APWA AZ Newsletter 2019 September

APWA AZ Newsletter 2019 September

NEWSLETTER                                                                                                                                                                      September 2019


September 10, 2019
Chapter Dinner Cruise at PWX
More Info >

September 13, 2019
2019 ASCE/ASHE Annual State Conference
More Info >

September 17, 2019
APWA Northern Branch Prescott Valley Luncheon
More Info >

September 18, 2019
APWA Arizona BOD Meeting
More Info >

September 18, 2019
APWA Luncheon
More Info >


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Dear Members:

With regards to our State Conference, which was held last month, all I can say is wow, what a terrific event.  Although it was exhausting for me to meet all my responsibilities, it was extremely rewarding to be the face of the well-oiled machine that runs that conference.  I think all that attended would agree that it ran extremely well, and I saw first-hand that this was due to the expert preparation of the army of volunteers and presenters who helped make this conference a giant success.  A special thanks needs to go out, however to the conference committee and especially Christy Sipos, Scott Kirchhofer, and Sheila Hamilton who did such an excellent coordination job.  The resort staff should also be recognized for their excellent customer service, even with our new record of 571 attendees.  The Exhibit Hall was sold out and I’ve heard nothing but positive comments concerning our Educational Sessions, our Awards Ceremony, and our Agency Showcase.  The Keynote speakers were terrific, and I even found out that one of them graduated from the same school I did, so I now have a new golf partner.  All good, and many thanks to all concerned, now on to our National Conference (PWX) in Seattle in September…


Rob Kidder, P.E.

APWA AZ Chapter Dinner Cruise at PWX
September 10, 2019

APWA Northern Branch Prescott Valley Luncheon

September 17, 2019
Topic: Willow Lake Dam Valve Project
Speaker: Eric Bay, City of Prescott

APWA Luncheon
September 18, 2019
Topic: Expectations: Client, Contractor, and Consultant
Client - Dan Kiel, PE, Engineering Supervisor, City of Peoria
Contractor- David Laughlin, Pre-Construction Director, Haydon Building Corp.
Consultant - Tracy Grunden, PE, Assistant Director of Water/Wastewater, Coe & Van Loo Consultants

St. Vincent de Paul Dream Center Tutoring
October 24, 2019

New Member Spotlight

Name and Title: Robert Lane, PE, PTOE

Agency: Pima County DOT

With APWA Since: July 2019

Describe your job responsibilities:

I’m the Manager of the Maintenance and Operations Division. I help the men and women who work in the Division function efficiently and effectively. I support management decisions and help move projects, administrative actions, procedures, and programs forward. We reorganized how we function in July of 2018 and I’ve been working with staff at all levels to ensure work continues to move forward and to improve our response times to service requests and work orders.

What was your favorite project to work on in the last 10 years?

I’ve had several. In 2010 I was working as a consultant in Arizona and was sent up to Montana to help a contractor with a mine tailings remediation site. It was on the edge of my experience and enabled me to learn a whole different side of the industry. My favorite with Pima County is the ongoing development of a Pavement Management Program which has included funding changes, road treatment testing, a public advisory committee, multiple contracting types, and development of a pavement repair and preservation program.

Where have your travels taken you?

Growing up my parents enjoyed traveling all over the United States to visit family and brought my sister, brother and I with them. When we were in our teens, my father took a job teaching with the Department of Defense Dependent Schools. We moved to Germany and I spent my high school years traveling around Europe on field trips, team sports trips, and family vacations. It put the traveling bug in me and I’ve continued to travel overseas and around the United States. I also lived in Alaska for about seven years and traveled around that state while working as a consultant.

Name one thing not many people know about you:

I live in a rural section of the Town of Sahuarita in Arizona and have several acres. My wife and I have embarked on an adventure raising goats. I had goats when I was younger and we wanted to provide my four year old daughter with the same experience. It has had ups and downs as we have experienced the full circle of life with both births and deaths in our herd.

New Members

George W. WhiteRoundabout Design SpecialistAZ Roundabouts, PLLC
Tricia M. BowlingManagement AssistantCity of Peoria
Justin CullumWater Services SupvCity of Peoria
Jason DeCarloGen ManagerEllison-Mills Contracting LLC
Elizabeth EsparzaSolid Waste SupervisorCity of Peoria
Robert GaricaWaste Svcs Ops ManagerCity of Peoria
Adam GordonSpecial Projects ManagerPCL Construction Inc
Michael JamesSr PlannerCivTech Inc
Daniel MillerMgr Const Engineering DeptPCL Construction Inc
Mike MillsPresidentEllison-Mills Contracting LLC
Marc SeibertFacilities Maint SupervisorCity of Peoria
Lee WilsonSolid Waste SupervisorCity of Peoria

2019 APWA-AZ Chapter Awards

Who's Who in Public Works

Name: Sharon Flissar

Agency: City of Sierra Vista

Title: Director of Public Works

What are you responsible for in your role? I oversee about 110 employees divided among 9 different sections: Administration, Engineering, Airport, Streets, Facilities, Fleet, Transit, Wastewater, and Refuse.

