Greetings Oregon Chapter of APWA. I am eager and grateful to begin my 2018 term as president of our wonderful chapter. This chapter has brought me so much in terms of personal connections and professional development that it's an honor to give back with this commitment of time and resources to keep us going.
Not only am I beginning a new position as your president, but I want to express my appreciation for other board members in new positions, including 2018 Past President Russ Thomas from City of Newberg, 2018 President-Elect Gordon Munro from TetraTech, 2018-19 Secretary Nikki Messenger from City of Roseburg, and new Director Russ Norton from Quincy Engineering. Thank you to the continuation of Mike Bisset from City of McMinnville as treasurer, Dan Boss as our national delegate and continuing board directors Tim Blackwood from Hart Crowser, Ashley Cantlon from Otak, John Lewis from City of Oregon City, Tony Roos from Kittelson and Doug Singer from City of Eugene.
As winter makes one last blast at us, we begin to turn the corner towards spring and the chapter education series picking back up again. Our spring line-up includes four major events: Street Maintenance & Collection Systems School in Bend March 6- 8; Spring Conference in Eugene April 2-5; Developing Leader in Bend April 10-13; and Roadway Preventative Maintenance in Redmond April 25-26.
The Spring Conference in Eugene (April 2-5) promises to be another fantastic chapter event. I appreciate the work of the conference planning committee of Patrick Cox, Shelly Bronson, Doug Singer and Jon Wilson in working out the details with Cameo Management Solutions. The conference theme is “Making Progress” and signifies both incremental betterment of ourselves and the construction of projects to make our communities better places. Look for a full line-up of technical sessions, technical tours, workshops, informal learning from each other and general fun. National Executive Director Scott Grayson will be with us as well. I look forward to welcoming you to Eugene.
I also want to thank the many individuals who volunteer their time on committees and as committee chairs for the chapter. I especially want to single out Darren Hippenstiel from Kittelson & Associates, the new co-chair of the Transportation Committee; and Guy Hakanson from OBEC, the new chair for the Specifications Committee. This is a chapter of volunteers, and if you are looking for a way to get involved, I invite you to reach out to a committee chair or me to find something that interests you and supports your place in our profession. For a complete listing of the committees and contact information, go to the Committee Central page of the chapter website.
Finally, my food-for-thought moment. I love finding quick simple messages to improve leadership skills and discovered this YouTube video last year about what motives us at home and in the workplace that I found both entertaining and thought provoking.
Please have a safe and wonderful spring! As always, please feel free to contact me or any board member if you have any questions or comments about chapter activities.
Jenifer Willer,2018 Chapter President
Spring Conference in Eugene Has New Downtown Venue
The 2018 Oregon APWA Spring Conference in Eugene is being held downtown at the Eugene Hilton, where everything is within walking distance. From popular shopping destinations, entertainment venues, and locally favored pubs, your only difficulty will be deciding how much to do!
We’ve arranged a full gamut of preconference activities for Monday, April 2. Naturally there will be a fun golf tournament at Emerald Valley Golf Course in Creswell, but what if you’re not a golfer? How about a wine tour? That’s right, the wine tour is scheduled during the preconference. You won’t miss a single technical session or technical tour while enjoying three of the Willamette Valley’s best wineries, all transportation provided.
Speaking of technical tours, we have something for everyone. On Tuesday morning, enjoy a group bike ride on Eugene’s riverside bike paths, visiting many of Eugene’s bike bridges and culminating in an onsite presentation of Springfield’s Mill Race Path and stormwater improvement project. The bikes are provided and are part of Eugene’s new Bike Share system.
Not a bike rider? No problem. We’ll drive you to Harrisburg to visit the Knife River Prestress concrete plant. Ever wonder where big concrete beams and columns are precast? This is the place and you can see it in action.
For the serious minded, you can get certified as a post-disaster safety assessment evaluator. You will be able to assist in the evaluation of buildings in the aftermath of a disaster. This preconference workshop is offered right in the Eugene Hilton. When you complete the workshop, you will be registered as an evaluator, receive a badge, and be able to renew for free online.
And those are just the options before the conference officially starts! The conference itself has everything you’ve come to expect from our excellent organization. Two dozen informative technical sessions. A huge hall full of exhibitors. Exhibitor-hosted social. Young Professionals mixer. First Timers wine social. Two captivating keynote addresses. Banquet with entertainment. And, of course, the Gizmo and all that it entails.
