PWX Atlanta logo

September 8–11, 2024
Atlanta, GA

Deadline for Proposals: Monday, October 30, 2023

Questions? Email us at for further assistance.

Three easy steps to submitting your proposal:

  1. Read this page for information and instructions.
  2. Click the “Submit Proposal” button below.
  3. Complete the Call for Presentations form.

Interested in sharing your knowledge, experience, and vision for the future?

The American Public Works Association provides education, advocacy, and solutions for public works and infrastructure professionals worldwide. More than 5,000 public works professionals—from both the public and private sectors—converge each year at APWA’s premier Public Works Expo (PWX). This highly anticipated annual event features 140+ education sessions, keynote addresses, and networking. PWX also attracts more than 300 exhibitors providing information about state-of-the-art technologies, products, and services.

The education program provides a dynamic forum for information exchange, problem-solving, and collaboration. Speakers are public works professionals, just like you, eager to help their colleagues take advantage of emerging technologies, understand and prepare for upcoming challenges, and provide better service to their communities.

What are we looking for?

We are looking for speakers with new perspectives, solid best practices, and/or innovative twists to topics surrounding the public works sector. At PWX, participants attend sessions from 18 specific topic tracks. Each year attendees provide feedback on what they would like to learn more about.

Below is a list of requested topics for 2024.

Asset Management

Technology uses and trends:
  • Software and database solutions, mobile technologies, web-based tools, cloud technology, 3-D modeling, enterprise solutions for reporting.
  • Data collection technologies such as unmanned aerial vehicles (drones), LiDAR mapping, GIS, GPS, telematics, time-phased photographic inspection, robotics, AVL, RFID, machine learning and AI, related to data collection of infrastructure, operations, and maintenance.
  • Leveraging asset management into daily public works operations—solutions for small city, large city, and county systems.
  • Dealing with siloed operations/departments, determining what to measure and how to use the data, communicating with the public and stakeholders about asset management, and getting buy-in from officials and staff.
  • Explaining the foundational components of a good asset management system. Success stories that demonstrate the process, challenges, and solutions. Where to begin and how not to be overwhelmed.
  • Examples! Tools, templates, road maps, and sample documents.
  • Workforce issues: skills public works professionals need to implement asset management, maximizing productivity with minimal staff.
  • Funding/budgeting: cost-effective asset management; creative budgeting, grants, and other financial options to implement asset management; funding solutions for small cities
  • Asset management as a tool for disaster response, recovery, and obtaining FEMA reimbursement.
Future trends:
  • Asset management in the internet of things era.
  • Less field work and more desktop reconnaissance.
  • Asset management for green infrastructure.
  • Smart cities, smart assets.
  • Artificial intelligence based asset management.
  • State governments requiring asset management plans from public agencies.

Emergency Management

Technology uses and trends:
  • Emergency management software, tablets, and phones replacing desktop solutions.
  • GIS mapping, use of drones in post-disaster inspection.
  • Traffic incident management: automated flagger assistance devices, portable traffic signals
  • Role of smart cities technologies in emergency management.
  • Cybersecurity—what are the threats, solutions, and proactively protecting critical infrastructure.
  • Public works as first responders:
    • Collaborating with police and fire.
  • National Incident Management System (NIMS)
  • Tracking the right data for FEMA reimbursement, FEMA pre-certification.
  • Mutual aid programs.
  • Contracting services: what to look for (scalability), monitoring for FEMA reimbursement, etc.
  • Emergency management training: design and execution.
  • Risk assessment and resiliency planning:
    • Factoring climate change into emergency management planning and preparedness.
    • Dam safety requirements, flood preparedness, and response.
    • Rapid damage assessment, post-disaster condition assessments, cleanup, debris management.
  • See something, say something—public works role in threat identification.
  • Active shooter training:
    • Outlines and templates for active shooter tabletop exercises or drills.
Future trends:
  • Trends and new developments in cybersecurity programs.
  • Mobile alert systems—targeting devices by physical location rather than area codes.
  • Increased focus on cybersecurity tactics and solutions.
  • Public unrest—emergency planning and management for these situations.

