Launch Slideshow

November 17, 2011: 2011 EcoBuzz Conference held at the David Suzuki Secondary School in Brampton, Ontario. David Suzuki was on hand to visit the local exhibitors at the conference and talk to students and faculty.

Takin’ it to the streets

Takin’ it to the streets

  • Two employees of Brampton Works & Transportation Department present information about careers in public works to a student in one of their many career forums.

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    Two employees of Brampton Works & Transportation Department present information about careers in public works to a student in one of their many career forums.

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    Nick Turchiaro

    Two employees of Brampton Works & Transportation Department present information about careers in public works to a student in one of their many career forums.

  • November 17, 2011: 2011 EcoBuzz Conference held at the David Suzuki Secondary School in Brampton, Ontario. David Suzuki was on hand to visit the local exhibitors at the conference and talk to students and faculty.

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    November 17, 2011: 2011 EcoBuzz Conference held at the David Suzuki Secondary School in Brampton, Ontario. David Suzuki was on hand to visit the local exhibitors at the conference and talk to students and faculty.

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    Nick Turchiaro

    Marketing Administrative Assistant Diana Sabatino and Training & Safety Coordinator for Brampton Transit Deepak Bains hand out informational pamphlets at one of Brampton Works & Transportation Department’s booths at a career fair in 2012.

  • May 10, 2010St Edmund Campion Catholic Secondary School© 2010 Nick Turchiaro Photography

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    May 10, 2010St Edmund Campion Catholic Secondary School© 2010 Nick Turchiaro Photography

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    Nick Turchiaro

    May 10, 2010 St Edmund Campion Catholic Secondary School © 2010 Nick Turchiaro Photography

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    Doug Bear

    “Teachers say [National Public Works Week] is their favorite field trip,” says Kitsap County, Wash. Public Communications Manager Doug Bear.

  • Teenagers learn about surveying and mapping under the watchful eye of Kitsap County (Wash.) public works employees.

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    Teenagers learn about surveying and mapping under the watchful eye of Kitsap County (Wash.) public works employees.

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    Doug Bear

    Teenagers learn about surveying and mapping under the watchful eye of Kitsap County (Wash.) public works employees.

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    St. Charles Public Works Department

    St. Charles, Mo. Suggests having plenty of ear plugs on hand from the many horns being blown throughout the day as kids explore the equipment.

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    St. Charles Public Works Department

    Local kids get to literally leave their mark at the St. Charles, Mo. National Public Works Week celebration.

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    St. Charles Public Works Department

    Armed with plastic gloves, kids leave their handprints in wet concrete in St. Charles, Mo.

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    St. Charles Public Works Department

    A small girl signs her name on a snow plow blade in St. Charles, Mo. The blades are used the following winter.

  • St. Charles, Mo., day care children sign a snow plow blade at last years National Public Works Week celebration. The blades are then used the following winter.

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    St. Charles, Mo., day care children sign a snow plow blade at last years National Public Works Week celebration. The blades are then used the following winter.

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    St. Charles Public Works Department

    St. Charles, Mo., day care children sign a snow plow blade at last year’s National Public Works Week celebration. The blades are then used the following winter.

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    St. Charles Public Works Department

    The organizers of the St. Charles, Mo. Public Works celebration suggest that for a good turnout you need to “Invite people and feed them.” They have done just that with this group of local schoolchildren.


St. Charles Public Works Department, City of St. Charles, Mo.

Population: 67,000
Service area: 20 square miles
No. employees: 109
Annual budget: $34 million (operating and capital)
Services: Streets, Storm Water, Traffic Signals, Wastewater, Water, Engineering (construction & design), Fleet & Transit
Approximate cost: $1,500 (spread throughout operating budget)



Five tips from St. Charles Public Works Department

1. Plan as early as possible.
2. Get the word out well in advance and consistently publicize the event. National Public Works Week is toward the end of the school year, when it’s easier for students and school administrators to lose focus.
3. Have plenty of ear plugs on hand for ear protection from the many horns being blown throughout the day.
4. Involve employees; they must be the ones on the ground planning and running the event.
5. Invite people and feed them. Have food/drinks available to get people to come. Invite mayor/councilmembers.

One-on-one time

Since 2003, St. Charles Public Works Department employees have annually recognized NPWW with a one-day event interacting with hundreds of children and adults at the Missouri city’s Mueller Road Soccer Park After demonstrating various pieces of equipment, they help kids up into the driver’s seat.

Equipment trading cards,the brainchild of Public Works employees,are a perennial favorite. A picture is taken of the equipment/vehicle and sent to vendors for trading cards to get printed.

“Every year we add a new card,” says Director of Public Works Debra Aylsworth. “They have a photo of a piece of equipment and have a brief description on the back. The kids absolutely love collecting them.”

St. Charles Public Works Day also includes an art project. Dennis Boswell, retired streets superintendent, painted SpongeBob SquarePants on one snow plow blade, and graciously comes back each year to do touchups. Teams of children write their name on two others. The blades are used that winter, and then painted over again for the next year.

No need to worry about kids getting behind the wheel of a piece of equipment, as no one is let in unaccompanied. Employees from all Public Works divisions sign up for the equipment station they’d like to manage for the day. They also built stairs to make it easier for the children to climb up and down and in and out without injury.

Aylsworth got the idea for the event after she and the former director of public works attended an educational session on public relations at the APWA’s 2001 Congress and Exposition. The focus was how to spread the word about the value and service public works provides, so they decided to start this annual event.

To plan Public Works Day, a committee of 10 to 12 meets from January to March. Employees spend the afternoon on Thursday cleaning equipment and making final preparations for Friday. Then on Friday, from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m., 100 employees participate,unless, of course, there’s an emergency.

Since it’s a small cost with a big return, the event hasn’t been subject to cutbacks.