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Training & Education

Conference schedule

All conference sessions and events are at the Hilton Vancouver Washington Convention Center, 301 W. 6th Street, Vancouver, WA 98660, unless otherwise noted.
Subject to change.

Tuesday, June 20

3 – 6 pm

AWC Registration Kiosk

5:30 – 7 pm

President's Welcome Reception
Light appetizers and hosted bar; dinner on your own

Wednesday, June 21

6:30 – 7:30 am

Wellness activity: Mindful walking for everyone

7:30 am – 6 pm

AWC Registration Kiosk

8 am – 5 pm

Exhibit Hall

8 – 9:30 am

Continental breakfast

10 – 11:30 am

Mobile tour/Early start sessions

Vancouver’s Main Street
Explore the heart of downtown Vancouver through this tour of lower Main Street. In the last several years, this area has experienced significant new investment, including a renovated public plaza and new bus rapid transit system, an influx of new breweries and restaurants, and several community-led public art projects. Staff from Vancouver’s Downtown Association will be on hand to describe how events and programs, including their popular First Friday Art Walk, have brought new energy to downtown. The tour will also showcase new tech and creative firms that have moved to downtown to join the City of Vancouver-led Innovation Partnership Zone.

Chaos to communication: How to navigate the world of news, both real and fake!
This interactive session gives you instant feedback on how you can avoid some very common mistakes elected officials make when talking to the media. During the workshop, you have the option to get filmed answering a series of typical questions. The session is relatively painless and you get immediate feedback on what makes you look good on camera.

Federal legislative issues update
This session focuses on current and emerging federal legislative issues that affect cities. Specific topics of discussion include sanctuary cities, internet sales tax, infrastructure and more.

10 – 11 am

Early start session

Conference orientation: Tips to get the most from AWC’s Annual Conference
This early start session prepares you to make the most out of Annual Conference! Meet your Association CEO, President, Vice President and AWC staff while networking with newcomers and old-timers alike. Don’t forget your business cards and join us for this energetic start to AWC’s Annual Conference!

Noon – 1:30 pm

Welcome and opening lunch
Parade of flags
Keynote: Embracing innovation: What does it mean for cities?

Cities need help rethinking issues, reimagining outcomes and capitalizing on new possibilities. Pablos Holman is a futurist, inventor and notorious hacker and one of the rare technologists who can both understand and explain new technologies and their potential. Discover some of the technology trends and drivers that are pressing municipalities large and small into being innovative.

Pablos Holman is a futurist, inventor, and notorious hacker. Pablos is a sought after speaker with an incredible ability to explain complex technology to any audience. He helped create the world's smallest PC; 3D printers at Makerbot; & spaceships with Jeff Bezos. Currently, Pablos is working for Nathan Myhrvold & Bill Gates at the Intellectual Ventures Laboratory inventing solutions to the world's biggest problems.

2 – 3 pm

Concurrent sessions

Building relationships with tribal neighbors – Part 1
This two-part series explores basic legal frameworks that set the stage for understanding, collaboration and potential partnerships between cities and native communities. This session covers a wide range of topics, laying the foundation for a path towards clear communication.

Community in bloom: Including the neighborhood
Neighborhoods in our cities are becoming more diverse. How do we include persons with different cultures and who speak different languages in our communities? Discover how inclusion benefits our work on everything from public services to zoning. And find out what principles and planning are required to meet HUD’s guidelines.

Innovation Q&A with Pablos Holman
Do you have questions for Pablos after hearing his keynote address? Take advantage of this opportunity to ask questions of a notorious inventor, futurist and hacker residing here in our own state! Pablos works on invention projects that assimilate new technologies – making wild ideas a bit more practical and vice versa. He helped create the world’s smallest PC; 3D printers at Makerbot; spaceships with Jeff Bezos; mosquito zapping lasers with Bill Gates; artificial intelligence agent systems; and the Hackerbot, a Wi-Fi seeking robot. He is also an advisor to the biggest crowdfunding campaign in history, raising $27 Million in 30 days, for the 3D printer – Glowforge. Bring your questions and prepare to learn more.

