Every year, public works professionals throughout the state face many challenges, from projects to unexpected emergencies. These professionals are ready and willing to meet them head-on, to achieve the best possible outcome for our agencies, citizens, and the state. We are not able to do this without the support and collaboration of the mentors from whom we have learned, our peers who make us better, and the teams that we work with. This is strengthened by the professional and interpersonal relationships for which the public works community is known.
With the start of 2017, I am honored to be entrusted to serve the Oregon APWA Chapter and its members as president. I know that I cannot do this alone, and look forward to working in collaboration with the members of the board and chapter members in the coming year. The assistance and support of the mentors who I have learned from, the professional and interpersonal relationships that have been built through APWA, and the team that I am fortunate enough to be a part of will be invaluable to me during this coming year.
Other changes to the chapter's Executive Board this year include Delora Kerber taking on her new role as Immediate Past President. She has made my transition as easy as possible, and I look forward to her continued support and assistance to the board and me during the coming year. Jenifer Willer has assumed the position of President-Elect, and the role of Conference Technical Session Coordinator. Over the past two years, she has done an outstanding job serving as Treasurer, and I have come to truly appreciate all of her knowledge and skills. Mike Bisset has transitioned from being a board director into the role of Treasurer, easily picking up where Jenifer left off, and I look forward to his financial guidance and support. Continuing as Secretary is Gordon Munro. Having served the Chapter as Secretary in the past, I know that the Oregon Chapter is fortunate to have Gordon’s skills and guidance serving in this capacity. Dan Boss has done an outstanding job representing the Oregon Chapter as our Delegate to the National Council of Chapters, and will continue in this role for 2017. I consider myself lucky to have had the opportunity to learn from Dan, as well as all of the other members of the chapter's Board of Directors.
Continuing to serve on the board as directors are Ashley Cantlon, John Lewis, Nikki Messenger, and Tony Roos. Their insight, guidance, and support of the executive board, and the chapter over the past year have proven to be invaluable.
New additions for 2017 to the Board of Directors are Doug Singer and Tim Blackwood. Doug has helped serve the chapter in the past as a co-chair of the Luncheon Committee, and Tim has chaired the Sustainability Committee. Both have served the Oregon Chapter in many other roles, and I look forward to the contributions that they bring to the board.
Leaving the board at the completion of 2016 are Todd Watkins, who was the Immediate Past President. Todd, along with all of our past presidents, paved the way for their successors, setting the standards that I hope to be worthy of. Todd will continue to be involved with the Scholastic Foundation, and he is heading up the Spring 2017 Chapter Conference in Seaside. Also leaving the board after several years of service as a director is Elizabeth Papadopoulos. I want to thank both Todd and Elizabeth for their dedication and contributions while serving on the chapter’s board.
The outgoing and incoming board members met in December for our annual 24-hour retreat where the 2017 President's Goals were unveiled. Recognizing the importance that can be built through membership in APWA, and how it aided me in my own professional and personal growth, one of the keystones in my goals for this coming year is to enhance, strengthen, and encourage the chapter and its members relationships on a professional, personal, and cross-generational level. The board also reviewed and revised our 2017 Strategic Plan. Both of these documents can be found on the Chapter website.
Finally, I want to recognize Jeanne Nyquist as the Oregon Chapter's nominee for the 2017 Top Ten Leader. Jeanne has been instrumental over the years in the education and training of hundreds of Public Works professionals, leaders, and line staff. I, along with many others in the public works community throughout the state, have benefited from Jeanne’s leadership, and her dedication to those in public service. When asked to help lead the collection and development of information for Jeanne’s nomination, Eric Jones readily jumped at the opportunity. Eric did a fantastic job of capturing all of Jeanne’s leadership qualities and accomplishments that are confirmed with the impressive nomination form and the letters of recommendation included in the packet. Thanks Eric, and congratulations Jeanne!
Russ Thomas, 2017 Chapter President
Nyquist Earns Top 10 Praise
"When she talks, people listen." That's what Brice Perkins, operations director for the City of Medford, had to say as part of his contribution to Jeanne Nyquist's nomination as a National APWA Top Ten Leader of the Year. Perkins' comments were echoed by many others who have worked with Jeanne or served with her on various APWA committees and boards.
Nyquist is president of Nyquist & Associates, where she offers more than 30 years of experience managing transportation, water, public works and parks services for municipal, county and state government as well as unique industry insights from her long-time involvement in APWA. Her long public service career includes six years as Maintenance Bureau Director for the City of Portland, 11 years as Public Works Division Manager for Portland's Office of Transportation Maintenance Bureau, five years as Public Works Division Manager for the City of Corvallis, and several years as Facilities Manager for Benton County. She began her public works career at Park Manager and Park Ranger for Oregon State Parks.
Throughout Jeanne Nyquist's long career in public works, two themes have been constant: commitment to the wise use of public resources, and sincere interest in advancing the careers of others. She was a leader in developing infrastructure and asset management programs. She also was an early adopter of materials recycling to meet sustainability goals.
