With 2017 coming to a close, it is a little bittersweet as I write my last newsletter message as president of the Oregon Chapter. Reflecting back on all of the events and accomplishments of the chapter and its members during this past year, it is easy to see why the Oregon Chapter is considered one of the best chapters in the American Public Works Association.
The commitment of the members of the Oregon Chapter to the public works profession and education continues to be one of the chapter's many strong points. The Oregon Chapter Scholastic Foundation awarded 15 scholarships in 2017, totaling almost $25,000, and the generosity of the chapter members helped established the Kurt Corey Memorial Scholarship on a strong financial foundation. The chapter luncheons in Portland, Eugene, and at the Oregon Coast continue to be popular, and involvement by the Young Professionals (YP) in the chapter and attendance at YP events continue to grow. Chapter members established new personal and professional relationships, built upon their existing ones, and strengthened the chapter as a whole.
The executive boards of the Washington State and Oregon chapters came together, and began an annual exchange program between our boards, sending one of each respective chapter's board members to one of the other chapters' conferences, to interact and learn, helping both chapters continue to improve. This past year also included two outstanding conferences. The Oregon Chapter once again received the PACE award, and one of our members, Jeannie Nyquist, was recognized as one of the Top 10 Leaders by the National APWA. We also received APWA's Membership Achievement Award for the first time.
The Oregon Chapter not only enjoyed a visit at the fall conference by Bo Mills, president of APWA, but also by Brenda Lennox, president of the American Water Works Association, which was a first for any APWA chapter.
All these are just a few of the things that the Oregon Chapter has accomplished over the past year, which was only possible due to the support and commitment of all of the Oregon Chapter members. I am grateful for everyone’s encouragement and support during this past year, and it has been my honor and privilege to serve the members of the Oregon Chapter of the American Public Works Association as your president. Russ Thomas, 2017 Chapter President
Chapter Elects 2018 Board
At the fall conference in Pendleton, Gordon Munro, senior project manager at Tetra Tech, was elected as the chapter's 2018 president-elect. Jenifer Willer, principal civil engineer with the City of Eugene, will serve as the chapter's 2018 president.
Nikki Messenger, Roseburg Public Works director, was elected board secretary. Ashley Cantlon, water resources engineer at Otak, John Lewis, Oregon City Public Works director, and Russ Norton, senior engineer at Quincy Engineering, were elected to two-year terms on the board.
Treasurer Mike Bisset, McMinnville Community Development director, and Tim Blackwood, geotechnical engineer with Hart Crowswer, Tony Roos, associate engineer with Kittelson & Associates, and Doug Singer, civil engineer with the City of Eugene, will continue to the second year of their terms.
At its Dec. 1 meeting, the Oregon APWA Scholastic Foundation board approved four new scholarships: a $1,250 annual civil engineering scholarship at Oregon State University in memory of Kurt Corey; a $750 scholarship at Portland Community College; and two scholarships totaling $5,000 through a partnership with Asphalt Paving Association of Oregon.
The newest scholarships bring to 19 the number of scholarships to be offered by the scholastic foundation in the 2018-2019 school year. Earlier this year the board approved scholarships at George Fox University and the University of Portland. The $30,000 in annual scholarship awards is funded by donations from chapter members and earnings on the foundation's assets, which total nearly $500,000.
Also at the Dec. 1 foundation board meeting, new board members Delora Kerber and Dayna Webb were welcomed. The board also selected its executive officers for 2018: Terry Song as president, Matt MacRostie as vice president, Rick Olson as treasurer, and Eric Jones as secretary.
Gregg Weston, chief engineering manager with 3J Consulting, received the William A. Bowes Service Award at the chapter's fall conference in Pendleton. In announcing the chapter's most prestigious award, previous recipient Jenifer Willer said Weston "was my choice because of his service to the chapter and future professionals."
"Gregg has served the chapter at every level and gone on to do the same for the scholastic foundation," she said. "Gregg frequently talks about the importance that mentoring had on his own career, and he now invests his time in growing the public works professionals of the future.”
Weston served as chapter president in 2009 and has been active in the chapter's scholastic foundation, including most recently as president of the foundation. In another notable acknowledgement of the great work Weston has done for the public works profession, he recently was selected as the chapter's nominee for the 2018 APWA Top 10 Leader award.
Doug Singer, City of Eugene Public Works and Oregon APWA Board Member, became an APWA Certified Stormwater Manager (CSM) in November.
