Continental Snow Conference descends downtown


A snow plow does its best to clear a road for drivers. Courtesy Thinkstock

No, the white stuff shouldn’t be falling, but it will be the main topic of conversation for more than 1,500 snow fighters coming to Grand Rapids for a conference on battling snow.

The American Public Works Association, or APWA, will hold its 2015 North American Snow Conference, “The Show for Snow,” on April 12-15 at DeVos Place.

Snow and ice management professionals from local and state transportation and public works departments from across the U.S. and Canada will be attending.

Snow show

The association said that with "the severe winter experience this year," attendees will have the opportunity to share how they’ve managed to keep their citizens safe and communities functioning in "unprecedented" ice and snow.

The conference will feature a “concentrated collection of industry-leading snow and ice education sessions.”

Additionally, vendors will line the exhibit floor, showcasing the latest technologies and equipment for fighting snow.

The show will feature the largest exhibit floor in Snow Conference history, with more than 190 companies and 440 booths, said Peter King, executive director, APWA.

Attendees will have the opportunity to learn about products and services focused on snow and ice removal, winter road maintenance, fleet operations, emergency management and sustainability in winter operation.

Local tours

On Wednesday, April 15, from 8 a.m. to noon, two technical tours will be offered.

Conference attendees can visit Gerald R. Ford International Airport to learn about its extensive winter maintenance efforts.

The airport is the second-largest airport in Michigan with three runways and numerous taxiways, which must be maintained to serve 24 non-stop destinations and provide air service for more than two million passengers a year.

On average, the airport receives 82" of snow annually and relies on in-house staff and contractors to clear the 1.6 million square yards of paved surfaces, including the airfield, 40-lane miles of roads and surface lots accommodating about 6,500 cars.

Attendees can also visit the city of Kentwood’s Public Works facility to learn about the community’s winter operations and truck fabrication.

Representatives from the Michigan Department of Transportation, Kent County Road Commission, cities of Kentwood, Grand Rapids, Grandville, Walker, Wyoming and East Grand Rapids will be on hand at the facility to display their latest snow-fighting equipment.

They will each explain their collaboration throughout the winter months to ensure a consistent level of service.

The association

The American Public Works Association is based in Kansas City and has more than 28,500 members involved in the public works industry.

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