Mid-Atlantic Public Works Institute
Mid-Atlantic Public Works Institute

Steering Committee

photo of speaker Scott Smith has been with the City of Norfolk Public Works Department, since February 2013 and currently serves as the Coastal Resiliency Manager for the City, with a primary responsibility for coastal management, flooding and climate adaption.

Duties involve managing the City’s beach and dune resources to protect property and maintaining protection for coastal flooding. Additional responsibilities involve working with the Resilience office to implement the National Disaster Resilience (NDR) grant, ($115M) in the Ohio Creek Watershed and the USACE Coastal Storm Risk Management Study.

Scott Smith graduated from the Florida Institute of Technology with a Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering, in 1987. Scott is licensed as a Professional Engineer and Land Surveyor in Virginia. With over 30 years of experience in land development, municipal engineering, survey, and construction.

Scott is active in APWA and serves on the Board of Directors, is Chairman of the Steering Committee for the Mid-Atlantic Public Works Institute and serves on the Chapters water Resources Committe


photo of speaker Ashley Barker has over a decade of experience in project management and customer service. She graduated from Virginia Tech in 2007 with a BS in Psychology and earned a MS in Management from Strayer University in 2013. After earning her master’s degree, Ashley worked at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) as the Coordinator of Event and Meeting Services and received the Presidential Staff Award for Community Multicultural Enrichment. In 2015, Ashley moved back to Blacksburg to serve in her current role as the Assistant Director of Continuing and Professional Education at Virginia Tech. She is responsible for planning and executing educational conferences, events, seminars, institutes, and training workshops. She works with a wide variety of clients including academic faculty, world-renowned research firms, governmental agencies, and global corporations. Ashley has extensive knowledge and experience in the areas of leadership development, project management, and conflict resolution. Her various roles have provided her with the opportunity to lead teams through severe challenges/crises and work with clients and teams of diverse populations and cultures.

For the past 4 years, Ashley has served on the Association of College Unions International’s Region VI Leadership Team and has facilitated numerous workshops on customer service, leadership, communication, and event planning at regional and international conferences.

Ashley is currently pursuing her PhD in Higher Education at Virginia Tech with a focus on leadership development.


photo of speaker Gaynelle Hart iis a 1984 Graduate of Virginia Tech. In 1998 Gaynelle received a Master’s in Business Administration from Lynchburg College. She started her career with the City of Lynchburg, VA as a Maintenance Crew Supervisor 1987. She was promoted to Buildings & Grounds Division Director in 2001, Deputy Director of Public Works in 2006 and to Director of Public Works in 2013. Gaynelle serves on the APWA Mid- Atlantic Chapter Board of Directors.


photo of speaker Judith L. Hines is the Assistant Director of Public Works for Administration for the City of Newport News, Virginia. Her career in public works spans over 40 years. She was a key management team participant in achieving APWA National Accreditation for the Newport News Public Works Department in 2003, and was also instrumental in re-accreditation in 2006, 2010 and 2014. She is a graduate of Christopher Newport University with a degree in business management. She is a past president of the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of APWA and is currently the Chapter Delegate to APWA’s Council of Chapters. She is a charter member of the Steering Committee for the Mid-Atlantic Public Works Institute.


photo of speaker James A. Jackson was certified as a Public Works Executive at the APWA PWX in Minneapolis, MN in August 2016. He is also an ICMA Credentialed Manager Candidate who currently serves as the Assistant Director of Operations for the Washington, DC Department of Public Works. He has served as interim Deputy Chief Administrative Officer, Operations and DPW director for the cities Richmond, VA and Detroit, Michigan. He has also served as the Public Services director for Wayne County, Michigan and the Streets and Sanitation director for the City of Grand Rapids, Michigan. James has led operations ranging in size from 100 to 1,540 personnel with budgets from $6 million to $1.2 billion and operations including Solid Waste and Recycling, Street Maintenance, Fleet Maintenance, Facility Maintenance, Traffic Engineering, Permitting, Grounds Maintenance, Winter Maintenance Operations and Sustainability, facility maintenance, fleet maintenance, street maintenance for over 1,540 miles of county roadways and 640 miles of interstate highway, 100,000 traffic signs, 900 traffic signal intersections, water treatment facilities, storm water operations and natural reservoirs. He also oversaw public utility operations to include natural gas and street lighting. James is a former marine serving as a noncommissioned and commissioned officer. He holds a Master of Public Administration, a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and he is a graduate of the Michigan Public Service Institute, Central Michigan University, Mount Pleasant, Michigan. James has been published internationally for his work on cultural transformation and maintenance management systems.


photo of speaker Phillip Koetter has worked for the City of Virginia Beach as the Operations Management Administrator since 2007.

After receiving his B.S. in Civil Engineering from Old Dominion University in 1995, he worked as a Design Engineer and Project Manager for URS, where he managed projects and programs for private, municipal, and federal projects.

After ten years of consulting work, Phillip accepted a position with the City of Virginia Beach Public Works Operations Group. In his current position, he oversees the Public Works Operations Management Division comprised of Customer Service, Contracts, Technical Services & Asset Management, and the Infrastructure Maintenance Support bureaus that support the city’s stormwater, roadway, and traffic maintenance field personnel in the operations and maintenance of all related infrastructure.

In addition to his duties with the City, Phillip also serves on the Board of Directors for the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the American Public Works Association. He is also a member of American Society of Civil Engineers, American Society of Highway Engineers, and the Society of American Military Engineers.


photo of speaker Staci Hopkins Reynolds graduated from the Public Works Institute in April 2017 and now is proudly serving on the PWI Steering Committee. She went to business school in White Plains, New York and started her career in the private sector working in nuclear power for 9 years. She moved to Virginia in 1993 working for the City of Lynchburg, Public Works Department as a Support Associate. She later became an Executive Assistant to the Director and now is an Operations Support Manager for the Public Works Department. She enjoys her job because it allows her the opportunity to be involved in all aspects of the department’s operation. She prides herself on continuous self-improvement as well as providing excellent customer service to both employees and the citizens in her community.


photo of speaker Jeff Wilkerson Jeff has been the Public Works Director for the City of Martinsburg, WV for seven years. As Public Works Director he leads the Street and Sanitation departments and the City’s MS4 Program. He also is the project manager for many City projects dealing with transportation, infrastructure and economic development. In this leadership position, Jeff works with City Government, other Department Heads, City Staff, business and community leaders to continue community initiatives and economic development.

Jeff has earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational Leadership from Mountain State University. He is a member of the APWA Mid-Atlantic chapter and a 2017 graduate of the Mid-Atlantic Public Works Institute.