President's Message - March 2013
ARE YOU RELEVANT?
I recently saw an article on this topic. I think it is something we need to ask of ourselves, our employers and our Chapter. What does relevant mean? According to Merriam-Websterís Dictionary; ďhaving significant and demonstrable bearing on the matter at hand.Ē Quite frankly, Iím not sure if that helps explain what is relevant. If you could go back 20 years at your work, and then come back to today, what would be different? If your answer is nothing, then you probably arenít relevant. While water still flows downhill, things have changed and will continue to change in our organizations. A draftsperson who still uses Leroy lettering machines is probably not relevant and likley out of work. I have already used Google twice while writing the first part of this article. The information that is available at our fingertips is incredible and makes our life easier.
When computers first came out, I saw administrative staff who didnít want to pay for the classes, and kept to their typewriters. Job advancement was limited for those, needless to say. Even if your employer doesnít offer to pay for training, you should take it upon yourselves to do it and keep yourself relevant. As a Supervisor it is important to keep your staff trained so they are relevant. In our City, we send 3 or 4 of our Public Works operations crew to the snow conference in Green Bay. We have made changes to our operations and equipment based on the information that they brought back; it was relevant. Our Chapter offers many training opportunities and scholarships for our members who are interested in training. The training the chapter offers is for all facets of Public Works. Being an APWA member allows you access to National APWA Click and Learn sessions which is a great benefit of being a member.
Training is only one aspect to keeping relevant. Knowing your counterparts in the profession and knowing what they are doing is also important. I recently attended a Fleet Committee meeting and came away with an idea after talking to another member, to save $40,000 on a piece of equipment we are considering purchasing for our city.
As I mentioned in my last column, our chapter is strong and continues to improve. Active membership is what keeps our chapter relevant. Closing the circle is the opportunities our Chapter offers for our members to be relevant. Serving on Committees, attending conferences and outings are opportunities. Not only is the training important, but the connections you make are important as well.
See you at the Spring Conference in LaCrosse. Let me know if you think you are relevant.
Paul Woodard, President
APWA Wisconsin Chapter 2013