Aug 07, 2007

Keeping the ‘Works’ in Public Works

More than 6,000 public works industry professionals from various sectors and parts of the world will gather at the 2007 American Public Works Association (APWA) International Public Works Congress & Exposition. The event, now in its 113th year, will take place at the Henry B. Gonzales Convention Center in San Antonio, Sept. 9 to 12.

APWA promises a show of Texas-sized proportions, featuring a newly revamped education session format. Guests are invited to explore the congress and expo’s education programs, workshops and networking events, plus more than 100,000 sq ft of exhibit floor. The four-day event aims to provide industry professionals the opportunity to discover emerging trends, exchange ideas and develop new business relationships.


Keeping In-the-Know

The expo’s exhibit hall will showcase the latest in public works-related products, services and technologies. Industry experts and vendors are set to host more than 120 technical and professional development sessions, and continuing education units will be awarded for attendance.

New this year is the APWA show’s Storm Water Summit, an entire day devoted to the issues and solutions surrounding National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Phases I and II. On Sept. 12, federal and state regulators will offer insight into enforcement actions occurring nationwide and provide tips for steering clear of penalty situations.

Summit discussions will touch on erosion control, illicit discharges, good housekeeping practices for data collection and reporting, public education and best management practices for runoff control.

Workshop Wednesday—show-goers’ outlet for delving into hot industry topics—is another 2007 addition. Advanced, targeted workshops, some of which include live case studies with onsite demonstrations, include “A Demo! Innovative Street Reconstruction Technologies” and the “San Antonio River Improvements Project.” Details regarding morning and afternoon workshop schedules are available online.

A San Antonio River Tunnel technical tour is available Wednesday, as well; the tour showcases an award-winning infrastructure project which, within months of its introduction, saved the city well over its $110 million construction cost in flood damage.

“Come prepared to see and learn,” said APWA marketing director David Dancy. “There’s a lot of opportunity here for those who are willing to make the most of it.”


Making & Maintaining Connections

Best-selling humorist Dave Barry will host APWA’s kick-off session Sept. 9, and a get-acquainted soiree will follow that evening. A golf tournament, awards ceremony, closing banquet and various luncheons and brunches provide additional opportunities for catching up with colleagues and forming new industry relationships.

“Exhibitors and attendees—everyone is invited to get together and network,” Dancy said. “The event will offer subject-oriented thought leader discussions, a diversity luncheon, a women in public works breakfast, a historical society gathering, chapter dinners… there are groups and outings for just about everyone.”

And fear not, show and industry newcomers. APWA will host a first-timers breakfast Sept. 9. Seasoned professionals will fill you in on how the show works and share advice on making the most of your time and financial investments.

To access APWA registration and travel information, build a personal schedule and review answers to FAQs, visit

Editor’s Note: Next year’s APWA show is scheduled for Aug. 17 to 20 in New Orleans. Mark your calendar!



Make the Most Out of APWA

Exhibitor Highlights

  • “Our new product is a GPS-based mapping and work order creation system that allows sanitation truck drivers to be the ‘point men’ to mark piles of debris, leaves, brush, overhanging limbs, furniture, appliances, etc. Pickup crews can be targeted to the exact location of piles. Previously these crews had to go on a routine and expensive fishing trip just to find the debris.” - Jim Oswald, OA Technology Group (Booth #508)
  • “This year the American Concrete Pipe Association will introduce a new professional membership category that offers a variety of benefits, including access to technical support and experts in the industry, access to marketing and research information, the opportunity to shape research projects for concrete pipe and box culverts, discounts on ACPA continuing education courses and more.” - Karen Hunter, American Concrete Pipe Association (ACPA) (Booth #3003)
  • “This year at APWA, the Southern Nevada Water Authority will be promoting the inaugural Water Smart Innovations Conference and Exposition, slated for Oct. 8 to 10, 2008, in Las Vegas… [It] will be the world’s largest, most comprehensive conference focusing on urban water-efficiency practices, policies and products.” - Tom Bradley, Jr., Southern Nevada Water Authority (Booth #1103)
  • “Brentwood Industries will be bringing its new StormTank product to the show. The StormTank is a modular system used for underground storm water infiltration or detention.” – Rob Adams, Brentwood Industries (Booth #204)


Words of Wisdom

  • “Bring an open mind for new technology and ask questions until you are confident in the effectiveness of a product. If you walk away skeptical, you could be missing a huge opportunity because there was a good answer to your skepticism.” - Thomas Carpenter, Erosion Tech (Booth #2939)
  • “Be sure and take the time to visit all the exhibits, as there will be numerous new products that could provide a cost-saving solution to a challenge your city or town may be encountering… Take the acquired information and provide it to your fellow team members and act immediately—while the information is fresh in your mind.” - Raymond Massey, Alamo Group Inc. (Booth #2221)
  • “Study the program in advance and plan your time. Attend the sessions that will help you the most. Don’t keep your display fully staffed at the low traffic times. It’s about more than selling; learning is just as important. And the three most important things are network, network, network.” - Philip Snyder, Hobas Pipe USA (Booth #2726)
  • “Follow up, follow up, follow up. Build and update your databases based on contacts you make.” - Tom Bradley, Jr., Southern Nevada Water Authority (Booth #1103)
  • “Follow up on promises made and do them in a timely manner.” - Karen Hunter, American Concrete Pipe Association (Booth #3003)

About the author

Caitlin Cunningham is managing editor for Storm Water Solutions. Cunningham can be reached at 847.391.1025 or by e-mail at [email protected].