CNAMer: Summer 2020 Issue
I am very honoured to have transitioned into the role of CNAM Chair during our Virtual Conference this past May. Hosting our Annual Conference virtually this year made the move to Chair unique as I did not have the opportunity to network with friends and colleagues or even meet in person with our new Board members to discuss key initiatives for the coming year, something that has happened following every Annual Conference. That being said, the Virtual Conference was incredible and, in my opinion, the best Asset Management event so far this year.
In March everyone’s world stopped. The change of pace from being in a traditional office to working from home has been both challenging and rewarding. Municipal leaders were forced to make difficult decisions to ensure public safety, but they were also forced at times to put their staff at risk to maintain and deliver critical services to citizens. Now, four months later, things appear to be improving and moving in the right direction across Canada. I have had the opportunity to get out and play some golf with friends and family, sit on a patio, and watch my kids get back to playing the sports they love, so some sense of normal has been restored.
However, I also recognize that municipalities are going to be faced with numerous challenges, the extent of which is still somewhat unknown. Having to do more with less and reprioritizing work has always been a major aspect of Asset Management. With the added challenge of now managing our organizations through the various upcoming stages of the pandemic recovery, more than ever it will require teamwork, perseverance and leadership.
A highlight from the past year was working with the Michigan Infrastructure Council (MIC) to deliver a customized asset management readiness assessment tool and Train-the-Trainer program. The Asset Management Readiness Assessment Scale, simply known as “The Scale,” embraces five asset management competencies – People and Leadership; Data and Information; Planning and Prioritization; Policy and Governance; and External Communication and Knowledge Sharing. Onsite training was successfully delivered to regional representatives followed by the successful deployment of “The Scale” across the state. The results will be used to guide regional and state policy and define milestones for improving competency and produce a consistent, measurable outcome that can be quantified and compared.
Collaboration is one of our strategic pillars so events like our virtual conference, webinars, workshops, and the ongoing development of our AM Competency Framework are critical for our members and our organizations. As part of the Municipal Asset Management Program (MAMP), we are conducting a national survey on the current needs and demands for workforce capacity and capability development of asset management in Canada. By completing the survey, it will help us understand gaps in organizational capacity and capabilities and guide our future program development. To get started or for more information visit; AM Capacity Needs Survey 2020.
I regularly ask staff why they enjoy doing the work they are doing and I am often given the answer “Because I feel like I am making a difference!”. By enabling municipal staff to make better decisions, I truly believe the work we are all doing to advance Asset Management is and will continue to make the communities we live in better.
I am looking forward to an exciting and busy year for CNAM, embracing change and making the most of our many opportunities. On behalf of my fellow board members, it’s a pleasure to look ahead to a future for our organization that is brighter than ever, knowing that we have strength in numbers which will serve us all well in the months ahead.