The opportunity of a lifetime

Larry Lux
President, Lux Advisors, Ltd.
Plainfield, Illinois
Member, APWA International Affairs Committee

The Jennings Randolph International Fellowship Program was established at the Eisenhower World Affairs Institute in May of 1987 and is administered by the American Public Works Association. The fellowship supports participation at a public works conference of one of our international partners and a public works study tour in that country.

The current APWA international partner organizations are:

  • The Slovak Republic and Czech Republic Public Works Associations
  • Asociacion de Municipios de Mexico, A.C. (AMMAC)
  • Institute of Public Works Engineering Australia (IPWEA)
  • Association of Local Government Engineering New Zealand (INGENIUM)

The mission of the Eisenhower Institute is to advance former President Dwight D. Eisenhower's intellectual and leadership legacies in foreign and domestic policy through: a rigorous pursuit of facts; the encouragement of reasoned and respectful debate; and the quest for outcomes that serve the American people while promoting justice and international peace.

In making the program available to its members, APWA hopes to further its international principles:

  • To provide an opportunity for APWA members to broaden their knowledge and exchange experiences and information on trends and advances in public works, through direct contact with our international partners.
  • To promote friendship and understanding among public works staff on an international basis.
  • To provide a venue for the exchange of information between APWA and our international partner countries. Currently, these countries are: Australia, the Czech Republic, Mexico, New Zealand and the Slovak Republic.

The basic mission of 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 a one-week or more extended study tour of public works facilities in that country; 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.

The APWA International Affairs Committee annually solicits and reviews proposals and makes a recommendation to the Eisenhower Institute for those fellowships to be awarded in any given year. In just a few short weeks, the application period for next year's Fellowships will open.

Interest has been growing in this highly competitive program over the last several years. This year, for example, there were 17 applications (three for the Slovak and Czech Republics; three for Mexico; eleven for New Zealand) for the International Affairs Committee to evaluate. Since there were only sufficient funds to support four scholarships, it was very challenging and difficult to make the final determination as to the finalists as each one of the applications was creative and would be an excellent program to share with our members.

Funding for the program is from a fund established specifically for this purpose in 1987. Annual awards are made based upon the interest earned from this fund; therefore, the amount of money available to support the program is limited by market factors, the location of the various conferences and the number of applicants for the fellowships. Application is open to all APWA members that are not presently involved in any aspect of the program.

The fellowships for 2006 and their topic areas are:

  • Julio Fuentes, Senior Transportation Engineer, City of San Diego, California (Mexico), "A comparison of new traffic techniques in Tijuana, Mexico and the United States"
  • Tammy Qualls, Project Engineer, RMC Water & Environment, San Jose, California (Mexico), "Sewer Maintenance and Overflows"
  • Patricia Bugas-Schramm, Assistant to Director, Portland, Oregon Transportation Maintenance Bureau (New Zealand), "A comparison of asset management practices in New Zealand and the United States"
  • John Lisenko, Director of Public Works, City of Foster City, California (Slovak and Czech Republics), "Public infrastructure planning for suburban development"

Members who are interested in international travel and have a desire to learn more about how public works is managed and administered are highly encouraged to apply. While the application process requires a bit of effort and the competition for limited funds is challenging, selection can give you the opportunity of a lifetime which makes all of the sweat and energy well worth it.

Finally, since the funding of the program depends entirely on the proceeds from a restricted fund, you may wish to remember the Fellowship fund with a cash donation or remember the fund in your will. Those who would benefit from your generosity would be a living testimonial to your contribution. Think about it.

