Public Works Officers Institute

March 8-10, 2023

Universal City Hilton

555 Universal Hollywood Drive, Universal City, CA

Thank you for attending the 2023 Public Works Officers Institute in Universal City!

The institute took place Wednesday, March 8–Friday, March 10 where 400 California public works directors, plus others in the field, explored current topics and engaged in networking opportunities.

During the event, public works directors equip themselves with essential information and updates needed to effectively run their cities and counties, positioning their communities for success in the future. Previous topics include natural disaster planning, stormwater model programs, community outreach, and more.

Save the date for the next institute on March 13-15, 2024 at the Portola Hotel in Downtown Monterey, CA. 

For registration questions, please contact Registrar, Megan Dunn.

For sponsorship questions, please contact the Associate Manager, Event Sponsorship & Exposition Sales Amy Wade.

For additional questions, please contact the Associate Manager, Event Program Katie Pebler.

Please see our event and meeting policies.

2023 Institute Information


Full Registration Includes:

  • admission to all educational sessions  
  • admission to Wednesday reception, Thursday breakfast and lunch, Friday breakfast
  • access to all program materials 

Registration for the institute is SOLD OUT. We will not be accepting on-site registrations.

Conference Registration Fees 

Full Conference (Wednesday, March 8 - Friday, March 10)

Member City Officials and Staff                    $625

Non-Member City Officials and Staff         $1,500

All Others                                                      $750



Member City Officials and Staff                    $350

Non-Member City Officials and Staff         $1,350

All Others                                                      $475



Guest Reception Pass                                     $50

Expo Only                                                        $125 


*The guest/spouse fee is restricted to persons who are not city or public officials, are not related to any League Partner or sponsor, and would have no professional reason to attend the conference. It includes admission to the Wednesday reception only. There is no refund for the cancellation of a guest/spouse registration. It is not advisable to use city funds to register a guest/spouse.  


Refund Policy

Advance registrants unable to attend will receive a refund of rate paid, minus a $75 processing charge, only when a written request is submitted to Megan Dunn, and received on or before Tuesday, Feb. 28. Refunds will not be available after this date. If you are unable to attend, you may substitute a colleague for your entire registration. 

Hotel and Travel

The Public Works Officers Institute is held at the Universal City Hilton, 555 Universal Hollywood Drive, Universal City, CA.

A limited number of hotel rooms are available at a reduced rate for conference attendees. The discounted hotel rate cut-off for the Universal City Hilton is Tuesday, February 14, 2023.

STEP ONE: Register for the conference.

After your registration for the conference is received and processed, a confirmation email will be sent containing a link to the discounted hotel reservations page. 

STEP TWO: Book a hotel room.

Hotels are subject to sell out prior to the deadline. Reserve early!  

Group Hotel Rate (per night): $209 – Single/Double Occupancy (plus tax and fees) 

Hotel Changes or Cancellations 

Hotel reservation changes, date modifications, early check-out, or cancellations must be made directly through the hotel. Please note that after the discounted hotel rate cut-off date has passed, you may incur a financial penalty and minimum one-night room charge or attrition fees.  

PLEASE NOTE: The information you provide to Cal Cities when registering for a Cal Cities conference or meeting may be shared with the conference or meeting hotel(s). The hotel(s) will also share with Cal Cities the information you provide to the hotel(s) when you make your hotel reservation for the conference or meeting. The information shared between Cal Cities and the hotel(s) will be limited to your first name, last name, email, and dates/length of stay in the hotel. 

CAUTION! You must be registered for the conference prior to booking a hotel room. Do not make a hotel reservation unless you are sure it is needed. Your city/company will be financially responsible for all cancellation/attrition fees. If you are making hotel reservations for others, please confirm with each individual in advance, that they actually need hotel accommodations and intend to use them on the dates you are reserving. 

Parking and Transportation 

The Universal City Hilton is centrally located to Burbank, downtown Los Angeles and Hollywood with easy access to airports and freeways.  Plus, the entrance to Universal Studios Hollywood is within walking distance.

Discounted Self- Parking (per night): $20 (subject to availability)

Valet Parking (per night): $45 (subject to change)

In addition to on-site parking, several privately owned parking garages are also within walking distance of the hotel. (Parking rates vary by location and are subject to change without notice).

Nearby airports include:

Hollywood Burbank Airport/Bob Hope Airport:      6 miles

Los Angeles International Airport:                       27 miles

John Wayne Airport/Orange County:                  52 miles


*Schedule subject to change

View the 2023 Public Works Officers Institute program.

View the floor plan.

Wednesday, March 8

Cal Cities Registration Open


10:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.

Exhibit Hall Open (Wednesday only)

10:00 a.m.-6:30 p.m.

Lunch On Your Own

11:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m.

Opening General Session

1:00-2:30 p.m.

Cal Cities/CEAC President’s Welcome

Brian Balbas, President, County Engineers Association of California and Public Works Director/Chief Engineer, Contra Costa County

Benjamin A. Fine, P.E., President, Cal Cities Public Works Officers Department and Director of Public Works/City Engineer, Pismo Beach

Opening Keynote: Leading Change by Changing the Way We Lead

As a leader, you get better by change, not chance. The world of work has changed and continues to change. Blue-collar workers are more often recognized as the backbone of local government. What are the skills needed to lead this important group? How can managers create a purpose-filled vision that instills passion, drives performance, and produces collective success? 

