December 2015

Thank you to all who attended and exhibited at the N.Y.S. Highway & Public Works Expo in October in Syracuse. And thank you for helping make this year’s expo the best-attended one in its 21-year history. We understand how busy all of you are and taking a few hours out of your schedule with your crews and spending that time with us at the expo is something that we’re extremely grateful for. Hopefully the strong turnout and the high number of exhibitors is an indicator of good things to come for all of us in this industry. Please see page 48 for coverage of the Expo.

With this being the December issue it is, in effect, the “holiday” issue. But you’ll find no Christmas or Hanukkah stories in the pages here; it is, after all, a publication that focuses on the great work all of you do as superintendents and commissioners for your departments across New York State. You could say that you give gifts all year long to your residents by providing them with clear, safe roads, along with the many other important quality-of-life services. What I try to do in this column is at least pay respect and some attention to the season as a whole.

In the past, I’ve written in this column about some of the things we’d like to get for holidays, like a long-term highway bill, appropriate funding and so on — kind of the Santa approach to the holidays. But the older I get and the more things I see, all of us see, like what happened in Paris in November and what seems to be an ever-flowing stream of tragedies, the less it feels appropriate to ask and hope for anything except for the health and well being of our families and friends.

It feels hokey even writing that; it’s like a variation of the “What do you want for Christmas” question and the answer is “world peace” — which we never get anyway. I think it feels silly to say or ask that our families and friends stay safe and well because it should go without saying. But just about everybody, including me, wants something we don’t have, especially this time of year. It’s easy to forget what we already have, what many, but not all, of us have been fortunate enough to still have. My hope for all of you and your families, as well as mine, is that for this holiday season, what matters most is not what’s under the tree, but who’s gathered around it.

Have a safe, beautiful holiday season.

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