International Affairs Committee year in review

Bob Kass
Public Works Director
City of Campbell, California
Chair, APWA International Affairs Committee

Our world is not so simple anymore. International events are broadcast in virtual real time across the globe via the Internet, cellular phones and satellites. Whether we work in rural Wyoming, or a major metropolitan area, we now know what happens around the globe, when it happens, and what the impact on our daily lives might be. The effects of globalization and the flattening of our world are front and center, as commerce, politics and culture interact on a daily basis to create an uncertain future that draws all of us across the globe closer and closer together.
The professional and personal benefits of a global perspective are today unquestioned. APWA's International Affairs Committee (IAC), through its linkages with professional colleagues and associations around the world, is committed to broadening APWA's international perspective and stature as we move rapidly toward a future of global connectedness. One of the goals of the IAC is to bring to APWA as an organization those benefits that its individual members have long understood accrue from international understanding and experience.

This past year has been an exciting and successful one for APWA's International Affairs Committee. APWA representatives attended public works conferences in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Australia and Mexico, reinforcing existing partnership agreements between APWA and professional organizations in these countries. Broadening APWA's international presence was a topic of discussion at the recent APWA Strategic Planning workshop.

Tragic world events, in particular the devastating tsunami that struck South Asia in December 2004, provided a catalyst to the IAC and the Emergency Management Committee for the establishment of a joint task force  to develop a recommendation on how APWA might best respond to future international and domestic natural or man-made disasters. A recommendation from this task force will be sent to the Board of Directors in September.

Some additional highlights from the past year include:

  • Recommended three members to receive 2005 Jennings Randolph Fellowships: Larry Lux and Brian Pettet for public works study trips to Australia; and Julio Fuentes for a study trip to Mexico.

  • INGENIUM, the New Zealand Public Works Association, was added as a third member to the existing Australia/APWA partnership and the IAC expanded its call for 2006 Jennings Randolph Fellowship applications to include New Zealand as an additional fellowship opportunity.

  • Fundraising outreach to chapters was initiated with the goal of expanding the resources available for Jennings Randolph Fellowships.

  • President-Elect Bob Freudenthal attended the Institute for Public Works Engineering Australia (IPWEA) conference in Adelaide, Australia.

  • Past President Dwayne Kalynchuk attended both the Slovak and Czech (SPWA and CZPWA) annual conferences and presented a workshop at both conferences on Self Assessment using the Public Works Management Practices Manual.

  • President Tom Trice attended the Mexican Municipalities Association (AMMAC) Public Works Conference in Aguascalientes, Mexico where Bob Kass made a presentation on the recently translated Spanish-language version of the Public Works Management Practices Manual.

  • In February 2005, Zeferino Sanchez and Ruben Fernandez from AMMAC met with Bob Kass, Kaye Sullivan, and Connie Hartline of APWA in Kansas City to finalize a licensing agreement between AMMAC and APWA regarding the translation and publication of the Public Works Management Practices Manual.

  • For the third consecutive year, APWA facilitated the U.S. Department of Commerce's support of U.S. exhibitors participation in the Mexican Construction Chamber Conference in Tijuana, Mexico.

  • APWA Reporter articles were translated for Slovakia and the Czech Republic readers.

  • The Minnesota Chapter will sponsor an International Guests Reception at the 2005 Congress, which has become a regular feature of the Best Show in Public Works.

  • IAC sponsored three educational sessions for the 2005 Congress and prepared approximately 20 international articles and sidebars for the APWA Reporter.

It has been my pleasure to serve as the Chair of the IAC this past year, and I wish to thank the members of the IAC and its task forces for their support, without which our accomplishments would not have been possible. One exciting opportunity that the IAC will be considering over the next several months is the potential for APWA to work more closely with AMMAC, which has offered to host someone in its Mexico City offices to expand APWA's presence and stature in Mexico.

Lastly, I would like to thank Kaye Sullivan and her staff for their assistance and counsel throughout the past year.

Bob Kass can be reached at (408) 866-2150 or

APWA delegation attends International Infrastructure and Public Works Congress in Aguascalientes, Mexico

APWA President Tom Trice and International Affairs Committee (IAC) Chair Bob Kass were joined by several other participants from the United States at the recent Mexican Municipalities Association (AMMAC) International Infrastructure and Public Works Conference in Aguascalientes, Mexico. APWA has a longstanding partnership with AMMAC which includes active participation by APWA representatives in AMMAC's annual Public Works Conference as well as AMMAC participation in APWA's "Best Show in Public Works."