Learn the skills and habits of 21st Century leaders by attending this session designed to make you laugh, learn, and leave with new mindsets and skill sets. You’ll also find out workplace cold hard facts, why managers fail to get better, and how to ignite your public works team members through engagement, encouragement, and empowerment. Lastly, you’ll understand how to develop your “positivity” reflex and utilize it in the future, long after the presentation. 

Ron Williams, Vice President of Personal Services Plus, LLC

Ron Williams, the “Leadership Whisperer,” is an internationally recognized speaker and trainer with more than forty years of experience in the public and private sectors. His insights on 21st-century leadership, employee engagement, and executive coaching make him one of the nation’s leading resources in understanding organizational and individual success and achievement. Ron has held many high-profile positions in his career, including as Chief of Staff for the District of Columbia’s Human Resources Department and General Manager of the Western Region for Nike. Ron created the Corporate Diversity department at Nike and was Nike’s Director of Training and Development. Ron has also worked with many federal government agencies helping them to develop programs to optimize their human capital. 

Visit with Exhibitors

2:30-2:45 p.m.

Concurrent Sessions

2:45-4:00 p.m.

Public Construction and Contracting Law Update for California

Discover the case studies, public project contractor negotiation, and best practices that can safeguard your community from disputed agreements and potential litigation. These disagreements often result from legislative and regulatory changes in California public construction and contracting law that impact cities and counties. 

Moderator and Speaker:
Deirdre Joan Cox, Partner, Burke, Williams & Sorensen, LLP

Maxwell Blum, Partner, Burke, Williams & Sorensen, LLP


Becoming Part of the Conversation: Increasing Public Works' Public Perception

Public works departments play a significant role in making everyday life as safe and convenient as possible for everyone. By helping the community understand our work, we can generate goodwill, gain compliance with new regulations, and keep the public safe. This panel discussion will focus on how research, planning, implementation, and evaluation can inform effective public education strategies when communicating major infrastructure projects, newly enacted state laws like SB 1383 (the organics mandate), and inspire calls to action related to natural disasters like floods, wildfires, and earthquakes.

Julie Hagen, Deputy Public Works Director, County of Santa Barbara

Maurice Chaney, Public Information Officer, Roseville
Lael Wageneck, Public Information Officer, Santa Barbara County Public Works

Visit with Exhibitors

4:00-4:15 p.m.

Concurrent Sessions

4:15-5:30 p.m. 

Public Input that Works: Strategies for Successful Community Engagement 

The public’s increasing desire to have their say about everything from road designs to rate structures, environmental programs and more has posed new challenges for public works professionals. Learn how to meet new expectations for community engagement without giving up control or compromising your technical expertise. This session will provide real-life case study examples of how to engage the right people at the right time on the right decisions, plus some painful lessons from public engagement gone terribly wrong. In the end, participants will leave feeling more empowered, confident, and prepared when asked to “engage the public.”

Moderator and Speaker:
Kristina Ray, Communication & Engagement Director, Carlsbad

Carmen Kasner, Southwest Operations Director, Ardurra

Effective Pavement Program Management for Cities and Counties

Agencies throughout California utilize pavement management systems to monitor existing pavement conditions. A successful program integrates the existing pavement condition with a toolbox of various treatments for different pavement needs. The session will also briefly provide an overview of the importance of pavement compaction and an overview of the roles of contractors and agency representatives to maximize the performance of the pavement. Panelists will offer insight and best practices drawn from many years of research into effective pavement program management.  Lastly, receive an update on the latest activities and initiatives sponsored by the City County Pavement Improvement Center (CCPIC) followed by an engaging discussion with the audience on local agency pavement management issues. 

Matt Randall, Road Maintenance Division Manager, Placer County DPW

John Harvey, Professor, Director, City and County Pavement Improvement Center, UC Davis
Erik Updyke, Specialist, City and County Pavement Improvement Center


Drought and Potable Reuse on California's Central Coast  

A combination of drought and population growth has overstressed California’s water supply infrastructure. The California Central Coast is now implementing multiple advanced treated recycled water projects to create a new and sustainable water supply. These projects represent pinnacle engineering efforts to secure sustainable water for our communities, with each project injecting the purified water into their respective groundwater basins for storage and protection against seawater intrusion. Panelists will address the permitting, public support, financing, and engineering elements necessary to implement recycled water projects.

Justin Pickard, Project Manager, Water Systems Consulting

Gina Dorrington, General Manager, Ventura Water
Benjamin Fine, President, Public Works Officers Department and Director of Public Works/City Engineer, Pismo Beach
Andrew Salveson, Vice President, Carollo Engineers

Networking Reception

5:30-6:30 p.m.

Make new friends and catch up with old ones while enjoying delicious appetizers and tasty beverages during the evening networking reception. It's the perfect opportunity to form support networks within your profession.

Thursday, March 9

Cal Cities Registration Open

8:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.

Joint Networking Breakfast

8:00–9:00 a.m.