How long have you been in this position? Four years.

Where did you work previously? I’ve worked for the City of Sierra Vista for almost twenty years, starting out as a Civil Engineer straight out of college.  I worked my way up to a Senior Civil Engineer, the City Engineer, and now the Public Works Director.

What Challenges do you experience in your role? There have been a lot of challenges over the years, but I would say increasing citizen expectations paired with stagnant or decreasing funding have been a consistent obstacle over the last few years.  The community expects a lot out of local government, and funding unfortunately just hasn’t been able to keep pace.  Add in an increasing regulatory climate, and there simply isn’t enough money to do everything we would like to do.  Our challenges are not unique and are being confronted by communities across the country.

How long have you been an APWA member? I don’t recall exactly, but it has to be more than ten years now.

Have you served on the Board or any committees? I was on the 2015 Phoenix Congress (now PWX) planning committee.  I had a great time and met a lot of amazing people!  My participation on other boards and committees is unfortunately limited somewhat by my rural location.

What benefits do you get out of being a member?  The networking available through APWA is a tremendous resource.  When I am working through obstacles, I always have someone I can call to offer some suggestions.  I’ve made those connections at both PWX and the state conference.

What would you like to share with APWA Members?  Our job may be difficult and the accolades few, but we make a difference every day in the lives of the people in our communities.

Tell us about your family and hobbies: My husband and I have been married for close to twenty years and have two amazing daughters.  Our oldest daughter starts high school this fall, so I am freaking out a little bit about that!  We just returned from my dream vacation hiking into the crater of Mount St. Helens (see photos).  We love spending time together as a family, and weekends will often find us at the softball fields cheering on both girls as they play with their respective travel teams.

2019 Statewide Conference Wrap Up

Story by Conference Co-Chairs Christy Sipos (Civiltec Engineering) and Scott Kirchhofer (Achen-Gardner Construction)

Thank you to all of the committee members, attendees, sponsors, exhibitors, and speakers for making the Arizona Chapter APWA 2019 Statewide Conference a huge success. This was our third year organizing the conference and we think it was our best year so far. A large part of the conference’s success comes from your participation and your feedback which is extremely helpful to us. We listen, take notes, and we will make adjustments to improve next year’s conference and make it a more valuable and memorable experience. Online surveys were sent out after the conference and many of you filled them out. If you didn’t fill out the survey or if you have any additional comments about the conference, feel free to contact us directly. Again, thank you all again for your support and we are looking forward to next year’s conference. SAVE THE DATE: JULY 29-31, 2020. 


Thanks to Agnes Art & Photo for photographing this year’s conference events. All of the photos can be found on the conference website (https://www.azapwaconference.com/photos).


  • 539 Full conference registrations (includes exhibitors and speakers). We had 432 last year.
  • 571 Registered including those registered for just Thursday and/or the awards luncheon
  • 61 Speakers
  • 196 Public agency employees (doesn’t include Friday tables)
  • 66 Exhibitor Booths 
  • 44 Sponsorships (1 opening reception, 1 key card, 1 lanyard, 1 fun night, 10 platinum, 8 gold, 1 coffee sleeve, 1 agency showcase bag, 3 awards lunch, 4 Thursday breakfast and break, 2 Friday breakfast/vendor drawing, 7 public agency, 4 prize drawing)
  • 13 Awards given at Thursday’s luncheon (9 projects, 3 professional managers of the year, and 1 award of merit) 
  • 22 Programs/presentations (in four tracks)
  • 23 Different municipalities/agencies participated in Friday’s networking session (several had 3-5 agency representatives)
  • 7 Grand prizes given away before Friday’s networking session


We have posted nearly all of the conference presentations on the conference website (https://www.azapwaconference.com/presentations). This is a new benefit we are offering attendees this year and a good example of how we are listening to your requests and providing you with valuable education, even after the conference.


We think we hit the jackpot by finding Steve Correia. His unique keynote “Become a Geek Who Can Speak” and his creative improv session “Improve Your World From The Bottom Up” were a breath of fresh air for our conference. Also, thank you to Rob Kidder, Arizona APWA Chapter President, and Town of Oro Valley Mayor Joe Winfield for starting the opening session. 

