The third day of the APWA International Public Works Congress & Expo started with the 7:30 a.m. meeting of the Small Cities Rural Communities Town Hall Meeting. At 8:30 a.m. Past President Gottko introduced  the Tuesday morning General Session speaker, Public Sector Advocate and Leadership Development Innovator,.  Ian Hill.  His presentation focused on “A Call to Action: What I’ve Learned about Leadership from the Canadians.” He stressed that to build a thriving community, there must be great infrastructure.  Hill believes that the Canadians have shown great power in their alignment for forces working in the same direction for infrastructure. He also asked attendees to be their own advocates, to create an attitude shift where they are located. He called for public works leaders to talk about the “why, how, what” that they do every day for citizens, and asked attendees to align themselves with leaders in their areas to create a better outcome and cumulatively bring out new ideas to work change. He has also started a campaign on his website at Commitment.changingpoint.com.

Following the Opening General Session the Education Sessions began at 10:00 a.m. with topics that included APWA Certifications, Building Sustainability into Your Infrastructure Plan, Corridor Redevelopment to Improve Mobility, and MAP-21 – The Next Generation.

The Expo Hall also opened from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and the Exhibitor Solutions Theater, and There’s an App for That  were featured.  Also at 10 a.m., the Diversity Brunch and Center for Sustainability Roundtable also began as separate events.

More education sessions followed at 2 p.m. including topics such as A View from the Top – Leaning In: Women and Their Passion to Lead, Achieving Community Carbon Goals, All You Need to Know about Sustainable Site Initiatives, and Creating Livable Communities, Elevating Image: Executive Soft Skills and Professional Fleet Management  in the later sessions.

The Chapter Dinners were the last events for the day as the APWA Chapter members went to network and  enjoy the fine Toronto dining possibilities.


APWA INTERNATIONAL CONGRESS BLOG – Monday, August 18th Stays on Track: On the second day of the APWA International Congress in Toronto, the weather was sunny as many attendees were present at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre to attend the early morning meetings and the morning's General Session. Morning business meetings included the APWA Futures, Engineering and Technology Committee, and the Transportation Reauthorization Task Force Committee.

During the General Session at 8:30 a.m., President–Elect Brian Usher, PWLF, began the session with comedienne Anita Rhodes and then introduced Canadian astronaut, and former commander of the International Space Station, Chris Hadfield who presented the steps to launch the shuttle, as well as how he ultimately became the commander of the International Space Station(ISS). His presentation included enlightening moments of weightlessness, preparation, and even danger involved in the space walks through videos and photos illustrating his three U.S. Space Shuttle trips. He also included video and photos from last year’s launch of the Russian Soyuz space ship from Kazakhstan to the International Space Station, reminding attendees of the preparation and materials needed for space flight. Hadfield related his experience as the ISS Commander working with international teams as possible ideas for public works directors and senior managers who work with teams in their departments. “Being ready for any failures through preparation for anything saves my life and those on the team,” he said. His main point for attendees was that leading people through complexity requires equipping them with the skills they need for success. Hadfield also mentioned that communications is probably the most difficult considering that each individual has their own points of origin that influence them.

Education sessions began at 10 a.m. and included topics such as 21st Century Project Delivery, Comparison of Stormwater Practices, Abandoned Utilities, Building Champions for Public Works Departments, and Creating Sustainable Places. Other sessions focused on Super Storm Sandy Debris Management, the Role of Public-Private Partnerships, and Your Brain on the Job.

The Expo Hall opened during 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., featuring more than 400 companies showcasing the 90,000 sq. foot display of public works equipment and services in North America. Expo highlights included the Exhibitor Solutions Theater, There’s an App for That, and the Exhibitor Solutions Theater. The Canadian Public Works Association (CPWA) Luncheon was held from noon to 1:30p.m. featuring Parliamentary Secretary for Infrastructure, Peter Braid, M.P., who discussed Building Canada and Canada’s New 10-Year Infrastructure Plan.

The afternoon education sessions began at 2 p.m. featuring topics such as Public Works Asset Management, Securing What’s Needed for a New Water Source and Internal versus External Service Provision. The APWA Awards and Recognition Ceremony followed that began at 5 p.m. recognizing outstanding individuals, groups, and chapters representing the best in public works. The final event of the day was the Young Professionals Networking Reception at the Amsterdam Brewhouse for members aged 35 and younger, who were invited to attend.


The APWA International Public Works Congress & Expo in Toronto began early on August 17th with a rush of attendees in the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, who were registering or on their way to the early morning meetings. The Ontario Chapter’s volunteers in red hockey jerseys were located strategically to help attendees find their way to morning events and locations. The First-Timers Meeting started the day at 7 a.m., and onto the the Fleet Services Open Forum at 8:30 a.m. Nine education sessions followed on the “700” level of the Centre that included many topics such as Efficient Snow Logistics, Emergency Management Best Practices, Implementing Municipal Storm Sewer Pipe Rating Systems, and Key Principles of Effective Delegation.

