APWA AZ Newsletter 2019 August

APWA AZ Newsletter 2019 August

Public works are the services and infrastructure required to sustain quality community life.

NEWSLETTER                                                                                                                                                                      August 2019


August 6, 2019
AUCC Committee Meeting
More Info >

August 7-9, 2019
2019 APWA AZ Statewide Conference
More Info >


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Dear Members:

Although I am writing this just before our yearly State Conference to be held in Tucson, I’d like to mention a few of the most important reasons why I have stayed involved in APWA and attended these conferences over my career in Public Works.  Be it networking with peers, learning new industry trends, or just getting to know colleagues on a more personal level, all have helped me grow personally and have helped me to serve our citizenry to the best of my ability.  Developing and maintaining a network of professional relationships with our sister agencies has allowed me to reach-out in times of critical need and receive valuable advice.  This can also work for you and as such, I encourage my public and private colleagues to stay as “active” as possible in this organization for both personal and professional enrichment.


Rob Kidder, P.E.

Statewide Conference
August 7-9, 2019

Conference Schedule

Meet Your Keynote Speakers

STEVE CORREIA is the founder of CorreiaSpeaks, a speaking and coaching consultancy that aspires to help humans become compelling communicators. When you adopt a growth mindset, increase your empathy and openness towards others, and learn how to exercise your communication muscles, you become a better human. Period. And we could use more better humans in the world today.

A professional computer geek since 1992 who has played many technical roles in numerous industries, Steve has also taught college-level communication classes, led marriage and parent classes, refereed ice hockey, and performed as a cast member of the Arizona Renaissance Festival. Steve will leverage his diverse background to present Thursday’s keynote “Become a Geek Who Can Speak”.

Geeks are committed to their chosen craft. They are critical to identifying, diagnosing, and solving problems in all areas of life. No matter the type, style, or task, geeks have one thing in common: They usually suck at communicating to people outside their universe. How can geeks stop insulting their clients? How can geeks leave their non-geek clients delighted instead of deflated?  And what if you’re that geek? Buckle up for an energizing, entertaining, and enlightening keynote that will show you how changing your mindset and increasing your communication competence will allow your geek-ness to shine without crushing your client’s soul.

KRISTY BIDWILL, founder of Game Time Coaching, speaker, coach, and author will take you through her six-year journey of self-discovery captured in her book, Becoming Unstoppable: Tools to Elevate Your Game. During Friday’s keynote she will inspire and empower you by revealing the tools that led her to living intentionally and ultimately, a life she dreamed.

She will take you through the adversity of breaking her back to nine weeks later leading a blind veteran to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, an experience that changed her perspective on the meaning of life. Kristy also dealt with the unexpected when she trained for an Ironman in 90 days without ever completing a triathlon or riding a race bike, and she used intrinsic motivators to find comfort in the uncomfortable. Kristy will draw the parallels of how these lessons translate throughout her life both professionally and personally. Through the power of purpose she will show how you can reach new levels and inspire others to do the same. You will be amazed at the ease in which you can apply Kristy’s simple lessons to take your career, company, team, and clients beyond what you ever imagined.

APWA Conference FOOD

Fun Night (Carnival Theme) Details

Golf Tournament Details

Friday Prize Drawing

Special thanks to those firms that have already registered as sponsors and exhibitors:

  • Opening Reception Sponsor

  • Key Card Sponsor 

  • Lanyard Sponsor 
  • Fun Night Sponsor
  • Platinum Sponsors


  • Gold Sponsors


  • Coffee Sleeve Sponsor

  • Agency Showcase Bag Sponsor
    Hunter Contracting

  • Awards Lunch Sponsor
    Neenah Foundry
    Logan Simpson
    Ace Asphalt

  • Friday Full Breakfast / Vendor Drawing Sponsor
    West Coast Arborists
    Gannett Fleming

  • Thursday Continental Breakfast & Break Sponsor
    Western Technologies
    Rick Engineering
    SWP Contracting & Paving
  • Public Agency Sponsors
    Achen-Gardner Construction
    Acuity Brands
    Civiltec Engineering
    DCS Contracting
  • Prize Drawing Sponsors
    Achen-Gardner Construction
    Civiltec Engineering