The CSM certification is intended for experts in the public and private sectors who coordinate and implement stormwater management programs for city, county, state, provincial and federal agencies. The purpose of the program is to promote excellence and commitment to public service by advancing the knowledge and practice of stormwater management to benefit the community, public agencies and the profession. Certification is awarded upon meeting eligibility requirements and successful passing of the CSM Examination.
APWA also has Certified Public Fleet Professional and Certified Public Infrastructure Inspector Professional programs. Information on certification programs is available on the National APWA website.
Spotlight on Scholars
Scott Sinclair Oregon State University Don and Cathy Schut Scholarship
Throughout my time in high school, at a tiny school in the coastal mountains west of Eugene, I didn’t have a very clear direction as to what to do with my life after I graduated. Through the guidance of a mentor there I ended up going to Oregon State University for civil engineering and it has been an amazing experience. Through my schooling and the internship I am currently in I can’t imagine doing anything else.
I am about to finish my first CECOP internship with the City of Gresham in their Water Engineering Division. I will start classes again in September, beginning my fourth year at OSU. Through my internship I have discovered that working as a civil engineer and specifically in the public works side of things is definitely something I could see myself enjoying as a career. This internship has taught me many valuable skills such as pipeline design and drafting, project management experience and experiencing what working as an engineer is like.
Outside of school and work I am very involved in my church, volunteering there and leading in our campus ministry at OSU. Having grown up in rural Oregon I am no stranger to the woods, so I enjoy getting back to it with backpacking trips or riding my motorcycle out in it. I also enjoy working on my pickup and motorcycles in my free time.
I want to thank you so much for this scholarship. It will help me to reduce my dependence on loans to pay for school. I am so grateful for this blessing you have given me. I can’t wait to see where this helps send me in the future.
Wow! What an amazing response for award applications and awards this year! The awards banquet was a huge success! Thank you all again.
We had 10 Project of the Year applications and were able to hand out six awards. Congratulations to City of Oregon City, Clackamas County, City of Salem, Washington County, City of Keizer, and Lane Transit District. Some amazing projects this year!
In addition, we received three submittals and provided three awards for Every Day Heroes. Congratulations to Tim Corgan (City of Sherwood), the City of Eugene Roosevelt Yard staff, and the City of Eugene Roosevelt Information Technology Services. We rely on you and thank you for all you do to make public works great.
On another front, the Sustainability Committee presented two Sustainable Practice awards. Congratulations to the City of Ontario (agency award) and Bob Wallis (individual award)! Y’all are keeping sustainability strong.
Education Doesn't Disappoint
The chapter's program is wrapping up its 2017 trainings.
The end of the season began with nice fall weather in the lively Pendleton environment and were honored with notable guests: Bo Mills, APWA National president; Kirk Holmes, Washington Chapter past president; Dan Hartman, new Region 9 director; and Brenda Lennox, AWWA National president.
The following week two classes were held: the Street Maintenance and Collection Systems Fall School at Agate Beach in Newport and Public Works Leadership in Cannon Beach. Students at the fall school enjoyed beautiful sunny weather in Newport (unusual for this time of year). Public Works Leadership, part of the Northwest Public Works Institute track, was at full capacity with 40 attendees having the desire to move their careers in the direction of leadership. A full-capacity NWPWI training on Public Works Essentials was held December 5-8, for the first time at the Red Lion on the River on Hayden Island in Portland.
Looking into 2018, once again the lineup of education offerings does not disappoint. Currently all three NWPWI classes are open for registration and registration for the Spring Street Maintenance and Collection Systems School will open in early January. The Spring School will be March 6-8 at the Riverhouse on the Deschutes in Bend.
And the Gizmo Goes To…
The wait is finally over for Ashley Cantlon as she can now officially add another ribbon to her conference name badge. Ashley was the proud recipient of the Golden Knuckle Award, AKA the Gizmo, at the Fall Conference in Pendleton.
“After all of the hype and everything, it’s been a good ride,” Ashley exclaimed after learning she had just won.
Ashley was the runner-up for the Gizmo at the last two conferences. This time she barely edged out Dayna Webb for the Chapter’s most eclectic honor.
“It’s one of those feelings that I know it’s going for a great cause,” she said.
Most importantly, the award raised more than $9,600. Nearly all of the funding was given to the Kurt Corey Memorial Scholarship Fund, in honor of the late Kurt Corey who passed away this summer following a courageous battle with cancer. As for what Ashley’s going to add to the Gizmo, she says she’s going to live with him for a while and something will come to her. She does have one goal leading up to the Spring Conference in Eugene.
“Now I can start my adventure torturing someone else,” she exclaimed with a mischievous smile on her face!