Most public works employees wait years to be allowed to go to a convention or trade show.

Chris Hudson, on the other hand, put off the American Public Works Association's annual convention for years. He's capital improvements program manager working with a calendar-based fiscal year, so September's not the ideal time to be out of the office. But this year, his boss finally put his foot down.

Now, of course, Hudson's glad he came. He works for Parker, Colo., the most conservative county in the state. It's easy to budget for "fun" projects like the recreational facility the city approved last year, but storm drains and floodplain permits don't capture the public's imagination in quite the same way.

When the city incorporated in 1981, it had just 285 residents. Today, there are 50,000 people needing roads, sewers, clean drinking water, and other public services. To ensure he presents compelling arguments for infrastructure investment, Hudson was planning to attend sessions on construction management and leadership. I haven't seen him since Sunday, the first day of the show, but I'll let you know what he found most useful if I run into him.

In the meantime, the other PUBLIC WORKS editors—Jenni Spinner and Victoria Sicaras—and I hope you find the following information useful. For more APWA coverage, be sure to visit the PUBLIC WORKS APWA Show Guide.

Stephanie Johnston
Editor in Chief

This article is part of PUBLIC WORKS magazine's live coverage from the 2007 APWA Show. Click here to read more articles from the show.