Management & training

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

Public Works Around the World

In this industry, every day brings new challenges and problems. However, many of these problems have also been encountered—and solved—by other professionals just like you.

“The issues we face in our day-to-day jobs are not that dissimilar across the globe,” says leader Patricia Bugas-Schramm, transportation asset management coordinator for the Portland (Ore.) Office of Transportation. “This session explains the 2006 international exchange of best-practice information, innovations, skills, and experience form APWA-supported study tours to New Zealand and Mexico.”

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

Tracking for Success: Learning to Be Better

Everyone wants to be better. However, it's difficult to improve and move ahead if you don't know where you are right now. This session seeks to help attendees gauge their performance and progress—an essential task.

“Static resources and higher expectations demand that service providers accurately account for and demonstrate their performance,” says speaker Daryl Grigsby, public works director of Kirkland, Wash. “This workshop provides the latest information from those actually delivering and managing public works services.”

Topics will include setting a strategic vision, establishing goals, measuring success, and using data to manage and adapt to change.

Monday Sept. 10, 2 p.m.

It's All About Talent: Find It, Keep It, and Use It to the Max

Public works agencies are in a tug of war over talented employees. On the other side of the rope: other public agencies and, more importantly, companies in the private sector. How to balance changing demographics, declining budgets, and other factors in your quest to hire and keep the people essential for success?

“Hire the right employees into the organization,” says speaker Dave Chambers, director of public works for Aurora, Colo. “It's more important than ever to know the strengths of each employee rather than to fit a generic job description. This session will provide a real-world example of how our department improved retention and cultivated a workforce much more engaged in their daily activities.”

Monday Sept. 10, 4 p.m.

Leading Successful and Sustained Organizational Transformation

Sometimes, for an agency to truly improve, it has to nearly reinvent itself. That was the case in Dallas County, Texas, where presenter Don-ald Holzwarth oversaw such changes while public works director. “This topic will appeal to people interested in leading effective change—those who see the need for it, and who see the untapped potential in their people,” says Holzwarth.

In addition, representatives from Chula Vista, Calif., will share their journey through a similar transformation, and how they measured their progress.

Monday Sept. 10, 4 p.m.

Building Depth Into Your Leadership Team

You can train the top people at your agency, but how do you ensure that the knowledge gets passed down to everyone in the organization? The answer lies in building an effective training program. Greg Meyer, deputy director of public works for the city of Woodland, Calif., will lead this session on infusing your staff with the knowledge, experience, and skills necessary to ensure the success of your organization, and their careers.

“We'll tell you how to fashion an extensive, focused, and inexpensive training effort that instills your public/ customer service philosophy, personnel management, personal ethics, and site-specific supervision skills,” says Meyer.