Larry Lux, a 2006 Top Ten recipient, can be reached at (815) 886-6909 or

The following are excerpts from testimonials written by several recent recipients:

"In the spring of 2004, I was the recipient of the Jennings Randolph Fellowship and represented the American Public Works Association in a study tour of public works issues in the Slovak and Czech Republics. From the moment we arrived in the Slovak Republic to saying good-bye to our new friends in the Czech Republic, I experienced one of the most memorable educational and cultural experiences of my public works career. I discovered that public works was a universal language and the public works officials that I met in both countries share the same commonalties that public works managers share in the United States. When I arrived back in the United States I realized how small our world really is, the importance of respecting different cultures, and that we engage each other around the world in the name of friendship, peace and public works. I wished that every public works official could have shared my experience and encourage you to apply for a Jennings Randolph Fellowship." - George R. Crombie, Public Works Director, Town of Plymouth, Massachusetts

"I walked away from the program with a better understanding of international public works challenges and gained an education by comparing and contrasting them with domestic and more pressing local public works issues. My creativity and problem-solving capacity was renewed as I experienced Australia's approaches to meet public works demands and their approach to serve a quickly expanding population. The situational similarities between Australia and the USA were just as surprising as the varied solutions. I was motivated to learn and consult at the same time. I also returned with renewed motivation to expand regional, statewide and national relationships in order to keep our public works community an interactive, learning and growing organization for the benefit of individuals and their organizations. Overall, I was surprised to note how valuable and accessible the international public works network is and how important it is to foster these relationships, as well as local, regional and statewide relationships." - Brian W. Pettet, Director of Public Works, Pitkin County, Colorado

"The Jennings Randolph award allowed me to learn how a municipality in Mexico reached the decision to pursue excellence by becoming ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 certified. The Department of Public Works in Aguascalientes, Mexico holds nine ISO certificates, including its landfill, transfer station and refuse collection. I learned to appreciate the sophistication of these programs, and understood that our APWA certifications are not recognized worldwide, unlike the ISO, which is also a private sector standard.

"I learned that the value of the fellowship was also in the development of new and lasting professional links with people from other countries. I have correspondence with people from Aguascalientes, and we share our experience. The fellowship serves to facilitate an ambassadorship if you will. And as ambassadors, we can recommend goods and services produced in the U.S. When we visit other countries we are representing the U.S.—we create friendships, we share our experience and as a result, we learn from it. The experience can humble the individual, and increase our appreciation for what we have or don't have. We become better managers, and our view of public works gains a global perspective. We see how public works activities across the world are different, yet the mission is the same: to serve a population.

"The Jennings Randolph Award has forever changed me." - Jose Gamboa, Superintendent of Solid Waste, City of Santa Cruz, California

This photo shows one of the "Twelve Apostles" along the "Great Ocean Road." As Larry Lux says: "The apostles are over 20 million years old, made of limestone and were formed over the years by the fierce seas near Port Campbell. The Great Ocean Road is one of the world's most beautiful and well-known drives. It is also often referred to as the most impressive coastline in the world. It is noted in virtually every travel book as one of the top five auto drives in the world. It was built along Victoria's southwest coast as a tribute to those Australians who lost their lives in World War I. The ironic thing is that currently there are only eight of the twelve remaining as the other four are victims to the sea." 

"In August of 2005, I had the privilege of visiting Australia to study emergency response techniques and learn the disaster preparedness, response and recovery methods currently in use in Australia under a Jennings Randolph International Fellowship. To say the least, it was one of the most memorable, informative and enlightening trips of my entire life. The focus of my study was limited to the State of Victoria and the Commonwealth's (Emergency Management Australia) National Emergency Training Center at Mt. Macedon. Mt. Macedon is located in Victoria about 38 miles (61km) northwest of the City of Melbourne.

"I left Australia with a new appreciation for how similar emergency management in Australia is to the U.S. model, and how we differ from their very successful model. I also left with a clear understanding that we have a lot more to share with and learn from our friends "down under." I hope I can visit Australia again in the future to learn more about how we can learn from each other to better protect the citizens of our respective cities, states and countries." - Larry Lux, President, Lux Advisors, Ltd., Plainfield, Illinois

Transportation Facts

There are 20.054 million miles of roadway in the world. The United States of America has 3.973 million miles of roadway, or 19.81% of the world's total.

Of the governmental entities reporting, Tuvalu, an island in the South Pacific Ocean, has the least number of miles of roadway-five.