General Session

9:00–10:30 a.m.

Cal Cities and CEAC President’s Welcome

Local Streets & Roads Awards

Brian Balbas, Public Works Director/Chief Engineer, Contra Costa County
Benjamin Fine, President, Public Works Officers Department and Director of Public Works/City Engineer, Pismo Beach

What Public Works Professionals Need to Know about Finance 

Learn the latest hot topics when it comes to California's municipal public works financing, including the latest on state and local transportation funding. Geared toward public works professionals, understand the rules and trends in taxes, fees, and other revenues; the relationship with the state budget, and problems and prospects for reform. Get answers to the most pressing fiscal issues facing public works.  

Michael Coleman,


10:30-10:45 a.m.

Concurrent Sessions

10:45 a.m.-noon

Project Labor Agreements for Local Public Works Projects

Project Labor Agreements (PLAs), once limited to mega projects, are being used on routine, local projects. Why is that, and what are the advantages and downsides? This session will provide the basic legal background on PLAs, including enabling legislation and history, what they do and don’t do, legal pros and cons, and how their use has changed over time. Leading PLA experts will detail their experience with the implementation of PLAs, including the impact on the bidding process, management, and cost of their projects.

Moderator and Speaker:
Jonanthan Holtzman, Parnter, Renne Public Law Group

Julian Gross, Principal, Law Office of Julian Gross
Sebrina Owens-Wilson, Regional Impact Program Manager, Metro

The Changing Landscape of Recycling: Local Market Development and Participation

The way we recycle in California is on the verge of drastic change. With the passage of several new landmark bills, California will need to recycle the old recycling system. Hear from experts on the latest in the recycling space and what your area needs to do to navigate the new recycling mandates.

Tom Koutroulis, Director, OC Waste & Recycling

Dr. David Crohn, Cooperative Extension Waste Management Specialist, Department of Environmental Sciences (Retired), University of California Cooperative Extension
Tim Goncharoff, President, TAG Consulting
Heidi Sanborn, Executive Director, National Stewardship Action Council

Extreme Hazards: Planning, Recovery and Resilience

Fire, flashflood, debris flows, extreme heat, and seismic hazards - this session builds off of instant polling feedback received at the 2022 Public Works Officers Institute and dives deeper into the current and future “extreme hazard” challenges facing California’s cities and counties. State and local leaders will share the latest lessons learned, and GIS resources: funding and technical assistance available for suburban, urban, and rural communities. Interactive polling will be used to jump-start conversations with your colleagues on overcoming the many hurdles (i.e.: documentation and contracting!) and cost-effective, realistic-to-implement ideas that you can take home to your team.

Sarah Rubin, Outreach and Engagement Advisor, CA Department of Conservation

Jeremy Lancaster, Supervising Engineering Geologist, California Geological Survey
Brian Olson, Senior Engineering Geologist, California Geological Survey
Jeff Pratt, Public Works Agency Director, Ventura County

Networking Luncheon

12:00-1:30 p.m.

Concurrent Sessions

1:30-2:45 p.m.

State of Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act

Over the next five years, the federal government is making significant funding available to states and localities to improve roads and bridges, water infrastructure, resilience, internet, and more. In this session, hear from lead state agencies on the status of the formula funding, where and how to best apply, and discuss best practices with other local governments about applying for competitive grants.

Paz Gomez, Deputy City Manager, Public Works, Carlsbad

Sean Maguire, Board Member, State Water Resources Control Board
Paul-Albert Marquez, Deputy District Director - Planning, Goods Movement, and Local Assistance, District 7, California Department of Transportation
Robert Osborn, Director, California Public Utilities Commission

Don't Throw Paving Dollars Out with the Trash

Do you have enough money for pavement maintenance? The statewide average Pavement Condition Index for local streets and roads is 66. This “at risk” condition indicates that current maintenance funds are insufficient. Hear how one California city successfully secured extra funding sources, and how you can adopt these financial saving practices in your community.

David Leamon, Public Works Director, Stanislaus County Public Works

Debaroti Ghosh, Pavement Engineer/Specialist, Nichols Consulting Engineers
Lisa Petersen, Public Works Director, Pacifica
Margot Yapp, President/CEO, Nichols Consulting Engineers

SB378 and New Innovations for the Deployment of Fiber Networks

The panel will focus on broadband deployment strategies and the use of innovative methodologies to install fiber networks more efficiently and with less impact on streets. Also highlighted will be potential cost savings, lighter environmental impacts (spoils, air quality, vehicle trip reductions, etc.), and maximizing investment dollars for community benefit.

Rochelle Swanson, Lead of CA State Policy & NorCal Government Affairs, Crown Castle

Ted Allen, City Engineer, Los Angeles, Bureau of Engineering
Daniel Schweizer, Director, Government Affairs, Crown Castle
Walter Tustin, Federal Funding Program Manager, Crown Castle Fiber LLC


2:45-3:00 p.m.

Concurrent Sessions

3:00-4:15 p.m.

