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by Nora Daley-Peng, ASLA, AICP, LEED AP BD+C
2019 Jennings Randolph International Fellow, Finland

Meet Tina. She is a bike ambassador for the City of Helsinki who operates a bike repair station right behind Helsinki’s downtown train station. I met Tina during my 2019 Jennings Randolph study tour of Helsinki’s mobility network. Tina’s talent for connecting with people makes her a great ambassador. We hit it off right away when she shared her familiarity with Seattle – my home city. She has a fond memory of playing ice hockey in Seattle during her youth.

When it comes to mobility, one of the many things Helsinki gets right is giving out free information and small bike repairs to both novice and veteran bike riders. Need air for your tires? Got trouble with your bike chain? Need bike-friendly directions to the sauna? Get the to a bike station!

To set me up for a day of cycling in the city, Tina recommended that I download Helsinki’s bike app called HSL which lets you plan trips and purchase tickets for the City’s a bikeshare program (City Bikes) as well as public transportation.

Always looking for ways to improve, Tina asked me for feedback about City Bikes. I suggest expanding the fleet to include kid-sized bikes as current City Bikes are built for adults. Tina’s wheels immediately start turning. She says that you have to be 16 or older to ride a City Bikes but perhaps there’s an opportunity to add a seat or a wagon to the standard bike to accommodate family bike rides. That’s the type of quick and innovative thinking that Helsinki is known for. I wouldn’t be surprised if this idea is implemented by the next time I visit Helsinki.

Thank you, Tina for making my day!

Tina is ready to fix your bike and get you exploring Helsinki on two wheels


by Ville Alatyppö, Street & Park Maintenance Director for the City of Helsinki and CEO of the Finnish Association of Municipal Engineering

Where do new ideas usually come from? How many new ideas have you had in your everyday work in the last year? How do organizations and inviduals develop themselves in a modern world where competition is a strong driving force?
These are questions that I have faced every day since graduating nearly 20 years ago. As a fresh engineer, I thought that I knew everything, but reality hit me. On every day work in public works you do not need just engineering skills. Management, leadership and especially interaction skills are the most important skills because they help you to cope every day. However, like Einstein said “we can not solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them”.
I am just saying, that probably you can not see or invent new solutions if you do not have any kind of experience or stimulus outside your everyday life. And that’s one reason for APWA's Jennings Randolph International Fellowship – to help you and your organization (and even all the people in North America) – to manage better in the future.
There have been nearly a dozen JR Fellows or other public works professionals who have visited Finland in the last decade and I have kept in contact with nearly all of them afterwards. The main feedback from them has been that the JR study tour opened their mind and eyes to things 'outside the box'. Many of those numerous experiences they gathered during their study tour they have been utilizing to their career and organisations.
Finland is very small Nordic Country and we have been successful in many ways even though our resources are not enormous. But we have found one damn clever path to be in the top ten countries by many global measures. And that is learning from the best and developing that learning even further. The Finnish Association of Municipal Engineering (“brotherhood association” to APWA) has been actively operating study tours to North America, Australia and New Zealand, etc. to learn from the best in public works. After the study tours, we actively spread new learnings so that we develop the best service to the public.
How do you bring new solutions to the public or customers that you serve?


By Kevin Chang, Ph.D., P.E.
2012 Jennings Randolph International Fellow, New Zealand

When discussing the topic of school transportation with a large group, a common icebreaker activity is to ask audience members to raise their hand if they walked or biked to school as a child. Audience members are then asked to keep their hands up only if they allow their own child to walk or bike to school. In almost all cases, the forest of hands drops by a significant margin.

The reasons for this decline in walking and biking have been well-documented. Both parents may be working outside the home so there is simply not enough time to accompany their child on the trip to and from school. There are perceived concerns about a child’s personal safety, which can take the form of either “stranger danger” or the challenge of crossing a busy arterial roadway. Lastly, higher land costs and siting requirements force school districts to build new schools away from residential communities, so these schools may not be walking or bicycling-friendly from day one.

My visit to New Zealand in 2012 as a Jennings Randolph Fellow served as an invaluable opportunity to learn how my Kiwi colleagues addressed these common issues. I met with both school principals and school district administrators throughout the North Island, and there were many opportunities to exchange common practices. My experience confirmed that despite the geographic distance that separates our two countries, the overall goals of any public agency and school district staff are the same, namely to provide the safest environment possible whenever a child chooses to walk or bike from home to school.


For young children, walking or biking represents a habit-forming behavior that will last a lifetime. If we want our next generation of adults to be active and to lead health-conscious lives, then the importance and value of these transportation options must be established at a young age.

As a transportation professional, allow me to share one additional experience from my trip nine (!) years ago that will forever remain etched in my memory. Shortly after my long flight across the Pacific Ocean, I made my way over to the rental car parking lot. When I opened the driver-side door, I chuckled when I saw a dashboard staring back at me instead of a steering wheel. You can imagine the anxiety that I felt when I exited the driveway of the parking lot and immediately encountered a traffic circle at the next intersection.

To the future recipients of the Jennings Randolph Fellowship, may your experience be just as rewarding as you engage with new friends, share ideas, and bring fresh perspectives back to your workplace.


By Tyler Palmer
2011 Jennings Randolph International Fellow, México

While casually flipping through the APWA Reporter, an announcement calling for applications for the Jennings Randolph International Fellowship Program caught my eye. I had never heard of the program, and decided to go to the page advertised to see what it was all about. Little did I know that this moment of curiosity would have a significant impact on my public works career and life in general!

In 2011, I was selected as a Fellow, and conducted a study tour in Ixtapa, México. I was interested in learning how they approached road maintenance with very limited budgets. It was so gratifying to find that, despite differences in language, climate, government etc., we all confronted the same fundamental problems, and the spirit of service and creativity that attracted me to public works in the first place, seemed to be universal.

Tyler in Chihuahua, MX  with officials from the European Union, City of Chihuahua, and ICELI

I wrote a report on my findings and experiences, and presented to my City Council, many local and regional groups, the APWA Rocky Mountain Chapter, and at Congress (now PWX). I was amazed at the level of interest in my study tour, and was happy to be able to share my experiences.

Tyler in Saltillo, MX with officials from the Mexican Federal Government and ICLEI

Through the process of organizing and conducting my study tour, I met a lot of great people including Bob Cass, who was the Chair of the Latin American Task Force (LATF) for APWA’s International Affairs Committee (IAC). After completing my fellowship tour, Bob asked if I would be interested in joining the LATF. I indicated that I was. This led to an appointment on the IAC, chairing of the LATF, and eventually, I became Chair of the IAC. Over the course of my years on the IAC, I had the opportunity to represent the APWA at a number of conferences in México, and was able to continue to build on the relationships I had formed during my JR Fellow trip.

I now serve on the Government Affairs Committee, and recently helped facilitate a new APWA partnership with a large engineering association in México.

As a result of a well-placed call for applications in the Reporter, doors opened for me that I never could have imagined. I have made public works friends from across the globe, given countless presentations on my experiences, brought valuable ideas back to my home city, and helped promote our industry at home and abroad. It was truly a launch-pad for continued involvement in our industry on a level I didn’t previously know was possible!

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