Chapter Works
An electronic publication of the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the American Public Works Association

December 2023 Newsletter

President's Corner

By Denise Nelson, P.E., CFM, ENV SP, LEED AP, Director of Resilience and Grants, Launch! Consulting, Inc.

Happy holidays! Our chapter is finishing the year strong with events hosted by all three Regional Activities Committees, the annual call for abstracts and award nominations, and our fall board meeting for strategic planning. We also launched our new Annual Chapter Sponsorship option and have already secured nine sponsors!


Be ready for more educational and fun events in 2024! We’ll use the Chapter Works Weekly to advertise regional and committee events as well as #WRX24 annual conference registration. I hope you’ll join us in Roanoke May 1-3, 2024, for the conference roadeo, chapter meeting, technical sessions, and networking!


I’d like to recognize and thank Anthony (Tony) Russell, Jr. (Baltimore County, MD) for joining our board and chapter board member Yosef Kebede (Howard County, MD) for joining the APWA International Affairs Committee!


Please reach out if you have suggestions on how the association can serve its members or if you’d like to volunteer with us. #PublicWorksMakesItHappen!


Best regards,

Denise Nelson, P.E., CFM, ENV SP, LEED AP

President, APWA Mid-Atlantic Chapter

Director of Resilience and Grants, Launch! Consulting, Inc.

What is the Hampton Roads Public Works Academy?

By Chad Oxton, City of Suffolk

The Hampton Roads Public Works Academy (HRPWA), while not a brick and mortar institution, as the name might imply, is an association of representatives from member cities and organizations that meets on a regular basis to provide high school students with Public Works/Public Utilities training and internship opportunities with the goal of promoting a career in Public Works or Public Utilities related fields once the student graduates from high school. The Academy also provides Workforce Development to the members employees at no cost or significantly reduced cost.


The HRPWA’s goal is to introduce Public Works and Public Utilities careers to high school students. HRPWA Cadets learn about 32 different Public Works/Public Utilities topics from Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) over the course of their Junior and Senior years. The HRPWA offers the Cadets a summer internship, usually between the Junior and Senior year and encourages the Cadets to apply for full time work after they graduate.


Some of the topics covered by the SMEs include: GIS uses in Public Works, Heavy Equipment, Construction Math, Recycling, Wastewater Treatment, Physical Plant Operation, and a Water Treatment Plant Field Trip. Our SME’s are an all-volunteer force of Public Works professionals who rotate through the three Tech/Ed Centers to give firsthand experience to the Cadets. We work with the Administration in the schools to schedule time once a month for students to leave their Tech/Ed classes for the day.


Each Spring, we start working with our Cadets to identify potential paid Summer Interns. Our interns come to us and perform all sorts of work that represents the broad spectrum of opportunities in Public Works and Public Utilities. With our younger (under 17) interns, we assign them low risk jobs that usually keep them inside our offices or maintenance yards. Interns who are over 18 get to work to their full potential. Interns work with us in a variety of roles from Street Maintenance and Traffic Crews, Facility Maintenance, Waste Water Collection, Heavy Equipment Mechanic, Grounds Maintenance, Refuse Dispatch, and Data Entry.


In the City of Suffolk, I have at least 10 former HRPWA Cadets among my staff. These former cadets have excelled in their careers here. One of them is a Street Crew Leader, others are skilled operators and peer leaders, the two who came to the City of Suffolk in the last few years are brilliant young mechanics who have taken the initiative to get ASCE Certifications, go to night classes for welding, and have brought a sense of curiosity and diligence to the workshop. Over in our Traffic Engineering Signal Shop, we have a new hire who interned with us a few years ago. Most recently we hired a Class A CDL licensed, Heavy Equipment Operator who worked directly for me ten years ago when I was an Operations Superintendent. After high school, he landed in North Carolina working for NCDOT. At the job interview, his exact quote was, “I should have come here 10 years ago.”


In summary, the HRPWA is a direct link from high school to a career in Public Works/Public Utilities. In Hampton Roads we are fortunate to have so many member cities, support from HRSD, and Tech/Ed Centers spread across the region for us to recruit from. Our unofficial motto is “It’s Time To Train!”

VT Innovation Campus Tour

Kevin and Patricia of The Smith Group provided overview and specific tour features (Left). Virginia Tech’s Matt Stolte and (R) Chapter President Denise Nelson looking toward the Potomac River from the roof. (Right)

The Chapter’s Metro DC-Baltimore-Northern Virginia Activities Committee spearheaded this unique educational venue, a collaboration with The Chapter’s Activities Committee and Virginia Tech. Speakers from The Smith Group, the engineer of record for the design and architecture, described some of the special features such as the cantilever solar panel on the roof, and plans for a green roof. The tour gave a sneak peek at building infrastructure that will be covered when finished. Also being employed is a grey water system. Another unique feature is the use of a new and nearby wastewater pump station where Virginia Tech has an agreement with AlexRenew to allow wastewater to the Pump Station to be treated and processed through heat exchangers to offset some of new facilities’ energy consumption. Additionally, the project team on-site relied heavily on building information management (BIM) systems to calibrate construction as it occurred, as well as linking and checking with the base design elements.

Chapter President Denise Nelson attended, along with representatives from the City of Newport News and Prince William County Public Works. APWA National staffers Ryan McManus and Jeff Finegan were also in attendance.

Special thanks for planning the event go to the Metro DC-Baltimore-NOVA Activities Committee members: Chris Kohr, Town of Leesburg; Ken Eyre, Blue Heron Leadership Group; Matt Adams, Fairfax County DPWES; Kim Cluney, Anne Arundel County DPW, Bureau of Operations Business Manager; and Jessica Kibec, Anne Arundel County DPW, Training Program Manager.