As the Opening General Session began at 10:00 a.m., the stage was lit up in bright orange and yellow with acrobats who performed on a hanging circular bar. The session began with “Anita Rhodes” the comedienne, who introduced President Ed Gottko, PWLF. Gottko spoke about his year as 2013-2014 APWA President reflected on his past year as President speaking about his travel schedule, members, and chapter visits of the year. He thanked the work of the Board of Directors, and stressed that professional development and engaging young public works professionals is paramount as we think about the future. He also featured some highlights of the year, thanking the chapters where he visited, especially in the Los Angeles and Baltimore areas. After the handing off of the Presidential gavel to Larry Stevens, P.E., PWLF, there were new Board of Directors 2014-2015 introductions. President Stevens was surprised by his mother’s onstage introduction to the attendees, who paid tribute to her son through photographs of his life. In President Stevens’ General Session speech, he reminded attendees of the “Breaking Boundaries” Congress theme, reflecting on the critical issues in both the U.S. and Canada that face public infrastructure in the 21st Century, as it ages and is not replaced or maintained as needed. He highlighted key industry reports, including the White House’s Council on Environmental Quality's “Executing a Sustainable Infrastructure Vision,” in which APWA is participating to offer advice regarding a new vision and path forward for sustaining America’s public infrastructure leadership. He also referenced the CPWA involvement with the Infrastructure Reportcard of 2012, and the work of CPWA advocacy as a strong and consistent voice for infrastructure and economic growth. Stevens subsequently discussed the Board’s revised Strategic Plan that highlights three primary initiatives of equal value; Supporting and Strengthening Chapters, Advocating as the Voice of Public Works, and the Professional Development and Education of public works professionals. He stressed the role of the Donald C. Stone Center’s leadership programs and also the myriad of educational opportunities open for APWA members.

Congress Keynote Speaker, Jennifer Keesmat, Toronto’s Chief Urban Planner, spoke about the Toronto “Collaborative Innovation.” Her theme of “Creating places for people to flourish” was described and illustrated through Toronto’s approach to “Places as an assemblage of projects, in which 21st Century infrastructure sustainably moves forward into the future, to places that are fiscally responsible as well as complex." She also described Toronto (the fourth largest city in North America) as having “enhanced urbanism” with elements including advanced development applications, a vortex for transit, building a high-rise city, and large employment growth. Keesmat proposed a new model for infrastructure that established sustainable habitats, building on shared interests, and harder working infrastructure that “embraces complexity” that also adapts to changing climate and weather patterns.

The Expo Hall opened from noon to 4 p.m. with many attendees perusing the exhibits of cutting edge public works machinery, trucks, sweepers and products, as well as the Exhibitor Solutions Theater, and There’s an App for That! More education sessions followed at 3 p.m. including topics such as Asset Management, Inlet Inspection Programs, Electronic Management Tools, Ethical Yoga, Social Media and Emergency Management, the ISI Envision Roundtable , as well as Integrating Mobile Reporting and MAP-21 for Small Cities and Rural Communities in the later sessions. The Get Acquainted Party was located at the Liberty Grand location hosted by the Ontario Chapter, where old and new friends connected while enjoying the premier lakefront venue, acrobatic performers, and the outdoor courtyard and ballrooms with international food stations.


“The Best Show in Public Works”
August 17–20, 2014
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

To keep all APWA members (and non-members) up to date on the latest events of the APWA International Public Works Congress at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, the Congress blog will feature daily highlights and activities with some images of the events and activities!


For more than 100 years, the APWA International Public Works Congress & Exposition has drawn thousands of public works professionals from all over the world. You will want to keep yourself updated on all of the happenings in the Toronto Convention Centre and beyond, so check back frequently to see how the Congress is progressing!  The APWA Congress is set for nearly 6000 public works professionals who will be in attendance for:

  • Outstanding education sessions that address current public works issues—as well as ongoing challenges. More than 125 technical and professional development sessions will be presented by colleagues—who will impart their vital knowledge and experience.
  • The Expo Experience that will showcase the latest products, services and technologies specific to public works. APWA's exhibit floor encompasses nearly 90,000 square feet!
  • APWA offers Congress attendees MANY opportunities to meet and mingle with your peers—the Get Acquainted Party, Awards Ceremony and more! Build lasting professional relationships and make a few lifelong friends at the same time.


Look forward to more Congress Blog posts as the days progress to the APWA International PW Congress in Toronto!


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