Case Study: Broadband Internet and Smart City Applications

Learn how the city of Placentia entered into a unique partnership to deliver fiber optic broadband internet access to every home and business in the city utilizing a new micro-trenching technique within the city's road right-of-way. The Placentia FiberCity® Project is a privately funded, $35 million investment in Placentia that will deliver high speed broadband access to every resident and business. This presentation will focus on the construction methods used to install the fiber system as well as how the city managed the contractor's efforts in delivering this city-wide project.

Marcus Bowman, Community Relations Manager, SiFi Networks

Luis Estevez, Deputy City Administrator, Placentia
Jordan Harris, Area Manager, SiFi Networks
Jean Miller, Area Manager, MidWest Region, SiFi Networks


Making Public Works an Attractive Option in a Changing Workplace

The current workplace looks different, the labor force has changed, and the job market is volatile. Public works organizations are facing new workforce challenges while the largest ever investment in infrastructure is happening. So, how do we find success in this divergent situation? It requires that public works leaders find creative means of retaining talent, recruiting in competitive markets, and inspiring the next generation to join our professions. 

Jason Drew, Principal, NCE

Joan Araujo, Director Central Services, Ventura County Public Works Department
Joshua Pack, Director of Public Works, County of Butte
Walter Rubalcava, Civil Engineer, County of Santa Barbara
Paul Valadao, Lecturer, Cal Poly State University, San Luis Obispo


Going to the Well: Discussing Municipal Water Issues

As climate change continues to impact California’s water supply, hear from the State Water Board and local water utilities on challenges and successes in responding to this current drought and planning for improved water supply resiliency in future droughts.

Brian Balbas, Public Works Director/Chief Engineer, Contra Costa County

Jessica Bean, Assistant Deputy for Drought and Water Rights Modernization, State Water Resources Control Board
Elizabeth Lovsted, Water Resources Manager, San Diego County Water Authority
Peter Martin, Deputy Director Water Resources, Santa Rosa Water

Friday, March 10

Cal Cities Registration Open

8:00-10:00 a.m.

Cal Cities Breakfast

8:00–9:00 a.m.

General Session 

9:00–10:00 a.m.

Receive a legislative update curated for public works professionals leading California cities.


10:00–10:10 a.m.

Closing General Session

10:10-11:30 a.m.

Leading High Performance

Is your team known for consistently delivering on objectives? Do team members act as resources for each other? Does your team work well together, learn quickly and adapt easily to change? Effective delivery of Public Works services requires teamwork at all levels, and today’s Public Works environment requires teams to be more nimble, adaptable, and resilient than ever before. Whether you’re an experienced manager or new to the role, this session will help you unlock the full potential of your team. 

During this interactive, fast paced session, participants will: 1. leverage Six Sigma communication techniques to fuel efficiency and reduce or eliminate rework 2. learn to maximize the benefits of conflict (innovation, inclusion, and diversity of thought), while at the same time, preserving and strengthening relationships and 3. learn two powerful coaching strategies to fuel development for team members and capacity for leaders. 


11:30 a.m.


Session Materials
Explore Previous Institutes

2022 Institute Session Descriptions

2022 Public Works Officers Institute Program (PDF)

Tuesday, March 22

Public Works Officers Welcome Reception

5:30–6:30 p.m.

Join the President and officers of the Public Works Department of the League of California Cities for a Welcome Reception with light appetizers and networking with other attendees on the evening before the conference. Beverages will be available for purchase.

Wednesday, March 23 

Registration Open

10:30 a.m.-6:00 p.m.

Exhibit Hall Open

11:00 a.m.-6:30 p.m.       

Opening General Session

1:00 p.m.-2:15 p.m.

Cal Cities/CEAC President’s Welcome
General Session Panel

Natural Disaster Planning: What You Can Do to Prepare
Are you thoroughly prepared for what, in many parts of the state, are no longer unexpected events? Between fire, flash-flood, and post-fire debris flows, natural disasters wreak havoc on our communities. In this session, panelists will recommend practical planning tips and tools, lessons learned from innovative efforts, and share collaborative planning approaches that will put your team ahead.

Moderator and Speaker
Sarah Rubin, Chief Outreach and Engagement Advisor, CA Department of Conservation

Steve Bohlen, Acting State Geologist, California Geological Survey
Jason Nutt, Assistant City Manager / Director of Transportation and Public Works, Santa Rosa
Kelsey Scanlon, Emergency Services Planner, Monterey County Office of Emergency Services
Jason Uhley, General Manager-Chief Engineer, Riverside County Flood Control and Water Conservation District

Visit with Exhibitors

2:15 p.m.-2:30 p.m.        

Concurrent Sessions

2:30 p.m.-3:45 p.m.        

Managing Stormwater's Perfect Storm: Management, Finances, Law, and Politics
Learn how to manage stormwater resources amid a myriad of rules and restrictions, climate change, and other challenges. With an eye to fiscal sustainability, discover the financial levers available for city leaders, new approaches and legislation, and a ten-step funding plan. An overview of relevant laws and case studies will frame the discussion.  

Steven Machida, Director of Public Works, San Carlos

John Abaci, Senior Counsel, Colantuono, Highsmith & Whatley
Dan Schaaf, Vice President, Schaaf & Wheeler
Tim Seufert, Managing Director, NBS

Challenges and Opportunities in Pavement Preservation
Learn how to get the maximum performance out of preservation treatments through specification and quality assurance. Then, review future challenges for delivering multifunctional preservation treatments that not only preserve the pavement structure, but address transportation issues, human thermal comfort, and the environmental impact of materials and construction.