Engineering, Construction/Project Management

Technology uses and trends:
  • Data collection and construction inspection using drones, GIS, tablets, and smartphones.
  • Web-based tools for plan submission and reviews.
  • Electronic bidding technologies, electronic plan reviews, submissions, and approvals.
  • Project management software.
  • Using technology: monitoring climate, weather adversity, flood monitoring, prediction tools/early warning systems.
  • AI-detection, assessment, and service requests.
  • Lessons learned -IIJA /workforce, contracting and grants, utilizing federal funding in small communities.
  • Innovative budgeting and funding solutions for capital improvement programs.
  • RFP process, bid and contract management, consultant and contractor relationships.
  • Project management skills/project tracking systems.
  • Lead/copper pipe in small, medium, and large communities.
  • Procurement challenges and strategies.
Future trends:
  • 5G installation and capital improvement program management.
  • More use of 3D construction plans, 3D modeling, 3D printing.
  • New capital improvement program funding models to replace gas taxes and other funding mechanisms.
  • MALD: model as a legal document: An emerging technology that combines 3D modeling, RFP procedures, paperless projects, and electronic bidding.

Facilities Management

Technology uses and trends:
  • Energy efficiency: renewable energy production in buildings, distributed heat and power, solar, heat pumps, etc., smart meters to measure energy use, water conservation.
  • Computer aided facility management; computerized maintenance management systems.
  • Drones related to facilities and grounds inspections.
  • Building security: risk assessments, workplace violence.
  • Developing a municipal facility maintenance plan (maintenance, repair).
  • Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) issues and solutions:
    • Outdoor and indoor facilities.
Future trends:
  • Augmented reality for building management.
  • Self-powered and smart buildings.
  • Building security advancements, i.e., proximity door locks.
  • Sharing economy—maximum use of facilities.

Fleet Management

Technology uses and trends:
  • Fleet management software.
  • On-board GPS, cameras for route optimization.
  • Fuel station software.
  • Fleet management of autonomous and connected vehicles.
  • Electric vehicles and charging stations.
  • Workforce solutions: technician recruitment and retention, performance measures for fleet professionals, essential skills and knowledge for new fleet managers.
  • Fleet operations as part of the emergency response team.
  • Vehicle and equipment replacement programs.
  • Back of running a shop.
  • Managing fleet budgets, internal services fund approach, lease/purchase pros and cons.
  • Guidelines for ethical fleet management.
Future trends:
  • Car sharing vs. owning fleet.
  • Converting fleets to electric.
  • Biometric logins.
  • Driverless truck technology.
  • New fuel requirements, alternative fuels management.

Grounds, Parks, and Urban Forestry Management

Technology uses and trends:
  • Tree inventory technologies: GPS systems, drones for canopy management.
  • Internet of things relating to parks and grounds management.
  • Computerized maintenance management systems.
  • Urban forestry plans: forestry practices and standards for maintenance.
  • ADA accessibility for parks and trails.
  • Utility issues: canopy issues and underground utilities, tree trimming and above-ground utilities, tree species that can be planted near utilities.
  • Emerald Ash Borer (EAB): strategies for obtaining funding for dealing with EAB; how are different agencies dealing with EAB?
  • Green infrastructure solutions for stormwater management, stormwater management through park design.
  • Trail construction and management.
Future trends:
  • Advances in solar lighting options.
  • Tree canopy and climate change.
  • Impacts of climate change, extreme weather, long-term droughts.
  • Maximizing ecosystem services, passive park lands, and educating users on their design and purpose.

Leadership, Professional Development, Workforce Solutions

  • Strategic planning and decision-making, bringing clarity to vision.
  • Using the community approach to deal with pace of change/technology use and integration.
  • Diversity and inclusion strategies: what is workplace diversity?
  • Managing and engaging staff from different generations.
  • How to stretch shrinking budgets by leveraging resources, shared services, shared equipment, mutual aid, shared facilities, grants, and technology solutions.
Professional development:
  • Developing presentation and communication skills.
  • Ethics for public works professionals at all levels.
  • Educating future leaders in the functional aspects of public works.
  • Building effective relationships (staff, team, client/contractor, etc.).
Workforce issues and solutions:
  • Succession planning: recruitment, retention, engagement.
  • Rethinking the performance management and evaluation process.
  • Developing programs to transfer knowledge and skills from retiring boomers to new workforce.
  • Balancing outsourced and in-house staff.
  • Staff development and retention programs.
  • Rethinking recruitment processes and onboarding needs.
Technology uses and trends:
  • Training software and technologies.
  • Computerized workforce management programs.
  • Asset management and benchmarking to inform levels of service.
Future trends:
  • Identifying, creating, and/or rebooting workplace culture: framing and implementing the change process, building capability and engagement.
  • More emphasis on finding a trained workforce for public works functions that require specialized skills but not necessarily college degrees.
  • Shared services and positions across communities.

