of Transportation Workforce Development and Technology Deployment
|10th Edition 2023
The Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) Local Aid Support team has rolled into the New Year in overdrive. We begin with re-establishment of the Tribal Technical Assistance Program (TTAP). Over the past several weeks, we hosted a series of kickoff meetings with six of the seven centers. During these meetings we introduced the Local Aid Support team among other FHWA offices that are ready to assist Tribal Transportation programs. We look forward to a very productive year providing training and technical assistance in the seven TTAP regions. We are currently accepting applications for a host site for the Eastern TTAP Center. The close date for the NOFO is February 6, 2023.
The Local Aid Support team recently met with the Local Technical Assistance Program (LTAP) Center Directors to discuss successes over the past year and goals for this year. In 2022, the LTAPs have hosted well over 4200 training sessions for local government and Tribal agencies in all 51 states. The work continues in 2023 to develop the transportation workforce and encourage the use of innovative solutions.
Speaking of innovation, the FHWA is using mobile application technology to assist transportation professionals working in road construction and maintenance with the use of geosynthetic materials. If you are a front line worker or roadway designer, we encourage you to download the app to learn how geosynthetic materials can help extend the life of pavement, mitigate erosion and other benefits.
And finally, we enjoyed reconnecting with and meeting new transportation professionals and students during the Transportation Research Board Annual Conference. We have lots of stories to share in this edition of the newsletter. If you have story ideas or need additional information, feel free to reach out to us at CLAS@dot.gov or visit https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/clas/.
Director, FHWA Local Aid Support
Download Build a Better Mousetrap 2022 Booklet
Each year, the FHWA Local Aid Support team recognizes and celebrates local government and tribal agencies who pioneer innovations that improve transportation performance through the Build a Better Mousetrap program. In 2022, FHWA received 67 nominations across all four categories. We have them for you in the 2022 Build a Better Mousetrap Booklet. It's available online at https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/clas/pdfs/2022_mousetrap_entries_booklet.pdf. In this publication, you will see innovative solutions at the local government levels from all over the country. Feel free to reach out to any of those agencies if you are interested in learning more and possibly incorporating the innovation into your programs. Watch the Build a Better Mousetrap showcase video to see some of the entries from 2022: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=32UTeKoLHXI
This is disseminated under the sponsorship of the U.S. Department of Transportation in the interest of information exchange. The U.S. Government assumes no liability for the use of the information. The U.S. Government does not endorse products or manufacturers. Trademarks or manufacturers’ names appear in this report only because they are considered essential to the objective of the information provided.
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Recently the FHWA signed cooperative agreements re-establishing regional Tribal Technical Assistance Program (TTAP) Centers. The Centers will assist Tribal communities as they see to access $3 billion in Tribal Transportation program funding made available through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law or BIL, as well as other funding opportunities. The TTAP Centers are in 7 regions: Southern, Southwestern, Northern, Western, Northwestern and Alaska. The Eastern region has not yet been awarded. FHWA is currently taking applications to award the 7th Center. The NOFO is available at www.grants.gov.
Get to Know Dale Heglund: Director of the Northern TTAP Center
Dale Heglund - Northern TTAP Center Director. Photo credit: FHWA
Introducing Dale Heglund, the Northern TTAP Center Director. Dale’s background is in civil engineering and has a passion for taking his knowledge at the fundamental level and applying it to help the tribal local roadway network. Dale is especially proud to be a part of a team that shares the same passion and desire to create a successful TTAP program. Working alongside Dale is Ron Hall, tribal transportation program manager. Ron comes from a family who have all served local tribes by working on transportation on tribal land. Both Dale and Ron, are looking forward to becoming a resource to all 28 tribal nations in their region and help create a better tribal transportation system.
The first step the TTAP program is planning to take is listening to the tribes and identifying their tribal goals and needs. From listening to the tribes, they can create a program that is tribal driven and centered around their specific needs. Dale wants to create face-to-face relationships to be a resource to the tribes, where they can feel comfortable asking and then receiving help. From technical support, operations and planning, the center wants to bring the tribal transportation systems to its full potential.
