This one-day course—formerly titled From Doing the Job to Documenting the Job: A Path to Clearer Communication—provides an introduction to the importance of writing and professional skills needed for public works professionals. Course emphasis is on planning, preparing, and delivering effective and clear workplace documents to communicate with the general public and elected officials. Specific types of documents may include field construction reports, incident reports, maintenance reports, business letters, e-mail, and interoffice memoranda. Students will also be introduced to basic office applications that may be used in the preparation of documents used by public works professionals.

Dates and Locations

Not currently scheduled.

Topics Covered

  • Proper technique, vocabulary, and structure for technical documents used by public works professionals when communicating to the general public and elected officials
  • Preparing field construction reports, maintenance reports, and effective interoffice memoranda, including e-mail and memos
  • Challenges of delivering technical information clearly to the public and elected officials
  • Using technology competently when preparing technical documents

Who Should Attend

This course is designed for individuals who need to correspond with public citizens and city and county boards/councils. You should attend if you write maintenance reports and documentation or if you are interested in becoming a supervisor, are a newly promoted supervisor, or are a supervisor who wishes to improve your communication skills.

Recommended Prerequisite

Computers will be used in this class. It is recommended that you have a basic understanding of Microsoft Office Word. A free online tutorial is available on the Microsoft website.

Course Instructors

Ann Johnson, P.E., is a University of Minnesota faculty director of the Construction Management degree program, a workshop and course instructor for Minnesota LTAP and the Center for Transportation Studies, also at the University of Minnesota. She is a professional engineer registered in both Minnesota and Wisconsin. She has also served as a teaching specialist in the University's civil engineering department for many years, teaching CADD, highway design, AutoCAD, and surveying. Before teaching at the University, she taught full time at Dunwoody Technical College in Minneapolis and St. Paul Technical College. In addition, Ann teaches courses in highway design and construction materials for the Minnesota Department of Transportation and Aggregate Ready Mix Association. She owns and operates a consulting business, Professional Engineering Services, where she focuses on writing and teaching, but also employees several people to conduct construction monitoring and testing and plan preparation. Ann has written more than 20 publications and presentations on road design and maintenance. She holds a B.S. in civil engineering from the University of Wisconsin at Platteville and an M.S. in civil engineering with a pavement emphasis from the University of Minnesota.

Eric Johnson is an experienced bridge, grading, and concrete inspector. He has a degree in comprehensive English education and before coming to work in the construction industry, he was a high school English teacher for several years. Johnson uses the skills he developed in that role for the preparation of both technical reports and curriculum for MnDOT training courses, and he also serves as a contributing writer and editor for technical manuals and publications. Johnson is currently teaching the "Office and Professional Skills for Public Works" course at North Hennepin Technical College, which is part of the Public Works Certificate curriculum.



This workshop is presented by the Minnesota Local Technical Assistance Program (LTAP) at the Center for Transportation StudiesUniversity of Minnesota. Minnesota LTAP is sponsored by the Minnesota Local Road Research Board (LRRB) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). This course is subsidized through funding from LRRB and FHWA. This course is subsidized through funding from LRRB and FHWA.