For more information, please visit the Virginia Tech facility link

2024 Activities are being discussed with the Committee members. If you have specific suggestions, please pass it along to Chris Kohr, Deputy Director of PW, at CKohr@LEESBURGVA.GOV, or call 703-771-2743 (ofc)

The Mid-Atlantic Public Works Session IV

The Public Works Institute Steering Committee, together with Virginia Tech’s Continuing and Professional Education (CPE), successfully held Session IV of the 4-module Institute October 3-5, 2023 at the Hilton Garden Inn, Glen Allen, VA.

We had 46 students attending, 15 students completed the core requirements of 90 contact hours over a total of four sessions, in-person for the last three sessions.


Table 1 has the current “graduates” and their sponsoring agency. The theme for Session IV was “Executive Leadership” and we were fortunate to have Institute alumni return in Session IV as Instructors. Table 2 contains the Institute Alumni who served as Session IV Instructors. 

We were fortunate to have two APWA Mid-Atlantic Chapter Board members serve as Session IV Instructors, Troy Eisenberger (Transportation) and Shwan Fatah (Consultant Management). Numerous Chapter Past-Presidents also chipped in with Judi Hines (Self-Assessment); Scott Smith (Creative Decision Making and Contracting & Bidding); Ken Eyre (Strategic Planning) and Steve Yob (Leveraging Resources). Judi (Panel Facilitator), Ken, and Scott also served on the Top Ten Leaders panel along with Diane Linderman and James Patteson. 

Table 1 - Mid-Atlantic Public Works Institute “Graduates”

Completing all Four Modules on October 5, 2023

Session I (Theme - Supervision) will be held March 26-28, 2024, again at the Hilton Garden Inn,

Glen Allen, VA.

We encourage Board members and Committee leaders to continue to promote the Institute. We invite you to come witness the students and Instructors in action. Feel free to reach out to Ken Eyre, Steering Committee Chair for a half-day when you might visit and observe the dynamic forum. Email:

Special thanks to the Institute Steering Committee members for helping to organize, execute and make this session another successful 3-day event. We also thank the sponsoring agencies who have made the commitment to designate their emerging leaders to be part of the Institute. Judi Hines (retired from Newport News DPW); Scott Smith, City of Hampton; Chris Kohr, Town of Leesburg; Ken Eyre, Blue Heron Leadership Group; Greta Bonaparte, DC DPW; Matt Adams, Fairfax County DPWES; Larado Robinson, City of Salem; and Cary Dinkins Hoge, Virginia Tech Continuing and Professional Education. 


FOR WRX 2024

Get your Abstracts and Awards Submissions Ready!

Submissions Will Open in September

2024 APWA Annual Sponsorship Program

Sponsor Today!

Click Here to Sponsor

This past year the American Public Work’s Association’s (APWA) Mid Atlantic Chapter decided to shift from sponsorships that were associated with individual events, including our annual WRX conference, and move towards an annual chapter-wide sponsorship approach. This is an exciting change for our organization and has the potential to greatly impact the services the chapter provides as well as increased benefits for the sponsor. We are excited to officially kickoff our 2024 annual sponsorship drive, on a first come-first serve basis, which will remain open through December 29, 2023. 


The APWA Mid Atlantic Chapter’s 2024 annual sponsorship packages are suited for anyone’s budget, with maximum year-long exposure and customizable options, allowing you to select the best add-ons to meet your organization’s goals. APWA continues to grow and expand in membership engagement and educational programming. We hope you will consider partnering with the Mid-Atlantic Chapter to develop authentic connections between our robust community of vendors and public work’s professionals in the Mid Atlantic Chapter.


In closing we greatly appreciate the continued support of everyone advancing the goals and vision of the APWA Mid-Atlantic Chapter and the Public Work’s community.


Harold Caples

Immediate Past President

Annual Sponsorship Committee Chair

To Our 2023 Newsletter Sponsor!

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2023 - 2024




Denise Nelson, PE, CFM, ENV SP, LEED AP

Director of Resilience and Grants

Launch! Consulting Inc

Richmond, VA

President Elect

Gaynelle L. Hart

Director of Public Works 

City of Lynchburg, VA

Immediate Past-President

Harold Caples, PE

Senior Cost Estimator

Virginia Department of Transportation

City of Richmond, VA


Jeff Wilkerson

Director of Public Works

City of Martinsburg, WV


Catherine Sydnor



Richmond, VA


David Bradshaw, PE


Clark Nexsen

Virginia Beach, VA

Chapter Delegate

James W. Long, III, PE, DBIA

Project Manager

Rummel, Klepper & Kahl, LLP

Virginia Beach, VA

Chapter Delegate (Alternate)

Jason Calbert

Administrator Street Maintenance 

Department of Public Works

Newport News, VA


Dawn V. Odom

Planning and Investment Manager 

Virginia Department of Transportation

Suffolk, VA


Jennifer Caples

Whitman, Requardt & Associates

Richmond, Virginia

Troy Eisenberger, P.E.

Department of Public Works

Chesapeake, VA

Shwan Fatah, P.E.

Wastewater Collection Division

Fairfax County, Virginia

Yosef Kebede

Department of Public Works

Howard County, Maryland

Ryn Kennedy

Engineering and Environmental Services Henrico County, Virginia

Renee LaFollette

Department of Public Works Capital Projects Leesburg, VA

Amy Linderman, P.E.

Department of Public Works

Fairfax, Virginia

Kyle Logue, P.E.

Greeley and Hansen

Richmond, Virginia

Ian Shaw

Department of Public Works

Roanoke, Virginia

Matt Stolte, P.E., ENV SP

Virginia Tech

Blacksburg, VA

APWA Mid-Atlantic Chapter | 5007 C Victory Blvd, #280 | Yorktown, VA 23693