Like caring for a community's infrastructure, publishing a magazine is a team effort. I've never met a successful Public Works reader who said he or she could do it alone, and my job is no different. And, like a public works department, a magazine is only as effective as the people who staff it.
So when I came on board here two years ago, one of the first things I did was steal some editorial and subject matter expertise from a sister publication of PUBLIC WORKS.
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign journalism graduate Victoria K. Sicaras brought with her the extensive knowledge she'd gleaned from covering construction equipment for the readers of CONCRETE & MASONRY CONSTRUCTION PRODUCTS. She'd written article topics like buying and selling used equipment and legal issues concerning subcontractors, and along the way learned how to place concrete.
As managing editor of PUBLIC WORKS, Vikki is its traffic engineer. She monitors the workflow of everyone else on the staff, troubleshooting potential production obstacles and tweaking processes, procedures, and noses as necessary to ensure the magazine reaches its destination—the printer—on time.
Luckily for both you and me, she's also an excellent reporter and writer capable of the type of insight you'll find in our third annual analysis of compensation for public infrastructure managers (see page 48). If you've signed up for our free e-newsletter at www.pwmag.com, you saw more of Vikki's work—and sense of humor—when she asked recipients of the Jan. 16 edition to respond to the survey she'd developed to gather this information.
Talented as she is, though, Vikki alone can't produce a magazine as diverse as PUBLIC WORKS. So we've hired a senior editor: someone to dig up examples from among our 67,000 readers of projects, products, and processes that are enhancing the quality of life for their cities, counties, and states.
As a newspaper reporter, it was Michael Fielding's job to explain to the residents of Red Wing, Minn., what a combined sewer system is and why it would need to be “separated.” Public Works Director Denny Tebbe reports that Michael worked hard to understand and accurately present the issue, and to earn the trust and respect of his sources.
Like practitioners of any profession, there are good and bad journalists. A doctor or engineer can have a license revoked and a lawyer can be disbarred, but journalists answer only to their internal sense of integrity.
Vikki and Michael have this integrity. So when they call you, or see you at the American Public Works Association's Congress, I hope you will take the time to talk to them. Your job is complicated. Our job is to gather and present the information you need. We can do that much better if you tell us what that is.
Editor in Chief