Solid Waste Management

Technology uses and trends:
  • Advanced software for route planning, GPS routing systems, mobile apps for tracking in real-time.
  • Landfill technologies: bioreactors, emission measurement using drones, bio-covers, waste to energy technologies.
  • Circular economy strategies.
  • Composting—food waste.
  • Leaf pick-up programs.
  • Post-disaster debris management.
  • Managing solid waste contracts.
  • Solid waste management/sustainability and large events, such as Olympics, World Cup, and other large-scale events.
  • Organic collections.
Future trends:
  • Bans on plastics—establishing public policy.
  • Internet of things impact on collection and management.
  • Mining and reclamation in old landfills.


Technology uses and trends:
  • Electrification of fleets.
  • Localized climate modeling to inform infrastructure decisions and project selection.
  • One Water framework for sustainable water systems.
  • Triple bottom line software.
  • Creating the business case for sustainability/resiliency. Learning to understand the true life-cycle costs of implementing sustainability into projects vs. the costs of not doing so.
  • Incorporating social equity into decision-making.
  • Climate mitigation, changing decision-making to reduce impacts.
  • Impact of workforce diversity in building more sustainable solutions.
  • Green infrastructure. How do cities plan for resilient infrastructure?
  • Permeable pavements as a resilience strategy.
  • Climate adaptation for coastal areas, sea level rise.
Future trends:
  • Use of “green bonds” for infrastructure.
  • Using the internet of things/real-time data for decision-making.
  • Regulation of autonomous vehicles to reach city livability goals.
  • Building community resilience.
  • Building learning communities (how do we educate our community members to reach more informed outcomes?)
  • Public works and creating “circular economies.”

Transportation: (Streets/Roads/Bridges, Traffic Engineering, Bicycle/Pedestrian Infrastructure, Transit)

Technology uses and trends:
  • Driver feedback sensors.
  • Autonomous/connected vehicles.
  • Intelligent transportation systems.
  • New materials in pavement construction, use of fiberglass dowel bars.
  • Next-generation GPS, LiDAR.
  • Smart cities technologies and apps.
  • New technologies for making work zones safer, automated flagger assistance devices, portable traffic signal solutions, innovative use of reflective markers (under traffic cones).
  • Cybersecurity for traffic management systems and networks.
  • Use of tethered drones in active areas.
  • Innovative funding options for transportation projects: options to replace gas taxes, public/private partnerships, economic development programs, transportation corporations, revolving funds, TIFIA, federal funding, project streamlining.
  • Broadband implementation and expansion: new construction, existing utility tie-in, acquiring right-of-way, partnerships.
  • Infrastructure readiness for connected and autonomous vehicles.
  • Infrastructure for bikeable/walkable communities.
  • Infrastructure for mass transit.
  • Street takeovers—speed management, traffic calming.
  • Pedestrian and/or alternative transportation safety (bicycles, e-bikes, etc.) on rural roadways.
  • Equity in transportation.
  • Safe systems approach and successes.
  • Evaluating transportation impacts.
Future trends:
  • Autonomous/connected vehicles will change the face of infrastructure and how people live.
  • How will a mostly electric vehicle fleet change American infrastructure?
  • More bicycles, e-bikes, e-scooters, hoverboards.
  • Will driverless vehicles impact mass transit?
  • Traffic engineering for low-flying vehicles, delivery drones.
  • Solar roads, bike paths, sidewalks.

Transportation: (Winter Maintenance, Snow and Ice Control)

  • Snow and ice control methods and technologies.
  • Emergency management in severe winter events.
  • GPS/AVL uses.
  • Chemical, liquids usage and selection.

Utilities/Public Rights-of-Way Management

Technology uses and trends:
  • Subsurface utility engineering (SUE), drones for mapping SUE, ground-penetrating radar
  • AMI (advanced metering infrastructure) and internet of things for data gathering.
  • Trenchless technologies.
  • Real-time locating and field mapping technologies/tools.
  • Legislative proposals that preempt local zoning regulations allowing 5G “small cell” installation in the public rights-of-way or on public assets/facilities such as streetlights.
  • Cost of replacing or upgrading aging infrastructure.
  • Dealing with the jungle underground—separate cable systems, lines, borings.
  • Call before you dig; locating underground utilities.
  • Dig once policies—multiple telecommunication companies accessing ROW at different times.
  • Post installation inspection on stormwater utilities, using technology on new construction.
  • Right-of-way management: importance of regulatory authority.
  • Best practices around managing memorials in the public right-of-way.
Future trends:
  • Changes in the role of utility coordinators.
  • Small cell, 5G technology installations and their impact on the right-of-way.
  • Impact of drone technology and new right-of-way access laws.
  • Internet of things impact on collection and management.
  • Broadband deployment within cities and counties.

