2007-08 Presidential Priorities: Midyear Update

Larry W. Frevert, P.E.
APWA President

Last year when I was making plans for where I wanted to focus my energies and efforts as APWA President, I developed a list of Seven Priorities. In developing these priorities, I first reviewed our Strategic Plan because that is the direction the membership has set for our Association. Before rolling this list out at the Congress in San Antonio last September, I asked many people to comment on this list. To a person, they ratified that they considered them consistent with our Strategic Plan and worth pursuing. In my travels to many chapters over the past five months, everyone I've spoken with has been supportive of these Seven Priorities.

When your Board of Directors met on February 5 in our Washington office, I was able to update them on the status of pursuing these Seven Presidential Priorities. It's now time to update you, the general membership, on this status.

First, let me be clear that I asked many others within APWA to help with pursuit of these priorities. It is their work that I want to report on and it is to them that I give credit for what has been accomplished to date.

A full status report on all Seven Priorities can be viewed on the APWA website at /About/Board. However, there are several I want to lift up for special attention and some which I want to ask for your help in pursuing during the remainder of this year:

  • I asked the House of Delegates and the Technical Committees to work at establishing a connection to the chapters in achieving the Technical Committees' business plan. The Water Resources Management Committee reached out to the chapters and now has identified liaisons with seven chapters. Thank you.

  • The Education Committee has surveyed 300 Click, Listen & Learn attendee sites seeking feedback on how the committee can better serve them. Well done!

  • The Technical Committees are really stepping up in their efforts to initiate evaluation of new certification programs for our members. Credentialing is so important, both certification for our individual members and accreditation for our agencies. I ask that each of our 64 chapters has a discussion about whether establishment of an Accreditation Committee within their chapter would encourage and benefit more agency accreditation. We've made great progress in achieving widespread accreditation, but we can benefit so many more communities by the process that agencies go through in achieving accreditation.

  • The Diversity and Membership Committees are doing great work in broadening the "reach" of public works. Diversity has established a Subcommittee on Intergenerational Issues working hard to encourage young people to consider the sciences, technology or engineering as an education choice and, once that is done, helping them see the value of a career in public works. The Membership Committee and staff have been active exhibiting at the trade shows and conferences of potential "partner" agencies, establishing a successor "First-Time Member" program to the highly successful "Never Been a Member" campaign and preparing for the March "Membership Summit." Great work folks!

  • With no one in national politics seemingly taking a lead in pursuing investment in our North American infrastructure, our Chapter Advocacy Task Force is hard at work preparing a "tool kit" that our chapters, agencies and members can use in advocating for increased investment in our infrastructure needs. I am excited about this effort.

As you can see, many are carrying the load and making great progress on these Seven Presidential Priorities. As I said at Congress, "It's our time" and "It's our watch"—we must step up to the challenge and work hard to help address America's and Canada's infrastructure issues. What can you do if you aren't already involved in this effort? Well, it's simple. Go to the APWA website listed above, identify what interests you and appeals to your passion, then volunteer to help. You can contact the committee chair to which your selected priority has been assigned or you can drop me an e-mail and we'll put you to work helping with this effort.

Thanks for all you do daily for the public works profession and for APWA.