American Public Works Association

The association elevated the role of construction inspection when, in September, it announced its newest professional-development program: the Certified Public Infrastructure Inspector (CPII).

American Society of Civil Engineers

ASCE has addressed unethical behavior head-on and without apology. The organization's recently revised ethics code (the first such revamping in a century) replaced a tame injunction to act honorably with one that requires “zero tolerance for bribery, fraud, and corruption.”

Eytan Apelberg

As an intern working for 16,000-resident Vienna, Va., Apelberg was directed to construct a visitors information Web page, but he took it upon himself to go home at the end of the day and tackle other town information technology issues on his own personal time. After the ambitious intern was hired full-time, he created the public works department's Tracker system, which monitors trash collection, mulch processing, and complaints. Developing the system necessitated working with department officials to assess their needs and modernizing an outdated, DOS-based system.

Boston's “Big Dig”

This perennial Trendsetter nominee, alas, often earns a berth for less-than-desirable reasons. Last year, the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority's chief executive resigned in the wake of a tunnel collapse that killed a rider. This year, the National Transportation Safety Board placed some of the blame on the authority's inspection program. Bechtel Co. and Parsons Brinckerhoff Quade & Douglas Inc.—which managed the $15 billion project—avoided charges of criminal negligence by settling out of court for more than $300 million.

BP Amoco

In July, the EPA okayed the company's request to dump partially treated wastewater from its Whiting, Ind., refinery into Lake Michigan, forgoing current discharge limitations. Indiana officials also exempted the corporation's refinery from state environmental laws to let the company move forward on a planned $3.8 billion expansion. Protestors claim the measures threaten wildlife and humans dependent on the body of water for their health and recreation; the company maintains that the move will have negligible impact on man and beast.

William Callaway

The CEO of SWA Group, an AEC firm, is spearheading the revitalization of Vallejo, Calif.'s Mare Island. The former naval base has been transformed into an ecological and economic wonderland, with commercial uses, housing, university, and wildlife refuge.


After 17 years of dormancy, the impending invasion of the cacophonous critters had the Midwest in a tizzy this summer. However, the insects proved to be less of a threat than an amusement. While they inspired enterprising bug fans to create t-shirts and concoct unappetizing cicada recipes in celebration of their arrival, the visitation did not live up to the hype. They did only minimal damage to trees, and the dessicated exoskeletons littering sidewalks were simply swept up. In a few weeks, the noise died down, and the “CICADIA MANIA!” t-shirts went into storage.

City of Los Angeles, Calif., Bureau of Sanitation

The City of Angels added Styrofoam to the list of items residents throw in their blue recycling bins—and managed to make money in the process. After compacting the material, the city sells it to a local manufacturer that makes crown molding for homes.

Bill Clinton

As the 2008 presidential campaign heats up for his wife, the former president is seeking to cool global warming. With billions in donations from large corporations, the Clinton Global Initiative announced a plan to help government buildings in cities across the globe reduce waste and increase energy efficiency.

Cook County, Ill., Highway Department and the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority

The agencies have given rubberized asphalt a second chance, thereby adding Illinois to the list of states—Arizona, California, Florida, and Texas—working to make old tires into cost-effective resurfacing material. Cook County's comparing its standard bituminous resurfacing mix to a concoction developed by Seneca Petroleum, which sells rubberized asphalt cement, and S.T.A.T.E. Testing, a materials testing and spec-builder, on two sites; the tollway is testing ground tire rubber in three places.