Public Works Week Honors Contributions to Quality of Life

National Public Works Week raises awareness of the vitally important contributions of public works professionals.

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People in the public works field are used to doing good work without getting a lot of credit. You typically only hear from residents when there’s a problem — no one calls to say they appreciate how well the sewer system is working — but the American Public Works Association is doing its part to make sure people understand the importance of your contributions. 

The week of May 19-25 marks the annual celebration of National Public Works Week, which raises awareness of the vitally important contributions of public works professionals and the crucial role that infrastructure, facilities and services play in the quality of life in all communities. 

This year’s theme is “Because of Public Works...,” and it emphasizes the quality of life contributions that public works professionals bring to communities around the world. Citizens have clean water, safe streets and neighborhoods, efficient traffic and rapid response to emergencies “Because of Public Works...” 

To mark this year’s anniversary, cities, towns, counties, districts and APWA and CPWA chapters across North America are holding public events and celebrations. If your department isn’t on board, you can still take the time to recognize the people who make your department a critical asset in your community. 

The APWA website also features plenty of guidance and information to help you celebrate next year’s (May 18-24) National Public Works Week. The site provides a complete guide to hosting your own events, including a planning calendar, suggestions for activities and events, outreach materials and a guide to working with students to spread your message.

Since APWA’s sponsorship of National Public Works Week began in 1960, the selection of a Top Ten list of exceptional public works professionals has been a cornerstone of the event. These honorees are recognized for their significant contributions in the design, construction, maintenance and operation of major public works projects and activities across North America. This year’s award recipients include:

  • Wylie Bearup, transportation director and city engineer for the City of Phoenix, Ariz.
  • Julia Bueren, public works director for Contra Costa County, Calif.
  • Christopher B.            Burke, engineering department at Rosemont, Ill.
  • John Edlebeck, director of public works and city engineer for the City of Waupaca, Wis.  
  • Melissa Gentry, assistant city manager for operations for the City of Columbia, S.C.       
  • William Hadley, public works director for the Town of Lexington, Mass.                                      
  • Donald            Jacobovitz, public works director for Putnam County, Fla.
  • Howard Lazarus, director of public works for the City of Austin, Texas.
  • Thomas Montgomery, public works director for the City of Hastings, Minn.
  • Allen Persons, director of public works for the Village of Plainfield, Ill.

To learn more about National Public Works Week, visit, or contact Laura Bynum at (202) 218-6736, or, or Jon Dilley at


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