Page URL: http://gb.baumpub.com/opinions/186/ushering-in-change-through-public-works
I read that and thought to myself, “That is probably the best definition of public works that I’ve ever seen.”
It’s always a challenge to try and describe exactly what the words “public works” apply to. Explaining that it’s pretty much everything that a city handles, except the inside work, seems to confuse people sometimes. Considering the vast range of products that were on display at the APWA trade show in Columbus, Ohio, I can understand the challenge.
This year’s Congress was interesting. Coming during an economic upheaval that has hit every sector, including governments, the impression that I got in talking to various people around the show was “not quite yet, but soon” – there’s a lot of expectation that the U.S. economy will slowly start to swing back towards the positive towards the end of this year and into 2010.
Stimulus funding has been slow to move through the levels of bureaucracy down to the street level south of the border, but it’s getting there and a lot of manufacturers are betting on there being some purchasing by governments in the near future. Governments are hoping to start buying as that work hits the ground, ensuring there are workers in their communities who will be employed – and paying taxes – thanks to those projects. And most of those projects will be planned, executed and maintained by the professionals who make up the public works department.
APWA President Larry Koehle – a 40-year veteran of the public works industry, and current Director of Public Works and Engineering for the Town of Caledon, Ontario – emphasized that public works is at the centre of the economic turnaround simply because much of the funding being provided by government is going to infrastructure.
“I strongly believe that there is no better group to usher in change than the people in public works,” Koehle said. “It is even more important in these times that we step up our efforts to benefit our cities and our people.”
With the continuing focus on infrastructure projects and the involvement of public works departments growing, it may be beneficial to spend some time educating the community at large about the role of public works professionals in the process. As the saying indicates, people don’t often think about the services that public works provides; they turn on a tap, the water flows, and that’s just how it should be. But they may be interested to know how that water gets to their tap, and the number of professionals that have been involved in ensuring it is safe to drink when it gets there.
Public works departments are the quiet side of government; they only get noticed when something goes wrong.
At the same time, they are also a big part of economic improvements, and it’s worth taking the time to introduce them to the community they serve.
October 19, 2012
This past June, several areas of the United States were hit by violent storms that caused damage and power outages from Ohio to the Atlantic Ocean. The storms blew through the heavily populated...
November 16, 2011
Someone I know just spent an afternoon watching utility crews fix a broken gas line outside his home. It’s an all too common issue; in this case, a road construction crew hit a line while...
February 21, 2010
In recent weeks, we’ve heard a lot about the United States’ decisions on its controversial “Buy American” policy that is attached to the billions of dollars issued to help...
January 8, 2010
When one considers the potential sources of greenhouse gas emissions, it’s not a surprise that a report from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities released December 8 concludes...
September 8, 2009
It seems that wherever we go these days, those little black eyes are watching us: almost every business door has a note about security cameras capturing images inside the store. We’re on camera...
- Telog HPR-32 provides wireless hydrant pressure monitoring
- PACCAR Parts celebrates its 40th Anniversary
- Douglas Dynamics, Inc. acquires TrynEx, Inc.
- Long Beach Transit orders 12 Rotary Lift MOD30 inground lifts
- Work Truck Show 2013 Green Award goes to Odyne Systems
- Fisher STORM BOXX pusher plows
- New Ditch Witch TK Series HDD Guidance System enhances productivity