Introduction to the Tukwila Police Department's Community Liaison Team
Review strategies and lessons learned during the development and implementation of Tukwila PD’s Community Liaison Team. We will discuss tactics used to develop relationships with people and organizations within the city to more effectively interact with diverse populations. We will also discuss ways to build trust with communities that have previously had poor interactions with law enforcement in their home countries.

Keys to effective strategic planning in your city
The first few months of each new year are turning points for our cities. Newly elected officials are entering office, a new budget is in effect, and new goals are being pursued. This is often the time cities do their collective thinking in traditional goal-setting or strategic-planning sessions. Now is the time to plan and prepare for your next strategic-planning session.

Rate setting fundamentals and getting the most out of your utility financial program
This presentation highlights the concepts, principles, and best practices of utility rate making. Learn the fundamentals of rate setting for a wide range of scenarios and customers including residential, commercial, industrial, irrigation, and wholesale. Hear a number of perspectives that reflect the true cost-of-system operations and cost-recovery in proportion to how costs are incurred by various customers on the system. Emphasis is placed on developing rates that reflect current trends, regulatory drivers and innovation. Explore the four stages of the cost-of-service rate setting process including fiscal policy development, revenue requirement analysis, cost-of-service evaluation, and rate design.

3 – 3:15 pm


3:15 – 4:30 pm

Mobile tours/Concurrent sessions

Every tree tells a story: Arboreal tour in Esther Short Park
Established in 1853, Esther Short Park is the oldest public park in Washington State. This iconic town square hosts a children’s playground, a rose garden, and a huge fountain – but the park’s celebrities are the trees! Come join us for a walk in the park and hear about its trees, rich history, and bright future.

Walking tour of Vancouver Waterfront
Vancouver’s waterfront is loaded with development possibilities. Begin your walking tour on Columbia Way and learn about the newly-completed $51 million public investment in infrastructure on this former Brownfield site. Then, view the 32-acre site being developed by Columbia Waterfront, LLC and hear updates on the $1.5 billion mixed-use development. End the tour at the Port of Vancouver’s master-planned waterfront development.

Be your own auditor
During this session you will have the opportunity to meet Pat McCarthy, the first woman elected State Auditor. Pat has served for decades in local government, most recently as the twice-elected executive of Pierce County. She will present her vision for the Office of the State Auditor, including building positive relationships with cities and other local governments while staying true to the Office’s values of independence and transparency.

Building relationships with tribal neighbors – Part 2
As sovereign nations, tribal governments have certain rights and powers that can affect the state’s authority on and off tribal land. This session looks at how legal rights interact and intersect between local, state, and tribal governments.

Growing your city’s innovation: Innovation partnerships at work!
This session focuses in on several cities’ initiatives to grow their local innovation economy through strategic partnerships among business, education, and government. From Redmond’s Operations Innovations (ROI) Fund to Seattle’s MetroLab Network partnership to bring data, analytics, and innovation to city government, Washington communities large and small will learn about best practices and lessons learned from cities’ innovation at work. Beyond Washington, the panel also includes insights from the City of Surrey, BC on its Innovation Boulevard – an economic development partnership to create new health technologies to improve people’s lives, as well as applied innovation perspectives on Bloomberg’s What Works Cities initiative from Gresham, OR and across the country.

Talk to your lobbyists
This standing-room-only favorite is back to bring you insights from the AWC legislative advocacy staff on city-related legislation and an entertaining and educational review of the 2017 legislative session. The long legislative session will either have just concluded or be days away from finally ending.

