As I complete my year as president of this honorable chapter, I am grateful that we are FINALLY looking forward to more promising times. That means resuming face-to-face meetings, group gatherings, and other opportunities to join and learn together. Despite the obstacles of the last 15+ months, we have adapted and adjusted in many ways that have allowed us to continue to do our jobs, maintain the public infrastructure, and make our agencies proud.

While there were many challenges placed in our paths this past year, each of you has faced them head-on and developed the techniques needed to deal with and overcome those challenges. Even with the demands of social distancing, mask requirements, and other guidelines, we continued to maintain our cities and counties. We fixed potholes, paved streets, cleared ditches, picked up the trash, built roads, managed our traffic systems, and all the thousands of other things that keep our cities running. You have proved we really are “Stronger Together.”

Even though we couldn’t travel or meet face-to-face, we conducted meetings, trainings, and other job communication efforts. I believe that the virtual meeting, while maybe not everyone’s first choice, has allowed us to continue to conduct business and move forward and is a valuable tool that is here to stay. Just as before the pandemic, we must always be adaptable and efficient, and virtual meetings allow us to accomplish so many things while saving on travel time and expense. However, gathering together for a conference - exchanging ideas, asking questions, and renewing friendships - is something most of us prefer to do face-to-face. 

After having to cancel our WRX conferences two years in a row (2020 & 2021), I am very happy to say that we are making plans to host the 2022 Mid-Atlantic WRX Conference and Equipment Show in Virginia Beach on May 17th–20th, 2022. Please mark your calendars and keep an eye on the Chapter Works Weekly for additional information. My co-workers and I are very much looking forward to having you here to enjoy our time together. 

A few highlights from the past year to show that ALL was not negative:
  • While we were not able to grow beyond our recent record high membership achieved in 2019 of 964 members – understandably so, all things considered - we still boast a membership of 959 members as of the end of April 2021.

  • Awarded 8 Individual Awards out of 15 applications, and 6 Project Awards out of 15 applications for Projects of the Year Award.
  • Received 12 student applications for scholarships, and we awarded three $2200 college scholarships.

  • Conducted virtual training, including the 4-day Public Works Institute training in the Fall of 2020 and Spring of 2021.

  • Welcomed another TOP TEN leader from the Mid-Atlantic Chapter - Ms. Judi Hines, Assistant Director of Public Works for the City of Newport News, and a Past President of the Mid-Atlantic Chapter.
  • Had several chapter members appointed to national committees:
  • Matt Villareal, Chair of Facilities and Grounds Committee
  • Kirstin Platt, Chair of the Asset Management Committee
  • James Patteson, member of the Center for Sustainability Committee
  • Danielle DeHart, member of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee

As you can see, we did NOT let the pandemic beat us. We found ways to overcome and move forward

It has been a true honor for me to serve as your president during these challenging times. It has been very rewarding, and I have learned so much. I am very grateful to each of you.  

I look forward to continuing my service to Public Works, and I hope to see you all soon.

Best wishes . . . and stay strong!

Phillip Koetter, President
APWA Mid-Atlantic Chapter