28 episodes

Your Guides to the Latest and Greatest in Public Works

The Public Works Nerds Marc Culver, PE

    • Government
    • 4.9 • 13 Ratings

Your Guides to the Latest and Greatest in Public Works

    Technology in City Forestry with Minnetonka's City Forester Hannibal Hayes

    Technology in City Forestry with Minnetonka's City Forester Hannibal Hayes

    This episode took some time to get out there! Blame vacations and some tech issues, but I am finally dropping the 7th episode in Season 2 - and its a good one! Super fan and Tree Nerd Hannibal Hayes from the City of Minnetonka, MN joins me to talk about using technology to better manage the urban forest. We go off on some tangents about Emerald Ash Borer and tree species diversity and even birthing calves!

    This was a fun episode to record with a true renaissance man, Hannibal Hayes. Sit back and enjoy!

    Here's the AI generated description for the episode (scroll to the bottom for some good links in the show notes):

    Embark on an enlightening expedition through the lush avenues of urban forestry with our esteemed guest, Hannibal Hayes, Minnetonka's city forester and a connoisseur of all things arboreal. From his formative years on a hobby farm to paving the way in managing a bustling city's canopy of over 40,000 trees, Hannibal's narrative intertwines personal anecdotes with professional prowess. Our latest episode captures his innovative strategies, rooted in horticultural sciences and arboriculture, which propel Minnetonka's green infrastructure towards a more diversified and climate-resilient future.

    Delving deeper into the technological forest, we unravel the advancements revolutionizing tree management from AI-infused 3D LiDAR scans to the proficient use of drones. These groundbreaking tools aren't merely enhancing tree inventories; they're redefining the very fabric of urban forestry operations. Discover how these high-tech aids combat threats like the emerald ash borer and foster the meticulous care of our urban jungles, ensuring they thrive amidst the challenges of a changing climate.

    We round off our arboreal adventure with a narrative on the transformative journey of fallen trees through Minnetonka's wood utilization program. Hannibal regales us with tales of giving these timber giants new purpose, fashioning everything from benches to Instagram-worthy lumber slabs. So tune in, as we not only explore the intersection of technology and environmental stewardship but also inspire you to join the conversation on social media, where sharing the love for our urban forests has never been more vital.

    Show Notes:
    City of Minnetonka Natural Resources Division
     Greehill Tree Inventory and Analysis Platform
     Minnesota Dept of Agriculture – EAB Information
    US Dept of Agriculture Information on EAB

    • 1 hr 8 min
    Raleigh's Smart City Efforts with Jim Alberque and John Holden

    Raleigh's Smart City Efforts with Jim Alberque and John Holden

    This week I'm joined by a Smart Cities team from Raleigh, North Carolina. Jim Alberque is the GIS and Emerging Technology Manager for the City of Raleigh and John Holden is the Smart City Manager for Raleigh. We talk about what does Smart Cities mean for Raleigh and how is the City focusing on different efforts under this umbrella. 

    We cover quite a bit of ground from asset management to traffic monitoring systems as well as using LiDAR data for various purposes. 

    Raleigh happens to be hosting the Smart Cities Connect conference in May this year, so check out the link below for that conference and perhaps consider attending! 

    Below is the AI Generated Description for this episode, which I always enjoy reading but am hesitant to use this as the main description, but enjoy!

    Embark on a journey through the heart of Raleigh as I, Marc Culver, unravel the city's transformation into a beacon of technological innovation with my esteemed guests, Jim Alberque and John Holden. This episode promises to open your eyes to the seamless blend of traditional city management with cutting-edge smart solutions, all while maintaining a keen focus on equitable benefits for every citizen. Learn how Jim's passion for local government and John's savvy in economic development are the driving forces behind Raleigh's rise as a smart city powerhouse.