Exhibitors as of 08-01-19


Ace Asphalt
Achen-Gardner Construction
Acuity Brands
Advanced Drainage Systems
AeroTech Mapping
ALTA Arizona
Arizona Department of Transportation
AZTEC Engineering Group
Beehive Industries
Brewer Cote of Arizona
Burgess & Niple
Civiltec Engineering
Consultant Engineering, Inc. (CEI)
Cooper Aerial Surveys
CVL Consultants
DBA Construction
Dibble Engineering
Engineering & Environmental Consultants (EEC)
EPS Group
Horrocks Engineering
Infrastructure Management Services
Kimley-Horn and Associates
Lithified Technologies
Logan Simpson
Michael Baker
Neenah Foundry
Oldcastle Infrastructure
Pavement Restoration
Precision Concrete Cutting
Premier  Engineering
Project Engineering Consultants
Rick Engineering
Rinker Materials
Ritoch-Powell & Associates
Rummel Construction
Safe Site Utility Services
SAVE International
Speedie & Associates
Standard Construction
Sunland Asphalt
Sunrise Engineering
Tierra Right of Way Services
West Coast Arborists
Western Technologies
Wilson & Company
Wood Environment & Infrastructure Solutions, Inc.

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to:

New Members

Jeanette DeRenne AtkinPlanning ManagerPima Association of Governments
Mo El-Ali Town of Marana
Robert GrimaldoSupervisorTown of Marana
Mike A. Luecker, PEEngineerUSDA
Adam StapletonEquipment OperatorCity of Peoria
Caroline Tillman Acquisition Sciences, Ltd.
Michelle WoytenkoDeputy Director Field OperationsCity of Glendale

New Member Spotlight

Name and Title: Caroline Tillman, SR/WA, R/W-RAC   Senior Vice President

Agency: Acquisition Sciences, Ltd. (ASL)

With APWA Since: July 2019

Describe your job responsibilities: Caroline Tillman has more than 22 plus years of hands on experience in the right of way profession in the western United States.  Her project management, acquisition and relocation assistance experience has included state and federally-funded highway infrastructure projects, airport projects, public housing projects and electrical utility projects.  In the past 22 years she has dedicated to the profession, she has successfully coordinated major urban freeway projects for the Arizona Department of Transportation, Nevada Department of Transportation, City of Phoenix and Maricopa County.  Caroline has successfully managed and conducted oversight on over 4,000 acquisitions and relocations.  Holding the professional designation of Senior Right-of-Way Professional (SR/WA), as well as Right-of-Way Relocation Assistance Certification (R/W-RAC) with the International Right-of-Way Association (IRWA).  As a federally recognized spokesperson on governmentally funded projects, Coroline brings vast hands on experience to every project entrusted to her care.  Caroline is a licensed Real Estate Broker in the states of Arizona and Nevada, as well as an expert witness in cases of litigation.

What was your favorite project to work on in the last 10 years? The City of Phoenix – Sky Harbor Airport – Community Noise Reduction Program - Voluntary Acquisition & Relocation Services Project.  As the Project Manager of this federally-funded voluntary acquisition and relocation project, Caroline was the main point-of-contact for the administration of the program and provided daily oversight of all aspects of acquisition and relocation services.  Over a 12 year period, ASL successfully acquired over 760 parcels and relocated 1,057 owners/tenants.

Where have your travels taken you?: Mainly within the Western United States…however, this type of work has allowed me to meet every type of property owner from the owners of a hotel on the Las Vegas Strip to the owners of a home that the owners were born it.  You just never know who you will be dealing with on a day-to-day basis. 

Name one thing not many people know about you: I ride a 2007 Harley Davidson Ultra Glide Trike and we rescue English & Bull Mastiffs. 

Who's Who in Public Works

Name: Beth Abramovitz

Agency: Town of Sahuarita

Title: Director of Public Works / Town Engineer

What are you responsible for in your new role?

In the Town of Sahuarita the Public Works Department is comprised of staff responsible for diverse duties including, engineering, architecture, facilities maintenance, roadway maintenance, traffic signals, construction observation, floodplain management and the wastewater treatment facility for a town of approximately 30 square miles with a population approaching 30,000 residents.

How long have you been in this position?

I have been the Public Works Director since March 11, 2019.

Where did you work previously?

From June 2017 through March 2019 I served as the Assistant Town Engineer for the Town of Sahuarita. Prior to this I was the Engineering Division Manager for Pima County and an Engineering Project Manager for the City of Tucson.

What Challenges do you experience in your role?

The greatest challenge I experience every day is that no two days are every the same.  As the Public Works Director there is no such thing as “routine”. The best laid plans and carefully scheduled day can be upended by something as simple as a phone call. However, the variety of the work and people I deal with daily are what makes this job so interesting.

How long have you been an APWA member?

I’ve been a member of APWA for approximately 3 years.

Have you served on the Board or any committees?

I was the Vice Chair of the Southern Arizona Branch for 18 months and have just completed one year as the Chair. I will be continuing on as a Director this fiscal year.

What benefits do you get out of being a member?