Milestones in U.S. Public Transportation History (Public Transportation Fact Book, 57th Edition, April 2006, published by the American Public Transportation Association):

1630 Boston - reputed first publicly operated ferryboat

1740 New York - reputed first use of ox carts for carrying of passengers

1811 New York - first mechanically operated (steam-powered) ferryboat

1827 New York - first horse-drawn urban stagecoach (omnibus) line (Dry Dock & East Broadway)

1830 Baltimore - first railroad (Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Co.)

1832 New York - first horse-drawn street railway line (New York & Harlem Railroad Co.)

1835 New Orleans - oldest street railway line still operating (New Orleans & Carrollton line)

1838 Boston - first commuter fares on a railroad (Boston & West Worcester Railroad)

1850 New York - first use of exterior advertising on street railways

1856 Boston - first fare-free promotion

1870 Pittsburgh - first inclined plane

1871 New York - first steam-powered elevated line (New York Elevated Railroad Co.)

1872 - Great Epizootic horse influenza epidemic in eastern states kills thousands of horses (the motive power for most street railways)

1873 San Francisco - first successful cable-powered line (Clay St. Hill Railroad)

1874 San Francisco - first recorded strike by street railway workers

1882 Boston - American Street Railway Association (APTA's original predecessor) formed

1883 New York - first publicly operated cable-powered line (Brooklyn Bridge)

1883 New York - first surviving street railway labor organization (Knights of Labor Local 2878)

1884 Cleveland - first electric street railway line (East Cleveland Street Railway)

1884 - first public transportation-only publication (The Street Railway Journal)

1886 Montgomery, AL - first semi-successful citywide electric street railway transit agency (Capital City Street Railway Co.)

1888 Richmond, VA - first successful electric street railway transit agency (Union Passenger Railway)

1889 New York - first major strike by street railway workers

1892 Indianapolis - first national street railway labor union founded (Amalgamated Association of Street Railway Employees of America, now called the Amalgamated Transit Union)

1893 Portland, OR - first interurban rail line (East Side Railway Co.)

1894 Boston - first public transportation commission (Boston Transit Commission)

1895 Chicago - first electric elevated rail line (Metropolitan West Side Elevated Railway)

1897 Boston - first electric underground street railway line (West End Street Railway/Boston Elevated Railway Co.)

1897 Boston - first publicly-financed public transportation facility (street railway tunnel)

1898 Chicago - first electric multiple-unit controlled rail line (Chicago & South Side Rapid Transit Railroad Co.)

1904 Bismarck, ND - first state-operated street railway (State of North Dakota Capital Car Line)

1904 New York - first electric underground (and first four-track express) heavy rail line (Interborough Rapid Transit Co.)

1905 New York - first public takeover of a private public transportation company (Staten Island Ferry)

1905 New York - first bus line (Fifth Avenue Coach Co.)

1906 Monroe, LA - first municipally-owned street railway

1908 New York - first interstate underground heavy rail line (Hudson & Manhattan Railroad to New Jersey)

1910 Hollywood, CA - first trolleybus line (Laurel Canyon Utilities Co.)

1912 San Francisco - first publicly operated street railway in a large city (San Francisco Municipal Railway)

1912 Cleveland - first street railway to operate buses (Cleveland Railway)

1916 St. Louis - first public bus-only transit agency (St. Louis Division of Parks and Recreation Municipal Auto Bus Service)

1917 New York - last horse-drawn street railway line closed

1920 - first bus not based on truck chassis (Fageol Safety Coach)

1921 New York - first successful trolleybus line

1923 Bay City, MI; Everett, WA; Newburgh, NY - first cities to replace all streetcars with buses

1926 - highest peacetime public transportation ridership before World War II (17.2 billion)

1927 Philadelphia - first automobile park and ride lot and first bus-rail transfer facility for a non-commuter rail line

1932 New York - first publicly operated heavy rail line (Independent Subway)

1933 San Antonio - first large city to replace all streetcars with buses

1934 New York - Transport Workers Union of America founded

1935 Washington - Public Utility Holding Company Act of 1935 requires most power companies to divest themselves of public transportation operations and eliminates much private public transportation financing

