With 2015 quickly winding down, it is hard believe just how fast this past year has gone. The chapter had another great year of training opportunities including two successful conferences, well-attended short schools, ongoing sessions of the Northwest Public Works Institute, packed-to-the-brim monthly luncheons, assorted technical tours, and so much more. These trainings are the cornerstone of the chapter and one of the primary reasons we exist. If you haven’t had a chance to take advantage of one or more of these offerings, I encourage you to consider it for 2016.
Speaking of conferences, we had a full house of delegates and exhibitors during the fall conference at Seven Feathers in Canyonville. We were fortunate to have Ron Calkins (President-Elect for National) join us, and he was impressed at the program we put on and accomplishments this chapter has achieved.
One of the highlights from the conference was the introduction of the new Veterans of the United States Military Commemorative Scholarship. More details about this scholarship are shared later in this newsletter but the kick-off of this scholarship was noteworthy. With the conference just a couple of weeks ahead of Veteran’s Day, all of the veterans at the conference were recognized at the opening luncheon and given American flag lapel pins. The rest of the delegates and exhibitors were encouraged to thank the veterans for their service. Needless to say, the ovation for the veterans was well deserved. Thank you to all the veterans who have served our country. Your service is appreciated!
Another important annual milestone was the selection of the chapter’s 2016 nominee for the National Top Ten Leader Award. The Board unanimously selected Bob Patterson (Public Works Director for the City of Pendleton and Past Chapter President) and he graciously accepted the nomination. Bob’s leadership at the chapter level and his dedication to his family and community are enviable qualities and we wish him well as he competes against other candidates from across the country.
The Board also had another productive retreat and enjoyed the company of Brian Van Norman (Director of Chapter Relations for National). Brian joined the Board at the Silver Falls Conference Center as President-Elect Delora Kerber led the discussion around updates to the chapter’s strategic plan and how that aligns with the goals of National as well as her goals for 2016. Look for a message from Delora in early 2016 as she takes the helm as chapter President come January 1.
I also want to say a special THANK YOU to a couple of people who will be departing the Board. Terry Song served as Immediate Past President for 2015 after many years on the board as a Director and Treasurer, President-Elect, and President. He will be staying active with the APWA Scholastic Foundation so we haven’t lost his talent yet. Paul Shirey is term-limited as a Director but will continue to spearhead the spring 2016 conference in Hood River. Paul has been involved with planning and assisting many conferences as well coordinating the Board’s annual retreat. His insight and common sense approach to problem solving will be missed. Over the years, I have built a tremendous friendship with these two men and I appreciate their service and dedication to the chapter.
With Gordon Munro moving into the Secretary position, the Board welcomes John Lewis and Ashley Cantlon as the newest Directors. John and Ashley were voted in at the fall conference and their new perspectives will help keep the chapter active and relevant as we move into our 52nd year of service.
“Reply All.” That notoriously evil button on our e-mail programs can cause a sinking feeling in anybody who inadvertently sends a message to the masses when it was intended for a select audience.
Well, that simple act of hitting the wrong button is the trigger that ultimately caused the creation of the Scholastic Foundation’s Veterans of the United States Military Commemorative Scholarship. Gregg Weston was just trying to ask Dan Boss to do him a favor while Dan was in Washington D.C. for the Rolling Thunder Rally, but instead he included the entire chapter board on his request. The favor involved a visit to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and, based on Gregg’s message, I got an idea that I shared with the board at a subsequent board meeting.
The initial idea was to honor the veterans at the conference with American flag lapel pins, which we did. But the discussion quickly turned to other ways to honor those who have served. As the ideas around the board table were flying, the one we kept coming back to was a scholarship. However, scholarship funds need at least $10,500 before a $500 scholarship can be issued. So to get the ball rolling, the Board decided to seed the scholarship with $5,250 and then challenge the attendees at the fall conference to match that amount. The APWA Scholastic Foundation was thrilled to offer this scholarship and committed to earmarking all of the “Gizmo” contributions at the conference go toward this scholarship.
At the conference, Gregg Weston held back the tears as he shared his story while he explained the goal for the conference of matching the Chapter’s seed money. The contributions were relatively quiet during the week but that all changed at the closing luncheon. Some furious auctioning took place, and the exhibitors and delegates ended up contributing almost $7,000 which was well in excess of the target amount.
Since the scholarship was now close to the next tier, a request was sent to the general chapter membership requesting donations to push the fund to the next level. Once again, the members stepped up with an additional contributions to further bolster the scholarship fund. Although we didn’t reach the second tier, we are well on our way to reaching that goal soon.
