Tom Trice

Team APWA working for you

Tom Trice
APWA President

A tremendous network of professionals can be found within the APWA Technical Committees, and all are a part of "Team APWA" working on behalf of public works. These volunteer leaders produce products and services that support the vision, mission and goals of APWA and benefit their member peers and colleagues. The Technical Committees serve as the "centers of expertise" in their subject areas to ensure that the association remains responsive to the needs of its members and the communities they serve.

Technical Committee members are appointed by the President-Elect through individual and chapter nominations. Committees meet throughout the year by conference call and through two live meetings, one at Congress and the other at the annual Combined Technical Committee meeting in Kansas City. They discuss and address issues of importance in their subject areas through their annual business plans. Committees formulate guidance and policy statements that help guide national emphasis areas in the best interest of our members and the public works community. This in turn promotes good decision-making, best management practices, and the protection and best use of valuable assets.

This month the APWA Reporter focuses on public facilities and grounds issues, which is also one of the APWA Technical Committees. Facilities and grounds divisions often maintain a low profile with public officials and other departments, and it is often a reactionary focus area when problems develop. However, from natural disasters to conditional decline to security threats, these assets can result in urgent and expensive resolutions.

Public facilities are often the most valuable assets owned by a community. It is imperative that these assets are maintained and operated properly and efficiently. To that end, the Facilities and Grounds Technical Committee focuses on common problems experienced in these areas and develops strategies to assist those responsible for managing, operating and protecting these valuable assets.

Facilities affect everyone. Whether an office, public service center, police and fire stations, or operations work space, everyone occupies or uses public buildings for some reason. The cleanliness, temperature or physical condition affects everyone who occupies or uses these spaces. Additionally, those occupying these facilities are affected by their conditions. If personnel are uncomfortable or unhappy in their environment it often negatively impacts the way that they provide services to the community. And the appearance of public buildings and grounds frequently provides the first and most lasting impression of our communities to our citizens and visitors. It also tells a story about the many men and women responsible for the management and operation of our buildings and grounds.

As with most public works functions, maintaining and protecting these assets involves a variety of interests and expertise; thus there are many opportunities for the Technical Committees to assist each other along with the members of APWA. Facilities and grounds functions tend to have some link with each of the Technical Committees because of the nature of their operations. From water resources to leadership and management to homeland security, there is something from each committee that benefits every public works division.

The Technical Committees often pursue outside relationships that can provide added value for the members of APWA. The Facilities and Grounds Committee has been working to enhance available resources and grow the professionalism of our members by developing working relationships with organizations such as the Professional Grounds Management Society and the International Facility Management Association.

I urge each of you to explore the valuable resources that the Technical Committees offer our membership. They are available as a fantastic network to assist you in resolving your professional problems, and as a mechanism to recommend and promote needed policy to and through our Board of Directors. The committees are a great example of members and staff working at their very best, and of Team APWA working for you and me. Contact your committees with questions or comments or become a committee member yourself. For details and additional information about how you can get involved visit

I would like to thank Dwight Riggle, Facilities and Grounds Committee Chair, for contributing to this article.