President's Message


It seems like it’s been a year since my last message, but it’s only been a few months. COVID-19 continues to impact our lives by restricting travel and interactions with others. The numbers of cases are trending upward leaving us yearning for a vaccine that will hopefully arrive within the next year. But life goes on and the demand for our essential services continues as each of you delivers high-quality municipal services that makes life worth living. There is no stopping public works!

And there is no stopping construction. Right now, here in Appleton, construction continues and in some cases advances at a faster pace. I was reminded of that while weaving between barrels while driving between some of our projects today. Believe it or not we’ve had several projects advance as a result of the virus. For example, it’s a great time for a runway expansion or taxiway improvement given the lighted traffic load. I know every public works professional loves to see a battalion of heavy equipment moving dirt, placing gravel and paving.

Aside from construction advancing, believe it not, our skills are advancing too because of the virus. Right now, you probably know how to use just about every video conferencing website and software known to man. Many of you are working from home and now you have the skill set needed to manage your work life while dealing with your dog and spouse at the same time. We are making great use of these tools and we can continue to use this to our advantage post virus, too. I’m thinking of video conferencing and not your newfound skill of working around the dog and spouse.

Although I don’t like the situation we are in, I know we have adapted and will continue to adapt. There is no playbook for leading during a pandemic. After all, we haven’t had one in a century. We can’t expect politicians nor naysayers to write the playbook for us. I expect leaders like you to do it. It’s no time to complain or back down. It’s time to lead and get things done.

Set a course through this mess and we’ll meet up for a drink after it’s over -

Bob Givens
APWA-WI Chapter President 2020


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