Be sure to follow Oregon APWA on Twitter and like our Facebook page. Don’t forget to register for the conference! Early-bird rates end March 13.
My name is Kurtis Pipkin and I am a civil engineering student at Oregon Institute of Technology, or Oregon Tech. I grew up in a quiet small town about 30 minutes west of Portland called Banks, which is where I attended school.
Growing up, I spent quite a bit of time visiting job sites that my dad was working on. He is primarily a residential contractor, but he has also worked on commercial buildings. While spending time and working for him, I learned a lot about construction. After being so involved in it, I knew I wanted to work in construction in the future, and this guided my decision to go to school for engineering.
Because I knew that I wanted to do from early high school, my college search was that much simpler. I come from a middle-class family that was seriously affected by the 2007 financial crisis, so I knew I would have to pay for college with my own loans. Knowing I didn’t want to go out of state, I chose Oregon Tech. This school has a renowned engineering program, and had significantly smaller class sizes than OSU or PSU. While attending Oregon Tech, I was introduced to an internship program called CECOP. This program gives students who are accepted the opportunity to work for local engineering firms for six-month internships. This is how I got involved with public works. After finding out I would be working for the City of Eugene Engineering Division, I learned the civil engineering faculty at Oregon Tech nominated me for the Oregon Tech APWA scholarship. This scholarship, along with a teacher’s assistant position, were the only financial help I had received while attending college. So needless to say, I was ecstatic when I was awarded.
Along with the scholarship, I was invited to attend an APWA conference. Fortunately, I had the opportunity to attend a conference while I was working for the City of Eugene. I chose to go to the Pendleton Conference in October. During this conference, I met a multitude of amazing people who work for both public and private companies around Oregon. I sat in on eight technical sessions covering topics from water quality permits to testing wooden bridge piers for deterioration. I had never been to a multi-day conference before APWA. It became a huge networking event for me, and gave me a chance to see what it’s like to be a part of a professional society. I now know how helpful it is to go to these conferences and learn about what others are doing in the industry. I will definitely push involvement in a society later in my career.
Everyone has probably heard the statement “Good enough for government work.” For those of you who haven’t, this statement simply jokes about how sometimes when work is completed by the government, it isn’t done to the same standard as privately funded work. While going to school for civil engineering, I heard this statement and it created a stigma against working for the government. However, after working with a public works engineering division for an internship, I found this statement to be entirely incorrect. The office I worked for is filled with individuals who pride themselves on creating the best product possible for their paying citizens. Not one person in the office will settle for “good enough,” and if they did, they wouldn’t be working much longer. Public works agencies frequently only receive recognition on their mistakes, but these mistakes are much fewer than people understand. I believe in the people who work for public works, have a new found confidence in our local governments, and would be proud to work for a public works department after I graduate.
In late February, the Oregon Chapter officially nominated Gregg Weston for National APWA's Public Works Top 10 Leader recognition.
In the nomination packet, the chapter's Immediate Past President, Russ Thomas, cited Weston's many years of service to the chapter, as president in 2009 and also as a board member, education committee member and Scholastic Foundation member and president. In 2017 Weston received the Oregon Chapter's highest honor, the William A. Bowes Award.
Weston, who is chief engineering manager for 3J Consulting in Beaverton, has 40 years of experience with public works. Over the course of his career, he has worked on a wide variety of major projects, including the expansion of Portland's light rail system and development of the Portland waterfront district.
Yet despite these monumental accomplishments, he is perhaps best recognized for his commitment to and passion for educating future generations of public works professionals. His experiences starting in the public works field fresh from active duty in the U.S. Air Force have shaped his push to create more scholarships at Oregon colleges - most recently scholarships at the University of Portland and George Fox University.
Dozens of co-workers, educators, community leaders, chapter members and former students and interns rallied in support of Weston's nomination. "Gregg was always someone I could look to for encouragement, support and creative ideas for solving difficult issues," said Jeanne Nyquist. "He served as a mentor to me and to many young engineers with his subtle guidance and gentle encouragement," said Amanada Owings, a former intern and now a traffic engineer for the City of Portland. "He has inspired me to be better at everything I do and to help those around us grow with us," said Thomas.
