Sunday marked the beginnning of the American Public Works Association's (APWA) National Public Works Week (NPWW). More than 30,000 association members from throughout North America use the week to educate residents and elected officials about the assets and services that improve everyday quality of life. Celebrations include parades, open houses, equipment “roadeos,” programs for civic organizations, outreach to schools, and media events. More communities participate every year, steadily increasing the number of taxpayers exposed to the value of planning, building, managing, and operating infrastructure. Public works is the first to respond to a disaster and the last to leave.
NPWW isn't only recognized by APWA. On May 17, 2018, U.S. Senators James Inhofe (R-OK) and Kamala Harris (D-CA) introduced a bipartisan Senate Resolution recognizing public works. To mark the 58th annual event, APWA’s Washington, D.C., office is hosting two events on Capitol Hill. For “Donuts & Trucks” on Tues., May 22, the D.C. Department of Public Works (DPW) is providing two vehicles for display and APWA Government Affairs staff will hand out donuts and coffee to congressional members and Capitol Hill staff as they head to work. APWA Executive Director Scott Grayson and D.C. DPW Director Chris Shorter will speak on the importance of continued infrastructure investments.
On Wed., May 23, APWA is hosting a breakfast roundtable on “Public Works in Big Cities” in the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center. For this event, APWA is bringing together 10 public works leaders from cities with populations of 500,000 or more, who will address members of Congress and their staff about public works operations in their cities.
“Having served as a city council member myself, I've seen the enormous contributions public works professionals make," says Grayson. "They're creative problem-solvers who don't require recognition even though they may work around the clock plowing streets, fixing water main breaks, ensuring our drinking water is clean, and cleaning up after fires or storms.”
"As we celebrate the vital contribution public works professionals make every day, let’s also celebrate the sustainability and resilience of our communities—and the people and natural resources that make them great places to live, work and play,” said APWA President Bo Mills, PWLF, Director of Public Works for Germantown, Tennessee.
NPWW has been celebrated during the third full week in May since 1960. In addition to Senate Resolutions, federal government recognition has included letters of acknowledgment from Presidents Dwight Eisenhower and Lyndon Johnson, and a Presidential Proclamation signed by John F. Kennedy in 1962.
The Top 10 Public Works Leaders of the Year award has been a cornerstone of the week since its beginning. To date, the program has acknowledged 590 men and women who reflect the highest standards of professional conduct. Their accomplishments are often particularly noteworthy in relation to the limited manpower and financial resources available.
For more information about APWA’s National Public Works Week, visit www.apwa.net.