Water Resources: Stormwater

APWA’s Water Resources Management Committee will select presentations for the Public Works Stormwater Summit portion of PWX 2024. The Public Works Stormwater Summit occurs on Monday and Tuesday of PWX 2:00–5:00 p.m. each day. The committee will be selecting its themes for 2024 soon. Check back here for more information.

Water Resources: Potable/Drinking Water, Wastewater/Sewers

Technology uses and trends:
  • Trenchless technology for pipe repair and replacement.
  • Smart water meters.
Issues in need of solutions:
  • Climate change impacts on water quality.
  • Waters of the United States (WOTUS): Impacts of WOTUS rules on local projects and political support, state reactions to WOTUS rule changes.
  • Coastal management, sea level rise.
  • Renewable water resources, aquifer storage, and recovery.
  • Emergent contaminants, gray water, backflow prevention.
  • Drought conditions.
  • Microburst rainfall events and local flooding/flash flooding.
  • Nutrient reduction on agricultural land.
  • Crisis management—what to do when water isn’t safe to drink.
  • Water meter replacement programs, including options for when residents own the meter.
  • Strategies for complex project management.
  • Funding.
Future trends:
  • Combined water treatment plants for sanitary and potable water systems.
  • Aquifer storage recovery.
  • Expansion of water reuse technologies and approaches.

Education Session Formats:

Please review the options below for the type and length of format you may select. APWA offers seven different formats to ensure dynamic education sessions.

  1. Traditional Session: 50-minutes
  2. Traditional Session: 75-minutes
  3. Innovation Trends Presentations: (20 minutes each presenter)
  4. Jam Session: (50 minutes)
  5. Lightning Round: (75 minutes—three 20-minute presentations, 15 minutes for Q&A)
  6. Thought Leader Presentations: (20 minutes each presenter)
  7. Workshop: (120 minutes)

Learn more about education session formats.

How are education sessions selected?

Review criteria: All submissions are reviewed and evaluated by the PWX Program Review Committee.

Your success in the selection process depends on how well your proposal supports these primary criteria:

  • Practical application: Provides information that can be used by participants in their day-to-day work settings; offers lessons-learned, and how-to-do-it strategies, and offers solutions for sustainability and resiliency of public works operations.
  • Leading-edge: Addresses emerging trends and technologies, innovative concepts and approaches, and solutions that provide improvements to the provision of public works services.
  • Relevance and clarity: Content is interesting and useful to a significant number of expected attendees. Participant takeaways are clearly stated using active verbs that indicate how they will benefit from the information presented.
  • Participant takeaways: All proposals must include three (3) takeaways that indicate how the attendee will benefit from the presentation. The participant takeaways must be worded in response to the phrase: “At the conclusion of this session, participants will be better able to________”.

Get tips on writing a compelling session description.

View instructions on how to write appropriate participant takeaways.

What are the rules?

No sales pitches! Direct promotion of a speaker’s/company’s products, services, or monetary self-interest is not appropriate for education sessions. The public works audience appreciates learning about technologies, services, concepts, and new approaches but is sensitive to the sales promotion approach. We recommend that you describe in your proposal how the public works/end-user perspective will be featured in your presentation.

Speaker registration and travel expenses: APWA does not pay speakers of concurrent technical and professional education sessions. Speakers are responsible for making arrangements and paying for travel and other expenses associated with attending the conference. Speakers may qualify for a complimentary single-day registration. Speakers attending the full conference are expected to register and pay the appropriate member or non-member PWX registration fee.

When will I know?

Submitters will be notified via email of their proposal’s accept/decline status by Friday, February 16, 2024.

How do I apply?

Please read the following before clicking the button.

Important FYI: All correspondence sent to you about your submission(s) will be to the email address you list on the form. Please consider using a personal email address if you have a highly restrictive work email account or add as a trusted email address in your account. You will receive notification of submission via email.