West Coast Branch - District VI

2021-22 Officers

Mr. Dean Scharmen, Chair
Mr. Dale Laird, Vice-Chair
Mr. Kendrix Anderson, Secretary
Ms. Wei Liu, Treasurer
Mr. Robert C. Nowak, District Representative

History of the West Coast Branch
The West Coast Branch (WCB) was the first Branch to be established Florida. The WCB covers seven counties (Citrus, Hernando, Hillsborough, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk & Sumter), and has the largest membership in the state with current numbers just under 300. The branch began in 1984 with only $400.00 in the treasury. The Executive Board would conserve the Branch resources by holding its quarterly board meetings at the home of one of it’s board members. Now, the Branch executes a budget of approximately $45,000 annually, with funds going to events, education, scholarships, awards and more.

Branch Business
The Branch meets bi-monthly on the second Wednesday on odd-numbered months. Primary business is performed by the Executive Committee. These individuals are selected by the branch members at the Annual Meeting and Awards Banquet, which is held in March. The bi-monthly meetings travel around the various counties and cities of the Branch.

The WCB has held Technical sessions which have included the following topics: pavement management, maintenance of traffic, soil erosion control, ADA guidelines, management and leadership training, trip hazard remediation, RCC hurricane proof buildings and more. The branch has averaged one session a quarter but as many as once a month, depending on training available. The Branch also provides technical tours. Tours have included the Hillsborough County Jail, Underground Disney World and Infrastructure, the Florida Aquarium, the Bill Young Reservoir, MacDill Air Force Base Facilities, Tropicana Field, Hardee Pipe Manufacturing Plant, Howard Current Advanced Waste Water Treatment Plant, Asphalt Emulsion Plants, Pinellas County Waste to Energy Plant and much much more.

Trade Shows
West Coast Branch has hosted six Chapter Annual Meetings and Trade Shows beginning in 1983, 1994, 1998, 2005, 2012, and 2016. These shows are now held in the Tampa Convention Center in downtown and continue to draw a great amount of professionals and exhibitors. We are hoping to host the 2020 Expo in August, depending on the COVID-19 lockdown.

With a strong focus on education a WCB APWA committee put together the foundation of the first APWA Academy in Pinellas County, Pinellas Technical Education Center (PTEC) in 1978. The PTEC Academy is now Pinellas Technical College. Over forty years of success stories have graduated from the academy. This academy still exists to this day and supports the WCB through funding and personnel. The academy now has an alumnus organization, so graduates, please join.

Scholarships and Financial Aide
The West Coast Branch has consistently given scholarship money to worthy students that are planning a career in the Public Works Arena. Students at the local APWA academies have had their tuition paid for as well, based on financial need. There is no set amount that is given out annually but rather the scholarships are awarded based on available dollars in the Fund. The Executive Board maintains a strong fiduciary responsibility with regard to the branch’s resources. In the 1980’s the scholarships were $350.00. Most recently we have had the good fortune to award scholarships of $1,000.00. In 2018, six scholarships of $1,000 each were awarded. The Scholarship Program has taken on the name of the “Ed Burkett Scholarship Program”. Mr. Ed Burkett taught at the Hillsborough County Public Works Academy for almost 20 years, and is a large supporter of the program.

Scholarship Application Information 2022: Scholarship Guidelines Application Form

Award Application Information 2022: Award Application Form

Branch Annual Fundraisers
The scholarship fund is supported by profits from the Annual Golf Tournament and the Equipment Rodeo. The Cleveland Heights Golf Club, in Lakeland hosted this year's tournament.

Equipment Rodeo
Each year, the Branch hosts an equipment rodeo and invites front-line personnel from all of the communities within it's District. This event is held at England Brothers Park in Pinellas Park, Florida and draws a participation of roughly 70-80 each year. Over the last two years this event has grown to 120 in 2015 and 190 in 2016. 2017 was canceled due to Hurricane Irma.

The WCB has a newsletter that is published semi-annually. This is a full color information publication that is posted on the Chapter's web site. The branch also uses email “blasts” on meetings and special events to keep members informed of current happenings.

May 2020

November 2019

May 2019

November 2018

May 2018

For more information on the West Coast Branch, feel free to contact the executive committee at apwa.wcb.florida@gmail.com.


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