APWA Michigan Chapter President’s Message

With the ending of two major holidays (I consider deer season a holiday) we immediately engage in the wonderful celebration of the religious Holiday Season. Regardless of which holiday you celebrate, the season brings out some of the greatest acts of kindness and celebration of life. It’s one of the best times of year when I see so many acts of giving, selflessness and charity.  Although at times it may seem overwhelming with running to get gifts, going to parties, travelling, etc., on top of our normal everyday life activities, I do want to encourage you to please make sure to take time to enjoy these special moments with family and friends.

In addition to the Holiday Season comes the celebration of a New Year and the season of winter.  For me, and many of us in the public works fields, it brings images of snow removal, ice storms and water main breaks. This is the time when our communities feel the immediate impacts of our efforts. There are always those who will take the service we provide for granted and be ignorant to the magnitude of effort and risk associated with battling mother nature to keep the roads passable, keep the water flowing and the furnaces and lights on.  I have been around long enough to understand the personal sacrifice, dedication and passion you all have which drives to keep our communities going.  As such I want to say thank you for getting up in the middle of the night, for braving the nastiest of weather and for doing the work that needs to be done. Even though it doesn’t seem as though your efforts are appreciated the reality is that they don’t go unnoticed and the silent majority truly are grateful.

Winter will be here and gone soon enough, for some not fast enough, but that brings upon us our annual Great Lakes Expo. The Conference Committee is already hard at work planning to create the best experience possible. They are building on the successes of last year’s conference and working to improve those areas of opportunity you indicated in the feedback received. This year’s conference is shaping up to be a fantastic. Anyone interested in assisting please reach out to Chuck Hart, the Conference Committee Chair, myselfm or any other Executive Committee member.

The Executive Team and Chapter Committee Members are diligently working on several improvements that you might notice over the next few months in an effort to improve such things as communication of upcoming events, the ability to register online and the view / functionality of our website. Our intensions are to help make participating in our Chapter and Branches easier and more available.

The end of November saw our Young Professionals group participate in conjunction with the similar group from Michigan Water Environment Association in a training session in the southeast part of the State. The event included a few hours of trainingand ended with a social hour at a local establishment. Expect to see continued notifications from this exciting group including a Joint Holiday Social Event with MWEA and MI-AWWA in Grand Rapids on January 9th and a second event later in January in the southeast part of the State.

I would like to share that the MidEast Branch, through the efforts of a few dedicated individuals in the Tri City area, has re-invigorated this once strong Branch. The Branch is working with Delta College to establish another location for the Public Works Academy.  I want to encourage those in the area, and those vendors whom have business in the region, to please support this Branch and assist in helping to make this Branch great again.

The first half of my term has flown by and it causes me to reflect on the fact that time does slip away as we run ourselves ragged in the rat race of life.  I hope to inspire you to take some time to enjoy those people in your life that are most important to you and I wish everyone a SAFE and wonderful Holiday Season and a Happy New Year!

John Thompson, Granite Inliner

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