I am writing this hoping to find you and your families all safe and healthy. As you may be aware, we recently completed our first-ever virtual monthly luncheon and reports are that it was a great success.I wanted to first thank all those on the Program Committee for putting this together, and of course our panelists who featured COVID-19 insights from a public works perspective from Phoenix, Gilbert, Queen Creek, and Goodyear. Although each of these agencies has solved many COVID problems in their own unique ways, there was also some commonality. One that stood out to me is that agencies may be using virtual meetings much more often in the future for the more routine consultant/contractor meetings, just from an efficiency/cost standpoint. Therefore, it seems that platforms like Microsoft Teams and Zoom are here to stay. Another point was that so far, there are no plans for major reductions of staff nor projects owing to COVID-related declining revenues, which is good news for the public works industry.
With regard to our annual state conference, watch for our 2020 Free Virtual Summer Series starting on July 7 and ending on August 27, 2020. This 8-week series will take place live every Tuesday and Thursday at 10:30 am to noon. All sessions will be recorded and posted on the conference website at www.azapwaconference.com. Original speakers selected for the conference are securing their time slots. Watch for the schedule to be posted soon.
$50 Virtual Summer Series Sponsorships Available
Company logo on selected summer series emails
Company logo on conference website
Sponsor slide displayed with thank you at the beginning of the meeting
Rob Kidder, P.E. APWA AZ - CHAPTER PRESIDENT
Virtual Membership Meeting June 17, 2020
Statewide Conference - A Free Virtual Summer Series July - August Dear APWA Members,
We are excited to announce the details of the Free Virtual Summer Series, an eight-week program during July and August. Every Tuesday and Thursday (starting July 7th and ending on August 27th) we will feature live and interactive presentations on a variety of educational and entertaining topics. This series will take place at 10:30 a.m. so mark your calendars now and join us for this extended statewide conference. We are coordinating with the presenters now and will share a schedule with you as soon as possible. All sessions will be recorded and posted on the conference website at www.azapwaconference.com. Sponsorship details for the Free Virtual Summer Series will be announced soon.
In addition to the free virtual presentations we are producing a video that highlights all of 2020 individual and project of the year award winners. This will also be posted on the conference website. It is unfortunate that we all can't meet in person at the conference this year but we hope this virtual alternative will be valuable and allow us to “Celebrate Public Works” in a new and exciting way.
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.
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 Trace Baker 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.
Arizona Lean Coach (ADOT) Construction Inspector (Transportation Construction Technician 1) (ADOT) Geotechnical Team Lead (ADOT) Transportation Construction Technician 4 (ADOT) Equipment Repair Technician (ADOT) Water-Wastewater Facility Operator III (ADOC) Bridge Inspection Engineer (ADOT) Traffic Design Engineer (ADOT) Customer Service Representative (ADOT) Strategic Initiatives Project Manager (ADOT) Environmental Science Specialist 2-3 - Project Coordinator (ADEQ) Traffic Safety Engineer Supervisor (ADOT) Construction Compliance Engineer (ADOA) Dam Safety Engineer - Engineering Division (ADWR) Water Resources Specialist I - Groundwater Permitting and Wells Section (ADWR) Environmental Science Specialist 1-3 - UST Inspector(ADWR) https://azstatejobs.azdoa.gov/
City of Goodyear Building Inspector I/II Civil Engineer Construction Inspector I (Temporary) (Engineering) Development Services Technician II (Engineering) Senior Project Manager (Engineering) https://www.governmentjobs.com/careers/goodyear
The “New Norm”: Considerations for Preparing a Return-to-Work Plan
In this edition, we are introducing a periodic series about the challenges presented by the COVID-19 crisis called “The New Norm.” The series will deal with the many challenges public works agencies face during the pandemic, such as how to safely reopen offices, serve citizens, communicate with the public, maintain professional relationships, and procure and develop projects. We welcome your ideas for this series, please reach out to Trace Baker at email@example.com or Suzanne Ledy at Suzanne.Ledy@mesaaz.gov.