Upon arrival in the City of Aguascalientes, President Trice was whisked to a press conference attended by AMMAC's Executive Director, Ruben Fernandez, and the Mayor of Aguascalientes, Martin Orozco. Immediately following the press conference, Trice participated in the inaugural ceremonies, which featured a keynote address by the Federal Secretary of Energy, Fernando Elizondo Barragan. Trice then accompanied the assembled dignitaries, including the Governor of the State of Aguascalientes, Luis Armando Reynoso; the Mayor of Aguascalientes City, Martin Orozco; and the AMMAC President (and Mayor of the City of Hermosillo), Maria Dolores del Rio Sanchez, as the vendors' exposition was opened to the attendees.

Highlights of this year's conference included a side trip to the nearby colonial city of Zacatecas, a UNESCO World Heritage Site set picturesquely in a narrow valley 8,000 feet above sea level; a tour of Aguascalientes' solid waste collection and disposal facilities; and a Casino-night dinner hosted by the City of Aguascalientes. On the technical side, APWA conference participation included a presentation by Captain Russ Patterson of the City of Campbell (CA) Police Department on Emergency Preparedness; an overview of Asset Management by Fred Cardenas of GHD, an Australia-based consulting firm with 62 offices located throughout Australia, the Middle East, Asia, New Zealand and the Americas; and the introduction of the Spanish-language version of APWA's Public Works Management Practices Manual by IAC Chair Bob Kass.

AMMAC's active outreach to other Latin American countries resulted in the participation of several mayors from Argentina and Colombia. Both AMMAC and APWA are hopeful that this broader participation by other Spanish-speaking countries will continue in subsequent conferences.

Contributed by Bob Kass, Public Works Director, City of Campbell, California, and Chair, APWA International Affairs Committee. Bob can be reached at (408) 866-2150 or

Call for applicants for 2006 Jennings Randolph International Fellowship Program

The APWA International Affairs Committee is pleased to announce the call for applicants for the 2006 Jennings Randolph International Fellowship Program. This fund was originally established by the APWA International Public Works Federation (IPWF) at the Eisenhower World Affairs Institute in May of 1987. In 2005, three APWA members were funded for study tours in Australia and Mexico.

It is the intent of the International Affairs Committee (IAC) to award two to three fellowships per year for APWA members to travel to countries with which APWA has formal international partnerships with other public works associations.

The criterion for the program is as follows:

APWA members will present public works/infrastructure-related papers at APWA's international partnership countries' public works-related conferences; coupled with typically a one-week or more extended study tour of public works facilities in that country; and a paper regarding that tour presented at the next available APWA Congress and other professional organizations; and preparation of an article in the APWA Reporter.

APWA anticipates that the registration for the host conference will be complimentary. The fellowship will cover the cost of travel to and from the specified country.

APWA international partner conferences are generally held as follows:

  • Slovakia Public Works Association (SPWA) and Czech Republic Public Works Association (CZPWA) - March/April of every year (Fellowship available in 2006)

  • Asociacion de Municipios de Mexico, A.C. (AMMAC) - May of every year (Fellowship available in 2006)

  • Association of Local Government Engineering New Zealand (INGENIUM) - June of every year (Fellowship available in 2006)

  • Institute of Public Works Engineering Australia (IPWEA) - August of every odd year (Fellowship available in 2007)

At this time, it is the intention that fellowships be made available for attendance at the IPWEA, INGENIUM and SPWA/CZPWA conferences every other year and the AMMAC conference annually. The Jennings Randolph Fellowship will be awarded on the basis of funding available each year through interest earned in the fund without taking the fund below $50,000. Some years may be more lucrative than others and the committee hopes to be able to award more than one fellowship per year.

For additional information and an application form, please access APWA's website at and locate guidelines and an application for the Jennings Randolph Fellowship program on the "About APWA" page under "International Activities." Or you may contact Kaye Sullivan, APWA Deputy Executive Director, at (800) 848-APWA (2792) or To be eligible for 2006 fellowships, applications must be received at APWA headquarters by 5:00 p.m. Central on October 21, 2005. The successful applicant(s) will be notified by January 16, 2006.


Did you know this about Minneapolis?
Minneapolis: Literally "Waterfall City." The name was coined by Charles Hoag in 1852 when he combined the Dakota word for waterfall (Minnehaha) with the Greek word for city (polis). Originally, Minneapolis was spelled "Minnehapolis," but fortunately the middle "h" was dropped before the name was officially adopted.

Cultural Proverbs:

"Every road has two directions." - Russian Proverb

"A man is not where he lives, but where he loves." - Latin Proverb

"One meets his destiny often in the road he takes to avoid it." - French Proverb

"The porcupine said, 'Because it is known, an old, ill-kept path is preferred to a well-maintained path that is unknown.'" - Ivory Coast Proverb

"One should be just as careful in choosing one's pleasures as in avoiding calamities." - Chinese Proverb

"Never trust the man who tells you all his troubles but keeps from you all his joys." - Jewish Proverb