I relocated to Tucson approximately 7 years ago and knew no one. Joining APWA provided me with opportunities to meet other individuals in my field and provided valuable information on legislation and regulations specific to Arizona.  Additionally, the Southern Arizona Branch holds monthly lunch seminars coving a variety of topics relevant to the region which provided valuable information on important projects, topics and past history for my area.

What would you like to share with APWA Members?

Kindness. It’s the best way to make a connection with others. Notice something nice about a person and tell them. It may seem insignificant but when you are on the receiving end of a compliment it rarely feels small. A few simple words can inspire, motivate and provide strength to the people around you.

Tell us about your family and hobbies:

I share my home with my 17 year old niece and 3 dogs. I’ve always been close with my family. However, most of my family relocated from the Pennsylvania area to Florida within the past 10 years so I spend a fair amount of time in the Disney area. My cousins and I share a penchant for trying on crazy hats at the Disney parks – it is a constant source of amusement for us.

My secret super power is baking. Anyone who has ever worked with me on a lengthy project will tell you they have received baked goods at a project meeting at some point.


Professional Development


Suspicious Activity Reporting

August 15, 2019


Succession Planning and Servant Leadership
October 10, 2019


Facility Maintenance Efficiency Strategies
November 21, 2019


*All CLL webinars are free to current APWA Members


Preparing for Implementation of Automated/Connected Vehicles
October 3, 2019

Augmented Reality Edition

December 5, 2019


Committee Nominations Process Opens Early!
You no longer have to wait until January to express interest in a technical or standing committee or an external appointment. Deadline for submitting a nomination is Sunday, March 22, 2020.
Nominations Info

Public Works Job Opportunities

This section allows agencies to advertise their open positions. Please provide your advertisement and/or link to sniebel@woodpatel.com

Town of Avondale
CIP Manger - Coming Soon

Town of Gilbert
Development Engineer I

Grounds Maintenance I

Town Traffic Engineer

Traffic Signal Specialist I

Utility Worker - Wastewater

City of Mesa

Chief Surveyor

Deputy Economic Development Director – Strategic Initiatives

Engineering Designer

Water Plant Maintenance Specialist III – Water supply

Water Resources Maintenance Specialist I/II – Water Reclamation

Water Resources Operator I/II – Water Treatment

Water Resources Planning Advisor


City of Peoria

CIP Project Manager I


City of Phoenix

Heavy Equipment Operator – Equipment Operator IV

Planner II

Traffic Engineer II


City of Scottsdale

Public Works Department  Director (Solid Waste Services)


City of Tempe

Deputy Engineering & Transportation Director


Municipal Utilities Director


The Rising Cost of Construction by Rob Kidder, City of Mesa

We thought we were ready when the “not-so-great” recession finally ended, and construction bids started trending upward. As a public agency, we knew it was coming and yet we still haven’t caught up with the inflation rate stemming from the labor shortage and material price hikes seen over the last year or so. Despite our best efforts to build-in inflation factors into all our CIP estimates, we have seen, on average, bid pricing coming in nearly 23% above our Engineer’s Estimates over the last year.

This has forced us to look hard at the only possible paths forward: 1)  De-scope the projects to fit the pre-established budgets; not easy to do when needs are many and public expectations are set, 2) Look for additional funding; not easy when considering departmental competition for fixed city funds, or 3) cancel the projects; again not easy when dealing with public expectations and deferred infrastructure maintenance still recovering from the recent recession.

In addition to these funding challenges, we have noticed that the skilled labor market is stretched and that has, in turn, made the quality and the schedules of our projects difficult to maintain. This condition places a greater burden on the agency to commit greater resources on construction projects for quality control and increased office staff time to implement contract provisions we would prefer not to. We find that in our weekly meetings we are having routine discussions with contractors regarding the difficulties they are facing finding and keeping skilled labor. That is affecting both quality and schedules significantly. In some cases, they cannot meet schedules because they don’t have a crew to bring in. In other cases, less experienced labor is being used to try to meet schedules and re-work is required. 

In addition to the funding and quality issues mentioned above, far fewer contractors are responding to invitation to bids and requests for qualifications. During the recession, we would see in excess of 20 bidders on almost all projects and today we are fortunate to get one or two bids. In some cases, on smaller projects, there haven’t been any bidders. This seems to be especially true when bidding roadway and gas line type construction. In response, we have recently grouped a couple of projects to offer larger packages and still have had limited success.

Back during the recession, we couldn’t wait to get out of the “hole” the market was in. Now that we are, we have a new set of challenges! While no one wants to say it, our hope is that going forward the market will cool a bit and let the labor market (and our contractors) catch up. In the meantime, we are reducing scopes of projects and/or pushing projects off into out years until there is funding. Our 2019/20 fiscal year will be an interesting one as we continue to face these new challenges and watch and wonder what the market will do.  

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