On December 4, more than 30 cross-departmental staff from Hennepin County Public Works attended a Research Summit at the University of Minnesota, where representatives from Hennepin County and the U of M shared research and discussed the future of public works. CTS helped to organize and host the inaugural event in partnership with Hennepin County, the Center of Innovation and Excellence, and other U of M departments.
The summit provided an opportunity for collaboration and networking—and offered information to help attendees prioritize projects and address barriers to better serve the community.
The event kicked off with a keynote speech from Tom Fisher, CTS Scholar and director of the U’s Metropolitan Design Center. Themes from Fisher’s presentation included making mobility a service, making streets a place to gather and exercise, creating healthy communities, and an upside-down paradigm shift in solid waste management. Summit participants then participated in facilitated conversations about patterns and trends in the industry and prioritizing and aligning research needs.
“Overall, I thought it was a well-attended and successful event that met all of our goals,” Elizabeth Tolzmann, one of the planners of the event at Hennepin County Public Works. “I heard from people at the summit talking about how valuable the presentation was, how much they learned, and how they’ve connected with the University of Minnesota representatives. In fact, people were still mingling half an hour after the event, and we found two more strategies to expand our workforce recruitment efforts from our learnings at the Summit.”