Shadi Saadeh, Professor, City and County Pavement Improvement Center, California State University, Long Beach

DingXin Cheng, Professor and Director, California Pavement Preservation Center
John Harvey, Director, City and County Pavement Improvement Center, University of California Davis
Sampat Kedarisetty, Graduate Student Researcher, University of California Davis

Good News: Communicating the Value of Public Works
Unless the water is shut off or roads are closed, people tend to take for granted the significant role that public infrastructure plays in their daily lives, community safety, wellness, and connectivity. Whether you have communication support in your organization or are fitting outreach in where you can, the tools and tips presented in this session will help you build goodwill with your community through positive media coverage, the smart use of social media, and other tools.

Carmen Kasner, Western Engineering Operational Manager, NV5

Kristina Ray, Communication & Engagement Director, Carlsbad

Visit with Exhibitors

3:45 p.m.- 4:00 p.m.      

Concurrent Sessions

4:00 p.m.- 5:15 p.m.      

Sustaining Power During Wildfire: Public Safety Power Shutoffs with Microgrids
With wildfires growing in size and severity each year, cities are often forced to shut off power grids in high-risk areas. These preventative measures are known as Public Safety Power Shutoffs and may help limit fire-starting factors caused by power lines and electrical malfunctions. However, they also leave countless California businesses and residents without power. Microgrids offer a secure source of self-sufficient energy generation to protect communities and increase resiliency during grid outages. Discover what funding methods and different incentives are available to California cities and municipalities looking to enhance their resiliency with sustainable microgrids powered by renewable energy.

Moderator and Speaker
Brian Taylor, Senior Director, ForeFront Power

Kevin Flanagan, Program Manager, SPURR
Ann Kloose, Sustainability Division Manager, Fresno Public Works Department

Understanding the Legislative Process
California’s legislative process can be as complicated, lengthy, and politically fraught as the federal legislative process. In this session for beginners or officials simply wanting a refresher course, get acquainted with the three types of measures considered by the California Legislature, how a bill becomes law, and what to do when reading a bill. Then, discover what makes an effective letter of support and what tools and tips to keep in mind when testifying before a committee. A review of legislative committees will be included as well. 

Damon Conklin, Legislative Representative, League of California Cities
Marina Espinoza, Senior Legislative Analyst, California State Association of Counties

The Road Safety and Signage Audit
Road safety is typically managed reactively as officials investigate crash locations assuming that future  crashes are most likely to occur in those same locations. However, road crashes — particularly those on lower volume roads — are frequently distributed in seemingly random patterns and may not correlate to roadway deficiencies. Rather than reacting to historic crash data, public works professionals can identify systemic road deficiencies proactively through the Roadway Signing and Safety Audit. The audit is one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to proactively address roadway and signing deficiencies with low-cost regulatory, warning, and guide signage improvements.

Joshua Pack, Director of Public Works, Butte County

Robert Paderna, Sr. Transportation Engineer, Kimley-Horn and Associates, Inc.
Matt Stringer, Associate Principal, Mark Thomas
Matt Weir, Vice President, Kimley-Horn and Associates, Inc.

Reception in Exhibit Hall

5:15 p.m.- 6:30 p.m.        


Thursday, March 24

Registration Open

8:00 a.m.- 4:00 p.m.        

Networking Breakfast

8:00 a.m.- 9:00 a.m.        

General Session

9:00 a.m.- 10:15 a.m.

What Public Works Professionals Need To Know About Municipal Finance 
Learn the latest hot topics when it comes to California's municipal public works financing, including the latest on state and local transportation funding. Geared towards public works professionals, understand the rules and trends in taxes, fees and other revenues; the relationship with the state budget, and problems and prospects for reform. Lastly, explore tools and new ideas for funding infrastructure, operations and maintenance, and get answers to the most pressing 
fiscal issues facing public works. 

Michael Coleman, Cal Cities Fiscal Policy Advisor,        


10:15 a.m.- 10:45 a.m.        

Concurrent Sessions

10:45 a.m.- 12:00 p.m.        

Never a Waste of Time - Talking Organic Waste Regulations
Hear from public works directors about how the implementation of the new organic waste diversion regulations brought by SB 1383 (Lara, 2016) is impacting cities around the state. Then, learn about the latest guidance and resources available for cities to comply with the regulations from CalRecycle.

Derek Dolfie, Legislative Representative, League of California Cities


Rene Guerrero, Director of Public Works, Pomona
Zoe Heller, Deputy Director, Policy Development, CalRecycle
Coby Skye, Assistant Deputy Director, Los Angeles County Public Work

Bridge Management and Maintenance Program
Discover how the Ventura County Public Works Roads and Transportation bridge asset database helps manage, maintain, and report on the county’s National Bridge Inventory (NBI) and non-NBI bridges. The bridge management program incorporates bridge data with a user interface that identifies essential bridges, structurally deficient and scour critical bridges, infrastructure condition, inspection reports, load rating analysis, sufficiency rating, age, the volume of traffic, bridge geometry, and appearance. The program enables Ventura County to anticipate remaining service life, prioritize categories of bridge work, and forecast costs for repair, maintenance, and replacement. Finally, the session will also include a brief update on Highway Bridge Program Advisory Committee activities including an update on legislative efforts related to bridge program funding.

