Effective Communication Skills

Public Employees Leadership Institute
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1. Use of modern technology
2. Interaction with the public
3. Conducting effective meetings
4. Business communications
5. Interpersonal communications
6. Presentation skills
7. Use of modern technology in communication with the public

This course takes a comprehensive look at effective communication strategies. It includes an overview of public relations and various types of communication, as well as presentation skills, and conducting effective meetings.

Upon completion, you will be able to:

  • Develop a strategy to improve your agency’s public image
  • Compose a variety of business letters and understand when to use each
  • Understand the difference between report writing and other business writing
  • Identify and develop a presentation using a structured template to efficiently focus ideas
  • Discuss the steps required to manage an effective meeting

Iowa Department of Transportation Director of Strategic Communication & Policy

Andrea Henry serves as the Iowa DOT’s Director of Strategic Communications & Policy. She oversees a team of 19 who are responsible for the department’s web site, social media channels, public relations, marketing, graphic design, videography, photography, forms management, state and federal legislation, and internal policy.

Iowa Department of Transportation Social Media Content Manager

Tracey Bramble is currently the Iowa DOT’s social media content manager, providing daily input into the agency’s Facebook and Twitter, as well as multiple blogs, strategically positioning messages to work together on various platforms to reach the intended audiences.

Bramble, a 30-year veteran of public affairs and marketing, holds a bachelor of science degree in journalism and mass communication from Iowa State University and has completed the Certified Public Manager program at Drake University.

City of West Des Moines Public Works Director

Bret has been with the City of West Des Moines Public Works Department since 1989. He started his career as an equipment operator for before moving into various managerial roles. He was promoted into the Superintendent of Public Works position in 1994 and into his current position as the Director of Public Works in 2008.

Bret has served as the APWA Iowa Chapter President and Delegate. In 2006 Bret was presented with the APWA Donald C. Stone Award for Excellence in Education. He was selected by the APWA in 2007 as one of the Top Ten Public Works Leaders in North America. For several years Bret chaired the National APWA Winter Maintenance Sub-Committee. He currently serves as a Past Chair with this group and is still actively involved. Bret currently is a member of the APWA Institute Review Committee and recently served as a member and Chair of the APWA Leadership and Management Committee.

Professional affiliations
He has served as President of the American Public Works Association Iowa Chapter and chaired the APWA Winter Maintenance Sub-Committee. Was presented the APWA Donald C. Stone Award for Excellence in Education in 2006. Selected by the APWA as one of their Top Ten Public Works Leaders in 2007.

Other Institute course(s)
Supervisory Techniques and Skills
Resource Management Skills
Winter Maintenance Management
Sustainability in Public Works

Retired Associate Director of Outreach for the Center for Transportation Research and Education, Iowa State University

BS in Civil Engineering; Iowa State University
MS in Transportation Engineering; Iowa State University

Duane Smith received his BS in Civil Engineering from Iowa State University and later his MS in Transportation Engineering, also from Iowa State University.

His career began with the Iowa Department of Transportation in the construction field, where he served in many capacities for the first fifteen years. He then yielded to the call from the western US and worked as a Transportation Engineer for a Denver, Colorado consultant firm. Following a few years of that experience, he returned to the Iowa DOT.

He served Iowa State University for 15 years in the capacities of: Adjunct Assistant Professor, Civil Engineering/Associate Director for Outreach Program and as the Local Technical Assistance Program, (LTAP), Director for the Center for Transportation Research and Education (CTRE). This center became the Institute for Transportation (InTrans) before his retirement in 2009.

Other Institute course(s)
Basic Management Skills

Associate Professor, Iowa State University

PhD, University of Missouri
MBA, Northwest Missouri State University

Tina Coffelt (PhD University of Missouri; MBA Northwest Missouri State University) teaches interpersonal and business communication at Iowa State University.

Her research on interpersonal communication examines how difficult topics are managed in romantic and family relationships. Additionally, she researches employers’ meaning of workplace communication skills.

Dr. Coffelt serves as the associate chair for operations in the Department of English.

Iowa Local Technical Assistance Program Technical Training Coordinator

Paul Albritton is the Technical Training Coordinator for the Iowa Local Technical Assistance Program.

He is an Authorized OSHA 10 Instructor and an ATSSA Certified Traffic Control Supervisor and a graduate from the University of Louisiana, Monroe.

City of Ames Public Works Operations Manager

B.S. in Construction Engineering; Iowa State University
Licensed professional engineer in Iowa

Justin Clausen is currently the Public Works Operations Manager with the City of Ames, overseeing street maintenance, storm sewer, snow and ice control, sanitary sewer collection and water distribution.

Justin has a B.S. in Construction Engineering from ISU, is licensed professional engineering in the State of Iowa. He has 10 years of experience in private industry constructing roads and bridges.

Other Institute course(s)
Supervisory Techniques and Skills

City of Ames Public Information Officer

Bachelor’s degree in journalism; University of Missouri-Columbia
Master’s degree in communications; Iowa State University
Master’s degree in public administration; Drake University

Susan Gwiasda has served as the Public Information Officer for the City of Ames since 2004. Prior to that, she was the PIO for the City of Dubuque, Iowa.

She began her career in newspapers, working at the Columbia-Missourian, Fort Dodge Messenger, and Dubuque Telegraph-Herald. Susan has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia, a master’s degree in communications from Iowa State University, and a master’s degree in public administration from Drake University. She spent one year study in Glasgow University in Glasgow, Scotland.