepped up earlier in the week. Today, I'd like to let you know that the Wisconsin Chapter has made a two-thousand-dollar contribution and the New England Chapter has stepped up with a six-thousand-dollar contribution, raising our current total to over thirty-three thousand dollars. Thank you. You made it possible."
As Freudenthal explained, the funds will be placed in a designated fund and the Board will disperse those funds based on the recommendations of the Finance Committee. "It is our intent that the funds will be distributed to the appropriate nonprofit organizations to help public works agencies and those folks affected most on the Gulf Coast," Freudenthal said, to which the attendees responded with much applause.
At the Closing General Session, Minnesota Chapter President Tom Colbert announced the chapter's donation of $7,500 to the APWA Katrina Relief Fund.
Freudenthal then congratulated the Minnesota host chapter, thanked them for a job well done, and invited Congress organizers Tom Colbert and Joel Schilling to provide some parting remarks. "Many of us sorely missed our clients and peers from the Gulf States at this year's Congress," Colbert began. "At this time during the Congress it's been traditional for the host chapter to pass on the Congress banner to next year's host chapter. Unfortunately, they're not here to do this. But although they aren't here to accept the banner, we think that it's necessary this year to pass along, instead of the banner, our support and commitment to provide whatever assistance we can to not only New Orleans but the Gulf States as they continue to struggle with recovery from the effects of Katrina. Because as public works professionals, that's what we're good at and that's what we do.
"In addition, I'm pleased to announce that the Minnesota Chapter of the American Public Works Association will be forwarding an additional seven thousand five hundred dollars to APWA National to help in the relief efforts for Hurricane Katrina. We will coordinate all these local contributions with the greater APWA efforts in order to maximize their effectiveness. Again, this is the least that we can do because of what we do so well."
The Closing General Session speaker, Kevin Carroll, is the founder of the Katalyst Consultancy and was billed in our Congress Program as a "Master Storyteller." That's quite a statement, but within just a few minutes it was clear that it was accurate. In an equally fascinating and inspirational presentation, Carroll used his experience of 10 years as an Air Force linguist, head athletic trainer for the Philadelphia 76ers, and work as the "Katalyst" (someone who helps turn creative ideas into reality) at Nike to truly connect with the audience members.
Closing General Session speaker Kevin Carroll (in suit) involved a number of audience members during a lively presentation.
Carroll explained how using "the power of play" can inspire and motivate organizations, allowing them to reap the benefits of a healthy, fun environment where people enjoy their jobs and their lives. Indeed, he spent the better part of an hour getting us to retain the playful qualities of children—even going so far as to make us take an oath that we would think like children for the duration of his presentation. To help him with his task he recruited a number of audience members, showed an amusing video he produced at Nike, used his "magic bottle" to "pour" on willing subjects, and demonstrated several fun gadgets, one of which was the device from the cartoon "Scoobie Doo" that makes the sound of ghosts as they chase the main characters.
If Carroll's task was to leave us feeling energized and ready to tackle the challenges that lie ahead, he succeeded one hundred percent. "You have all brought collective energy and collective wisdom to this conference," he said, "the energy and wisdom that you need to take out to your communities and share with your teams. You're here because you want to make a difference. So keep this moment alive. Stop and think about this very precious moment together. And when you go back, know that a lot of people got your back. You are not alone."
Tours, walleye and satires, oh my
All I can say is that it's a darn shame that we can't be in two (or more) places at one time. If so, then I would have enjoyed going to the two Post-Congress Workshops dealing with personal enrichment (which I heard were excellent), as well as several of the fascinating Technical Tours. As it was, I arranged my Congress schedule so that I could finally go on my first Technical Tour, which was the LRT (Light Rail Transit) Operation and Maintenance Facility. The facility provides support to the 12-mile Hiawatha Light Rail Line, which coincidentally won APWA's Project of the Year award in the "Transportation More Than $10 Million" category (for more information, see the July '05 issue, p. 60).