A task force has been formed to create a schedule for developing a rotation schedule since the scholarship will go from school-to-school-to-school in order for veterans from across the state the opportunity to apply for it.
Once again, a special “THANK YOU” to all of the veterans. Your service to this country is very much appreciated.
Delora Kerber, director of Public Works in Wilsonville, will lead Oregon as chapter president in 2016. Kerber was unanimously elected to the position along with a slate of other board members at the fall 2015 chapter conference in Canyonville.
Russ Thomas, public works superintendent for the City of Newberg, was tapped as the chapter’s president-elect. Continuing as treasurer will be Jenifer Willer, civil engineer with the City of Eugene. Gordon Munro, TetraTech of Portland, will serve as treasurer.
Newly elected to the board as directors were Ashley Cantlon, water resources engineer with Otak in Portland, and John Lewis, public works director in Oregon City. Nikki Messenger, public works director for the City of Roseburg, was re-elected to a two-year term on the board.
Continuing to serve as directors are Elizabeth Papadopoulos, facilities system manager for Tri Met, Mike Bisset, community development director for the City of McMinnville, and Tony Roos, associate engineer for Cardno Inc.
Todd Watkins, principal engineer with Washington County in Hillsboro, will serve as immediate past president. Dan Boss, retired operations director in Tualatin, continues as the chapter's national delegate.
Also at the fall conference, chapter members elected trustees to the Oregon APWA Scholastic Foundation board of directors. Newly elected as a foundation trustee is Terry Song, project manager at WH Pacific, who replaces longtime trustee Dan Boss. Top
Bob Patterson Earns Bowes Award
By Russ Thomas, 2014 Bowes Award recipient
I found that receiving the William A. Bowes Award, the highest Oregon chapter award given to an individual, is a very humbling experience, and a very difficult task to select the next recipient of the award. There are many members of the Oregon Chapter of the American Public Works Association that I feel are much more deserving of this award than I. In selecting the recipient, I felt it was necessary to revisit the traits of the person that this award is named after, and in reviewing the many deserving members, this year’s recipient exhibits them all.
To properly honor the recipient, I felt it was necessary to recognize those past Bowes Award recipients present at this year’s conference, to truly know the magnitude of this award, and the honor it is to be recognized as being in the same company as them.
Past years William A. Bowes award recipients present at the Fall 2015 conference included Lori Faha 1998, Dan Boss 2000, Gordon Merseth 2002, Paul Klope 2005, Eric Jones 2007, Kurt Corey 2010, Todd Watkins 2012, and Mark Schoening 2013.
I had written several drafts about this year’s recipient, what he had done, and his accomplishments for the presentation of this award, but discarded each, as they didn’t accurately reflect who Bob Patterson is. Bob is not about accolades or recognition, but about doing the right thing for his agency, community, and the public works profession as a whole in the state.
In reviewing the information about William A. Bowes in comparison to Bob, I discovered that their careers, actions, commitment, and involvement in the Oregon Chapter had taken very similar paths. As Yogi Berra said, “You can observe a lot by watching”. I found that I personally have learned a lot by watching Bob.
William A. Bowes was described by his peers as a “man of unique energy and drive.” He was reported to have served as a member of the Oregon Chapter APWA board of directors, and served a lead role in many critical initiatives throughout his career. He was once quoted in an interview as saying, “If anybody, anybody at all is mad at City Hall, they’re mad at me." He was nonetheless known for his keen sense of humor and maintained that he held no lasting grudges. Anyone who knows or has been around Bob Patterson knows all of this to be true.
William A. Bowes service of the highest order – on the firing line. His Department of Public Works had those duties most likely to stir public criticism – planning, zoning, transit, traffic, streets, and highways. Bob Patterson is known for all of these and many more, exhibiting all the traits of Mr. Bowes. Bob is a mentor, leader, and friend to all that he meets.
A prime example of everything mentioned is a few months ago. The City of Newberg was having an immediate issue that I knew Bob and his staff at the City of Pendleton had solved. I sent an email on a late afternoon asking for any advice or information that may help us solve our problem. two hours and 16 minutes later, I received Bob’s reply with specifications, drawings, manufacture information, and his staffs contact information to provide any assistance we may need. This was sent during the evening, when Bob should have been at home with his family.
This shows the type person Bob Patterson really is, and as he often heard to say, “Let er Buck” and “Get er Done”!
It was my honor and privilege to present the Oregon Chapter of the American Public Works Associations 2015 William A. Bowes Award to Bob Patterson, from the City of Pendleton, Oregon.
