President's Message

I hope everyone is having a great start to 2019! I’m honored and privileged to serve as your 2019 President and am looking forward to an exciting year ahead of us. I continue to be impressed by the knowledge, commitment and passion that comes from our many volunteers that make APWA what it is.

I’d like to thank our immediate Past President Tim D’Zmura for an outstanding 2018! Much was accomplished during the year, including the Chapter financial support to defeat Proposition 6 as well as the endowment of a scholarship at California State University, Long Beach. Thank you, Tim, for your leadership!

We all know the old adage “if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it”. We have a high performing chapter as demonstrated by our accomplishments and high attendance at our activities, including selling out a number of our events last year. We’re definitely not broke, but there is always room for new ideas, improving what we do and how we do it and ensuring a solid foundation and plan for the future. Here are a few items the Chapter will be focusing on this year:

Expanding our presence. We have the 5th largest Chapter in the United States with approximately 1400 members, however, this is still a fraction of those working in the public works arena here in SoCal. We want to put ourselves on a path of continued growth. We achieved 3% growth in 2018 and we’re looking to meet or exceed that goal in 2019. One tool to help fuel that growth is to increase our visibility, especially for those that may not be receiving our email blasts. By the time you read this, the SoCal Chapter LinkedIn page ( will be up and running. I encourage you to ‘follow’ this page. We will be posting regularly for our upcoming meetings as well as follow-up posts with photos to support our programs. I hope we can soon say we’re the 4th largest Chapter!

Maintaining fiscal responsibility and transparency. The SoCal Chapter has a robust budget, and it is critical for us to maintain a fiscal balance to support our mission. You have put your trust in us to be a good steward of our Chapter funds and we strive to do so in a transparent manner.  With our new accounting system in place, we’ve honed our financial reporting, which our Board of Directors approves at our monthly Board meeting. If you’re interested in seeing these reports, please reach out to myself or our Chapter Administrator. The financial support for our Chapter is amazing! Our Annual Sponsorship program netted $57,000 again this year, and coupled with our major events such as Complete Streets & Technology Conference, Public Works Institute and our Golf Tournament, our Chapter is able to support ongoing training, newsletters and luncheon programs as well as distribute $30,000 in scholarships.

Supporting our next generation of leaders. In both the public and private sectors, we’re seeing a large exodus due to retirements that will continue for the foreseeable future. What is our succession plan? I’ve seen the future for our Chapter and it resides in the Young Professionals (YPs). What a fantastic group that have infused new energy into our Chapter! They are bringing a fresh perspective, new ideas of focus for our Chapter and are truly rooted in efforts that connect us to our communities. Our Chapter will continue to provide all of the support necessary to ensure the continued growth of this group. This also includes a new student chapter at CSU Long Beach to go along with our UC Irvine student chapter. The future is bright!

So, this is where you come in. Be active. Attend an event. Bring a friend or coworker to another event. Build your network. Expand your knowledge base with our training sessions. Volunteer for a committee (we always need more volunteers!). Grow your career. Get active, you won’t regret it!

Again, thank you for trusting me with this great Chapter. I look forward to an exciting 2019, please check out our Chapter Website and our LinkedIn page for our listing of events, and I hope to see you there!

Pat Somerville, PE,


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