5:30 – 7 pm

Evening Reception at Esther Short Park
Light appetizers and hosted bar; dinner on your own

Thursday, June 22

6:30 – 8 am

Wellness activity: AWC Fun Run and Walk

6:30 am – 5:30 pm

AWC Registration Kiosk

6:30 – 8:30 am

Networking breakfast

8 am – 3 pm

Exhibit Hall open

9:15 – 10:15 am

General session: Times are uncivil and residents don’t want to engage. How do we fix it?
Polarization in the political process and among elected officials is more contentious than ever before, and it’s making governing hard. Effective decision-making depends on collaboration and inclusive public engagement. Government works best when a well-informed community takes part in the process. This session shows you how to get there using best practices.

Speaker: Carolyn N. Long, Sam Reed Distinguished Professor in Civic Education and Public Civility, Washington State University Vancouver

10:15 – 10:45 am

Exhibit break

10:30 – 11:45 am

Mobile tour

LEED us to the gold: Vancouver’s LEED gold certified city hall
Explore the City of Vancouver’s LEED Gold Certified City Hall building and hear the story of how the building is saving money and natural resources. In 2011, the city consolidated five separate buildings housing hundreds of employees into the new city hall. The move is saving the city approximately $1 million per year in facility lease and maintenance costs. The building’s remarkable design also saves on water, power, and other precious resources. Tour guides explain how water and energy efficiency play their part in this beautiful and state-ofthe-art building.

10:45 – 11:45 am

Concurrent sessions

The future of smart technology: What cities need to know
Broadband infrastructure is getting more compact and abundant in our communities. The broadband industry will be investing billions to meet the growing demand for faster speed internet, in both the wired and wireless space. The installation of a nationwide interoperable first responder network dedicated solely to public safety communications will be included in this investment. Get the latest on what’s happening in the world of technology investment.

Innovative community engagement techniques
Successfully engaging your community members is one of the many difficult challenges facing local government. Everyone is so busy these days that it’s becoming increasingly harder to get them involved in your important city activities. Instead of the traditional method of holding public meetings and hearings at city hall, however, local governments are starting to use new and innovative techniques to reach out to their residents and business leaders. This session provides numerous examples of specific engagement techniques, including many that are technology-based. The City of Olympia will be featured as a “case study” city that is using innovative approaches to connect with its community members.

Lessons learned from an officer-involved shooting in Pasco
On February 10, 2015, three Pasco police officers fatally shot a Hispanic person who had been throwing rocks at passing cars, pedestrians, and officers. A passing motorist took a cellphone video at the end of the incident where the individual was shot and killed by officers. This video went viral and national media attention quickly followed. Neighboring agencies conducted a thorough investigation and the DOJ reviewed the incident. Protests and marches followed over the next several months. The police chief and city manager met with the victim’s family at the scene of the incident and worked together to plan a peaceful protest. Learn what the agency did before and after the incident to contain the situation and to maintain and improve the relationship with the community.

What is this about a new kind of park?
Cities throughout the state are looking at building a new type of park. This new form is not about ball fields and verdant natural areas but rather about community events, festivals, public markets, and performances. This reflects an increasing desire by people, both Millennials and post-children Boomers, to live within walking distance of amenities and activities. This trend indicates a need for managing ongoing programming to encourage lively activities, many choices, and personal security. See several examples that are being built or designed and hear multiple perspectives from designers, advocates, and public clients. Join as we posit some provocative questions and seek participation from the audience.

Why can’t we just get along? A candid discussion of the roles and responsibilities of the executive and legislative branches of government
From the historic roots, to the current structure for the various forms of Washington city governments, this session addresses the sometimes-conflicting roles of the council-as-legislature and the mayor/city manageras-chief executive. Learn specific examples of conflicts and the resulting exposures to cities. This is a challenging session with candid observations about how divisions in governance and governance styles may impact the effective work of cities and towns.

11:45 am – Noon


Noon – 1 pm

Center for Quality Communities fundraising lunch
Join us as we honor this year’s scholarship winners and continue our efforts to raise funds that nurture young community members to take on new leadership roles.