Congratulations to the agencies, consultants and contractors who produced the 2015 projects of the year:
Benton County with prime consultant Lane County Public Works for engineering and construction services, for the Decker Road Slide Repair, in the category of disaster or emergency construction/repair (less than $5 million).
City of Eugene with prime contractor Oregon Woods, Inc., prime consultant Larry Wilson, and technical consultant Northwest Trails, Inc., for Spencer Butte Summit Trail, in the category of structures (less than $5 million).
City of Gresham with prime contractor JRT Mechanical, Inc., prime consultant Carollo Engineers, Inc., and equipment supplier Caterpillar Inc., for WWTP Cogen Expansion Project, in the category of environmental (water, wastewater, stormwater) (less than $5 million).
Oregon Department of Transportation Region 4 and City of Sisters, with prime contractor Knife River Corporation - Northwest, prime architect SERA Architects, Inc., prime engineer Quincy Engineering, Inc., and landscape architect GreenWorks, P.C., for US20: Cascade Improvements (Sisters), in the category of transporation ($5 million to $25 million)
City of Newberg, with prime contractor Mortenson Construction and prime consultant HDR Engineering, Inc. for Newberg WWTP Repair, Renovation & Expansion, in the category of environmental (water, wastewater, stormwater) ($25 million to $75 million ).
Honorable mentions went to City of Eugene for Amazon Creek Stabilization and Enhancement, Portland Bureau of Environmental Services for Wet Weather Flow Control Structure Improvements, City of Roseburg for Newton Creek Fish Passage, and Washington County Land Use and Transportation for Oleson Road at Fanno Creek Bridge Replacement.
The 2016 Mid-Willamette Erosion Control and Stormwater Management Summit will be held Tuesday, January 26, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Keizer Civic Center, 930 Chemewa Road NE, in Keizer.
Hosted by the Mid-Willamette Outreach Group, the summit is a training resource for home builders, developers, engineers, architects, landscapers, construction contractors, and municipal staff and crews. The training offers up to six continuing education credits.
APWA Seeks Nominations for the Diversity Exemplary Practices Award to recognize individuals and organizations that have made outstanding contributions to diversity. APWA defines diversity as follows: value of all individuals and different perspectives of those individuals, and providing the process for all to feel included as part of the whole. Diversity includes race, gender, creed, age, lifestyle, national origin, disability, personality, educational background, and income level.
Up to two awards may be presented annually in Individual or Program/Organizations categories. Nominations may be made by a chapter, entity, or individual APWA members or nonmembers. Examples of nominations from prior award winners are available from APWA National upon request. Recipients from 2015 include: Catherine Schoenenberger, President, Stay Safe Traffic Products, Inc. Westford, MA; and Public Works Equity and Human Rights Action Plan, Public Works Diversity Committee, City of Eugene, OR. The deadline to submit a nomination is March 1, 2016 (electronic submittals only). If you would like a copy of Eugene’s nomination, please send a request to Robert Tintle at Robert.firstname.lastname@example.org or contact any member of the Leadership and Management Committee.
Mentorship Pilot Program a Success
In 2015 the Oregon Chapter piloted a mentorship program for graduates of the Northwest Public Works Institute (NWPWI). The mentorship program was developed by the Oregon Chapter’s Leadership and Management Committee. The goal of the program is to provide an opportunity for graduates of the NWPWI to continue to develop their leadership skills. Five mentees were paired with five mentors for the pilot program. Participants were from both the Washington and Oregon chapters.
Mentees and their mentors were guided by a Mentorship Handbook that is available on the chapter website. Mentees and mentors connected in a variety of ways including face-to-face meetings, Skype and Facetime, e-mail, text messaging and the good old telephone. Mentees with the help of their mentors prepared professional development plans that included goals and activities to stretch and develop their leadership skills.
An example of a short-term activity identified by one mentee was to get involved in one of the chapter’s committees and a long-term goal for the same mentee was to achieve registration as a professional engineer. Working with her mentor, the mentee identified the steps necessary to meet the goals identified in her professional development plan.
At the end of the pilot program a survey was conducted of all participants to gauge the value of the program and whether the program should continue into a second year. A preliminary review of the program indicates a successful first year, and the Leadership and Management Committee will continue the program into a second year. To aid in the recruitment of new mentees and mentors a video explaining the program with testimony from participating mentees and mentors was developed and is shown at NWPWI courses. The video is posted online on the chapter website.
If you have questions on the mentorship program or would like to participate as either a mentee or mentor, please contact Mark Schoening at email@example.com or 541-682-5243.