While the 25 or so of us on the tour didn't have the time to board and ride the train (I did earlier in the week; it's a tremendous benefit for the Minneapolis citizens), it was a very educational experience to walk through the facility and see the control center and maintenance bays. My fellow colleagues on the tour (several of whom had contributed articles for our magazine) seemed to enjoy themselves, and dozens of questions were asked of the three tour guides, all employees at the facility in different departments. Judging by the quality of this particular Technical Tour, I would strongly recommend that Congressgoers stick around after the Closing General Session to take advantage of some of these opportunities.
Folks having a good time at the Congress Banquet.
Of course, I would also recommend staying if only to check out the Congress Banquet, which was excellent this year as always. The Banquet was held at the Hyatt's Nicollette Lobby & Ballroom, and a huge crowd was on hand to hear President Freudenthal's address, enjoy a delicious dinner and see the entertainment for the evening, Forbidden Broadway.
The evening began with introductions of President Freudenthal, President-Elect Verkest and Past President Trice by the "Voice of God" (my deep-voiced colleague Bob Browell, APWA Director of Chapter Relations). Freudenthal took the podium and introduced the Board of Directors, Tom Colbert and Joel Schilling of the Congress Host Committee, the 2005 Top Ten Public Works Leaders of the Year, several former APWA National Presidents, the Emerging Leaders and their mentors, and international guests. Freudenthal also recognized former Directors Tom De Maio, Marshall Elizer and Dwayne Kalynchuk (APWA President, 2003-04) for their dedication and service to the association.
President Bob Freudenthal presented Immediate Past President Tom Trice with a plaque recognizing his leadership and dedication to APWA.
Freudenthal then asked Immediate Past President Tom Trice to join him on the stage. "Many of you have gotten to know Tom Trice over the past year, as he served as APWA President," Freudenthal said. "I'm sure you've recognized the inspiration and commitment, as well as the humor and fun, that he's brought to the job and to the membership. Tom logged many miles this past year and met with many of you personally. He visited your chapters and represented APWA at public works events around the world. I am thrilled to follow in Tom's footsteps, as I represent you as APWA President. Tom, on behalf of APWA, thank you for your enthusiasm, leadership and dedication to the association."
After a tremendous dinner consisting of beef tenderloin, walleye and "Chocolate Beyond Reason," President Freudenthal returned to the podium to give the traditional Banquet address. "So many of our previous leaders have made a major impact in my life and provided me with examples of professional character and leadership," he said. "These examples include Jerry Fay, Judy Mueller, Richard Ridings (a fellow Tennessee native), Marty Manning, and Dwayne Kalynchuk. Besides, I figure whatever I tear up, Bill Verkest can put back together," he joked. (Please see p. 2 for the rest of President Freudenthal's Banquet address.)
It was a joy watching and listening to the cast members of Forbidden Broadway, the musical satire that's been part of the New York theatre scene since 1982. The show spoofs the show tunes of current Broadway musicals, often commenting on the apparent deterioration of Broadway. That evening the show mocked such hits as Les Miserables, The Lion King and West Side Story. Some of the actors and composers who were obvious targets included Ethel Merman, Mary Martin, Barbra Streisand, Stephen Sondheim and Elton John. One of the more memorable bits was the parody of "I Feel Pretty" from West Side Story which explained the differences between Chita Rivera and Rita Moreno. "I'm Chita, Not Rita" was a truly hysterical complaint of the Broadway actress (Rivera) whose parts invariably go to a Hollywood actress (Moreno). The entire show was enjoyable and, judging by the laughter, it didn't seem to matter if the audience members were familiar with the original musicals or not.
A cool thing
Earlier in the day President Freudenthal had said during the Closing General Session, "It's hard to believe that this Congress is ending. I hope your week has been rich and rewarding here in Minneapolis filled with learning, ideas, fellowship, and of course, fun." Referring to the video of Congressgoers enjoying themselves shown at the beginning of the session, Freudenthal said, "Obviously from the video, many of you had fun. That's a cool thing."
Congress and fun, like two peas in a pod. A cool thing indeed.