APWA PWX 2019 Call for Presentations

September 8-11, 2019 | Seattle, WA
Theme: It Starts Here!

Deadline: October 22, 2018 (There will be no extensions to this deadline)

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

The American Public Works Association provides education, advocacy, and solutions for public works and infrastructure professionals world-wide. More than 5000 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

Important FYI

After clicking on the Submit Proposal Button, you will be prompted to login or create an account. This login is for abstract submission only and is not related to any other APWA account login you may have. If you have already submitted a proposal to either the 2019 Snow Conference or PWX, you may use the same login information. If this is your first submission for 2019, please click on the “Need to create an account?” hyperlink on the bottom of the login page. For username, use the email address to which you want all correspondence sent. Be sure to make note of the password you choose.

PWX 2019 Theme: It Starts Here!

What start’s here? Building strong and healthy communities starts with public works. The key components for business growth and innovation begin with leading-edge, sustainable, and resilient infrastructure and public works services. Quality of life is based on access to:

  • clean drinking water, wastewater treatment, stormwater/flood control
  • all forms of mobility (safe roadways and bridges, efficient transit, walkable and bikeable pathways)
  • parks and green spaces, a healthy urban forest canopy
  • first in and last to leave emergency preparedness, response, and cleanup
  • public buildings, facilities, and gathering spaces
  • solid waste collection and management

What starts here? It all starts here! Share Your Knowledge, Experience and Vision for the Future!

The education program at PWX provides a dynamic forum for information exchange, problem-solving, and collaboration. The speakers are public works professionals, just like you, who are eager to help their public works colleagues more successfully lead their organizations, manage operations, take advantage of emerging technologies, understand and prepare for the challenges that lie ahead; and provide better service to their communities.

What Do APWA Members want to learn about?

Primary Education Tracks: APWA members were recently surveyed about what topics they would expect to be included in a must-attend, solutions-oriented, trailblazing PWX. For each of the public works functions listed in the attached document, the top survey responses are listed. While you may submit a proposal regarding any operational facet of the primary public works functions, the selection committee will give consideration to whether a proposal addresses any of the top issues, technologies, or future trends identified in the survey. 

Also, please note that the APWA Water Resources Management Committee has selected themes for each day of the 2019 Public Works Stormwater Summit. The themes and proposal topics they are looking for are included in the Primary Education Tracks document.

Please review the attached Primary Education Tracks document before you submit your proposal. 

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


  • Leveraging asset management into daily public works operations, dealing with siloed operations / departments, determining what to measure and how to use the data, getting buy-in from officials and staff.
  • 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; solutions for small cities

Future Trends:

  • Asset management in the Internet of Things (IoT) era
  • Less field work and more desktop recon
  • Smart cities, smart assets

Engineering, Construction / Project Management

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
  • Project management software


  • Innovative budgeting and funding solutions for capital improvement programs (CIP)
  • 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

Facilities Management

Technology uses and trends:

  • Energy efficiency: renewable energy production in buildings, distributed heat and power, solar, heat pumps, etc., smart meters to measure energy use, water conservation
  • Computer Aided Facility Management (CAFM); Computerized Maintenance Management Systems (CMMS)
  • Drones related to facilities and grounds inspections


  • Building security: risk assessments, workplace violence
  • Developing a municipal facility maintenance plan (maintenance, repair
  • Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) solutions

Future Trends:

  • Augmented reality for building management
  • Self-powered and smart buildings
  • Building security advancements, i.e. proximity door locks
  • Sharing economy – maximum use of facilities

Fleet Services Management

Technology uses and trends:

  • Fleet management software
  • On-board GPS, cameras for route optimization
  • Fuel station software
  • Fleet Management of autonomous and connected vehicles
  • Electric vehicles (EVs) and charging stations


  • Workforce solutions: technician recruitment and retention, performance measures for fleet professionals, essential skills and knowledge for new fleet managers
  • Fleet as part of the emergency response team
  • Managing fleet budgets, internal services fund approach, lease/purchase pros and cons
  • Performance measures for fleet professionals
  • Guidelines for ethical fleet management

Future Trends:

  • Car sharing vs. owning fleet
  • Biometric logins
  • Driverless truck technology
  • New fuel requirements

Grounds, Parks, and Urban Forestry Management

Technology uses and trends:

  • Tree inventory technologies: GPS systems, drones for canopy management
  • Internet of Things (IoT) relating parks and grounds management
  • Computerized Maintenance Management Systems (CMMS)


  • Impacts of climate change, extreme weather, long-term droughts
  • Urban Forestry Plans: forestry practices and standards for maintenance
  • Utilities issues: canopy issues and underground utilities, tree trimming and above-ground utilities, tree species that can be planted near utilities
  • Emerald Ash Borer (EAB): strategies for obtaining funding for dealing with EAB; how are different agencies dealing with EAB?
  • Green infrastructure solutions for stormwater management
  • Trail construction and management

Future Trends:

  • Advances in solar lighting options
  • Changing public perception of parks/urban forestry in times of climate change and drought
  • Offering corporate sponsorships and naming opportunities for parks projects

Solid Waste Management

Technology uses and trends:

  • Advanced software for route planning, GPS routing systems, mobile apps for tracking in real-time
  • Landfill technologies: bioreactors, emission measurement using drones, bio-covers, waste to energy technologies


