Update from the NACE South Central Region

I hope this update finds you doing well after spending time with your family during the Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and New Year holidays.  My family had a great couple of weeks to end 2019 and start 2020 by celebrating Christmas with family, my wife’s birthday, my youngest son’s 6th birthday with five other kids and ringing in the New Year.  We enjoy this time of year as it gives us a chance to spend additional time with family and friends as we remember the reason for this time of year and look forward to what will be provided for us in the upcoming year.

December and January have been busy for me here in Washington County, Iowa, just south of Iowa City.  The first part of December was our annual Iowa County Engineers Conference and it was another great one with topics ranging from environmental regulations, overweight vehicles, bridges & culverts, slope stabilization, the power of social media, gravel road maintenance, ethics and others.  We even had a great update on what NACE has been doing from NACE Secretary/Treasurer Todd Kinney, who was filling in for President Tim Hens because he was apparently snowed in back in Buffalo.  I thought those in lake effect snow regions knew how to deal with snow.  Let me get back on track!  Attending Iowa’s Annual Conference helps with my job and continuing education, but I think the best part is the opportunity to network with and hear what my peers are doing across the state to solve problems similar to what I face in my own county.  I believe the community and comradery we have is fantastic and is a driving force to do the job that we all do.

During the rest of December and early January I have been busy working with my Board of Supervisors on our budget, trying to maintain and provide as many improvements as possible to our 159 miles of concrete, 8 miles of asphalt, 650 miles of gravel and 90 miles of dirt roads while minimizing any increase in new taxes.  One big part of this budget we have been working on is a fifty/fifty partnership with a local business owner to pave approximately 3 miles of gravel roads to his business at a total cost of approximately $2,000,000.  This project has been talked about for several years and has come to fruition with the realization that if it is to be accomplished both the government and private individuals need to work together to solve how we improve this road.  This improvement will reduce our maintenance costs and improve access to the business both of which will make life better for those who live on the road.  This partnership between public and private entities is something I see more of in the future, especially as we all work hard to provide the best for our citizens with the limited funding we have.

Going back to the community and comradery I mentioned earlier, I hope you all consider attending NACE 2020 in Baldwin County, AL to experience the same sense of community and comradery on the national level that you have at your state.  The NACE Annual Conference is an excellent opportunity to learn about various topics that impact us all in our day to day jobs and hear how similar problems are solved in other states.  While the learning is a great part of NACE, just like at the state level, I think the best part is making new friends and connections across the country to enjoy life with and use as a resource to improve ourselves.

Remember to have a great year because you are not finished with what is planned for you. Hopefully we will see you in warm Alabama in a few short months, if not sooner!

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