APWA Michigan Chapter President’s Message - ....

April 9, 2019

Greetings to all our APWA Michigan Chapter Members. As I write this, Our Great Lakes Expo is quickly approaching in May. I’m looking forward to seeing everyone at this great conference and I’m excited about our continued partnership with TAMC.

It has been an honor to serve as Chapter President and I have been reflecting on where we stand today compared to where we were last May when I took over from James Hurt. I would normally measure something like this by our accomplishments, which have been many. We expanded our educational opportunities by adding the Road Scholar Program, added a new Snow Plow Operator Training (SPOT) Training that will be expanding to other regions in coming years, and we have further developed the Public Works Academy at Grand Rapids Community College and are getting close to offering a comparable program in the SE Michigan area. I am extremely proud of our members and volunteer leaders who have dedicated so much time to develop these programs.

The reality is that, as President, I was not responsible for these programs or their success stories. It’s fitting that this year our GLX Theme is Everyday Heroes. In my time serving as President, I have been blessed to be surrounded by real life examples of these Everyday Heroes. These heroes are our APWA Members who volunteer their time and effort to further our organization. I cannot thank this highly committed and passionate group of people, from our Past Presidents to our Branch Leaders, for the countless hours they put into APWA. As I mentioned in my past message, we are in dire need of volunteers and members who are committed to Public Works and what we can offer as an organization. Please contact me if you would like to offer some time to help. We are hosting the 2021 National Snow Conference in Grand Rapids and that alone will require heavy lifting by our volunteer members. We need you to help tell our story and improve the overall image of Public Works.

I initially had some goals to pursue the prestigious PACE Award for our Chapter, and I really believed we could accomplish this while I was President. Unfortunately, that did not happen this year. While this could be a disappointment, it served as a wakeup call to me instead. The reality is that we do not have “spare” volunteers that had the time to help follow through on all the requirements, best practices and award submittals required just to be eligible to submit for this award. While we have a strong group of leaders across the state, these heroes have put their time into new educational opportunities, increasing partnerships with other organizations, and strengthening our local branches. These are all critical to our Chapter, and in my mind, more important than submitting for National recognition. I could not be prouder of what we have done this past year as a chapter and as branches. I have had the honor of visiting our branches and the MPSI classes this year, along with several other trainings, roadeos and local events.

Seeing our chapter and branches in action and witnessing what we are providing to our members (and non-members) is the true pride of my tenure. This great group of leaders continues to do more with less while being positive advocates of public works. I have been honored to be President of such a dedicated and strong organization. While my tenure is just a brief one-year term, I am proud to be passing this on to Mr. John Thompson for the next year. Our members and volunteers are the infrastructure of our APWA Chapter, and I am asking you, our members, to help strengthen this infrastructure by dedicating your time to help us grow. If I could pass the gavel to John with a new handful of dedicated volunteers, I will feel my past year was a success.

I’m looking forward to seeing everyone at Treetops this year and I wanted to thank ALL our members for all you do for the health, safety, and welfare of the public.  You are the Everyday Heroes in our families’ lives, and it has been my privilege being surrounded by such incredible people. Thank you for allowing me to represent you all as President. I am truly humbled and honored.

Charles Hart

MI-APWA Chapter President

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