Public Works Certificate

Collage of public works activities: monitoring gas main, snow plow, road work sign, water treatment testing
  • Cost: $650 per course | $3,250 for all five courses
  • Courses: Five noncredit courses
  • Credits: 30 contact hours per course | 3.0 CEUs
  • Location: U of M Saint Paul campus, Continuing Education and Conference Center. Free parking!
  • Audience: Public works supervisors and managers new to management roles, managers who wish to sharpen their skills and build their confidence, and public works employees preparing for advancement.
  • Webinars: CCAPS offers free webinars on a variety of topics to help you hone your business acumen. Catch up on past webinars, or attend the next live webinar "The Psychology of Change for Project Managers" on March 14 at noon.

Practical Skills for Public Works Professionals

This certificate will focus on the management of local public works organizations and operations. The course material will be delivered by public works professionals. This program is designed to further your understanding of:

  • organization and functions of public works and public works professionals
  • technical functions undertaken by public works professionals, with emphasis on roadway design, construction, and maintenance
  • advanced concepts in public works operations and maintenance
  • effective creation and delivery of workplace and technical documents.

The Public Works Certificate is offered in collaboration with the American Public Works Association—Minnesota ChapterThose who finish all five courses will be awarded a certificate of completion from APWA-MN.

APWA-MN logo


Attendance Policy

Students are allowed one (1) absence per class. A second absence from the class will require the student to satisfactorily complete make-up work assigned by the course instructor. A third absence will result in failure of the class.

This course meets: Sept 11, 18, 25; Oct 2, 9 16, 23, 30; and Nov 6, 13

Public Works Management and Communication focuses on all aspects of management and communications in public works departments, and on the supervisor's role in managing the internal relationships within government systems. It is designed to familiarize the student with general communication principles such as public relations; handling complaints; use of written communications (e.g., email); dealing with difficult people; techniques for screening, interviewing, and hiring new employees; and using social media and dealing with the print and TV media. Students will learn public speaking skills necessary to conduct public meetings and gain citizen acceptance of programs or projects that would be expected of a public works leadership position. Other topics include evaluating strengths and weaknesses via a personality profile and understanding the differences in communication styles between all generations and personality types. The course prepares public works frontline employees for advancement in their careers and attaining a management and leadership position within the public works field.

Instructor: Dave Hutton, Senior Project Manager, SEH, Inc.

Dave Hutton photo

Dave Hutton has 40 years in the public works/engineering profession, having graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1978 with a civil engineering degree. His past experiences include a combination of public and private sector employment. He spent 16 years in the government sector for the cities of Savage, Shakopee, and West Bend, WI. He served as public works director for the cities of Savage and Shakopee from 1988−2000. Since 2000, he has worked in the private sector consulting field, working exclusively on city projects and serving as client service manager and consultant city engineer for municipalities. Currently he is a senior project manager for SEH, Inc., in Minnetonka, MN. He is a registered Professional Engineer in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and North Dakota. He is past president of APWA-MN (2010) and won the Hugo Erickson award in 2017, the highest award for service to the chapter. He is married to Michele and they have six adult children and seven grandchildren.

This course meets: Sept 12, 19, 26; Oct 3, 10 17, 24, 31; and Nov 7, 14

Office and Professional Skills for Public Works provides an introduction to the office and professional communication skills needed for public works professionals. Course emphasis is on basic writing principles, planning, organizing, and preparing and delivering effective workplace and technical communication when engaging with the general public and elected officials. Specific types of communication skills may include field construction reports, interoffice memorandums and communication, document summaries, and verbal presentations. Students will be introduced to basic office applications that will be used in the preparation of documents used by public works professionals.

Instructor: Eric Johnson, Construction Inspector

Eric Johnson photo

Eric Johnson is a 1993 graduate of the University of Wisconsin−Eau Claire with a BA in secondary English education. He has taught both exposition and literature courses during his years as a high school English teacher. Eric has most recently worked as a construction inspector for Professional Engineering Services. Over the last 20 years, Eric has worked on many municipal projects throughout the Metro including: the Guthrie Theater, Target Field, Highway 212, the Central Corridor and SW Corridor Light Rail projects, the 35E MnPASS project, HWY 610, various METC sewer rehab projects, and Saint Paul Metro Waste Water Treatment Plant renovation. He carries multiple MnDOT inspection certifications as well as the national CIPP inspection certification through NASCO.

This course meets: Sept 13, 20, 27; Oct 4, 11 18, 25; and Nov 1, 8, 15

Public Works Operations and Maintenance relates to the delivery of services that improve the quality of life within our communities. Public works operations are a critical provider of the public services that affect the health, safety, enjoyment, and prosperity of our residents. We generally do this by providing services relating to water/sewer, streets, parks/facilities, and the environment. The course identifies the equipment and personnel resources needed to carry out these functions in an effective and efficient way. Discussions will include factors that should be considered when making choices relating to preventative versus reconstruction of infrastructure, rent versus purchasing of equipment, and contracting versus in-house use of personnel to provide services.

Instructor: Brian Bachmeier, Public Works Director/City Engineer, City of Oakdale

Brian Bachmeier photo

Brian Bachmeier holds a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and a master’s degree in public administration. He has been a Registered Professional Engineer for 31 years, with 34 years of experience in delivering public works services. Brian has served 20 years as a public works director. He is married with two sons; during his downtime he enjoys golfing, motorcycling, woodworking, and studying history.

This course meets: Feb 19, 26; Mar 5, 12, 19, 26; and Apr 2, 9, 16, 23

Public Works Organization and Administration is designed to familiarize the student with the administration and operation of a public works department. It provides insight into planning, financing, purchasing, budgeting, and management of public works organizations through a general overview of public works and its organizational structure, function, responsibilities, internal relationships, and financing mechanisms within governmental systems.

Instructor: Will Manchester, PE, Director of Engineering/City Engineer, City of Minnetonka

Will Manchester photo

Will Manchester oversees the design, management, construction, and financing of the infrastructure for the City of Minnetonka. Prior to that, he worked as a consultant engineer managing municipal and private development projects, where he was responsible for surveying, inspection, design, and client management. Will’s experience working on projects in both the public and private sectors allows him to develop quick and effective solutions to challenges for projects of all sizes. Will is an active member of the City Engineers Association of Minnesota (CEAM), including serving on the executive board from 2014−2015 and the annual conference planning committee. He is also an active member of the Minnesota Public Works Association (MPWA). Will earned a degree in civil engineering from the University of North Dakota in 2001 and is a licensed engineer in the state of Minnesota.

This course meets: Feb 21, 28; Mar 7, 14, 21, 28; and Apr 4, 11, 18, 25

Technical Aspects of Public Works reviews the basic principles of public works engineering functions and overviews materials, methods, and attributes used in public works projects. Subjects covered include soils, aggregates, bitumin, concrete, utilities, plan review, traffic counts, flexible pavement design, erosion control, surveying, public land survey, construction methods, basic project management, contracts, bidding, and records.

Instructor: Jon Watson, Public Utilities Superintendent, City of Brooklyn Park

Jon Watson profile photo

Jon Watson has a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Minnesota and has been a professional engineer for 20 years. He also holds state water and sewer licenses. Jon has over 35 years of experience in public works and been the public utilities superintendent for the city of Brooklyn Park for the past 20 years.