Stephanie Johnston's Blog

  • 10 Eye-Catching Public Works Products

    I love checking out products at the American Public Works Association's annual convention. This year's show was in Phoenix, but neither 110-degree heat nor the city's worst storm in 39 years dimmed my enthusiasm.

  • Have inspectors gone rogue?

    Are general contractors afraid to say something for fear of retaliation?

  • Public works' obscurity

    No one really understands what public works does, much less the pride employees take in providing an enjoyable and safe environment in which to live and work.

  • Which is the Better Use of Taxpayer Dollars?

    It’s the time of year when we ask public works departments when and why they retain consultants vs. performing work themselves. After all, many men and women who staff our nation’s road, water, and waste agencies have the advanced degrees and technical knowledge required to design, engineer, and...

  • Geodatabase helps city get great PR

    Residents in Australia's second largest city are sending e-mails to their favorite trees.

  • EPA fixes water pollution program after 25 years

    Gasoline and diesel is stored in tanks and conveyed via pipelines buried under the busy forecourts of convenience stores and fuel stations. As any water or sewer manager knows, those assets often leak. When they do, they poison one of the nation’s largest sources of drinking water.

  • Fountain repair

    It's taking 16 months to repair the Latona Fountain at the Palace of Versailles near Paris.

  • Public works: the first line of defense

    I have a confession to make: I lifted the “first line” line from Municipal Water & Sewer’s editor. Luke Laggis was reminding readers that they’re health care workers. “’Sanitas’ is the Latin word for health,” he writes, quoting a World Health Organization adviser. “Maintaining the health of the...

  • There’s a whole lotta shakin’ goin’ on

    For those of you who aren’t county engineers experiencing the consequences daily, oil and gas drilling equipment is extremely hard on rural roads. Now, according to a fascinating New Yorker article, pavement (and other stuff) is being damaged by another energy-industry practice.

  • Imagine restoring this fountain!

    Several years ago, my lovely suburban Chicago village installed a fountain in the central business district. It’s wonderful. Every warm evening, people of all ages are sitting on the surrounding benches, listening to the tinkle of the water, and relaxing.

  • Keep those job descriptions coming!

    In March I offered to post help wanted announcements to the Public Works magazine website, Linked In group, and weekly e-newsletter. All for free.

  • Calling all water, sewer professionals!

    How do you plan to improve utility operations over the coming year?

  • Streetlights save money

    Wireless technology is turning streetlighting into extremely valuable public works real estate.

  • Increasing health insurance costs

    Public sector employees are paying more for standard benefits like health and dental insurance.

  • Ignore abandoned utilities at your own peril

    Intersections and rights of way in the nation's biggest cities are webbed with utilities, both near the surface and deep underground.

  • President Obama’s second stimulus package

    In 2009, the Build America Bond program was launched to jump-start the economy via road- and water-system construction. Six year later, the Qualified Public Infrastructure Bond (QPIB) could pick up where the first stimulus package left off.

  • Lies, damn lies, and statistics

    Wasn’t it Mark Twain who said there are three kinds of lies: lies, damn lies, and statistics? I believe he was referring to the use of numbers (by politicians) to strengthen a weak argument.

  • Lining up resources

    An asset management program can be a potent recruiting tool that can move an operation forward.

  • Is asset management a load of crap?

    Before all you software, equipment, and consulting companies that serve the public works market have a fit over that question, please: Let me explain.

  • 600 counties violate proposed EPA ozone levels

    Ozone is another word for the haze that obscures skylines when humidity and temperature conditions are just right. You'll have three chances to comment on EPA's plan to lower the ozone air pollution standard to 65 ppb or 70 ppb by next October.


Blog Archive

Blog Archive

For more blogs written by Stephanie, Pam, and Michele click here.


Editor's Note

As Editor in Chief of Public Works, Stephanie Johnston directs the brand’s magazine, website, e-newsletters, and contributes to webcasts and other digital initiatives.


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