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Phoenix: APWA 2015 Congress & Expo

APWA is the American Public Works Association, and the APWA International Public Works Congress & Exposition has always drawn thousands of public works professionals from all over the world. When it comes to public works, one size apparently does not fit all, so defining the term can be problematic. Even APWA members have trouble arriving at a common definition; because of the multi-faceted, ever-evolving nature of public works, we may never arrive at a comprehensive idea of what PW quintessentially is. Yet Public Works is the heartbeat of any city, developing and maintaining buildings, roads, water systems, solid waste handling and administration. The people who work in PW are solving some of the toughest problems faced by our communities, our country, and our world. The gathering also provides public works departments with much-needed community outreach resources. There were more than 125 technical and professional development sessions presented by experts and industry vendors. The thing about Public Works? Well, when you do it in Public, it has to Work…. #APWAExpo #PWX

Las Vegas Trade Shows: International Parking Institute #IPI2015

IPI is the International Parking Institute, and the IPI Conference & Expo is the world’s largest educational and networking event for parking and transportation professionals. Thousands of attendees gathered for four days of meetings, keynotes, leadership discussions, networking, awards, special events, tours of parking facilities — the definition of a thrill? You haven’t lived till you’ve experienced one of these tours of parking facilities — and an exhibit hall with more than 250 exhibitors. A revolution is driving the parking industry thanks to new approaches in the design, management, and operation of public and private parking. Smarter approaches to parking can improve urban mobility, reduce congestion and enhance sustainability. Government officials, architects, urban planners, transportation officials, suppliers, consultants, and economic decision-makers were all there to feed their magnetic tickets into the slot. Hey, sir, excuse me… sir… sir? You cannot park there… #IPI2015

Boston: Massachusetts Municipal Association – MMA

The MMA Annual Meeting and Trade Show is the largest regular gathering of Massachusetts local government officials. Okay, so what do local gummint types talk about when they get together?  Actually you’d be surprised — here are the verbatims from MMA 2014: “Governor’s budget proposes little new local aid”;  “Sen. Warren announces Senate passage of flood insurance bill”;  “DPH issues first 20 medical marijuana licenses” — hey, we’re not making this up;  “State awards $13.5M in dam, seawall grants, begins process for next round”;  “House OK’s transportation bond bill with $300M for Ch. 90”;  “At MMA meeting, Sen. Warren stresses partnership with local officials”;  “MMA announces spring Legislative Breakfast Meeting schedule”… Okay, breakfast eaters, you want the Mrs. Butterworth’s or the imported Canadian maple-surple with that stack…?  #MMA2014

San Diego: California Schools Board Association – CSBA

“CSBA is the California Schools Board Association, and CSBA/AEC is CSBA’s premier continuing education program, “”the only leadership development opportunity that offers the governance perspective.”” We heard how the association is “”delivering practical solutions to help governance teams from districts and county education offices improve student learning and achievement””. Whether you were a veteran board member, a superintendent, a board support professional, or a first-time attendee, you found a conference filled with practical ideas. Whether you were focused on issues related to budget and finance, student achievement, governance, school safety, common core, community engagement, communication or collaboration, this premier event majored on key areas to guide governance teams through tough fiscal times. To prove how up-to-the-minute the proceedings were, there was a speech from Jane McGonigal, visionary game designer and futurist. No, she didn’t read palms….

Las Vegas: USCM

June 22-24, 2013. With 180 mayors in attendance, the 81st Annual Meeting of the United States Conference of Mayors lived up to its billing.  What do mayors do when they all meet up in a gaggle? Well, they partner up with Google, and try to get America’s small businesses to get crowding online. Mayors across the country were to be seen working to make the web work for local businesses.  According to an Ipsos/Google study, 15 million outfits do not have a website – that’s 58% of all U.S. businesses.  Yet 97% of the American internet users look online for local goods and services.  “Through this new partnership with Google, mayors will be able to encourage their local businesses to get online and boost their sales and hiring levels,” said Conference President Mesa AZ Mayor Scott Smith. “If every local business can hire just one person, that’s a lot of people and a lot of new jobs.”  Hizzoner must have Googled that useful factoid…

Phoenix: Border Security Expo

March 12-14, 2013. With the national debate on immigration hotting up, border security is one topical issue, and the state of Arizona is a place where the debate is particularly animated. The big theme this year was “Disrupting and dismantling transnational criminal organizations”.  Pictures of drones were prominent on many displays, which was a potent clue to how a lot of the “disrupting” is likely to be approached.  Teams of experts were on hand — former law enforcement and government officials, as well as industry veterans, who volunteer on advisory boards and direct conference agendas. This organization aggregates information, intelligence and knowledge, and then expertly creates superior, relevant and timely conferences that attract thousands of law enforcement professionals.  One session was titled “A Multi-layered Approach Case Study: Southwest Border Operational Coordination of Federal, State and Local Law Enforcement”.  If only transnational criminal organizations could be ‘coordinated’ as easily…

Fort Lauderdale: Association of the United States Army (AUSA)

February 20-22, 2013. AUSA is the Association of the United States Army, and it works to support all aspects of national security while advancing the interests of America’s Army and the men and women who serve. AUSA welcomes anyone who subscribes to the philosophy of a strong national defense with special concern for the Army. Community businesses and defense industry companies are also welcome to join. The association supports America’s Army – Active, National Guard, Reserve, Civilians, Retirees, Government Civilians, Wounded Warriors, Veterans, and their family members. It also provides numerous Professional Development Opportunities at a variety of events both local and national. AUSA has 125 chapters located worldwide, made up entirely of volunteers, and these provide recreational and educational opportunities to soldiers. Most importantly, they support deployed soldiers and the families they leave behind while on active duty or training. Ten-hut!