David Fleisch, Assistant Director, Public Works Agency, Ventura County

Dennis Haglan, Vice President, California Operations Manager, Dewberry Engineers
Christopher Kurgan, Director, Department of Roads and Transportation
Matthew Randall, Road Maintenance Division Manager / Local Highway Bridge Advisory Committee Northern County Representative, Placer County

Reaching Diverse Communities
Public works professionals are expected to reach, engage, and build bridges with diverse constituencies in communities throughout California. Whether to communicate about construction activity, upcoming projects, or general information about agency goals and planning, it is important to reach a broad sector of community members in an inclusive manner. During this dynamic discussion, representatives from the city of El Cajon and the award-winning NV5 Community Relations division will discuss the strategies and tactics they have used to engage target stakeholders and build support for their projects, as well as lasting community relationships. 

Moderator and Speaker
Gabriela Dow, Director, Community Relations and Public Affairs, NV5

Yazmin Arellano, Public Works Director, El Cajon

Lunch and Awards

12:00 p.m.- 1:30 p.m.        

Enjoy networking with your colleagues over lunch followed by the time-honored delivery of California’s Outstanding Local Streets & Roads Project Awards. 


1:30 p.m.- 1:45 p.m.        

Concurrent Sessions

1:45 p.m.- 3:00 p.m.        

Variety Speed Sessions

Three topics will be presented lasting 20 minutes each.

Julie Lucido, Public Works Director, Napa

1. Opportunities and Challenges in Municipal 4G/5G Deployments (1:45 – 2:10 p.m.)
4G and 5G cellular networks serve both handsets and emerging applications, including machine-to-machine communications for smart cities and the ‘Internet of Things’. These networks create a technological foundation for new services and products that have not yet been conceived. At the same time, the deployment of 4G and 5G cellular networks — especially small cell services on public property — creates political, social, economic, and regulatory complexities that previous technologies did not have. Receive an overview and updates on the challenges faced by both cities and the wireless industry; the trade-offs and decision points that need to be navigated; and tools and resources to help cities as they navigate the technical, public opinion, regulatory, and legal waters of cellular technology deployments in the public rights-of-way.

David Witkowski, Exec. Dir., Civic Technologies, Joint Venture Silicon Valley

2. Three Ways to Enhance Your Political Acumen (2:10 – 2:35 p.m.)
Public works professionals are apolitical creatures often operating in highly political environments. To succeed, they need a solid understanding of how to navigate the complex and ever-changing dynamics of local government. In this session, learn the universal truths that drive elected and appointed officials in their decision-making and how this knowledge can help you get your projects over the finish line.

Kristina Ray, Communication & Engagement Director, Carlsbad

3. Forti-Fi Asphalt Fiber (2:35 – 3:00 p.m.)
Discover how Forta-Fi fiber reinforced asphalt provides a longer lasting pavement.

Mike Hass, Project Manager, Pacific Geosource

With SB 743, Will We Always Have More EIRs?
Is it the wider road or the new development that is leading to an increase in vehicle miles traveled? Who should be responsible for complying with SB 743 (Bradford, 2021), and is the solution to just issue more Environmental Impact Reports? This diverse panel will give you a breakdown of SB 743, including how local jurisdictions and state agencies are setting the California Environmental Quality Act’s vehicle miles traveled thresholds, how projects are being processed under SB 743 requirements, and what creative mitigation strategies are being implemented. Come ask questions and get a clearer picture of the future.

Sarah Holm, Environmental Division Manager, Dokken

Damon Davis, Transportation Specialist, County of San Diego
Matt Kelly, Senior Transportation Planner, Contra Costa Transportation Authority
Jason Pack, Principal, Fehr and Peers
Jason Welday, Director of Engineering Services/City Engineer, Rancho Cucamonga

Lead or Be Led
The onset of a crisis is too late to decide to become an effective leader; the process must be a cumulative part of each manager's personal development plan and practice. Learn how five-year partnerships with the public works department for the county of Santa Barbara — a department of 400 employees — built effective leaders at each level of the organization. 

Moderator and Speaker
Scott McGolpin, Public Works Director, County of Santa Barbara

Marr Christian, Division Manager, Code Enforcement, San Bernardino

Julie Hagen, Deputy Public Works Director, Santa Barbara
LTC (R) Nate Sassaman, Leadership Consultant/Trainer


3:00 p.m.- 3:15 p.m.        

Concurrent Sessions

3:15 p.m.- 4:30 p.m.        

Public Works Perspective: The Workplace Has Changed, Have You?
Many public works professionals have found themselves at a crossroads of the pre- and post-pandemic work environment, often with the same question: “Where do we go from here?” Join this panel of California public works officials as they discuss the operational effects of 2020 and the path forward. The panel will provide their perspectives on a range of issues, such as meetings, business hours, and process changes, and share data that helps attendees gain a broader perspective. Industry trends and challenges will inspire audience members to build their own recovery plans.