To ensure success of the TTAP center, Dale believes leveraging partnerships is the foundational element. The center plans to leverage existing partnerships with Local Technical Assistance Program (LTAP), Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and other federal programs as well as the community that surrounds them. With leveraging these partnerships, Dale believes the center has the perfect storm of need, talent, sharing and passion to meet their ultimate end goal, helping the tribes fully understand and navigate the transportation industry.
Ron Hall - Co-Director, Northern TTAP Center. Photo credit: FHWA
Get to Know Raquelle Myers: Director of the Western TTAP Center
Raquelle Myers - Western TTAP Center Director. Photo credit: FHWA
Introducing Raquelle Myers, Director of the Western TTAP Center and the Executive Director of the National Indian Justice Center (NIJC). Raquelle has an incredible background serving tribes dating back to 1983 when her father created the NIJC. Throughout her career, Raquelle has worked closely with her father at the NIJC to create training programs and technical assistance programs for tribes across the country. Raquelle was first introduced to TTAP during a conference, where she served as a panel member. During the conference, a conflict arose, and she was able to use her knowledge and tribal background to resolve the issue firsthand. Raquelle wants to develop the TTAP program to its full potential by delivering training and technical assistance programs that support tribes during the delivery of transportation services.
Raquelle believes the key to a successful center is outreach and developing working relationships with tribal transportation agencies. Since the center was recently reestablished with an expanded region, the center plans to reach out to each state and key tribal leaders to facilitate communication between the Center and the tribes. A needs assessment tool will soon be delivered to support tribes in their activities and help shape the TTAP program to be relevant to their needs. A new website structure is also being created to provide easy access to training schedules and a searchable training resource database. Through these efforts, Raquelle is committed to getting the western TTAP Center back to supporting the local tribal networks.
Get to Know Gary Snyder: Director of the Southern TTAP Center
Southern TTAP Center Team. Photo credit: FHWA
Introducing Gary Snyder, Director of the Southern TTAP Center and the Center of Local Government Technology, working out of the Engineering Department in Oklahoma State University. Gary was first introduced to TTAP many years ago during the early days of the program and has a vision to continue to create a positive impact on tribal transportation, like he once saw. Before becoming director in 2018, Gary served for many years as the trainer for the county assessors’ program in Perry, Oklahoma. Now, he has oversight of 7 different programs, including the new TTAP program. Working alongside Gary is Kim Johnson, Co-Director of the TTAP and LTAP programs. Kim has a has an abundance of knowledge as she has many years of experience being involved with the LTAP and TTAP programs. Gary and Kim are excited to be awarded southern TTAP region to begin making a difference in tribal transportation systems.
The center plans to immediately hit the ground running, creating and mending relations with the tribes in the Southern Planes Region. The Center plans to leverage their great outstanding relations with the Local Technical Assistance Program (LTAP). The first step towards this success is formal needs assessments then developing a program that fits the tribes needs. The center wants the tribes to know they are there for all their needs, not just for training but for technical assistance as well. From help writing a grant to help fixing potholes, the center wants to become a resource to all the tribes in their region.
A successful TTAP program to Gary includes two-way communication with all 40 tribal members in the surrounding three states. They want the tribes to feel comfortable reaching out to them about their needs. To help facilitate the two-way communication, the center plans to utilize their marketing team to communicate TTAP Center offerings through email blasts, pamphlets, and one pagers. The center also plans to utilize their large training rooms to incorporate a blended training program, offering training in person or accessible on zoom. No matter the need, the team feels confident they have the tools and capabilities to solve the issue and improve the tribal roadway systems.
Kim Johnson - Southern TTAP Center Co-Director. Photo credit: Kim Johnson.
Get to Know Yinhai Wang: Director of the Northwestern TTAP Center
Yinhai Wang - Northwestern TTAP Center Director. Photo credit: FHWA.
Introducing Yinhai Wang, the Director of the Northwestern TTAP Center and a professor at the University of Washington. As a professor in civil and environmental engineering, over the past years Yinhai has been researching transportation safety issues and using new technologies, like information technology, to address them. He was first introduced to TTAP in 2017 after reading a report and discovered the Native American Fatality rate was five times the national average. From there, his passion to improve safety within tribal transportation was born.
