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.