Engineering and technology, the big umbrella of public works

Carol S. Estes, P.E.
Technical Services Program Manager
APWA Kansas City Office

Are you involved in the design of public facilities? Are you interested in various methods of project delivery? Is qualifications-based selection of professional services a "hot topic" in your agency? Is construction inspection your area of expertise? If you answer "yes" to any of these questions then you come under the umbrella of engineering and technology.

The continuing mission of the Engineering and Technology Committee is "to encourage application of modern technologies that will assist public works agencies to better fulfill their missions." A very important aspect of this mission is the emerging technologies and methods of value-based delivery systems and qualifications-based selection of consultants. The committee works with the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) as well as the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) to provide information to the APWA membership on state-of-the-art value-based delivery systems. This year APWA is working with AGC to produce a Congress session on utility location for projects entitled "Utility Coordination: You Get What You Pay For."

The Engineering and Technology Committee often works with or cooperates with other APWA Technical Committees on projects of common interest. The committee, along with the Utilities and Public Right-of-Way Committee, studied the ASCE document 38-02 Subsurface Utility Engineering to determine its relevance to public construction. The committees produced a guidance statement recommending the practices of the document and have asked the APWA Board of Directors to consider support of the statement.

Committee members updated APWA's Selection and Use of Engineers, Architects and Professional Consultants publication after coordinating review and comments from ACEC and AGC. The final product, a new edition, was presented at Congress last fall in Kansas City and is now available in the APWA bookstore. In the coming year, the committee will be reviewing and possibly updating the publications Management of Construction of Public Works Projects and Roadway Maintenance Guide.

The Engineering and Technology Committee is in contact with the Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA) to keep abreast of emerging ideas in design-build. The committee looks to continue to strengthen relationships with AGC, ACEC and DBIA during the coming year so that state-of-the-art construction and consultant procurement methods can be communicated to the APWA membership. The committee is looking at contract language for indemnification clauses and relationship contracts for possible future research.

The Engineering and Technology Committee promotes the "Professional Manager of the Year - Engineering and Technology Award." The Professional Manager of the Year Award in the Engineering and Technology category seeks to inspire excellence and dedication in the private and public sectors by recognizing the outstanding career service achievements of engineering and technology professionals. The primary focus of this award is recognition of exceptional leadership and management in the area of engineering and technology. The role of engineering and technology is vital to the success of public works agencies in fulfilling their missions, and the committee looks forward to the opportunity to acknowledge and recognize individuals who inspire excellence in the field of public works engineering and technology.

The committee recognizes that public works management and city engineering are changing rapidly. Technology is exploding and our workforce is changing due to the beginning retirements of the baby boom generation. How public works deals with the changes in a positive manner is a central concern of the committee.

Members of this year's committee include: Gordon Daring, P.E., Committee Chair, Senior Project Manager, Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, Inc., Middletown, Conn.; Patricia Hilderbrand, P.E., At-Large Director, Program Management & Development Manager, City of Kansas City, Mo.; and members Ken Buccilli, P.E., Owner, Ken P. Buccilli, LLC, Farmington Hills, Mich.; Paul Cooley, P.E., Vice President, PBS&J, Encinitas, Calif.; Neil Grigg, P.E., Ph.D., Professor, Department of Civil Engineering, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colo.; Fred Whitley, P.E., City Engineer, City of Hampton, Va.; Larry Woodlan, P.E., Civil Engineer, Town of Fountain Hills, Ariz.; and APWA Staff Liaison Carol Estes, P.E., Kansas City, Mo.

Carol Estes serves as the liaison to three of our Technical Committees: Engineering and Technology, Transportation, and Utility & Public Right-of-Way. She can be reached at (816) 595-5222 or