City of McAllen, Texas

Population: 134,000
Year: 2011
Length: 2:32
Cost: Free (government-access television)

Why we like it: It’s rare that we get the chance to truly grasp each individual job within public works. This video takes less than three minutes to explain how every employee’s work benefits the community.

Made to promote McAllen the year the city hosted the Texas Public Works Association’s (TPWA) Annual Conference and Equipment Show, this video conveys the diversity, skill, and importance of the men and women who constitute public works. The department procured the services of the McAllen Cable Network, whose in-house staff conceptualized, filmed, and edited video of more than a dozen employees at work throughout their 46-square-mile service area.

The project inspired the department to use video when presenting at TPWA meetings. If they’re anything like this one, they warrant the room’s undivided attention.

City of Greenville, S.C.

Population: 60,000
Year: 2011
Length: 5:24
Cost: Free (government-access television)

Why we like it: You’ll want to visit Greenville, S.C., after watching this video. That’s how good it is at expressing the capabilities, earnestness, and diligence of public works employees and their impact on quality of life in the area.

The city’s one-man video department, public information and events employee Scott Bachman, shot hours of footage around the city in preparation for an awards ceremony. When most of it wasn’t used, he compiled the material into this engaging overview of the Greenville Department of Public Works. Bachman has also created several videos highlighting other aspects of the city, including parks and recreation.

City of Burlingame, Calif.

Population: 29,000
Year: 2010
Length: 2:38
Cost: Paid for and produced by Burlingame Properties

Why we like it: This video makes the everyday seem extraordinary. An interview with public works director Syed Murtuza is interspersed with footage of weekly water testing and pipe-cleaning. The video walks viewers through various aspects of public works, revealing employees’ palpable commitment to their work.

— Emelia Fredlick