Thank you for a wonderful experience

Tom Trice
APWA President

Well, just like every APWA President before me, my term is ending. This will not be without the fanfare and hoopla of Congress and the passing of the gavel to Bob Freudenthal. What a year this has been, and what great opportunities there have been for me and the membership of APWA.

I have traveled all over the United States and Canada visiting chapters from coast to coast, meeting the members and having a great time everywhere I went. I got to visit both of my home chapters this year, as the Chicago Metro Chapter hosted our Board meeting in June and the Michigan Chapter hosted me as their special guest in May. I saw snow in Grandview, Minnesota that canceled their golf outing in May, and felt the heat of the desert in Las Vegas in March. I went to four cities in four days during National Public Works Week, and I was thrilled to personally present the awards to five of the Top Ten Public Works Leaders of the Year. I lost my wallet in Washington, D.C. and my cell phone in Minnesota, but managed to get everything back in working order.

I visited Mexico and did a press conference as my interpreter worked hard to get the points I was making across to the media. I was fortunate to be invited to dinner with the Mayor, Governor and the Mexican Secretary of Energy while I was there.

We also paid visits to the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Australia to help build APWA into the future.

In all, the Executive Committee visited more than 30 of our 67 chapters. It was a busy year but we got out to the members, who are what our association is all about.

There was a lot of work involved as well. I was in Washington, D.C. six times talking to congressional members about the TEA-21 reauthorization bill and how important it is to the public works industry.  Extended at least 10 times, it took a lot longer than we all expected to get done, but I was glad to see that everyone's hard work began to pay off this summer.

We conducted the business of the association as we were in Kansas City for administrative meetings, the North American Snow Conference, the Combined Technical Committee Meeting and the Chapter Leadership Meeting. I thought I was going to have to get an apartment there in April because I spent every weekend there.

I got to see three classes graduate from Institutes in Georgia, Illinois and Michigan. We got the criteria in place to build Institutes in all of our chapters—thank you Larry Lux. The Master's Degree program in Public Works Management is also moving forward at a good clip.

We were also able to secure our Executive Director, Peter King, to a new five-year contract and look forward to building on the many successes that he has been able to put in place. A new Strategic Plan for the association will be in place very soon.

We have been able to accomplish many things thanks to the teamwork of many people. This has been fun, a chance in a lifetime, and I owe this to the membership for allowing me to do it. Thank you.

There are many thank you's that have to go out, starting with the folks who supported me and made sure everything was done back in Royal Oak, Michigan while I was gone. My City Manager, Tom Hoover, and Mayor Jim Ellison helped me in every way possible. Greg Rassel, Rick Lang, Tod Gazetti and Albert Orr made sure that our Department of Public Service was functioning like a well-oiled machine during my absences. The staff really stepped up and took care of business in a winter that saw record snowfall. Chief Quisenberry and Cathy Pinkos were always on the phone to me keeping me informed of the daily goings-on in our great city. Thank you one and all.

Our APWA staff has been fantastic as well. Peter King and Kaye Sullivan are topnotch and do a fabulous job. Kevin Clark has always been there to help me with the articles that are written each month with contributions from many of our members and our staff.

With all of the travel and arrangements, Dana Priddy, Brenda Shaver and Diana Forbes made sure I got to where I was going, had a room and that I ate well. Nickole Blankenship made sure all the details were covered. And Teri Newhouse always paid the bills. What a team!

Our Board of Directors is a championship team. None of the things that we have accomplished could have been done without these folks working in the best interest of the membership.

The travel does take its toll and I did get tired, but everywhere we would go our members picked up our spirits and made each trip a special one.

Now it is time for my friend and your new President Bob Freudenthal to take the reins of this wonderful organization and continue moving it forward. He knows that the Board and I, along with our 27,000 members, will be right there for him. I know he will have as much fun and success as I did as your president.

I will still be around for one more year as I finish my nine years on your Board of Directors. I also spent 10 years in the House of Delegates, so in essence I have spent a career working for APWA and loving every minute of it.

I look forward to continuing my work for APWA in the future and will be there to do whatever needs to be done. Thank you, Russ Gronevelt and Bob Albee, for getting me started in this.

Tom Trice: APWA Team Player (Photo (c)2004