July 2017

Collaborating with Our Partners Helps Us All

 

By Rich Sanders, PE
      President Elect

Nearing the end of July here, in 3 months we can look forward to finishing sugar beet harvest and plowing snow. The temperatures in NW Minnesota became summer-like just before the 4th of July, so I’ve enjoyed playing golf as much as possible.

On June 14-16, the Minnesota County Engineers Association (MCEA) held our Summer Conference at Arrowwood Resort near Alexandria, Minn. We had 70 engineers, 22 spouses and 46 children in attendance. While the engineers were being educated, the spouses and children enjoyed the waterpark and other recreational activities.

On the 14th, we invited our friends of the industry to join us for some socializing and held a silent auction to benefit our annual Engineering and Engineering Technician Scholarships. This year we had 30 friends attend and we raised over $4,000 toward scholarships. That night we served Minn. food such as walleye and wild rice. This year we kept the kids in the room and had a magician/comedian entertain us all. What a fun time for all ages!

Topics on our agenda this year included grass mixtures that would be tolerant to salt and drought. We also had Chris Oltmanns talk to us about US Communities. It was good to hear how our counties could benefit from their services.

I attended the NLTAPA Conference in Norfolk, Virginia, on July 16-20. It’s always beneficial to get together with our LTAP friends and learn from what they provide to us. This year’s highlights included the Monday afternoon safety workshop and the $2.1 billion Elizabeth River Tunnel Project presentation. Every year they give away the “Build a Better Mouse Trap” Award. This year’s winner was Gunnison County, Colorado, with their guardrail reclaimer. It’s always fun to see how people can get creative and build things to make work more efficient at a low cost.

My next stop was the NACo Annual Conference, held July 20-25 in Columbus, Ohio. Being part of the NACo Transportation Steering Committee allows me and other NACE county engineers the opportunity to communicate with County Commissioners nationwide. If it’s not Safety on our highways, autonomous vehicles or drones, then it’s the needs of ports and airports to continue to receive federal funding to operate their facilities.

If your state will appoint you to the Transportation Steering committee, it’s a worthwhile commitment for you to pursue.

 

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