Iowa and Ohio. Two four-letter states, each with lots of vowels, confounded this editor.
Iowa and Ohio. Two four-letter states, each with lots of vowels, confounded this editor.

I used to be terrified of making a mistake. But in my old age I've learned to embrace errors, because they usually lead to enlightenment (after the embarrassment wears off).

So I'm chagrined at confusing the Ohio Buckeyes with the Iowa Hawkeyes in an August-issue article about flooding in the HAWKEYE State. But at the same time, I'm gratified by the flurry of comments from readers anxious to set me straight.

Folks like Megan Miller, PE, a “proud native of the Hawkeye State” who's in Florida working for a solid waste management department. And folks who've happily adopted Iowa, like Mary Jo Finchum of Stanley Consultants, a transplant from the Show Me State (Missouri). And Ryan Morris at Gradall Industries, whose “Go, Bucks!” signoff makes me think he graduated from The Ohio State University.

The error is personally embarrassing because I went to college on the Illinois/Iowa border and have seen the University of Iowa Hawkeyes in action. What was I thinking?! But it proves you pay attention to what we PUBLIC WORKS editors work so hard to produce every month, and that you care enough to comment on it. There are 65,000 of you out there, and when you take the time to reach out — whether it's to praise or criticize or just say hello — we feel validated.

Which leads me to make a request:

Add me to your department's distribution list for press releases regarding major projects and new employees and promotions. It doesn't have to be anything fancy: just the who, what, when, where, why, and how of your team's accomplishment and, if possible, a photo. Or have the consulting, design, and engineering firms with which you work send the information. Some of our best story ideas come from readers, even their offspring.

The June issue's “Creative Cooperation” came from Nancy McKibben of Pinellas County Public Works in Florida, who expertly outlined how collaborating with CSX Transportation shaved three weeks off improvements to railroad grade crossings. We're working with Tom Logan, PE, of Covington, Ky., to show how public works will save $180,000 annually through an energy-savings performance contract.

“The necessary evil?” in the August issue came from Colby-Sawyer College freshman Kelsie Lee. Her father, public works director for the city of New London, N.H., urged her to submit her essay comparing public and media reaction to the on-the-job death of a 20-year-old public works employee to those of local police officers.

Another way to share your experiences is to respond to the quick-poll on the home page of The results of last month's question — Have you ever felt pressured to misrepresent, under-report, or simply not report a permit violation? — are on page 11.

So my apologies to readers whom I inadvertently offended, and thank you for commenting.

And to the rest of you, don't be shy:

Editor in Chief