This year we had a full exhibit hall and more sponsors so our overall financial support was higher compared to last year. It was a good mix of engineering and construction firms, equipment/material suppliers, and other industry-related firms. Some of these vendors are well known and regularly support APWA and some were new. We would like to thank all of the exhibitors and sponsors for helping to make this a great event. Without your support, this conference would not be possible.

We broke last year’s record for attendance to the awards luncheon. Congratulations to all of the individual award winners and project of the year award winners. A list of all of the winners and photos of the winners can be found on the conference website (https://www.azapwaconference.com/awards).  

Thursday’s Fun Night is always a blast and this year was no different, though the carnival theme provided us with the opportunity for a variety of entertainment. The hoop dancer, juggler, stilt walker, fortune teller, and caracture artist were captivating and the food was a good mix of healthy and high-calorie. The walking tacos were particulary good and a first for many of us. A special thanks to the Conference Site Committee for planning this wonderful event. 


Kristy Bidwill’s keynote “Reaching The Unimaginable: The Power of Leading With Purpose” provided us with some inspiring stories and helped lead us into our signature Friday event. The Agency Showcase is now one of the biggest highlights of the Statewide Conference and something that we look forward to doing every year. More than 200 people attended the event and we intend to make it bigger and better next year. 

The conference website will remain live at https://azapwaconference.com if you want to view the program, photos, presentations, and award winners. This information is also available for previous year’s conferences. We will update the website with new conference information as it becomes available. Thank you all again for your support.

Your Conference Co-Chairs,
Christy Sipos, Civiltec Engineering (csipos@civiltec.com)
Scott Kirchhofer, Achen-Gardner Construction (skirchhofer@achen.com)

Professional Development


Succession Planning and Servant Leadership
October 10, 2019

Addressing Drainage Concerns with 2D Hydraulic Modeling
October 24, 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


Public Works Job Opportunities

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

City of Avondale

CIP Manger - Coming Soon

Development & Engineering Services Director

Senior Planner


City of Douglas

Deputy Public Works Director

City Planner

Equipment Mechanic II


Town of Gilbert

Parks Field Supervisor


City of Globe

Water/Wastewater Administrator


City of Mesa

Budget Analyst/Senior Budget Analyst

Chief Surveyor

City Plans Examiner

Engineering Designer

Financial Reporting Analyst

Intelligent Transportation Systems Technician I

IT Engineer I

Permits Technician II

Public Safety Communications Manager

Water Resources Operator I/II – Water Treatment


City of Peoria

Water Resources Planning Administrator

Economic Development Project Manager

Solid Waste Equipment Operator


City of Phoenix

Civil Engineer II – Street Transportation Dept.

Civil Engineer III – Street Transportation Dept.

Landscape Architect II – Planning & Development Dept.

Water Distribution Utility Supervisor – Water Services Department

Construction Inspections Supervisor – Street Transportation Department

Engineering Technician – Utility Coordination

Water Services Superintendent – Water Services Department

Solid Waste Equipment Operator – PW Dept.


Transportation Planning II or III


City of Scottsdale

Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator III

Water Resources Advisor


Town of Sierra Vista

Wastewater Supervisor


What's Happening...

City of Mesa - Ezra Domsky and Dennis White hold a “tailgate meeting” to discuss the installation of the electric for the City Creek development with Kirk Frye from Energy


City of Mesa - Dawn Forrest and Missy Blackmore checking bluestake marks and potholes on the City Center utility project

Municipal Recycling Challenges by Mike Gent, City of Surprise Public Works Director

The recycling industry is facing significant national and global challenges and Arizona public works professionals are working hard to understand and meet those challenges. There are multiple factors affecting recycling programs today, including rising processing costs, diminished value and demand for recyclable material, and contamination of the recycling stream. Long-term contracts have delayed many cities from having to address these challenges; however, as these contracts have expired tough choices are necessary. 

Most of our cities have increased collection rates to account for these new circumstances, and some have even modified their programs, reducing the acceptable material list to reflect the demands of buyers.  In the case of the City of Surprise, we have chosen to suspend bringing recyclables to a material recovery facility, until a viable and sustainable solution is identified and implemented. We have asked our residents to continue sorting clean, dry, and empty recyclables into their blue recycle containers during this time, so that when a solution is ready, we will have never stopped with the responsible recycling habits developed over years.

The Public Works Management Practices Manual which guides agencies through the APWA self-assessment and accreditation process states that a “level of service is developed and chosen for recycling and balances local needs and total waste management costs.” It further clarifies the best practice by saying, “The agency should try to maintain a level of service in recycling which meets community objectives while reducing, through cost avoidance, regular collection and disposal costs, thereby, offsetting additional expenses of recycling.” The City of Surprise is committed to providing recycling in an environmentally and economically sustainable manner. We join with all of you in looking forward to better recycling solutions in our future.

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

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