Two City of Thomasville Public Works employees recently completed the steps necessary to earn their advanced certificate of public works management (CPWM) from the University of Georgia’s Carl Vinson Institute of Government. Stephen Stewart, Public Works Superintendent, and Denise Reichert, Cemetery Administrator, earned their certifications by completing 90 hours of classroom work over three years.
“This was a huge commitment of their time, and I’m very proud of both Stephen and Denise,” said Mike Atkinson, Director of Public Works. “Earning this certification benefits not only both Stephen and Denise, but also the City of Thomasville because it broadens their knowledge of public works management and how it is applied in our community.”
The Georgia CPWM program is offered in cooperation with the Georgia Chapter of the American Public Works Association (APWA) and requires participants to complete six modules, each lasting two and a half days. The modules are taught by both Institute of Government faculty and public works professionals and are designed to encourage professionalism, increase knowledge of effective management practices, and develop skills to help managers provide outstanding local government services.
“I’m very happy to have earned this certification,” said Stewart. “The courses that were included in the program gave me an opportunity to learn more about this field, and I’m looking forward to applying what I’ve learned locally.”
Reichert agrees, adding that the instructors of the program added to the overall experience. “Participating in this program gave me the opportunity to learn from experts in the public works field, which made the material more relevant,” she said.
Stewart adds that the opportunity to network with other public works professionals was also beneficial. “All of the modules were extremely relevant, but I especially enjoyed having the chance to talk with other people working in this field. We all have common concerns, and this training program gave us the chance to learn from each other as well as from our instructors.”
Reichert feels like this certification will benefit her in a more unique way. “Having this credential shows that while I may work in a male-dominated field, I have the knowledge and experience to provide exceptional customer service to my community.”
In order to maintain their certification, Stewart and Reichert will be required to complete 30 hours of elective courses on public works topics every three years.