    As we navigate the multifaceted landscape of smart city evolution, we uncover the groundbreaking ways Raleigh utilizes AI and environmental modeling to revolutionize urban management. From traffic analysis that could transform your morning commute to drone delivery systems forecasted to redefine our skyline, Jim and John showcase how data-driven decision-making and innovative asset management systems are setting new standards for future cities. Moreover, their anecdotes about the forward-thinking use of LiDAR technology for urban planning will leave you pondering the art of city innovation.

    Finally, we delve into the soul of Raleigh's smart city journey, examining the confluence of public safety advancements with the grassroots ethos of community involvement. Hear how the city's approach to tech adoption extends beyond mere functionality, fostering a spirit of collaboration across agencies and weaving a rich narrative of civic engagement. Coupled with a glimpse into the anticipated Smart Cities Conference in Raleigh, this episode is a masterclass in how technology, when harnessed thoughtfully, has the power to reshape not just urban landscapes but also the lives within them.

    Show Notes:

    Connected Triangle+ Summit focuses on Smart Cities Movement (Raleigh story on upcoming conference)

    Smart Cities Connect Spring 2024 in Raleigh, NC

    The City of Raleigh's Smart City Strategy

    Strategy and Innovation
    A service unit of the City Manager's Office

    • 1 hr 6 min
    St Paul Public Works Director Sean Kershaw and his Unorthodox Path to a PW career

    St Paul Public Works Director Sean Kershaw and his Unorthodox Path to a PW career

    In this episode I sit down with my hometown Public Works Director, Sean Kershaw. As any public works nerd knows, we are at times over critical of those that serve us where we live, and we most likely have experienced that heightened scrutiny from current and retired public works professionals that live in our communities. It can be good, reaffirming, constructive, and frustrating. I know most of you reading this have been there.

    Sean takes this all very well. He is not your traditional public works professional. His background is more diverse and involves a stint as a planner and roles in the non-profit realm. The perspective he has gained through his professional journey is well applicable to public works and our overriding goal of public service. 

    I enjoyed learning more about Sean and his background and what has surprised him in this role. Sit back and listen in on this conversation with one of the most sincere, approachable and self-accountable people I've met. 

    Show notes:

    The proverb Sean and I were searching our grey haired minds for:
    Luck favors the prepared mind.

    Sean and his husband's Backyard Concert Series Site:

    • 53 min
    Nerds Unplugged February 2024: CEAM Conference, Richard McCoy and Episode Recaps

    Nerds Unplugged February 2024: CEAM Conference, Richard McCoy and Episode Recaps

    Welcome to the first Nerds Unplugged episode! Deb Heiser, Michael Thompson and Mark Ray join me as a panel of opinionated Public Works professionals talking about random issues related to Public Works.  This is planned to be a monthly or so feature where we recap recent podcast episodes, talk about public works issues in the news and give updates to what's going on in our public works worlds.

    For this first episode we are joined by Richard McCoy, Public Works Director and City Engineer with the City of Robbinsdale, MN. Our Australian native colleague talks about his multi award winning Water Treatment Plant project and how things are a little different in Australia.

    The panel also talks about the City Engineers Association of Minnesota's (CEAM) Annual Conference which concluded on February 2nd, the day we recorded this episode.

    We hope you enjoy this experiment in the episode format. We would LOVE to hear from our listeners on topics to talk about. Let us know if you have a suggestion or want to share something interesting that is going on in your career and/or community.

    Below is the AI generated recap for this episode. I figured I would keep it here in the show notes so you can see what AI thinks of this episode. As always, thanks for listening!


    Ever wondered how the seemingly mundane world of public works is actually a high-stakes game of strategy and innovation? Strap in as we take you beyond the orange cones and into the heart of our communities' unsung heroes with Deb Heiser, Michael Thompson, and Aussie newcomer Richard McCoy. Discover why Minnesota's unseasonable warmth isn't just good for your tan but also for street maintenance, and how our playful podcast download rivalry underscores the passion that drives public works professionals across the globe.

