As a public works professional, your time is a precious commodity.

Odds are, you're so insanely busy juggling meetings and putting out fires in the field, you rarely see the inside of your office. Then there's your budget—or, more to the point, lack of one. With so few dollars and so little time, how do you justify taking the time and money to attend a trade show?

To that end, the program roster for the 2007 American Public Works Association International Congress & Exposition speaks for itself. The four-day event offers a wealth of exhibits, seminars, workshops, tours, networking sessions, and special events to heighten your industry knowledge. Whether you're a solid waste manager, water treatment foreman, engineer, or public works director, the schedule includes programming tailored to your needs.

Yes, you'll have to tear yourself away from your agency, but if you can get yourself to San Antonio's Henry B. Gonzales Convention Center for the annual APWA get-together—even if it's just for one day—you'll have tons of chances to hear advice from industry experts and commiserate with peers from across the country, all in one place:

  • Seminars: The schedule includes sessions in 15 tailored topic areas. Each of these is run by a leading manufacturer, industry expert, or public works professional who's tackled problems just like yours and come out on top.
  • Thought Leaders: New for 2007, this program consists of three separate sessions in which leading experts discuss leadership, recruitment, and planning for the future of public works.
  • Stormwater Summit: Free for all Congress registrants, this full-day event is geared toward helping public works directors and storm-water managers wrestle with NPDES compliance issues and other trends.
  • Workshop Wednesday: Each workshop digs deep into subjects such as urban forestry management, street reconstruction, gauging employee performance, and equipment replacement strategies.
  • Technical Tours: This year's tours include a visit to the San Antonio Tunnel and River Improvements project, a trip to a 35,000-square-foot emergency operations center, and the site of a former brewery being turned into a mixed-use development.
  • Exposition: Stretched across more than 100,000 square feet, manufacturers will be showing off the latest equipment, tools, software, and materials for all areas of public works.
  • Special Events: Several events, both inside the Convention Center and offsite, give newcomers and Congress veterans a chance to meet and mingle.

Plus, many seminars and workshops offer continuing education units, with the added bonus of boosting your career. In the next few pages, we'll share with you highlights of the upcoming APWA Congress & Exposition. For the full picture, visit See you in San Antonio!

Browse events by topics:

Construction & equipment

Sunday Sept. 9, 3:30 p.m.

Get Out of the Same Old Rut: Solve Your Underground Infrastructure Challenges with Trenchless Technology and Design-Build

When paired with the design-build project delivery method, trenchless technology offers several advantages in underground infrastructure rehabilitation, according to speaker Homer Guy, head of federal programs for Insituform Technologies Inc.

“This is the perfect solution for pressing environmental, energy, and maintenance headaches, including deteriorated and leaking transmission lines,” says Guy. “Although water and wastewater projects constitute the second largest design-build market, water, sewer, and drain lines are rarely accomplished by design-build—and that misses a grand opportunity.”

Guy will discuss how the practice can help reduce cost, cut project time, and reduce risk.

Monday Sept. 10, 10:30 a.m.

Excavator Safety and Operating Techniques

Maintaining rights of way can be dangerous—especially with improperly trained excavator operators.

“This session will enable you to turn the potential of your excavator operators into performance,” says Jim Green, presenter and corporate training manager for Alamo Industrial. “By the end of this presentation, participants will be able to develop their own excavator safety checklist, train their operators in safety best practices, and improve the safety of their equipment operators.”

Monday Sept. 10, 10:30 a.m.

Multiagency Benchmarking Study: Improving Capital Project Delivery Efficiency

When undertaking a big project, it helps to know what the neighbors are up to. In this session, Bill Lacher, vice president and project director for Vanir Construction Management Inc., will share the benefits of comparing delivery costs and best-management practices with neighboring agencies.

“The cost to deliver public works projects may be increasing due to regulations and community-involvement requirements,” says Lacher. “Once the cost of project delivery is benchmarked, agencies can identify and implement practices that make delivery more efficient, and reduce those costs.”

Monday Sept. 10, 3 p.m.

A Core Strategy for Utility Cut Repairs

Keyhole technology makes it possible for crews to maintain and repair underground pipe and other buried infrastructure, without worrying about long-term traffic disruption, extensive damage to surrounding pavement, and the headache-inducing racket of a jackhammer.

“Participants will be better able to evaluate a practice that saves money and minimizes the impact of utility cuts,” says session leader E. Marshall Pollock, president and CEO of Toronto-based Utilicor Technologies Inc. “The technique provides an environmentally friendly, aesthetically pleasing permanent pavement repair that is waterproof and requires no repaving or resurfacing.”