1 – 1:30 pm


1:15 – 2:30 pm

Mobile tour

From flush to finish: Marine Park Wastewater Treatment Plant
Marine Park Wastewater Treatment Plant is the newer of the two Vancouver treatment plants. Built in 1995, it incorporates a highly-engineered design for both wastewater treatment and aesthetics. The plant is designed to treat 16 million gallons of wastewater per day. It currently treats about 10 million gallons, about half of the wastewater generated in Vancouver’s sewer collection system. The plant is sited in a parklike setting with nearby parks, wetlands, and residential housing. The plant is also situated below a ridge with many homes overlooking it, yet the plant was designed and built so that no neighbors can see open water tanks.

1:30 – 2:30 pm

Concurrent sessions

Ask MRSC: Legal and financial do’s and don’ts (repeated Friday)
Find out some of the most frequently asked questions from local government officials that the Municipal Research and Services Center (MRSC) responds to throughout the year.

Local $$ local sense: Local investment to stimulate main street
AWC, in partnership with WSU Extension, has piloted and grown local investment networks throughout the state to stimulate investment in our main streets. The project develops a network complete with field guide and materials to connect businesses that need money with investors that want to invest in their community. This presentation includes a higher-level overview on investing locally and its impact on local businesses.

Safety in public facilities
In response to increased reporting of what’s now termed “active threat scenarios,” public institution leaders have increased their focus on the safety of their residents, staff, and facilities. In addition to ensuring proper response training and heightened awareness, the building environment itself can play a role in keeping people safe. The challenge with building safety is that traditional security measures can close down an open and welcoming environment that is essential to community relations and customer service. In this presentation, we discuss some of the real threats that face public institutions and a range of strategies that can reinforce the safe and welcoming environment essential to an engaged democracy.

Youth and young adult homelessness in Washington State
This session is an overview of the Washington landscape related to youth and young adult homelessness. Learn about recent developments that put Washington in a unique position to end youth and young adult homelessness. The workshop includes an introduction and update to the Office of Homeless Youth and A Way Home – Washington’s public-private partnership to prevent and end youth and young adult homelessness.

2:30 – 2:45 pm


2:45 – 3:45 pm

Concurrent sessions/mobile tours

GIS: Building smarter communities
A Geographic Information System (GIS) is an integral tool for cities. It enables efficient and effective planning across all city departments, provides a coherent overview for city management, and allows for increased engagement with citizens. This session teaches city officials how to effectively implement and improve the use of GIS resources in their community. The presentation includes case studies from AWC members across the state that describe specific GIS applications they have deployed to address city issues. Potential case studies include an interactive permitting tool created for the City of Sammamish, a GIS strategic plan developed for the City of Mukilteo, and GIS support for updating the City of Langley’s Comprehensive Plan. Learn about the AWC GIS Consortium member program, which provides GIS services to cities at an affordable rate.

How does one plus one equal thousands?
When classroom meets community, sustainability takes on a new dimension. Western Washington University and the University of Washington are engaging with cities in a new way. City Year partnerships infuse new energy and perspectives, and create solutions that address challenging city issues. The program is a nationally successful model that has now come to Washington, connecting multidisciplinary classes and thousands of student hours with specific city projects.

Professional city management: What? Why? & When?
Discover the types or forms of professional city management including the council/manager form, and the option of employing a city administrator. The panel members present their city’s experience with professional management. They touch on “what” this professional is expected to bring to the city, “why” their city chose their preferred form, and “when,” a critically important question of timing change. Panelists include mayors and managers/administrators from small to mid-sized communities which have implemented this change.

Retain and strengthen your business mix
This interactive session focuses on best practices and resources for any community that wants to create a stronger economic development strategy.

Winning at the Robert’s Rules game
Once you’ve got the basics of Robert’s Rules of Order, can you make meeting procedure work for you? This lively and interactive session gives you the chance to sharpen your skills in a fun and non-threatening environment. Follow along through different scenarios as participants raise a red flag when something goes awry. Take your game to the next level and have fun while doing it!