With the reestablishment of the Northwestern TTAP center, the first step Yinhai plans to take is listening to the tribes and building trust. Advancing existing tribal relations and developing new ones is a top priority. To do this, the Center plans to visit each tribe in person and then complete formal needs assessments to better understand the issues. The Center also plans to utilize the universities outstanding research and training programs. By developing the trust between the tribes and the center, they can understand their issues better and will be able to develop plans and solutions for each individual tribe. Yinhai is eager to begin transforming their tribal transportation and wants the tribal community to know that the TTAP Center is waiting to help them.
The success of the TTAP program will be identifying the transportation issues and providing the necessary resources and training to fix them. Using the Center to connect to researchers and industry solution providers, Yinhai is confident that the Center can find the best solution for tribes to see the change in both safety and mobility.
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|Build a Better Mousetrap: Cold Mix Placer Makes Road Maintenance Efficient
Jones County, Iowa
|Photo Credit: Jones County, IA
In Jones County Iowa, basic road maintenance such as filling holes or fixing pavement cracks was a daunting task for their staff. The County either used large dump trucks to push cold mix asphalt onto the roadway for repairs or the staff had to physically shovel the mix out of the back of a pickup truck. Using a dump truck was not desirable as it was difficult to place the asphalt exactly where it needs to be causing materials to waste and the road maintenance project required multiple staff members to complete the task.
Using locally purchased materials and equipment, the team created a Cold Mix Placer which is an automated unit attached to a pickup truck containing the asphalt material. The Cold Mix Placer unit unloads the asphalt onto a more precise location along the roadway needing repair. The Placer can be quickly loaded and unloaded with a skid or wheel loader and holds up to 2,000 pounds of cold mix asphalt. The innovation has resulted in quicker maintenance, less material wasted, and less staff required, which means improved commutes for drivers.
Todd Postel, Assistant to the County Engineer says the biggest cost for this unit was the hydraulic pump assembly including the small gas engine ($3500) with other material costs at $2,000. Developing the innovation required the work of two fabricators for a total of 25 hours ($1750 in labor cost). “We were not at all surprised that this innovation worked well, the previous methods that were used to fill holes and cracks were time consuming and labor intensive,” says Todd. He also says that there are always challenges in creating something you have not done before, “but our team worked through these hurdles simply by trial and error and refining.”
Todd’s advice to other agencies when it comes to using innovation is that “Innovation is a mindset of creativity and uncertainty that not everyone has or is unwilling to embrace, our engineering department has always fostered the idea that there is usually a way to improve a process or make something better and we are very proud of our achievements here.”
Contact: Todd Postel, Jones County Secondary Roads (IA) 319-462-3785 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Build a Better Mousetrap Bold Steps: Protocols for Continuation of Essential Services During Pandemic
Photo credit: Simsbury, CT
Like many affected by COVID-19, the public works employees of Simsbury, CT were no exception. During winter seasons the crews must be readily available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for snow removal and anti-icing treatments, which are critical for emergency services. If an employee had an exposure to covid, they were placed under a 14-day quarantine and unable to work. This caused large gaps in staff availability and staff hesitation to report their exposure. According to the town’s Engineer, Thomas Roy, P.E., “Our biggest challenge early in the pandemic was the two-week quarantine. We were short staff as a result of drivers being unavailable due to quarantine more so, than actual Covid cases. This led to our ‘quarantine in the trucks’ procedure for drivers on quarantine without symptoms.”
With the vision to keep staff and their community safe through their work, the department staff created a separate space for each employee. Working with the municipal risk management staff, area public health district personnel and the employee union, they devised a plan that would meet all requirements of the CDC. They created physical space that allowed staff access to their plow truck, restroom, food and sleeping quarters without interacting with other staff. Tents were purchased for $55 and set up in a separate garage bay, which allowed proper distance between staff and allowed an area where it was safe to unmask.
The plan was so successful in creating a safe environment for crew and keeping them local and available that the department has requested to keep the plan in place permanently. Tom says, “At the time we were implementing these procedures, it was hard to understand what we were really facing – no one had ever been in a pandemic before and like so many Public Works organizations, we were doing everything we could to keep our cities and Towns running. My biggest surprise was how supportive our local Health District was. They recognized Public Works drivers as first responders and were willing to support our unusual Covid protocols in the interest of keeping our plow drivers working.”
