I am writing this from my self-imposed house arrest, hoping to find you and your families all healthy in this most bizarre of times. As I am sure you have guessed by now, our monthly luncheon for May has been cancelled as the Phoenix Country Club is not allowing public gatherings till the end of May, for good reason. In lieu of this meeting, however, our Programs Committee has cobbled together a virtual meeting titled “How Have Municipalities and Their Capital Improvement Programs Been Affected by COVID-19”. This first time ever attempt at an electronic format will utilize the Zoom platform and will feature insights from public works officials from Phoenix, Gilbert, Queen Creek, and Goodyear. They tell me this platform is easy to use, so I hope you can all tune in, details will be sent in a separate notification.
With regards to our state conference scheduled for late July, our board met recently to specifically address this topic and it was decided that the best course would be to cancel till next year. We have heard from many corners that almost all the public agencies in the valley have had to freeze most of their spending, which included sending staff to conferences, due to their pandemic revenue losses. The conference committee is planning a “Free Virtual Summer Series” in July and August. This would be another first for APWA/AZ, so more to come as this gets further developed.
Rob Kidder, P.E. APWA AZ - CHAPTER PRESIDENT
Virtual Membership Meeting May 20, 2020 Topic: How Have Municipalities and Their Capital Improvement Programs been Affected by COVID-19? Panel Discussion: Eric Froberg, City Engineer, City of Phoenix Troy White, Public Works Director, Town of Queen Creek Sumeet Mohan, PE, Director of Engineering, City Engineer, City of Goodyear http://arizona.apwa.net/EventDetails/21332
Statewide Conference - A Free Virtual Summer Series July - August
Dear APWA Members,
In light of the current circumstances surrounding agency/owner travel restrictions and budget adjustments due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19), we have decided to cancel the 2020 Arizona Statewide Conference that was scheduled for July 29-31 at the El Conquistador Tucson. We appreciate the support of the sponsors, exhibitors, speakers, registered attendees, and members during this time and we are committed to providing you with an exciting virtual program that will carry on the spirit of the statewide conference. Our conference committee is working on developing a Free Virtual Summer Series of events that will feature the session lineup, awards ceremony, and events that we had planned to do in person. These online gatherings will allow us to continue our theme of “Celebrating Public Works” and offer opportunities for members to learn about leadership, infrastructure, and our community. More details will be available in the coming weeks.
Conference Registrations: All registrations for the conference will automatically be issued a full refund via the method in which payment was received. Please understand that it will take some time for our event staff to process all the reimbursements and we are grateful for your patience.
Resort Registrations: We have coordinated with the El Conquistador Tucson to keep the current rates in place for those that would like to take a personal getaway. They are anticipating opening their pool in June. If you have already booked a room and you do not want to utilize your reservation, please contact the resort directly to cancel your reservations at no cost.
Sponsors and Exhibitors: You have the option to hold your sponsorship and booth location for next year’s conference on August 4-6, 2021 or you can receive a full refund.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact us. Stay healthy and positive and we will see you in the virtual world very soon.
If you are a new member and are interested in being featured, please reach out to Suzanne Ledy at Suzanne.email@example.com. This is a great way to introduce yourself to APWA Members.
Who's Who in Public Works
If you work in Public Works and are interested in being spotlighted in our “Who’s Who in Public Works” Section, please contact Sandy Niebel at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Share the Laughter
We are looking for your funny stories and pictures that have occurred during the Covid-19 stay-at-home era. Maybe it was during a conference call, or while you were trying to work and home-school. Send these to Trace Baker at email@example.com
This section allows agencies to advertise their open positions. Please provide your advertisement and/or link to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please check all positions as they may have changed due to the Covid-19 stay-at-home orders.
City of Glendale Deputy Director, Field Operations Financial Analyst – Field Operations GIS Analyst Industrial Maintenance Mechanic – Water Services Department SCADA System Administrator – Water Services Department Sr. GIS Analyst Sr. Systems Analyst Supervisor, Water Facilities System Administrator Water Plant Operator, Sr. Water Services System Technician, Sr. - Distribution https://www.governmentjobs.com/careers/glendaleaz
The New Norm: Public Works Projects After a Pandemic Hits
Just like a wild summer monsoon storm hitting Arizona with its power and destruction, so has the Covid-19 virus. The pandemic hit Arizona and has affected our lives and the economy in various ways. What does it mean for our public works projects that are currently in process or planned for the future? How is the pandemic affecting current and future budgets? These and other questions have been consuming agendas at public agency meetings since the pandemic hit. We’ve taken a look at the past, present, and future of how a pandemic affects public works projects across the state.
The pandemic brought much uncertainty to our communities and new challenges for public agencies. How do you keep operations moving smoothly and keep the public safe?…trash being collected, water being delivered, roads being maintained, buildings and other assets protected. There was little known when the pandemic first occurred and then with a shut-down of businesses looming in the near future, planning feverishly began. Many public agencies, when practical, went to working remotely to keep operations going. Social distancing is enforced when live communication is required. Conference calls replaced many meetings, and electronic submittals and reviews replaced hard copies being delivered.
The status of design and construction of public projects was initially unknown. Procurement departments around the state held off releasing some RFQs based on logistics such as not being able to hold pre-submittal meetings or conducting site visits. Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Skype, and other meeting software started to be utilized to conduct these meetings. Then, we started to see that essential projects and those already in the design and construction process were continuing. This looked different for each agency, but many of the essential projects focus on public safety and asset protection, including water, wastewater, and street maintenance. With reduced traffic, it even became advantageous for street maintenance projects to occur. Those projects that had not started design or construction are being individually reviewed and prioritized based on need and funding sources.
The executive order to stay home significantly impacted aviation revenue with many aviation-related projects being put on hold. These projects will most likely be prioritized in future fiscal budgets as revenues return.
When non-essential services were shut down to help contain the virus, the lack of spending or more specifically the lack of sales taxes being generated affected agency budgets. It will take a few months for communities to know exactly how big or small the impact will be, therefore many public agencies have refrained from spending on non-essential services. Additionally as budgets are being prepared for the new fiscal year, we can anticipate seeing reductions from the previous year.
To keep construction going, construction companies have had to react quickly to update safety plans to include new CDC and OSHA guidelines. Entering an office or a job site may now requiring answering questions upon arrival, having your temperature taken, and/or wearing a facial mask and gloves.
Our public agencies have stayed fluid and changed creatively with each dilemma or challenge they have faced. Concern for safety of team members, consultants, and construction partners have remained the highest of priorities, while continuing to serve communities throughout Arizona.
With agencies still changing with the times, this has become our new norm of what can be expected after a pandemic hits. We invite you to follow our series of articles titled “The New Norm…” with the June article of “The New Norm: Returning to Work”.
2020 APWA AZ Scholarships
The Arizona Chapter of the American Public Works Association, in keeping with its objectives, will award one or more $1,500 scholarships for 2020. Scholarships are presented to deserving students striving to complete educational requirements for a career path in public works. Degrees or Majors in Public Administration, Civil or Environmental Engineering, Public Works and Water Resources Technology Programs are examples of related fields of study. Career objectives may be in the public or private sector, but in either case must be associated directly or indirectly with public works matters or agencies.The deadline for the application is June 1, 2020.