3:45 – 4 pm


4 – 5:45 pm

AWC Annual Business Meeting

5:45 – 7:30 pm

Exhibitor Reception
Appetizers and hosted bar; dinner on your own

6 – 8:30 pm

AWC RMSA Annual Meeting & Dinner

Friday, June 23

6:30 – 7:30 am

Wellness activity: Urban wellness safari for health, happiness, and wellbeing

6:30 – 8:30 am

Networking breakfast

6:30 – 10:30 am

AWC Registration Kiosk

8:45 – 9:45 am

Concurrent sessions

Ask MRSC: Legal and financial do’s and don’ts (repeat session)
Find out some of the most frequently asked questions from local government officials that the Municipal Research and Services Center (MRSC) responds to throughout the year.

Constructive conversations: Building a strong foundation one conversation at a time
This lively and interactive session equips participants with valuable communication tools to build strong partnerships. The one-hour interactive presentation is for every person who wishes to use communication tools to achieve success with their municipal and professional partners.

Hiring & firing – What mayors & councilmembers need to know to get it right
Choosing a city manager or city administrator is one of the most important decisions mayors and councils make. This session discusses some key factors for developing a good selection process and hiring the best candidate for your city.

Municipal borrowing: What elected officials need to know about issuing debt
Did you know that recent SEC enforcement actions relating to municipal bonds have included investigations of mayors and other elected officials? This presentation helps you understand the basic legal structures for borrowing by Washington cities and how city leaders can avoid pitfalls. Explore the roles of city elected officials and executives and the other players in a financing transaction. Focusing on recent developments, this session addresses lessons learned from recent enforcement efforts by both the IRS and SEC, including understanding the responsibilities of city staff and elected officials after a bond transaction closes.

Organizational change through empathy
This interactive session introduces the Poverty Immersion 1.0 and 2.0 – tools for cities seeking to improve services and outreach to low income residents by building a foundation for personal, professional and organizational change.

Understanding the new streamlined business licensing requirements
Over the last year, cities and the business community participated in a task force on streamlining city business licenses and taxes. The resulting legislation, EHB 2005, is now law. Compare the two options for city business license administration and hear about new task forces on business license thresholds and local B&O tax service apportionment.

9:45 – 10 am


10 – 11 am

Concurrent sessions

Advocacy Academy: How to engage with your state Legislature
Learn to work the Legislature like a pro. Hear from an AWC lobbyist about key tips and tricks for working with your legislators. Discover what kind of resources AWC has to help, and walk away with suggestions for influencing legislation by working together with legislators.

Digital inclusion
Access to the 21st century world is changing rapidly every day. The Internet of Things is upon us and as this new technology evolves, it’s changing the way citizens are educated, communicate, access news, apply for jobs, and connect with your community. At the same time and pace, for the more venerable members of the community, keeping up with the rapid technology revolution is very difficult. Some community members struggle with the price of service, affording quality computer equipment, and even finding no relevancy in getting involved in this new digital world.

Leading optimistically
Rigorous research shows that optimism is a learned trait, not something we are born with. Optimism has been shown to dramatically impact the teams we are a part of and the team we lead. This session provides a proven method to improve one’s optimism; evaluates optimism ‘killers’; and analyzes five case studies on optimism from the world of professional sports, business, elections, and others.

Understanding pipeline safety in your community
Proposed pipelines and high-profile pipeline disaster news stories have popped up frequently in recent years. Populated areas of Washington State are home to nearly 2,800 miles of large, high-pressure hazardous liquid and natural gas pipelines. These pipelines pose a risk to local communities, but often elected officials, administrators, and city planners are not aware of this risk, and have done little to plan for ways to reduce this risk. Over the past 15 years the Transportation Research Board, the National Transportation Safety Board, the Pipeline and Informed Planning Alliance, and the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission have all recognized this risk and have developed materials for local governments to use to help reduce the risk resulting from a low probability pipeline failure.

Updated: 6/7/17