The History of the Mid-Atlantic Chapter
In February of 1956 individuals in Virginia and the District of Columbia met in the offices of the Virginia Municipal League in Richmond to explore the possibility of forming a Chapter. Primary motivating individuals included Bob Hopson, Director of Public Works of Richmond and future (1966) APWA president; Louis Washer of Richmond; Bill Xanten, Washington, DC Sanitation Superintendent and 1949 APWA President; John Croker, DC staff engineer; Sol Ellison, Newport News Director of Public Works and then president–elect of National APWA; and Jim Wright, Public Works Director of Lynchburg, the first Chapter president. At this meeting it was decided to form a Chapter and draft proposed Bylaws for submission to National APWA. With the approval by National a subsequent meeting was held on May 25th at the League offices. The group set an organizational meeting for September 8, 1956. Coincidentally, National APWA approved the Chapter’s Bylaws on May 25th, the same day that the second meeting was held.
The Mid-Atlantic Chapter has a strong history of leadership at the National level. Four have been National Presidents: Bill Xanten (Washington, DC) in 1948; Sol Ellenson (Newport News) in 1957; Bob Hopson (Richmond) in 1965; Judy Mueller (Charlottesville) in 2001; and Diane Linderman (Richmond) in 2012. Six have served as National Directors; two have been Presidents of the Education Foundation and Institute of Solid Wastes. Chapter members have also been President of the Historical Society, Emergency Management Council, and Administrative Management Institute and Chairman of the House of Delegates. Two have been honored with the Harry W. Swearingen Award, and two have been awarded the Charles Nichols Award. The Chapter has had numerous Top Ten Public Works Leaders of the Year.
Our early history would not be complete without recognition of Don Frady, Director of Public Works for Falls Church. Don was the Chapter President in 1961. Prior to 1971, Chapters had representatives to the National APWA. In 1969, Don was named to a 3-year term as Chapter representative to Board. In 1970 he became the Region III Director and as Region III Director until 1976. Don was the Chapter’s first Historian and served in that capacity from 1976 until 1994.