Last month, a new IPWEA NZ Scholarship for 2022/23 was created and confirmed. The recipient of the Senior Professional Scholarship will receive full registration to attend the American Public Works Association’s Public Works Expo, Ready and Resilient, in-person which is being held in North Carolina, USA in August 2023.

IPWEA NZ are pleased to announce that Kelly LaValley has been awarded the IPWEA NZ Senior Professional Scholarship for 2022/33.

The selection committee were very impressed with Kelly’s application – and her passion for finding new ways of delivering outcomes to our communities, to find and improve touch points between people, the environment and technology. She believes that the rapid changes in the current climate, economic, and social environment come with the opportunity to create new ways of thinking that will assist in delivery outcomes that our communities expect.

We asked Kelly a few questions about how she is feeling about the upcoming Public Works Expo in USA and her feedback session she is planning to present at the Inspiring the Next Generation Conference in Rotorua in June 2023.

Q: How does Ready and Resilient speak to you in your work here in NZ?

A: We have been challenged recently across New Zealand and certainly in North Canterbury with an increasing number of challenges to our Business As Usual.  This has been from natural events, such as heavy rains, floods, and damaging effects of high winds, high growth rates and the resulting pressures on infrastructure, and impending changes to our regulatory framework and service delivery model (Three Waters reform).  As a result it is more important than ever that our infrastructure, people, and systems are resilient and ready for the challenges and changes that are here currently and on their way.  These challenges are not unique to New Zealand and it is hugely beneficial to be able to understand what is happening in the sector across the world with learnings brought back to New Zealand that can be shared across the public works engineering sector.

Q: What are your areas of interest as you head to the conference?

A: In considering the Ready and Resilient theme, I am most looking forward to the topics relating to stormwater and flooding as we have experienced significant flooding events recently that are becoming more severe and frequent.  There is also a greater public expectation of service in these flooding events that are challenging our current levels of service.  We also need to be considering the “greening” of our infrastructure and how this can play a part in stormwater and flooding events that also has the dual benefit of amenity and reduction of climate change impacts.

I am also looking forward to the topics relating to transport and preparedness for future transport innovations.  Modes of transport are evolving rapidly with the rise of electric vehicles, scooters, and driverless vehicles.  Our transport networks are not yet ready for these changes.  I am looking forward to hearing about how transport innovations are being considered in the design of urban areas so that infrastructure built today will remain fit for purpose well into the future.

Q: What are you most looking forward to about the conference?

A: I am most looking forward to the technical sessions as well as the networking opportunities.  In discussions with peers at the conference I am hoping to establish connections in the industry that will be beneficial across the public works sector long after the conference is over where learnings can continue to be shared putting industry best practice into action.

Congratulations Kelly!