The greatest benefit of this pandemic plan was that the department was able to continue their same level of service during winter storms. “We are very proud of the work we did to keep our crews operational during the pandemic and the recognition is appreciated,” says Tom. He wants to acknowledge the pier organizations that stepped up during some extremely challenging and difficult times. Tom’s advice to other organizations on innovation, “Our organization is efficient and effective because we have leadership and staff that truly believe in the importance of the work we do. When we are faced with a challenge, we find ourselves forced to innovate and carry the attitude of refusing to fail.”
Contact: Tom Roy, PE, Town of Simsbury (CT), 860-658-3222 or email@example.com
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NEW and Ready for Download
The FHWA Geosynthetics Field Installation Notes Tracker mobile application. This is a one-stop resource for using geosynthetic materials to improve road construction and maintenance programs. Available via Google Play Store and Apple Store. Enjoy lots of key features for note-taking, bookmarking, printing, key terms, glossary, introductory tour of the app and much more!
See mobile app features on FHWA's YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sVQ2UhX-WnA
Visit FHWA Local Aid Support website for more information: https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/clas/geosynthetics/
|NEWS & HAPPENINGS
Delaware DOT: e-Ticketing goes live with all hot-mix projects 2022!
Delaware DOT (DelDOT) began their journey to adopt e-Ticketing in 2016. The journey began by understanding the needs of DelDOT, vendors, trucking firms, and contractors. Over the next five years they met and discussed each other’s needs and considered different tools that are available to advance e-Ticketing. In the summer of 2021, DelDOT piloted a few projects, with lessons learned for improvement and success.
To assist in the deployment of e-Ticketing, training modules about Finding Your Project and Tickets, Marking a Ticket Delivered, Marking a Ticket Rejected, and Documenting a Ticket without an Internet Connection were developed and made available. These training modules are located within DelDOT’s Construction Manual, under Part F – e-Construction.
e-Ticketing officially went live for DelDOT on all new projects in late Spring of 2022. Despite a delayed roll out for some paving contracts, many voluntarily opted-in to the e-Ticketing Specification. DelDOT experienced some learning opportunities in the initial roll-out for test/calibration tickets. The largest was ensuring that information was being mapped to the correct category within the software application. During this situation, the clear lines of communication between the field and the e-Ticket administrator promptly corrected the software mapping issue.
DelDOT has experienced great acceptance of the new e-Ticketing process by Inspector. So much, that the Inspectors are asking for additional integrations of collected field data that directly populates DelDOT’s electronic systems. DelDOT is moving to accommodate those requested integrations by completing a connection between its e-Ticket platform and its e-Construction platform which will reduce user input required for payment to a handful of mouse clicks. Not only will this be quicker, but it will also improve accuracy by reducing the opportunity for human error in transferring values between paper to computer.
DelDOT sees e-Ticketing as an opportunity to improve staff safety, increase information access throughout the chain of command, and reduce their administrative and paperwork burden. In addition, DelDOT is considering the expansion of data associated with e-Ticketing to include location of materials place, integrated live data stream from paver, and coordinated sharing of data with law enforcement for size and weight enforcement.
If you would like to learn about DelDOT’s accelerated deployment of e-Ticketing, please contact Mr. Craig Blowers, P.E., DelDOT Construction Resource Engineer. If you would like to learn more about or participate in FHWA efforts in deploying e-Ticketing please contact Ms. Kathryn Weisner, P.E., Construction and Contracts Administration Engineer.
FoRRRwD Peer Exchange for Local Agencies
Photo credit: FHWA
Every year, nearly 12,000 people die in crashes when their car leaves its travel lane on a rural road. To address the issue, the FHWA is hosting a series of Peer Exchanges with States and Local Agencies. During the peer exchanges participants are sharing best practices, assessing risks, discussing potential solutions, exploring resources and making recommendations. The Peer Exchanges provide a collaborative forum for solving problems to increase roadway safety in rural areas. The FHWA Resource Center on Safety is leading this effort. The last peer exchange was well attended in Omaha, Nebraska with a another planned for April 5 and 6 in New Orleans. The states planning to participate include Iowa, Louisiana, Montana, New York, New Hampshire, and North Carolina. Anyone interested in participating can reach out to FHWA’s Dick Albin at firstname.lastname@example.org or 303-550-8804.
