New Sustainability Resources from the Emerging Leaders Academy Class of 2012.

Each year a small group of public works professionals participate in a year-long Emerging Leaders Academy that provides intensive leadership and management training within the context of public works. The ELA program encourages professional growth through a strong network of peers, and offers an in-depth introduction to APWA at the national, chapter, and branch levels.

Each ELA class selects a topic to focus its class project on and the ELA Class of 2012 focused its work on determining how can APWA integrate sustainable thinking into the public works profession as well as into the culture of APWA?

The goals of the class project focused on increasing awareness of sustainability principals and methods to those in the Public Works profession. The project goals were determined to include the following:

  • Investigate currently available tools such as the Center's Framework for Sustainable Communities ( and ISI's EnvisionTM sustainability rating system (
  • Produce a packet of tools that can be distributed to Public Works professionals that would assist them in integrating sustainable practices and policies into their organizations and projects
  • Guidance for creating sustainability-focused RFPs
  • Sample Board/Council letters to implement sustainable policies into local ordinances
  • Video explaining what sustainability means in Public Works and the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure
  • Develop a pilot program
  • Develop a plan to distribute the packet to Public Works departments throughout the U.S.

The ELA Class of 2012 submitted its final project report in August and presented its findings during APWA Congress & Expo in Anaheim.  The final project report includes several helpful resources including sample council letters, sample RFP language, and an example of a project that used EnvisionTM to evaluate the sustainability of the project.  I encourage you to spend sometime reviewing these resources and thinking about how you can use them to bring more sustainable practices to your community.