Good Day Fellow APWA Illinois Chapter Members!
I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself to the Chapter at large and thank you for your dedication to APWA and to the Public Works Profession. I am from the far reached of Southern Illinois, born and raised in Carbondale. I left the state for a few years while I was pursuing a BS in Civil Engineering at Missouri S & T (which will always be UMR in my heart and mind). After graduation something inside of me just pulled me back to my roots in Carbondale where I began my public works career as an entry level Civil Engineer for the City. A few years later an opportunity came my way and I left public service to take a job in a local multi-discipline Engineering & Surveying firm in Carbondale. As luck would have it, or perhaps destiny, 10 years later I was called back into public service and became a Public Works Operations Manager for the City. Since 2011 I have been fortunate enough to serve as Director of Public Works for Carbondale. I can tell you without hesitation that I enjoy serving my community and am so very proud to be a part of the best team around… Carbondale’s Public Works Department! I am so blessed to have such a dedicated, caring, and talented team of nearly 90 full time folks that keep our City running without asking for any accolades.
So that’s me in a nutshell. You might wonder why I started out giving you some background on myself. The reason I provided a quick history of myself is to that you can get to know me, in the same way that I would like to get to know you! The better we know each other the better we can grow our collective teams. I strive to get out of my office and visit with Carbondale’s elite Public Works team members at their worksites and offices all about the City. I do this so that I can get better perspective of what their needs are, who they are, and what makes our team tick. Over the years I have gotten to know quite a few folks and truly enjoy all the conversations we have. These conversations bring so many facets to light and help arm me with all kinds of good information and stories to toot the Public Works horn at every chance I get! I guess that’s my rambling introductory message: Public Works needs advocates and each of us surely has some great stories of triumph, perseverance, and dedication to share with those who don’t know what a great and humbling profession Public Works is.
Onto some information about APWA and what the Illinois Chapter has in its sights for 2020! The Illinois Chapter is strong with around 430 members from Rockford to Metropolis spanning 400+ miles of our great State. We have several avenues for keeping up on chapter and branch activities, most notably the Chapter website illinois.apwa.net, our Facebook page “APWA Illinois Chapter”, and our constant contact email system. Like many Chapters across the country we are challenged by geography which makes it difficult for us to interact on a regular basis and get to know each other. Fortunately, we have several chances for us to connect during 2020 including:
In 2020 we also have two great opportunities to attend APWA National Events including Public Works Expo (PWX) in New Orleans this year August 30th thru September 2nd which is an easy Amtrak ride south (Amtrak stops in Carbondale if you want to say hi!). The Annual Snow Conference is located in Columbus, OH in April which is a pretty easy drive for us Illinois folks. I have attended both of these APWA National events in the past, and I can tell you first hand, it’s worth the time and money. The educational sessions and exhibit hall are second to none!
It seems like I have probably rambled on for too long so I will leave you with one last thought… 2020 brings a new decade to us all. Let’s begin it together by being advocates for our team and Public Works! As you know, Public Works is a very satisfying career so be sure to share your experiences and stories every chance you get. Y you never know you might be the one who provides that spark that someone who wants to serve their community needs to find a career in Public Works!
Have a wonderful and safe 2020!
Sean C. Henry, P.E.
Director of Public Works
City of Carbondale
APWA IL Chapter President 2020-2021