Colorado Public Works Journal, Fall 2020

26 Colorado Public Works Journal Past President This is my FAVORITE time of the year ~ sun, camping, swimming, and the APWA Awards Program! It was once again an honor to be a part of the award selection process this year. I understand that solv- ing today’s problems is not easy, and requires efficient use of existing funds and materials, application of innovative techniques, and excep- tional leadership. APWA’s Awards Program strives to acknowledge the creativity, determination and resoluteness that so many public works agencies continue to demonstrate in the face of adversity. It is evident from the overwhelming number of project applications we re- ceived, that recent hurdles have not kept agencies from overcoming the financial limitations, delays, and restrictions of the last eight months. The judges were deeply impressed by the ingenuity exemplified within every submission. From cutting-edge excavation techniques to data-driven prioritization processes, it was innovative construction delivery/contracting methods and broad-minded financing decisions supported by cooperation and open communication that were the keys to success and savings for many of the projects. It is inspiring the amount of collaboration that can be achieved when federal, state and local government agencies partner to protect and strengthen our valuable infrastructure resources. I congratulate all entrants for persevering through these difficult times and pushing your projects through to distinguished completion. I encourage you to review all the projects and learn from each other’s best practices. We hope you can benefit from these meritorious achievements; and be inspired by the commitment, vision and leader- ship of these exemplary public works professionals. Most of all, I would like to make sure you are aware that your efforts do not go unnoticed. National APWA recently awarded Marlene Crosby, Gunnison County Public Works Director, one of the most coveted and prestigious public works awards by naming her one of the 2020 Top Ten Public Works Leaders of the Year. This honor is bestowed on just ten individual leaders in North America in recognition of their lifetime of dedication and experience, inspiring excellence in the public works industry. The Colorado Chapter was also recently awarded the National APWA Presidential Award for Chapter Excellence (PACE) for achieving excellence in serving our members and contributions to the advancement of public works practices. Arapahoe County’s “Jaws of Life” culvert repair program won in last year’s Maintenance & Operations category of our chapter awards program and that project was just this month recognized by the Federal Highway Administration as the national local agency winner of their “Bold Steps” Innovation Award. Congratulations Colorado! Be BOLD! Innovate! You never know where your next idea may take you. Renée Railsback President, APWA Colorado Chapter Renée Railsback, APWA Chapter President President James Phelps APWA Chapter Past President As Public Sector professionals, we have been navigating unprece- dented times amidst much uncertainty. As this time of year is typi- cally synonymous with school bells ringing, college and professional sports in full swing, leaves changing and of course department budget preparations. This year has and continues to be a year like no other. Similar in some aspects to 2009, we as a group of dedicated public sector professionals have had to react quickly to provide workable solutions to minimize the impacts of this pandemic for our communities. For many of us, we have dramatically altered our daily norms, the workplace routines, services provided, operations and logistics of the services we deliver. Yet another testament to the dedication and commitment that we all share in common as public works professionals. Looking back to March, we had no idea what to expect or plan for as the pandemic inserted itself as part of our daily lives effecting our families both at home and work. For many communities, it was necessary to closely examine adopted budgets for immediate expense savings as a way to prepare for the uncertainty. Today, moving forward we are developing our budgets for next year, the exercise has not changed as we propose reduced expenses in preparation of the uncertainty that remains. This is a challenging time for us as public works professionals; we take great pride in delivering high-level services for our internal and external customers. As in year’s past, the Chapter received a number of outstanding projects over the project categories including individual nominations. Thank you to all of you that submitted. In review of the projects, I remain drawn and impressed at the complexity of funding, collaboration, coordination, stakeholder involvement and administra- tive compliance that many of the projects shared in common. As funding remains a challenge, I suspect that we as public works professionals will become even more innovative and creative of delivery of new projects. To quote C.S. Lewis – “Two heads are better than one”. The individ- ual nominations for professional manager of the year by category, was a gentle reminder of this quote. As these recognitions are with- out question deserving, we as public works professionals recognize and appreciate the dedication and collaborative efforts of our work teams and the results we all enjoy. Congratulations to all the agencies and communities that submitted projects and individual nominations. There is so much great work taking place each day by the continued dedication of our public works communities. As public works professionals, we infrequently are recognized for the great work we do, SO it is even more important to STOP for a moment and recognize, appreciate, and enjoy the collective accomplishments of our public works community. James Phelps, Past President, APWA Colorado Chapter