Michael Cannon, President, Cannon

Christian Di Renzo, Director of Public Works & Utilities, Watsonville
Patrick Dobbins, Public Works Director/City Engineer, Gonzales
Ben Fine, Director of Public Works/City Engineer, Pismo Beach Scott McGolpin, Public Works Director, County of Santa Barbara

City of Pacific Grove Urban Stormwater Diversion
Discover how the city of Pacific Grove constructed two stormwater diversion projects. You’ll learn how the city was able to capture stormwater prior to entering the Monterey Bay Areas of Special Biological Significance (ASBS), helping to eliminate pollutants from reaching the sensitive habitat. The second project diverted stormwater from the sewer collection system which was treated and beneficially reused to support the water supplies in Monterey County. Finally, a discussion on how the projects were funded by grants and the lessons learned in implementing those funds will also be included.

Moderator and Speaker
Daniel Gho, Public Works Director/Deputy City Manager, Pacific Grove

Kari Wagner, Principal, Wallace Group

Public Contracting Requirements: Emergency Preparedness and Federal and State Reimbursement
How can public works departments prepare for emergencies? Learn contracting best practices and procedures to have in place before a disaster, what to have during the event, and what must happen immediately afterward to move forward quickly in addressing your community’s needs. Laws, regulations, and executive orders have specific requirements for procuring services to restore a destroyed area. If this happens, your agency needs to be ready and eligible for disaster reimbursements from FEMA or the State. Presenters will explain the ins and outs of these processes, including possible pre- and post-procurement best practices to receive reimbursement for disaster-related expenditures.

Reva Feldman, Retired City Manager, Malibu

Brian Baker, Vice President, Hagerty ConsultingRyan Buras, Deputy Director, California Governor's Office of Emergency ServicesMatthew Hochstein, Vice President, Hagerty Consulting
Robert Pesapane, Regional Recovery Division Director, Federal Emergency Management Agency


Friday, March 25

Registration Open

8:00 a.m.- 10:15 a.m.        

Joint Breakfast for Cal Cities and CEAC Attendees

8:00 a.m.- 9:15 a.m.        

Spend the morning with your city and county colleagues before each association resumes their separate 
closing session.

Cal Cities Business and Legislative Updates

9:15 a.m.- 10:00 a.m.        

Closing Keynote Session

10:00 a.m.- 11:15 a.m.

Three Important Accountability Traits of Highly Effective Teams
Learn the skills that help leaders achieve results within their teams. Most leaders try to hold others accountable when something goes wrong. The real way to boost performance and morale is to create a healthy peer-to-peer accountability system. Having a balanced accountability-proven system that shows leaders how to create motivated and loyal teams will help maximize performance instead of killing morale. Key takeaways include how to break down barriers, exert influence, and appeal to your team; how using power-words will inspire others to see your point of view to take positive action; the three Ps to embrace the power of accountability, improving work culture; and how to eliminate excuses and inspire others to achieve results they never felt were possible.

Hernani Alves, Author, Balanced Accountability, Founder, Balanced IQ Leadership


11:15 a.m.  



2022 Institute Session Materials




    Previous Institute Session Materials

    2021 Session Materials
    2020 Session Materials
    2019 Session Materials

    Call for Proposals

    Cal Cities is seeking thorough, thoughtful, and complete proposals that tell how your session can help elected city officials improve their communities, leadership abilities, and knowledge within their roles. Submissions from any individual, group, business, or organization on any topic are welcome. The call for proposals for the 2023 Public Works Officers Institute is closed and will reopen Spring 2023.  

    We encourage you to take advantage of this exciting opportunity to share your ideas, knowledge, and expertise with this important audience! For questions, please contact Katie Pebler.

    General Information

    Who Can Submit

    Submissions, from any individual, group, business, or organization are welcome. Please remember that all sessions require a well-conceived presentation, good visuals, and a great deal of rehearsal!

    How It Works

    Only proposals submitted online through the proposal form will be considered. As there is a limit to the amount of words allowed within the title and description of each proposal, it may be helpful to draft the proposal in a word-processing program first, then paste the final version into the online form.

    Target Audience

    This educational event is designed to keep city and county public works directors up-to-date on issues of importance to them and their cities.


    All About Proposals

    Securing a spot on the program is highly competitive, with approximately 25 percent of proposals being accepted. You can increase your chances by preparing a thorough, thoughtful, and complete proposal that tells how your session would help city leaders and those who work within city governments to improve their careers and communities. When preparing your proposal consider the following elements:

    • Is the topic new and/or critical for city government?
    • Will it draw a wide audience?
    • Does the panel reflect the diversity of California cities (north/south, large/small, urban/rural)?
    • Is the panel gender balanced and demographically diverse?
    • Will the session appeal to an audience with various political affiliations?
    • Will this issue stimulate action and further important discussion?
    • How does the proposed session impact education and/or advocacy for city leaders?
    • Is the topic geared towards the average public works director?
    • Do you have at least 5 important takeaways?

