Hello Illinois Chapter Folks!
What a long strange trip it’s been… 2020 threw a few curve balls out for us to try and hit, if you are like me you may have had a few swings and misses this past year. But one think about Public Works folks like you and me, is that we somehow make connect and get it done no matter what pitch it thrown as us. Truth be told, I am not much of a sports guy but the challenges of the past year have allowed my team, family, and myself become stronger, more resilient, and more connected than ever. Together we tackled one of the toughest things we will hopefully ever in our lifetimes, a worldwide pandemic that has changed our lives, the way we work, and the way we interact. For better or worse we are all stronger, “Stronger Together” as this year’s PWX slogan says. Stronger Together is something we need to concentrate more on, individually, community wise, and our country as a whole.
To me this statement is both insightful and reflective. Insightful as Public Works professionals excel at teamwork and concentrating on our duties to life, health, safety and community. Reflective as without you and your teams efforts to keep water treated & flowing, refuse & recycling removed, roads patched, signals & signs fixed, equipment operational, grounds kept, sewage collected & treated, and meters read (amongst other things); without Public Works, you and your teams, 2020 would have been much tougher for everyone.
So, how do we begin 2021 and when will this all end? This question may have been on many of your minds as well, at least in the background. It’s a good question and the answer is likely different for all of us. For me, I am looking forward to some normalcy and am so very thankful for my family, friends, staff and the health of all the above. It’s hard to convey how proud I am of the Public Works Team I am fortunate to be a part of, COVID-19 tried to stop us, but you heard a resounding “not us” in the Public Works halls. While many people worked from home or remotely, Public Works did not, our professions dedicated folks showed up for work every day, and without complaint (unless they were told to stay home for a day or two that was troublesome for many staff).
Onto some information about APWA and what the Illinois Chapter has in its sights for 2021. The Illinois Chapter is strong with around 410 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 2021 including:
In 2021 we will continue this important event in November at Starved Rock State Park so be sure your Branch Officers block out the dates on their schedules! In 2021 we also have two great opportunities to attend APWA National Events including Public Works Expo (PWX) in St. Louis August 29th thru September 1st which is an easy drove for us Illinois folks! This is a great opportunity to have some staff attend PWX who typically can’t due to the costs and long distance travel.
I will leave you with wishes for a great 2021, remember we are all “Stronger Together” so let’s continue showcase our strength, vault and commitment to Public Works!
I sincerely with you all a safe and healthy 2021,
Sean C. Henry, P.E.
Director of Public Works City of Carbondale
APWA IL Chapter President 2020-2021
2021 Presidents Message.pdf