    This episode isn't just about the concrete and pipes beneath our feet; it's a celebration of the milestones marking the journey of our colleagues, like Mark Ray's exciting new chapter as Public Works Director in Burnsville. As we chat with these industry mavens, we uncover the crucial blend of ethics, culture, and communication that propels our field forward. You'll gain insights into the intricate dance of long-term infrastructure planning, the human touch needed in crisis management, and the cultural shifts that are redefining our workspaces from the inside out. 

    Join us for a discourse that ventures into the lesser-seen realms of public works, from the complexity of waste management in the face of changing policies to the surprising efficiency of trash-to-energy processes. Learn how cities like Plymouth are navigating the organics collection conundrum and why Aussie asset management might just be the blueprint for future-proofing our infrastructure. This isn't just talk; it's a masterclass in the art of balancing technical prowess with the finesse of community service. Grab your hard hat and let's get to work understanding the world that works for us.

    • 1 hr 8 min
    Infrastructure Resilience with Russ Matthys - an APWA 2023 Top Ten Public Works Leader

    Infrastructure Resilience with Russ Matthys - an APWA 2023 Top Ten Public Works Leader

    Join us for our first of hopefully many conversations with an APWA Top Ten Public Works Leader. In this episode we are joined by a Public Works Nerds Podcast veteran, Russ Matthys. In 2023, Russ was one of 10 professionals named a Top Ten Public Works Leader by APWA. We talk to Russ about the award and what that means to him.

    We also talk about a new task force formed by the Minnesota Legislature. Russ teased about this when we last talked to him and since then he was appointed to the task force as the APWA representative.

    With the formation of the Minnesota Infrastructure Resilience Task Force, Russ provides a window into the collaborative efforts aimed at elevating asset management and infrastructure coordination. From creating centralized project portals to grappling with the challenges of utility information sharing, he doesn't shy away from the tough conversations about accountability, legislative efforts, and the quest for excellence. Tune in as we unpack the intricate dance of public and private sector roles in shaping the sustainable infrastructure of the future.

    Show Notes:

    Minnesota Infrastructure Resilience Task Force
    Michigan Infrastructure Council
    Institute of Asset Management

    • 1 hr 2 min
    The State of Recycling with Eureka Recycling's Kate Davenport

    The State of Recycling with Eureka Recycling's Kate Davenport

    Discover the transformative power of recycling and how it intertwines with community economics in our latest Public Works Nerds podcast episode. I, Marc Culver, am joined by the insightful Kate Davenport, co-President of Eureka Recycling, who not only shares her personal journey from climate activism to leading a nonprofit recycling enterprise but also sheds light on the game-changing concept of revenue sharing in recycling contracts. Together, we examine the fluctuating tides of commodity prices and the effect they have on the cost of recycling services, giving you a behind-the-scenes look at how to navigate these challenges and turn sustainability commitments into financial wins for communities.

    As we discuss the rising tide of extended producer responsibility (EPR) legislation, you'll grasp the profound effects of mandating brands to invest in recycling infrastructure and the push for regulations that demand recycled content in consumer packaging. You'll be swept up in the conversation on the significant role consumer choice plays in driving the demand for sustainable packaging, and the intriguing potential of long-term supply agreements to counterbalance the competition from virgin material manufacturers. Witness the innovative leaps, such as Sprite's move to clear plastic bottles, and the hurdles like non-recyclable packaging that shape the future of the recycling landscape.

    Wrapping up our insightful dialogue, Kate and I turn our gaze towards the horizon of recycling and sustainability.  We spotlight the essential role mission-driven recyclers like Eureka play in promoting environmental and public good, and how crucial collaboration between municipalities and businesses is to enhance recycling, reuse, and ensure a more sustainable future for all. Tune in to be part of a movement that's redefining our relationship with waste and crafting a greener tomorrow.

    Since we recorded this episode, Kate has transitioned into a new role at Eureka as a Strategic Advisor. 


    • 1 hr 9 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
13 Ratings

13 Ratings

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