Located in the small community of Thorndale, just outside of London, is a somewhat unassuming building. You might drive past it on your way to Sassy’s and not even realize that this building is the headquarters of the Association of Ontario Road Supervisors – an Association that has an impact, whether large or small, on just about every Ontarian.
Today, WRX Property Group is proud to do our part to bring this important, but relatively small, organization to light. What follows will be a brief explanation of who they are and what they do, after which we’ll dive into the upcoming Association of Ontario Road Supervisors Municipal Public Works Trade Show.
For those of you already familiar with the organization, or just looking to learn more about the Trade Show – feel free to skip the next two paragraphs.
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Who They Are
The history of the Association of Ontario Road Supervisors (or simply AORS) stretches back to 1959, when Vermont Pow (Road Superintendent of Southwold Township, in Elgin County) laid out his vision of a province-wide Road Superintendents Association.
Two years later, in 1961, 25 Road Superintendents from varying parts of Ontario met at the University of Toronto to write up a constitution and officially form the Ontario Road Superintendents Association – the organization that, over the years, would expand its purview and stature, and ultimately grow into the AORS.
Vermont Pow, naturally, was elected its first President, and his close colleague Melvin Dale (Road Superintendent of Westminster Township, in Middlesex County) was appointed Secretary-Treasurer. They were off and running (or, as the case may be, driving).
What They Do
Melvin Dale would go on to record the entire history of the Ontario Road Supervisors, but some milestones include: 1987, when the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario gave the AORS their first monetary grant; 1990, when the AORS opened their headquarters and first permanent office in Thorndale; 1994, when the AORS hosted its very first ‘Provincial Safety Truck Roadeo;’ and 1998, when it adopted its current name.
The AORS presently has 33 Local Associations throughout Ontario (including one in the Waterloo Region); it is “[g]overned by a 33 member Board of Directors and a 4 member Executive elected at both the Local and Provincial level” (AORS).
The AORS is an incorporated non-profit organization. To list just a few of its roles: it facilitates communication between public works professionals across the province; it looks at local and provincial policy and determines ways to improve upon them; and it hosts workshops and seminars to both raise awareness and cultivate success through collaboration, as well as Certification Programs (Certified Road Supervisor Program).
Overall, the AORS strives to improve efficiency and effectiveness in both their organization as a whole, and in all of the municipalities they (and/or their members) serve, through advocacy, education, and community-building. Now, let’s get on with the show (more specifically, the Trade Show).
The Association of Ontario Road Supervisors’ Municipal Public Works Trade Show
Every year, in the month of June, the AORS hosts the Annual Municipal Public Works Trade Show. This is done in conjunction with one of their local associations (the 2015 Trade Show, for example, was held in Exeter, while the 2016 Trade Show was held in West Nipissing [Sturgeon Falls, specifically], and the 2017 Trade Show was held in Milverton).
The 2018 trade show will be taking place on Wednesday, June 6th and Thursday, June 7th in beautiful Belleville, Ontario (home of Mackenzie Bowell, Canada’s beardiest Prime Minister). It is being hosted in the Quinte Sports and Wellness Centre, in conjunction with the District 8 Road Supervisors Association.
The hours will be from 8:00 am to 3:00 pm on both days.
Now that we know where it is, and when it is… what is it?
Well, for one thing, it’s the biggest trade show of its kind in Ontario. Between 200 and 300 exhibitors will put a wide range of products and services on display. Over its two day run, it’s predicted that over 2000 participants will take part in some capacity.
But what types of people are likely to come here, and who stands to benefit? For one thing, the AORS Municipal Public Works Trade Show is an avenue for suppliers to meet with customers – even those that would otherwise never cross paths (indeed, the Trade Show draws participants from all across Ontario).
Every year, this event serves as one of the best – if not the best – time and place to discover the latest and the greatest innovations in everything from infrastructure (roads, bridges, etc.), Internet technologies, surveying equipment, educational opportunities, and so much more.
For people passionate about public works, and particularly roads, there is much to learn here; it’s a great networking opportunity, as well. If you’ve got vital knowledge you’re keen to share, or a great new product that could change Ontario’s roads for the better, or if you’d simply like to hear the expert speakers and marvel at the wide range of indoor and outdoor displays (and there truly are some top-notch displays; each year one indoor and one outdoor booth wins an award, so exhibitors have an added incentive to deliver make their contribution great) – you should really consider attending this special event.
Going by last year’s numbers, 10% of the funds raised went toward the host county’s Road Supervisors Association (which is a good thing because, as noted, the overall AORS is still somewhat small compared to the scale of its projects, and it relies on revenue from engagements like these to sustain itself as an effective, far-reaching non-profit organization).
The rest of the funds raised were distributed amongst local charities and community clubs. If you’re planning to register, it’s better done sooner than later (and if you’re reading this but still haven’t registered, you might as well click here and pre-register now!).
Roads are what tie the various communities and regions of Ontario together, no matter how far apart; they’re what get us to and from wherever it is that we’re going. Yet for something we rely upon so heavily, it can be easy to forget just how much work goes into maintaining and improving them over the years.
The Association of Ontario Road Supervisors is a province-wide group of public works specialists that take their task seriously. And even if you haven’t heard of them until now, perhaps the next time you’re driving along a particularly smooth patch of pavement, you’ll think of Vermont Pow and his dream of uniting local and provincial experts in order to ensure an Ontario with excellent roads – and more power to him, and his long line of successors.
Written by Will Kummer
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