FHWA Local Aid Support Debuts New Online Training
The FHWA Local Aid Support team continues to expand its catalog of online training resources available at no cost to local government and Tribal transportation professionals. The new Motor Grader Operator training course is ready to access via the Local Aid Support website. The 6-part course covers the basic safety, operation, and functionality of motor grader equipment for the purposes of constructing, maintaining, and rehabilitating unpaved, gravel roads. Professional Development credits are available on a state-by-state basis.
Sign up for the course here: https://bit.ly/LAS_MotorGrader
Visit our website to see other training available at no cost to local agencies and Tribes.
TTAP Center Expresses Gratitude to FHWA
|Caption: Northern TTAP expresses gratitude for the relationship between FHWA and the TTAP. Courtesy: FHWA
Recently during the Northern Region TTAP Kickoff Meeting, the FHWA Local Aid Support Team received a wonderful surprise. The TTAP Center Staff presented the FHWA with a carved feather with an eagle’s head. It was accompanied by a thoughtful note that was written on birch bark that read, “Wisconsin White Pine- Feather with eagle spirit: Strength, Leadership, and Vision; symbol of your TTAP role. Soar with the eagle.”
This practice of gift giving has unique significance in the Native American culture as a gesture of relationship bonding such as establishing a new relationship, maintaining an existing one or even re-establishing a disrupted relationship. The FHWA welcomes our renewed connections with the Tribes through re-establishment of the Tribal Technical Assistance Program (TTAP) Centers.
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|New online course: Communicating with the Public for Field Staff
|Photo: MN LTAP Website
Minnesota LTAP has developed a new online course: Communicating with the Public for Field Staff. The free course provides an introduction and best practices for public agency field staff interacting with public stakeholders in a variety of contexts.
Public agency field staff may have straightforward information exchanges to more complex interactions that require additional research and follow-up. The course addresses proper conduct when approached for media inquiries, off-duty communications, and a subset of public interactions that involve residents and property owners who are concerned, agitated, or potentially aggressive. The course emphasizes staff responsibilities, behavior, safety, and wellbeing.
The six-module course covers the following topics:
- Introduction to representing a public agency
- Common scenarios
- Field interactions: simple inquiries
- Field interactions: complex situations
- Avoiding physical confrontation
- Conclusion and key takeaways
The intended course audience is public agency staff, including permanent, seasonal, and temporary maintenance personnel, technicians, and utility staff.
Students will earn 0.5 credit in MnLTAP’s Roads Scholar Program Maintenance Certificate and 1.0 credit in the Civil Engineering Tech Level I Certificate.
|Tribal Road Scholars Announced by Oklahoma State University LTAP
|Source: OK State LTAP
Congratulations to recipients of the Tribal Road Scholars Awards. The Roads Scholar Program is an educational certification series offered to transportation county, city and Tribal government elected officials and their employees. The program presents basic engineering courses on planning, maintaining, and constructing roads and bridges at the local and Tribal government level. The Road Scholars series consist of eight courses or 112 hours of instruction and laboratory experience. Those who complete the course are considered “Road Scholars” and receive a certificate of completion. The Tribal Road Scholar recipients from Oklahoma State University LTAP are:
- Raini HowlingWater - Administrative Assistant for the Roads Program
- Joe Navanick – Road Foreman/Field Supervisor
- Christopher Sindone – Roads Program Director
The FHWA Local Aid Support team congratulates everyone who completes this very engaging and informative program. Anyone interested in participating can reach out to their State LTAP Center for more information. Visit: https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/clas/ltap/
Courtesy: OK State LTAP
|FHWA and National Local and Tribal Technical Assistance Program Association (NLTAPA) Executive Committee Meet
|Caption: FHWA and NLTAPA Executive Committee meet several times throughout the year to discuss best practices and strategies for improving LTAP Centers' service to the local government and Tribal agencies. Source: FHWA
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Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) Competitive Grant Programs:
|About Local Aid Support Team
|Continuing to Serve…
Hans Anker, Innovation Program Manager
Hans Anker graduated from the United States Air Force Academy and served on active duty for 8 years as an Air Force Civil Engineer. He continues to serve today (22 years and counting) in a part-time capacity as a Colonel in the Maryland Air National Guard. He lives near Albany, NY with his wife and two kids.