    Tips for Successful Proposals

    • Think big
    • Vary the viewpoint
    • Pare down the panel
    • Speaker skills matter
    • Plan for a crowd
    • Try something new
    • Interact with the audience
    • Fill in the blanks
    • Quality counts 

    Types of Proposals

    More than 95 percent of each year's conference programming comes directly from the open call for proposals. Sessions may be scheduled as a general session or concurrent session at Cal Cities' discretion. Select one of the available formats listed below that best fits your topic and desired outcomes or propose an alternative session format.

    • Keynote Speaker
      Keynote speakers are high-profile and designed to bring everyone together for a general session / and may set the tone of the event. This format permits approximately 45-60 minutes of an engaging presentation by a single speaker. Depending on time restrictions, the presentation may be followed by approximately 15 minutes of questions and answers with the audience or a moderator. 
    • Panel Discussion

      Panels consist of a moderator and a maximum of three speakers who participate in a 60 minute engaging presentation and discussion followed by approximately 15 minutes of questions and answers.

    • Speed Sessions

      Fifteen minute bursts of information on one topic by one speaker followed by five (5) minutes of questions & answers. Typically, these engaging presentations are based on focused projects or personal experience.

    • Facilitated Group Discussion

      A 75 minute interactive conversation on a topic led by a single facilitator. You may include a maximum 15 minute presentation on which the issue/concern is framed and, then, guide a discussion among the attendees with prepared questions. At the conclusion of the discussion, the facilitator must spend time summarizing key findings, suggestions, and points. 

    • Alternative Format
      Be creative! If your session does not fit one of the above formats, this is your opportunity to propose something different. Please be sure to provide the time, room setup, and other important details. Alternative formats will be accommodated based on interest level, space, and set-up availability.
    Requirements, Review, and Policies

    Submission Requirements and Review

    Submissions will be reviewed by a program planning committee.

    Cal Cities reserves the right to modify accepted proposal session titles, descriptions, presenters or other elements as necessary to insure balance, quality and enhance marketability. If an originally accepted speaker cancels, the session may be disqualified. Additional speakers not included in the original proposal are not permitted to be added without review and approval.

    Successful Proposal Considerations

    The following criteria may be considered during the review of submissions:

    • Relevance - What are the practical applications of your ideas? Have you included reasoning and documentation to support your conclusions, recommendations and outcomes? Conference attendees prefer presentations focused on outcomes or results. Make the definition and background portions of your presentation brief. Highlight problems encountered, options available, choices made, documented pre- and post-change effects and lessons learned.
    • Content expands attendees' knowledge - Will your presentation expand knowledge beyond entry-level basics? Most conference participants are elected officials, appointed officials, and seasoned professionals. In general, direct your presentation to an intermediate or advanced audience.
    • Originality - Does your presentation advance existing ideas or present new ideas? Has this material been presented elsewhere? You might apply proven techniques to new problems or identify and apply new approaches, techniques or philosophies. Assess the degree to which an application is a new tool. Avoid highlighting a named product or service…focus instead on the general attributes, benefits and drawbacks of a given application, process or tool.
    • Examples - Do you have an appropriate number of examples? Documenting comparative results convinces participants that your ideas have been tested in the real world.
    • Timeliness - Will your presentation still be up-to-date and cutting-edge in six to nine months when the conference occurs? Will your topic have implications in the future? How relevant is your topic in the context of pending legislation, regulations and technology?
    • Inclusion of good, solid insights - What attendees want to learn is the reality versus the hype, the positive and negative attributes, problems encountered but not often discussed, realistic expectations for the operational use and adaptability to a changing environment. They are searching for guidelines and models to simplify or manage their own application or installation.
    • Logical conclusions - Are your conclusions supported by data? Attendees place a high value on supporting data in assessing the value and applicability of presentations. Include adequate and convincing details.
    • Identification of outside resources - Have you included sources of information, benchmark data or other examples?
    • Avoidance of product/vendor commercial - No commercials and/or proprietary information for particular products, services or vendors are permitted.
    • Completeness of proposal - The quality, completeness and accuracy of the proposal will be considered during session selection process.
    • Preferred Speaker Qualifications - Panelists should reflect the diversity of California with a north/south, large/small, urban/rural representation when possible.
      • Five or more (5+) years of public presentation experience.
      • Two or more (2+) years of experience related to working in or presenting on the topic or idea.
      • More than two (2) successful speaking engagements to large audiences at a regional or state level in the past two years.
      • Must not pose a conflict of interest with subject/business area or must disclose such information in each speaker bio submitted.
      • No commercialism.

    To ensure a variety of perspectives, Cal Cities policy limits the number of times an individual, group, business or organization can speak at a single conference. In addition, each panel should have no more than one panelist per city/county, firm, company or organization (exceptions may apply).

    • Overall - In the end, you must make your case for the importance of this topic and its relevance to participants.

    Registration and Speaker Policy

    The League of California Cities is unable to provide complimentary registration or any reimbursement of expenses, travel, or other compensation. We recognize and deeply appreciate your interest and commitment. The success of our program depends on the efforts of practicing professionals willing to volunteer their time to professional education.

    Privacy Policy

    We value your privacy and will never share any of your personal information nor sell your e-mail address to an outside party.