Since March, many organizations have opted to close their doors temporarily as a safety measure against the COVID-19 virus. Public agencies and private firms alike encouraged their staff to work from home when possible, restricted face-to-face contact for public-facing roles, and encouraged or required the use of safety gear like masks. Events ranging from meetings to conferences have gone virtual with tools like Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and GoToMeeting.
Many states have now allowed businesses to reopen, raising the question of how to do so safely. You may want to consider these points when designing a return-to-work plan in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Establish a Return to Work Planning Team: Establish a core team that is responsible for developing, implementing, and monitoring the plan. The team should be comprised of senior staff with knowledge of legal, human resources, information technology, and health and safety practices. Seek out external experts to provide additional guidance when needed.
Stay Abreast of Health and Safety Recommendations. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Arizona Health Department have issued guidance on how to avoid spreading COVID-19 between individuals and at workplaces and schools. Take this guidance into consideration as you plan to return to the workplace—and check back often, since it is frequently updated as scientists learn more about the virus.
Stay Up-to-Date on State Guidance and Requirements. In Arizona and elsewhere, the governor’s office has used executive orders to place restrictions on the types of businesses that may operate, and in some cases, how they may operate. As with health and safety recommendations, guidance from the governor’s office is fluid, reflecting changing public health conditions.
Develop a Flexible Plan. Public agencies and private firms typically carry out their work from multiple locations, and thus their return-to-work plan should be unique to each. The plan should be based on local requirements, functions, and the number of employees working in a given location to ensure that proper social distancing is maintained. For example, staff at a city hall information desk face very different set of risks compared to a field crew that may be repairing a roadway. Be sure your plan is flexible and can be adapted to evolving recommendations and workplace needs.
Prepare the Workplace. It is important that the return-to-work plan includes workplace modifications and strategies to minimize the exposure risks for employees returning to the workplace. For example, you may want to supply employees with disposable masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, and cleaning supplies at their work stations. You may need to reconfigure seating to allow the proper distance between staff members or restrict the number of staff who are in the office at any given time. Cleaning measures for common areas—both by cleaning professionals and by staff members—may need to be stepped up and made mandatory. You may also want to establish a daily log that requires employees to take and record their temperature and answer a series of questions about potential exposure, and couple that with a policy that requires sick employees to stay home and not return to the workplace until they have completed a CDC-approved self-quarantine. And don’t forget field workers, whose workplace may be a truck or piece of equipment. Whatever measures you put in place, be sure they comply with CDC, AHD, and OSHA guidelines. This Workplace Decision Tool from the CDC can help as you work through the planning process.
Employee Return: The “new normal” workplace during COVID-19 may be very different than before the pandemic. Consider whether all staff can return at one time. If that cannot be done safely, you may need to consider staggering work schedules or allowing employees to work some of the time in the office and some of the time from home. Both approaches limit the number of employees present at a single location at a given time. If remote work remains a part of your long-term plan, be sure you have the IT infrastructure and equipment to support it—everything from adequate internet access and security to remote collaboration tools are critical to the “new normal.” Don’t forget an effective inventory system so you can be sure which equipment is assigned to which remote staffer.
Emergency Shutdown Plans. We don’t know how long COVID-19 will present such a high level of threat; some experts suggest we may need to wear mask and social distance well into 2022. COVID-19 is also a novel virus, meaning that even the most knowledgeable experts cannot predict its behavior. There is no evidence yet that the virus is seasonal, for example. We do know that lack of social distancing and failure to follow basic safety measures like hand-washing can intensify the spread of the virus. As a result, the return-to-work core team should develop a plan for emergency shutdowns that both keeps the maximum number of workers safe and disrupts workflow as little as possible.
Finally, remember we are all facing the same challenges, and our professional colleagues can be sources of information and even inspiration about how to cope with COVID-19. In addition, professional organizations like APWA have made it easier to connect with others through tools like the Public Works Covid-19 Discussion Board. We welcome your ideas and comments on this topic. Please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo by Kseniia Ilinykh on Unsplash – Please Wash Your Hands Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash – Working At Home in Mask
Public works are the services and infrastructure required to sustain quality community life.