While her technical accomplishments have been the stuff of legends, perhaps she is even better known and respected for her interpersonal skills. "The buzz words now are equity and inclusion," says Judy Brown, who worked with Jeanne at the City of Portland. "Jeanne was both of those before they were buzz words"
A life member of APWA, Jeanne has been active in the association over the past 30 years in a variety of positions. She served as president of the Oregon Chapter in 1997, and she chaired the chapter's Education Committee for 10 years. She is a founding member of the chapter's Scholastic Foundation, where she continues to serve on the board of trustees. She earned the National Donald C. Stone Award for Excellence in Education and the chapter's William A. Bowes service award.
In her spare time (ha!) Jeanne serves on the Housing Development Center, which strengthens opportunities for low-income families and individuals by developing, preserving and sustaining affordable housing and community facilities. She is an avid skier and recently joined the board of the Cascade Ski Club and Lodge.
"I believe Jeanne personifies all that is good in public works, and whole-heartedly endorse her for this prestigious award," said Delora Kerber in her nomination letter. View the nomination packet online.
Six Oregon Chapter members attended the 2017 National APWA Chapter Leaders Training and Council of Chapters’ winter meeting in Kansas City in February. John Lewis, Ashley Cantlon, Doug Singer and Tim Blackwood, all directors on the Oregon Chapter Executive Committee, attended the chapter leaders training and learned about resources available to the chapter. They also participated in several “hot topic” leadership breakout sessions and heard from current APWA National President Ron Calkins and President-elect William Mills on priority APWA issues.
The Oregon contingent also participated in a Region 9 get-acquainted dinner and regional meeting led by Region Director Jill Marilley talking about Northwest specific issues. Chapter National Delegate Dan Boss attended the Council of Chapters meeting and participated with the others in the regional events. Former APWA Chapter President Peggy Keppler attended Professional Development Committee meetings that were held at the same time as the trainings. The chapter members chowed down on Kansas City BBQ, went bowling and played some ping pong during the social evening. This was a great event for leadership and team building, plus it was 70 degrees in Kansas City while Oregon was still having snow.
Oregon APWA kicked off its 2017 education offerings with "Developing Leader" at Mt. Bachelor Village in Bend. The course had a full class of 40 individuals seeking to increase their knowledge and networking through one leg of the Northwest Public Works Institute (NWPWI.) If you are not familiar with this program, you can find more information on the NWPWI website.
The other two legs of NWPWI are also open for registration - "Public Works Leadership" in Cannon Beach and "Public Works Essentials" at the Red Lion in Jantzen Beach. These classes will be held to a maximum attendance of 40 students as well and they are both filling up quickly! The facilitators of these classes keep a high ratio of instructors to students to maximize interaction and value in these classes.
At the end of March the Street Maintenance & Collections Systems Short School will be held at Eagle Crest. If you, or someone you know or supervise is looking for CEUs and education on collections classes, this school is for you. Find more information online. Just click on the link and then click on the “blue” hyperlink for the school. Once there you can download the brochure (bottom left) and get all the information on the school, lodging and more. This school qualifies for CEUs: 1.5 General and 1.5 Wastewater, just look for the qualifying classes on the CEU card you receive at the school.
Additionally, if street maintenance is your focus, the school at Eagle Crest has courses on work zone traffic and flagging, bridge scour, loading and unloading heavy equipment, asphalt pavement marking, chip seal and of course the ever popular “Roads Scholar” classes, featuring RS-5, RS-6 and RS-17. Please remember, you must pre-register for the Roads Scholar classes. Phone 503-986-2855 or email T2Center@odot.state.or.us.
This fall the Street Maintenance & Collections Systems School will be held at the Best Western Plus in Newport, Oregon. If you are planning to attend or send someone to this event, make sure to get them signed up as soon as possible as this popular school and favorite location will fill up quickly. Registration will begin in late August. More information is available online.
The Scholastic Foundation welcomes three new board members for 2017: trustees Matt MacRostie and Ken Stoneman and APWA Oregon Chapter President Russ Thomas.
Terry Song was elected as foundation board Vice-President and joins continuing officers President Gregg Weston, Treasurer Rick Olsen and Secretary Gordon Merseth. Other members of the foundation board in 2017 are Kurt Corey, Eric Jones, Jeanne Nyquist, and Delora Kerber. Lauie Allen is chair of the chapter's Scholarship Committee.
The board met in February and approved the 2017 scholarships for Oregon universities and colleges, including supporting Oregon students at Walla Walla Community College. The foundation looks forward to another successful year of supporting Oregon’s future public works leaders. For more information about the Oregon APWA Scholastic Foundation, visit the scholarship web site.
Sustainable practices, beer, dogs. What could be better?
On January 25, the Sustainability Committee held their quarterly meeting at the Lucky Lab Brew Pub. Our guest speaker was Mike Faha of Greenworks, PC. Mike won the 2016 APWA National Sustainability Award – Individual, so we are very proud of Mike and his accomplishments. You can check out Mike’s award application online.
Mike gave us a great summary of the history of sustainable practices in the Portland metro area and beyond, and reviewed some particularly enjoyable, as well as challenging, projects. It was great to get some perspective and lessons learned from someone who has been in the thick of it as sustainable practices have developed. Thanks Mike!
If you have an interest in the sustainability committee, either learning something new, helping to further the cause, or rubbing elbows with like-minded folks, we hope to see you at the Spring Conference in Seaside! If you can’t make it there, watch for an announcement for our next meeting this summer. It is currently in the planning stages, but will definitely be at a great venue and of great interest.