1936 New York - first industry-developed standardized street railway car (P.C.C. car) (Brooklyn & Queens Transit System)

1936 Washington - first large-scale federal government public transportation assistance (Public Works Administration)

1938 Chicago - first use of federal capital funding to build a public transportation rail line

1939 Chicago - first street with designated bus lane

1940 - first time bus ridership exceeded street railway ridership

1941 New York - first racially-integrated bus operator workforce

1943 Los Angeles - first rail line in expressway median (Pacific Electric Railway)

1943 New York - first issue of Transit Fact Book (then called The Transit Industry of the United States, Basic Data and Trends)

1946 - highest-ever public transportation ridership (23.4 billion)

1946 Washington - U.S. Supreme Court bans racial segregation in interstate transportation

1952 San Francisco - last new PCC car for U.S. transit agency placed in service

1958 - authority for railroads to discontinue commuter service transferred from states to U.S. Interstate Commerce Commission

1961 Washington - first significant federal public transportation legislation (Housing & Urban Development Act of 1961)

1962 Seattle - first monorail (Seattle World's Fair)

1962 New York - first automated heavy rail line (Grand Central Shuttle)

1963 - Chicago becomes last surviving city with interurban line (Chicago, South Shore, & South Bend Railroad)

1964 Washington - first major U.S. government public transportation program (Urban Mass Transportation Act of 1964)

1966 New York - first public takeover of commuter railroad (Long Island Rail Road Co.)

1966 Providence - first statewide transit agency (Rhode Island Public Transit Authority)

1968 Washington - agency administering federal public transportation program renamed Urban Mass Transportation Administration and moved to new Department of Transportation

1968 Minneapolis - first downtown transit mall (Nicollet Mall)

1968 Cleveland - first rail station at an airport opened

1969 Washington - first transitway (Shirley Highway)

1969 Philadelphia - first modern heavy rail transit agency replacing former rail line (Port Authority Transit Corporation)

1970 Fort Walton Beach, FL - first dial-a-ride demand response transit agency

1971 Washington - first federally subsidized intercity passenger railroad (AMTRAK)

1972 San Francisco - first computer-controlled heavy rail transit agency (Bay Area Rapid Transit District)

1972 - public transportation ridership hits lowest point in 20th century (6.6 billion)

1973 Washington - some public transportation service required to be accessible to disabled (Rehabilitation Act of 1973)

1974 - Boston, Cleveland, Newark, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, & San Francisco become the last street railway systems

1974 Washington - first federal public transportation operating assistance legislation (National Mass Transportation Assistance Act of 1974)

1974 - American Public Transit Association formed from merger of two organizations

1975 Morgantown, WV - first automated guideway transit agency (West Virginia University)

1977 San Diego - first wheelchair-lift-equipped fixed-route bus

1979 Washington - first standardized public transportation data accounting system (Section 15)

1980 San Diego - first completely new light rail transit agency in decades (San Diego Trolley)

1983 Washington - public transportation trust fund for capital projects created through dedication of one cent of federal gas tax

1989 Miami - first completely new commuter rail transit agency in decades (Tri-County Commuter Rail Authority)

1990 Washington - virtually all public transportation service required to be accessible to disabled (Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990)

1990 Washington - public transportation buses subject to strict pollution controls (Clean Air Act of 1990)

1991 Washington - federal government allowed to subsidize its employees' commuting costs

1991 Washington - first general authorization of use of highway funds for public transportation (Intermodal Surface Transp. Efficiency Act)

1992 Washington - first limitation on amount of tax-free employer-paid automobile parking benefits and tripling of value of tax-free benefit for public transportation use (National Energy Policy Strategy Act)

1993 Washington - public transportation workers in safety-sensitive positions subjected to drug and alcohol testing

1998 Washington - major expansion and restructuring of federal transportation program (Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century)

2000 - American Public Transit Association changes name to American Public Transportation Association

2005 - Federal transit law (SAFETEA-LU) reauthorized extending federal funding through 2009

Contributed by Jimmy Foster, P.E., Director of Public Works, City of Plano, Texas, and member of APWA's Finance Committee and the APWA/IPWEA/INGENIUM Partnership Task Force.