  • Diminishing markets for recyclables: impact of tariffs and China’s ban on contaminated recyclables, what are cities doing with their recyclables?
  • Circular economy strategies
  • Composting – food waste
  • Environmental and regulatory issues related to Class A Biosolids near waterways
  • Leaf pick-up programs
  • Managing solid waste contracts
  • Future Trends
  • Bans on plastics – establishing public policy.
  • Technologies for removing plastics from oceans, converting plastics to oil, etc.
  • Internet of Things (IoT) impact on collection and management
  • Mining and reclamation in old landfills

Sustainability / Resiliency

Technology uses and trends:

  • Electrification of fleets
  • Localized climate modeling to inform infrastructure decisions
  • One Water framework for sustainable water systems
  • GIS-based asset management
  • V2X connected vehicle technology
  • Triple bottom line software
  • Building for deconstruction
  • Using sewer flow for epidemiological studies
  • Advanced battery storage solutions


  • Incorporating social equity into decision-making
  • Climate mitigation / Making climate change matter: Changing decision-making to reduce impacts
  • Impact of workforce diversity in building more sustainable solutions
  • Green Infrastructure (GI) / How do cities plan for resilient infrastructure
  • Drinking water access
  • Reapportioning the Right-of-Way (ROW) to improve transportation choice and livability
  • Sea level rise
  • Envision –
  • Shift in thinking for materials creation and use

Future Trends

  • Use of “Green Bonds” for infrastructure
  • Using the Internet of Things - real-time data for decision-making
  • Regulation of Autonomous Vehicles (AVs) to reach city livability goals
  • Building community resilience
  • Building learning communities (how do we educate our community members to reach more informed outcomes?)
  • Use of green chemistry in public works
  • Civic Engagement in housing / citizens boards for community decision-making
  • Livability Camps for short-term housing
  • Public Works Departments creating “circular economy”
  • Increased gentrification

Transportation: Streets/Roads/Bridges, Traffic Engineering, Active Transportation (Bicycle/Pedestrian Infrastructure), Transit

Technology uses and trends:

  • Autonomous/Connected Vehicles
  • Intelligent transportation systems
  • Next generation GPS, LiDAR
  • Smart cities


  • Innovative funding options for transportation projects: options to replace gas taxes, public/private partnerships, economic development programs, transportation corporations, revolving funds, TIFIA, federal funding, project streamlining
  • Infrastructure readiness for connected and autonomous vehicles
  • Infrastructure for bikeable/walkable communities
  • Need for low cost, but highly durable materials -streets/roads/bridges
  • Transportation and transit equality – providing facilities for all users
  • Snow and ice control methods and technologies, winter maintenance

Future Trends:

  • Autonomous/connected vehicles will change the face of infrastructure and how people live
  • How will a mostly electric vehicle (EV) fleet change American infrastructure?
  • More bicycles, e-bikes, e-scooters, hover boards
  • Will driverless vehicles impact mass transit?
  • Traffic engineering for low flying vehicles, delivery drones
  • Solar roads, bike paths, sidewalks – are they feasible?

Transportation: Winter Maintenance, Snow and Ice Control

  • Snow and ice control methods and technologies
  • Emergency management in severe winter events
  • GPS/AVL uses
  • Chemical usage and selection

Utilities / Public Right-of-Way Management

Technology uses and trends:

  • Subsurface Utility Engineering (SUE), drones for mapping SUE, ground penetrating radar
  • AMI (advanced metering infrastructure) and IoT (Internet of Things) for data gathering, measurement
  • Trenchless technologies


  • Legislative proposals that preempt local zoning regulations allowing 5G “small cell” installation in the public right-of-way or on public facilities
  • Cost of replacing or upgrading aging infrastructure
  • Dig Once Policies – multiple telecommunication companies accessing ROW at different times
  • Negotiating with private utilities when replacing municipal bridges that host utilities

Future Trends:

  • Changes in the role of utility coordinators.
  • Internet of Things (IoT) impact on collection and management

Water Resources: Stormwater

APWA’s Water Resources Management Committee will select presentations for the Public Works Stormwater Summit portion of PWX 2019. The Public Works Stormwater Summit occurs on Monday and Tuesday of PWX 2:00-5:00 p.m. each day. The committee has selected its themes for 2019 and is looking for proposals on the topics listed below.

What Kind of Presentation Can I Create?

Presentation Formats: Please click here to view the accepted formats for PWX 2019

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 of the accept/decline status of their proposal by the end of March 2019.

How do I apply?

Attention: This is very important!

Please compose and save your abstract title, description, and learning objectives in a Word document first. Then you may cut and paste them into the online submission form. This form does not save any of the information until the full form is completed and you click on submit.

Submitting your proposal is easy! You must use the official abstract submission button found on the bottom of the page after following the directions listed above.

Important FYI: Abstract Account

Please read this before clicking the Submit Abstract Button.

After clicking on the Submit Abstract Button, you will be prompted to create an account for Abstract Submission. This login is for abstract submission only and is not related to any other APWA account login you may have. All correspondence to you about this submission will be to the email address you list when you set up this account.

If you are submitting more than one abstract proposal for the 2018 Public Works Expo (PWX), you may use the same login account to submit all of your NASC proposals. If you plan to submit abstracts to both PWX and NASC this year, you can have the same passwords and login account.


Email us at cfpquestions@apwa.net.

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