Results of the judging will be announced during National Public Works Week in May.
The sustainability committee conducted a winter field trip to the Ridgewood View Park Reservoir and Pump Station in November. The reservoir won the state’s first Envision Gold Award in 2016. Envision is a sustainability framework developed by a number of partners, including APWA, which was a founding partner. Our tour was led by Nick Augustus of the Tualatin Valley Water District. The facility not only had a number of sustainable practices incorporated into its design, but was developed to benefit the neighborhood residents in addition to the broader community the reservoir serves. TVWD and the Tualatin Hills Park and Recreation District worked together to develop the water storage reservoir while improving the park for the neighborhood and adjacent school. You can see photos of our trip below and find out more about the project on the C4S website.
National Web Site Recognizes Oregon Work
The City of Ontario’s Public Works Sustainability Award from the Oregon APWA was featured in November’s “In the Know” section of the national C4S web page. The program was the Oregon APWA’s 2017 Sustainability Practices Award winner. The program contains numerous and unique ways to use sustainable practices to benefit the community of Ontario. Components of the program range from installing used bus stop shelters, to programs to benefit the homeless community, to a $2 million upgrade to the chemical water treatment system that resulted in a more reliable system and substantial savings to the City. The program is estimated to save about 100 metric tons of CO2 emissions and reuse more than 50 million gallons of wastewater for non-human crop irrigation, annually. If you didn’t catch the award at the fall conference, check out the “In the Know” article.
I am pleased to announce that Brian Conlon, Operations Manager for the City of Springfield, was awarded life membership in APWA in January. Brian has attended various trainings and conferences over the years, as well as been a presenter. Brian recently told me he is grateful for the resources available in APWA. His career path has transitioned over many areas in public works and Brian feels that APWA has given him a leg up with the diversity of topics covered by the association.
I first met Brian about 10 years ago when City of Eugene was looking at starting up a slurry seal program and Springfield had an active program from which we could learn. In true APWA fashion, Brian was so helpful that Eugene quickly implemented a slurry seal program and has let a multi-street project every year since. We continue to work together on wastewater rehabilitation and other regional wastewater topics. Brian appreciates the willingness to collaborate amongst the members.
Life membership is awarded to members who have continuous membership for 30 years; continuous membership for 20 years and are age 70; or continuous membership for 20 years, age 65, and fully retired from active service.
No Time to Rest on Your Laurels
By Les Miller, Emergency Management Committee
Not a bad winter all in all, wouldn’t you say? Glad you didn’t need to expand routine operations into emergency operations - at least not very far? For the most part we here in Oregon are blessed with moderate weather, with relatively short-duration events ... events when we need to move into extended emergency operations. So the Emergency Management Committee doesn’t have anything to “bug” you with, right? WRONG!!!!
Oregon and SW Washington again this year weren't really challenged on our “depth of bench” or our ability to tax limited resources. So we should count our blessings and move on right? Sure, but to improve your resilience, I recommend you select one of the natural or human-caused disasters that fell upon one or more of our public works peer agencies and see what you can do to modify your current risk from their experience. I further recommend that you evaluate how lessons experienced could and will benefit your employees, colleagues, their families, your job, your agency/organization and your customers/community.
April 10-13, Developing Leader, Mt. Bachelor Village in Bend. One of the “pearls” of the Northwest Public Works Institute, Developing Leader is a much sought-after class headed by Jeanne Nyquist. The class is sold out but you can still add your name to the waiting list. Developing Leader, Public Works Essentials in November and Public Works Leadership in December will all sell out – if you are interested in the November or December class, registration is open and you should sign up now. April 25-26, Preventive Maintenance for Roadway Surfaces, Eagle Crest in Redmond. This class is only offered every two years, so take advantage of this important offering. Learn from some of the best in our industry on chip sealing, crack sealing, paving, pothole patching, pavement preservation, ADA compliance and preventive maintenance techniques. For all APWA education offerings, visit www.oregon/apwa.net and click on the “events” tab – then on the “training” tab. If the name of the class you are interested in is in blue – that class has an open registration and you just need to click on the name to get to the registration page. For even more information on a class, once you have gone to the registration page, you will see PDF “downloads” in the bottom left. Those will likely be agendas or additional information on that particular event.