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Snow Conference coming to Quebec City

Public works professionals who have known the chaos caused by a heavy snowstorm, freezing rain or frost on a bridge will benefit from the ideas tossed out at the 43rd Annual North American Snow Conference. The premier event for snow and ice management will take place April 27-30, 2003, at the Quebec Convention Centre in Quebec City, Quebec.

The North American Snow Conference is sponsored by the American Public Works Association (APWA) and hosted by APWA's Quebec Chapter, with support from the other Region I chapters (Atlantic Provinces, Maine, New England and Newfoundland). The conference will bring together more than 1,000 participants to learn about the latest innovations, successful practices and strategies in winter operations and snowfighting techniques.

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The Quebec Chapter is proud to be hosting this year's conference in Quebec City, a great city with much to offer conference attendees. Quebec City is the capital of the province of Quebec and is a delightful blend of historic old-world charm combined with all of the conveniences of a modern city. On a bluff, overlooking the St. Lawrence River, the Hotel Chateau Frontenac, with its impressive spires and turrets, sits adjacent to the Plains of Abraham, where important battles between the French and the British were fought. Additional attractions include the Old Fort, along with the cobbled streets of Old Quebec City with its quaint shops, corner bistros and art vendors in the market squares. “It's beautiful, historic and charming,” says Brenda Shaver, APWA manager of meetings. “It's very much like a European city, and a great site for the Snow Conference.”

General Sessions feature professional keynote speakers. Cary Mullen from Calgary, Alberta, will present “The Champion Within” at the Opening General Session on Sunday, April 27. Mullen currently holds the Downhill Speed Record for skiing 97 miles per hour down the world's most revered mountain, the Hahnenkamm in Kitzbuhel, Austria. In Aspen, Colorado, Mullen reached the pinnacle of ski racing by claiming the title to the World Cup Championship. His greatest challenge was off the slopes where he fought to regain his health after three near-fatal crashes. Mullen's setbacks, his drive and his goal orientation all make for a compelling story.

The General Session on Monday, April 28, will be presented in the “talk show” format that was so popular last year at the Snow Conference in Columbus, Ohio. “Maintaining Service Levels With a Limited Budget — Let's Talk It Out” will focus on the fact that our communities are growing and that public and elected officials are expecting public works professionals to deliver the same level of service (or better), but to do so with less money, staff and equipment. In this “talk show” session, a panel of public works and winter operations leaders will provide the lowdown on how they are meeting this challenge. The session will provide the attendees plenty of opportunities to participate in this interactive, question-and-answer format.

“If I'd Known It Was Going to Be Like This, I'd Have Taken Better Care of Myself!” is the topic of the Closing General Session on Tuesday, April 29, presented by keynote speaker Murray Banks. Banks is a consummate presenter who provides listeners with entertaining and informative speeches on lifestyle and its impact on performance. Our well-being and balance affect our creative thinking, problem-solving abilities and interactions with customers and co-workers — not to mention our productivity. Healthy, positive people have the stamina and focus to stick with challenging tasks, work long hours and deal with stress.

More than 30 concurrent educational sessions will be presented at the conference, with titles ranging from “Battling Snow With RWIS and a Forecast” to “Using Salt Brine in Winter Operations.” Each year, the roundtable discussion groups are also very popular and provide an invaluable forum for networking and exchanging ideas with colleagues from around the country.

Translation services will be provided during the North American Snow Conference. All of the General Sessions will be translated from English to French for our French-speaking attendees, and at least one education session in every time block will also be translated.

In addition to the educational program offerings, the exhibit floor offers a unique learning experience. More than 120 companies will participate, demonstrating the very latest products, services, and technologies available in snowfighting and winter road maintenance. Plenty of non-compete exhibit time, when no educational sessions are scheduled, provides ample time to see what's new, participate in hands-on demonstrations and network with manufacturers, distributors, and other snowfighters on the exhibit floor.

On Wednesday, April 30, a technical tour will take attendees to the Henri-Bourassa artificial glacier, Quebec City's most-used snow disposal site, with 1.5 million cubic yards of snow dumped on the site during an average winter. Tour participants will learn the techniques used to manage the snow and maximize the capacity of the site, and how the water from the melting snow is clarified from pollutants before going into the river. Following the snow dump site, the technical tour will visit one of Quebec City's public works operations facilities, where participants will be able to see the variety of winter equipment used by the city. There is no additional cost to participate in this year's technical tour, as the tour is included as a part of the Snow Conference educational program.

Anyone responsible for snow removal and ice control would benefit from attending the 2003 North American Snow Conference. Register on-line at www.apwa.net. For more information or to receive a copy of the complete preview program, contact APWA at 1-800-848-APWA or at snow@apwa.net.

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