APWA PWX 2021 Call for Presentations

August 29 – September 1, 2021

St. Louis, MO

Proposal Submission Deadline: Friday, October 16, 2020

Questions? Email us at cfpquestions@apwa.net for further assistance.

The American Public Works Association provides education, advocacy, and solutions for public works and infrastructure professionals worldwide. More than 5,000 public works professionals – from both the public and private sectors – converge each year at APWA’s premier Public Works Expo (PWX). This highly anticipated annual event features 125 education sessions, keynote opportunities for collaboration and networking. PWX also attracts more than 300 exhibitors providing information about state-of-the-art technologies, products, and services.

Four Easy Steps to Submitting Your Proposal:

  1. Read this page for Call for Presentations info and instructions
  2. Click the “Submit Proposal” button below
  3. Login or create your unique Call for Presentations account
  4. Follow the prompts to complete your proposal

What Do APWA Members Want to Learn About?

Primary Education Tracks: APWA members and committees were recently surveyed in a Call for Ideas about the topics they would expect a solutions oriented, trailblazing PWX. Review the topic suggestions below as you begin framing your proposal submission. Please note that the themes for the 2021 Public Works Stormwater Summit are listed under the Water Resources: Stormwater track. The document can be found here.

Technology uses and trends:
  • Software and database solutions, mobile technologies, web-based tools, cloud technology, 3-D modeling, enterprise solutions for reporting.
  • Data collection technologies: unmanned aerial vehicles (drones), LiDAR mapping, GIS, GPS, telematics, time-phased photographic inspection, robotics, AVL, RFID.


  • Leveraging asset management into daily public works operations – solutions for small city, large city, county systems.
  • Dealing with siloed operations / departments, determining what to measure and how to use the data, communicating with the public and stakeholders about asset management, getting buy-in from officials and staff.
  • Explaining the foundational components of a good asset management system. Success stories that demonstrate the process, challenges, and solutions. Where to begin and how not to be overwhelmed.
  • Examples! Tools, templates, road maps and sample documents.
  • Workforce issues: the skills public works professionals need to implement asset management, maximizing productivity with minimal staff
  • Funding/budgeting: cost-effective asset management; creative budgeting, grants, and other financial options to implement asset management; funding solutions for small cities.
  • Asset management as a tool for disaster response, recovery, and obtaining FEMA reimbursement.

Future Trends:

  • Asset management in the Internet of Things (IoT) era
  • Less field work and more desktop reconnaissance
  • Asset management for green infrastructure
  • Smart cities, smart assets
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) based asset management
  • State governments requiring asset management plans from public agencies.

Technology uses and trends:

  • Emergency management software, tablets and phones replacing desktop solutions
  • GIS mapping, use of drones in post-disaster inspection
  • Traffic Incident Management: Automated Flagger Assistance Devices, portable traffic signals
  • Role of smart cities technologies in emergency management
  • Cybersecurity – what are the threats, what are the best solutions?


  • Public Works as First Responders
    • Collaborating with Police and Fire
  • National Incident Management Command (NIMs)
  • Tracking the right data for FEMA reimbursement, FEMA pre-certification
  • Mutual aid programs
  • Risk assessment and resiliency planning
    • Factoring climate change into emergency management planning and preparedness
    • Dam safety requirements, flood preparedness and response
    • Rapid damage assessment, post disaster condition assessments, cleanup, debris management
  • See something, Say Something – Public Works role in threat identification
  • Active shooter training
    • Outlines and templates for Active Shooter tabletop exercises or drills

Future Trends:

  • Trends and new developments in cybersecurity programs.
  • Mobile alert systems – targeting devices by physical location rather than area codes
  • Increased focus on cybersecurity tactics and solutions.

Technology uses and trends:

  • Data collection and construction inspection using drones, GIS, tablets, and smart phones
  • Web-based tools for plan submission and reviews
  • Electronic bidding technologies, electronic plan reviews, submissions, and approvals
  • Project management software


  • Innovative budgeting and funding solutions for capital improvement programs (CIP)
  • RFP process, bid and contract management, consultant and contractor relationships
  • Project management skills / project tracking systems

Future Trends:

  • 5G installation and capital improvement program management
  • More use of 3D construction plans, 3D modeling, 3D printing
  • New CIP funding models to replace gas taxes and other funding mechanisms


Public Works Stormwater Summit Themes

Day One – Maintenance & Restoration Case Studies: Proposals should focus on lessons-learned on one or more of the following topics:

  *   Post Construction BMPS & Green Infrastructure designs, installation and maintenance;
  *   Capital improvement projects for replacement and restorative infrastructure options
  *   Utilizing asset management technologies
  *   Restoration of wetlands and other environmental areas
  *   Creative financing strategies for O&M (public/private agreements)

Day Two – Emergency Response Operations: Proposals should focus on lessons-learned on one or more of the following topics:

  *   Preparing and/or implementing an emergency response plan
  *   Flood control
  *   Pandemic-related operations
  *   Emerging contaminants
  *   Impacts of climate change

Presentation Formats: Please click here to view the accepted formats

How Are Presentations Selected?

Review criteria

All submissions are reviewed and evaluated by the PWX Program Review Committee. The evaluation process is competitive. Your success in the selection process depends on how well your proposal supports these primary criteria:

  • Practical application – Information can be used in day-to-day work settings, lessons-learned, how-to-do-it strategies
  • Leading-edge – Addresses emerging trends and technologies, innovative concepts and approaches, solutions that provide improvements to the provision of public works services.
  • Relevance and clarity - Content is interesting and useful to a significant number of expected attendees. Learning objectives are clearly stated using active verbs that indicate how the participants will benefit from the information presented.
  • Balance - The PWX Program Review Committee will also review for balance to ensure that all public works functions are adequately covered in the overall education program, that any one topic area is not overrepresented, and that any one speaker or organization is not disproportionately represented among the final selections.

Learning Objectives

Click here for instructions on how to write appropriate learning objectives.

All proposals must include three (3) learning objectives that indicate how the attendee will benefit from the presentation. The learning objectives must be worded in response to the phrase: “At the conclusion of this session, participants will be better able to________”.

What Are the Rules?

No sales-pitches please!

Direct promotion of a speaker’s/company’s products, services, or monetary self-interest are not appropriate for education sessions. The public works audience appreciates learning about technologies, services, concepts, and new approaches; but are sensitive to the sales promotion approach. We recommend that you describe in your proposal how the public works/end-user perspective will be featured in your presentation.

Speaker registration and travel expenses

Speakers at PWX are also considered attendees and are expected to pay their own travel expenses and the appropriate member or non-member PWX registration fee. If you plan to attend PWX only on the day of your presentation, you may qualify for a complimentary single day registration. However, if you plan to attend the entire PWX event or an additional day beyond your presentation day, you must register and pay the applicable registration fees.

When Will I Know?

Review process and schedule:

The review process involves reviewers and is lengthy. Submitters will be notified via email of the accept/decline status of their proposal by the end of March 2021.

How Do I Apply?

Attention: This is very important!

After clicking on the Submit Proposal button below, you will be prompted to create an account for proposal submission. This login is for proposal submission only and is not related to any other APWA account login you may have. All correspondence sent to you about your submission(s) will be to the email address you list in this account. If you have a highly restrictive work email account, please consider using a personal email address. You will receive notification of submission selection via email. above.


Email us at cfpquestions@apwa.net.

Submit Proposal

For Technical Support with this webpage, please contact support

Exhibit questions please contact: Lysa Byous
Education Program and Speaker questions please contact: pwxspeakerinfo@apwa.net