National Public Works Week returns May 15-21, 2016!

NationalPublicWorksMonth

Photo Source APWA.com

The American Public Works Association (APWA) is bringing back National Public Works Week for its 56th year in a row!

Every year in the third week of May, APWA sponsors National Public Works Week in an effort to raise awareness of public works issues and increase the overall confidence in public works employees.

What is National Public Works Week?

National Public Works Week (NPWW) is a public education campaign that seeks to create a stronger conversation and association between public works and the communities they improve daily.

One of the ways this is goal is achieved is through the issuing of a Top Ten list of public works professionals that show exceptional conduct and the highest of standards. Since its inception, NPWW has identified and honored over 400 men and women that work in maintenance, construction, design, and operation of major public works throughout the country.

National Public Works Week History

APWA first sponsored National Public Works Week in 1960, carrying it on as a yearly tradition from that moment onward. From the very beginning the focus has been clear, as evident in the first ever publication for the event.

The American Public Works Association, through its Public Relations Committee, will launch within the next few months a very important public education program. The primary purpose of the program will be to foster a better understanding of the function and importance of public works in the community, to enhance the professional status of public works officials in government, and to help attract competent personnel to the field.

The week October 2-8, 1960, has been tentatively set aside as NATIONAL PUBLIC WORKS WEEK (proclamation pending) to recognize and publicize the outstanding work being done by public works engineers and administrators. It is hoped that the program being planned will help arouse an interest in the young people of this country to pursue careers in public service.” – July 1960

Every year the week is filled with resolutions and proclamations from mayors, governors, and other political figures. Some notable examples include a United States Senate resolution that affirmed the very first National Public Works Week, letters of acknowledgement from Presidents Lyndon Johnson and Dwight Eisenhower, and a Presidential Proclamation that was signed by John F. Kennedy.

Getting Involved

If you’re looking for a way to get involved in National Public Works Week then consider some of these sources.

The APWA publish several handy tools on the subject, including a How-To Guide for anyone looking for a good place to start. This document offers help in the following categories: Getting Started, Calendar, Events, Outreach, and even a section for students.

Florida’s APWA chapter offers some fun ideas to celebrate during the week.

About APWA

The American Public Works Association is a nonprofit organization founded to serve public works professionals in all branches of industry. The association has a worldwide membership in numbers over 28,500 and is open to any individual, agency, and/or corporation that bring with them an interest in public works.

Self-Healing Concrete May Not Just Be For Sci-Fi

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Professor Henk Jonkers at work. Photo Source: Newscientist.nl

“The problem with cracks in concrete is leakage. If you have cracks, water comes through — in your basements, in a parking garage. Secondly, if this water gets to the steel reinforcements — in concrete we have all these steel rebars — if they corrode, the structure collapses.” – Professor Henk Jonkers, Delft University of Technology, Netherlands.

Concrete repair products is a subject we know a lot about!  We’ve seen first hand the problems that slow-building cracks can create. But what if damaged concrete could heal itself? That’s exactly what Professor Henk Jonkers is working towards with his work into bioconcrete — concrete that heals itself using bacteria.

Jonkers was inspired by the human body in his work, which works by adding a limestone-producing bacteria agent to the concrete mix. As air is let in through cracks and damage to the concrete, the bacteria is activated and begins producing limestone and patching out the cracks.”You need bacteria that can survive the harsh environment of concrete. It’s a rock-like, stone-like material, very dry,” says Professor Jonkers.

This process could play a pivotal role during construction, when small imperceptible cracks form as concrete is laid. By self-patching immediately, this bioconcrete could prevent long term damage. You can see some of the self-healing concrete at work below.

To date, bioconcrete has only been able to heal cracks up to a very slim 0.8 mm wide in about three weeks, but it can also be sprayed in cracks of regular concrete to use its mending powers. It will certainly be interesting to hear what the future holds for bioconcrete, and if its European Inventor Award finalist nomination is any indication, we’ll be hearing much more soon!

It’s this ingenuity and forward-thinking approach to finding new unexplored solutions to potentially long-term and expensive problems why we have named Professor Henk Jonkers our “Featured Innovator of the Month.” We look forward to hearing more of his work in bioconcrete in the future!

Note: Henk Jonkers does not work for Willamette Valley Company nor is he affiliated with our company.

Sources:

CNN 

TUDelft

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