Management & training (cont'd)

Tuesday Sept. 11, 1:30 p.m.

How Consortiums Help Smaller Communities Do Big Things

The city of Highland Park, Ill., believes in teamwork. The Chicago suburb has banded with neighboring communities to provide a higher level of service than would be possible if it were flying solo.

“We'll talk about the processes we've used for establishing the consortium, the group dynamics, and some of the things we've done to be successful,” says speaker Mary Anderson, the city's public works director.

Projects made possible through the consortium include development of a cost-effective GIS, and successfully lobbying Congress for the funds necessary to address a serious inflow/infiltration problem.

Tuesday Sept. 11, 2:30 p.m.

What is She Wearing?, What Did He Say?

The public works workforce isn't getting any younger, and a batch of talented young professionals must be attracted to take their place. Once you've cultivated this crop of newbies, the next trick is to understand what makes them tick.

“It is imperative that the public works industry becomes more attractive to younger generations of workers,” says presenter Will McClave, local government program manager for Info Tech Inc. “Our cities and counties literally depend on it.”

Among the topics the session will focus on: technology and young workers' expectations in that area. For example, Treos, Blackberries, and “virtual days” might seem sci-fi to public works veterans, but these tools are digital-age essentials to newcomers.

Tuesday Sept. 11, 3:45 p.m.

Progressive Women in Public Works

Despite advances in equality over the past several years, there are still challenges unique to being a woman in public works. During this session, several professionals from all areas of public works will share their trials and tribulations—and their triumphs.

“Hard work and determination can help you excel, and make things happen to get the results you want,” says panelist Elia Twigg, division manager for the public works department in Palm Bay, Fla. “Each panel member will share her experiences in an effort to inspire others in their careers, and in their lives.”

Wednesday Sept. 12, 8 a.m.

Back to Basics: World-Class Hiring, Orientation, Training, and Evaluation

You might find it challenging to attain and retain a top-rate workforce—especially if the system you use to hire, train, and monitor your work-force isn't itself up to snuff. Many public agencies follow the unfortunate lead of ineffective companies, leading to wasted hours and dollars compensating for poor hiring decisions and an inability to properly train and hold employees accountable for performance.

“This training program is designed to help managers better understand and perform their roles in the interviewing, hiring, orienting, and job skills training processes,” says leader Alex Semilof, human resources manager at InterHealth International.

Tools shared in this workshop include interviewing techniques that pinpoint candidates with the right skills and attitudes, creating successful training programs, and performance feedback and coaching for employees at all levels.

Wednesday Sept. 12, 8 a.m.

Telling Your Story: Gaining Community Respect Through Effective Public Outreach and Media Relations

We all know public works can be a thankless job. Maybe it's because we don't make the public aware of all the things they should be thankful for. Speaker Michele Lovenduski is seeking to help end that.

“Effective communication is essential to any successful operation,” says Lovenduski, senior management analyst for Irvine, Calif.'s public works department. “This presentation explores creative tools designed to do just that.”

Lovenduski will share practical ways to work with the media, tips for honing your presentation skills, and ways to deal with elected officials.