The City of Kamloops is celebrating after winning two recent awards that recognize leadership and excellence in the field of public works.
Jen Fretz, the City’s Civic Operations Director, won the Women’s Public Works Ambassador Award through the Public Works Association of BC (PWABC), which recognizes accomplishments achieved through professional and community contributions and serving as a role model for other women to pursue public works professions. Fretz, who began working with the City in 2004 as the Environmental Services Manager, accepted the award at the Public Works Industry Awards Banquet on Tuesday, September 17, in Penticton, BC.
Working in a sector that has traditionally been male-dominated, Fretz became the City’s Public Works and Utilities Director (now Civic Operations) in 2015, bringing the experience necessary to lead a department that is responsible for public works administration, parks and facilities, capital projects, streets and environmental services, trades, and utilities services.
“Being recognized provincially by the PWABC demonstrates the level of respect Jen Fretz has earned in her roles and all that she has accomplished as the Civic Operations Director during her tenure,” said David Trawin, the City’s Chief Administrative Officer. “She is a great asset to the corporation and the community, and she truly epitomizes the corporate mission statement of Making Kamloops Shine.”
The City was also honoured with a Community Celebration Award (population under 100,000) by the PWABC for its Public Works Week Open House and Celebration—an interactive event that invites the community to experience the important work done by the City’s Civic Operations Department.
The Civic Operations management team was on hand to accept the award at the September 17 banquet.
“This award represents our department’s commitment to teamwork in creating a fun, informative, interactive event for all residents to enjoy and to learn more about the important work we do on a daily basis throughout the city,” said Fretz. “Our Public Works Open House and Community Celebration involves comprehensive planning and many volunteers with the goal of shining a light on the multi-faceted services we provide to improve quality of living in Kamloops.”
The open house, which attracted almost 500 people to the Civic Operations Yard on May 25, encouraged residents to learn about and participate in numerous activities related to infrastructure, transportation, facilities, utilities, green spaces, and more. Many of the activities were child-friendly, including “bridge building” with Capital Projects staff, planting seeds, painting planter boxes, exploring trucks and equipment, and taking aerial rides in the bucket truck.
The City hosts an open house during National Public Works Week every two years. The celebration includes activities that advance the importance of public works to daily living. This year, in addition to the open house, the City hosted tours of Civic Operations facilities and drop-in information sessions on careers in Public Works. The City also won the Community Celebration Award through PWABC in 2013.
The BC and Canadian Public Works Associations celebrate National Public Works Week each year during the third week in May to educate Canadians on the role of public works. This year’s theme, “It Starts Here”, showcased the aspects of public works that are integrated into our modern society, such as innovation, infrastructure, mobility, and security, all of which help to build healthy communities. Learn more at www.cpwa.net