As a lifelong resident of Anne Arundel County, I know that this community is a great place to live, work and raise a family. A key to our success might be how invested we all are in the county and its future. At the Department of Public Works, I sense how much residents deeply care about taking care of our community, each other and the natural beauty all around us. Anne Arundel County has always been “stronger together,” which is the theme of this year’s National Public Works Week.
From May 16–22, National Public Works Week celebrates the contributions of public works employees across America, including the 761 DPW employees — 70% of whom are county residents — who repair our roads, keep our award-winning water flowing, protect our watersheds and the Chesapeake Bay, pick up our trash, responsibly recycle, and invest in and engineer projects that better our county. This year’s theme emphasizes that DPW relies on our residents, our neighbors, as much as you rely on us. That’s a point we emphasize through our slogan “DPW & YOU.”
Every aspect of our work at DPW requires the support and help of our neighbors across the county. That’s why we encourage you to join us in any way, big or small, to make our community better.
Call us when you see a pothole on a county road. Let us know about a water runoff issue that could affect the health of our waterways. Turn off the faucet while brushing your teeth to conserve our precious water. We can’t be everywhere at once, so we rely on you to tell us what needs addressing in your neighborhood. Just call, email, or use the See, Click, Fix tool to contact us and we will be there to help.
One specific area where we always need our neighbors’ help is recycling. Residents continue to improve on properly identifying, cleaning and sorting recyclable items. Keeping recyclables out of landfills saves county residents money. So, recycling is “green” in more ways than one! If you’re ever unsure about what’s recyclable, our “Recycle Coach” app is available for free in the App Store and on Google Play.
As the mother of two young men who attend school and play sports in our community, I’m also focused on safety. One important job DPW has been working on is bringing sidewalks, crosswalks and traffic calming measures to Duvall Highway to make it safer for young people who use it as a route to school and for everyone, whether you drive, walk or ride a bike. We’re looking forward to a safer Duvall Highway once project funding is approved.
I’m also excited about the steps DPW is taking to protect Fort Smallwood Park. It’s a place where my family has fished and crabbed, as I’m sure your families have, too. It’s a spot for picnics and swimming in the Patapsco River. By protecting the shoreline and park from erosion, the project aims to preserve Fort Smallwood for generations as a place where families and our community come together.
I’ve spent my life in Anne Arundel County making memories here that I cherish. That’s what I see our work at DPW protecting. I want my sons, your children and every future resident to inherit a community as caring as the one I grew up in and that’s growing better every day. If you feel similarly, get involved. We’re also regularly hiring and would love to speak to you about joining our team.
There are so many ways that we can work together to make this Anne Arundel County a community for all of us. This National Public Works Week, let’s celebrate our DPW workers and look for opportunities to contribute — because it’s true: we are stronger together.
Karen Henry has served as the Anne Arundel County Department of Public Works assistant director since 2015 and is responsible for the administration of the department’s four bureaus: highways, engineering, waste management services and utility operations. In addition, Henry manages the department’s customer relations, personnel and asset management divisions. Since 2000, Henry has worked for the Department of Public Works where she held the positions of excellence in cost effective management (EXCEL) program manager and water operations utility administrator in the bureau of utility operations.
Henry received her Bachelor of Science degree from Towson University and her Master of Arts degree from Notre Dame of Maryland University.