Hans started with the Department of Transportation in the FAA Denver Airports District Office, where he spent 5 years as an engineer/environmental specialist overseeing airport projects and environmental NEPA reviews for Utah, Colorado, and Wyoming. Then he transferred to the FHWA New York Division where he served for 8 years as a Senior Area Engineer in the New York Division delivering Federal Aid Projects in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Bronx, and Queens, Rochester, and Buffalo. For the past 2 years he has been in his current role with the Center for Local Aid Support coordinating nation-wide local technical assistance, the Innovation Exchange, and LTAP program development. Hans is a registered Professional Engineer and has earned Masters Degrees in Civil Engineering and Business Management/Administration.
Hans is passionate about helping local agencies effectively deliver infrastructure projects that improve safety, connectivity, and provide economic benefit for their communities. In his spare time, he fixes things around the house and enjoys reading, brewing beer, exercising, skiing, hiking, and camping.
Welcome back to the Local Aid Support Team! email@example.com
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|The Road to Success - Available Online Training
The FHWA Center for Local Aid Support sponsors 24/7 access to hundreds of ‘need to know’ transportation topics for local and tribal agencies at no cost. Please use your government email to register for courses. If you have questions, please contact us at CLAS@dot.gov.
National Highway Institute
Over 180 web-based courses available
Over 190 web-based courses
Institute of Transportation Engineers
15 online modules for smaller jurisdictions
Federal Aid Essentials
Online library of 112 informational videos
FHWA’s bi-monthly webinars on innovative market-ready technology
Check with your local LTAP Center for available online training
Center for Local Aid Support
A series of training modules available through FHWA CLAS Learning Management System
|Additional FHWA Training
2/1 @ 1:00 – 3:00 pm ET - FHWA Contracting Alternatives Suitability Evaluator (CASE) Virtual Workshop
2/9 @ 1:30 – 3:00 pm ET FHWA – Digital As-Builts Webinar #5 Field Verify Assets/Quantities and Archive Data
2/9 @ 1:00 - 3:00 pm ET - Value Capture Strategies as Economic Development Tools: Tapping Value Capture Strategies to Improve Aging Infrastructure and Spur Economic Development
2/22 @ 1:00pm - 3:00pm ET - Value Capture Strategies: Innovative Finance and Project Bundling
3/15 @ 1:00 - 3:00pm ET - Value Capture Strategies: Developer Impact Fees and Other Fee-Based Development Charges - The Primer
3/27 @ 3:30 – 4:30pm ET FHWA Digital As-Builts Forum, Colorado DOT, Mr. Rob Martindale, Utilities Program Manager
4/5 @ 1:00 - 3:00pm ET - Value Capture Strategies: Transportation Utility Fees/Road Maintenance Fees - The Primer
4/13 @ 1:30 – 3:00 pm ET – Digital As-Builts Webinar #6 Extract Digital As-Built Data to GIS/Asset Management
4/26 @ 1:00 - 3:00pm ET - Value Capture Strategies: Transportation Reinvestment Zones - The Primer
5/17 @ 1:00 - 3:00pm ET - Value Capture Incremental Growth Strategies: Tax Increment Finance, Tax Allocation Districts, and Tax Increment Reinvestment Zones
5/22 @ 3:30 – 4:30 pm ET - FHWA Digital As-Builts Forum, Texas DOT, Mr. Jacob Tambunga, Director of Digital Delivery
American Traffic Safety Services
Association (ATSSA) Annual Convention and Traffic Expo
February 17 - 21, 2023
American Public Works Association (APWA) North American Show Conference
April 16 -19, 2023
ITS America Annual Meeting
April 24-27, 2023
National LTAP/TTAP Annual Conference
July 17-20, 2023
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