Thursday, October 9, 2014

Fall meetings offer opportunities for both employees and executive team

It's fall meeting time across the state. Roberta Broeker, Kathy Harvey and I are making it a priority this year to get to as many fall meetings as we can over the next few weeks. 

It is important to me that employees get to interact with leadership in person. It is very valuable to me to hear directly from you on what is going well and what concerns you have. In the satisfaction survey there was some concern expressed about decision-making and time allowed to get things done by executive leadership. 

By getting out and talking with folks, hopefully you will better understand what we are doing and we won't be nameless, faceless folks from Central Office.

In the meantime,  I look forward to seeing you at the fall meetings!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Employees Invited to Day of Remembrance

John P. Allman.

If the name doesn't ring a bell, don’t worry. You probably didn't know him.  He was the first recorded highway worker to die in a work zone.  The date was July 28, 1932.  He was the first to fall, but he would not be the last.

Since the day Allman lost his life, 130 other MoDOT workers have died while doing their jobs on Missouri’s transportation system. I personally knew some of the folks we honor. Their families are still connected to the MoDOT family and come to the events we have like this. I hope that in the future we won’t personally know any of the folks we honor.

Next Thursday, Sept. 18, we will observe our second annual MoDOT Day of Remembrance, and take a few moments to honor the memory of our 131 fallen co-workers.

I invite Central Office employees to assemble at the Fallen Workers Memorial. The ceremony will begin at 1:31 p.m.  Districts will also hold individuals ceremonies on that time, so anyone who can, should attend their local ceremony.

Another way you can show your support is to wear orange clothing or any clothing with a MoDOT logo.  No matter how you participate, please take a moment at 1:31 p.m. -- or anytime that day -- to remember those we have lost.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Staying on course

I know you are as disappointed about last week’s election as I am.  But the people of Missouri have spoken and we respect that.

The question now is: What next?

We have said repeatedly that our direction is:

  • Keeping ourselves and our customers safe
  • Keeping our roads and bridges as in the best condition we can, for as long as we can, with the resources we have
  • Providing outstanding customer service

The direction has not changed and we will stick to them.

Setting priorities among the equally important projects will be a tough job and we’ll work closely with our planning partners, local governments and customers to do this.

The vision for transportation that our citizens helped us assemble will continue to be our long-term focus. But without funding to make that a reality, we will be forced to pace our efforts until a transportation-funding solution is found that Missourians can accept.

Just to let you know, we are not making changes to our staffing numbers. 5,106 was our target number and that’s where we’ll stay.

In the end, we will take care of what with have, as best as we can, for as long as we can. And we will keep ourselves and our customers safe.  That’s our direction and we will stay on course.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Project List for Amendment 7 Approved

Yesterday, the commission approved the project list required by Amendment 7.  With more than 800 projects across the state, the list addresses a variety of transportation needs for Missouri.

These projects will benefit the state’s economy, create jobs, broaden transportation options and improve the safety of our roads and bridges.

The list was compiled by our transportation partners across the state. They have been working with citizens for years to gather and prioritize their area needs.

MoDOT worked with these partners to choose projects that would benefit Missourians from all walks of life, both in urban and rural areas.  We are confident that these projects are the right ones for the funds that will become available if Amendment 7 passes on Aug. 5.

The ¾ cent sales tax is not enough to make everyone’s wishes come true, but it is sufficient to meet these obligations and help us match federal funds in the near future.

We’ll never have enough to do every project for everyone. But we know how to get the most from the funds we have.

I believe when Missourians review this final list, they will see the economic and safety benefits of every project.  I believe they will see it serves a wide cross section of transportation options that will benefit all Missourians for many years to come.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Open Houses Give Us a Chance to Educate, Listen

Last year, MoDOT and its partners held listening sessions across the state to gather input from Missouri citizens on what they wanted from their transportation system. On the Move gave us a chance to talk to thousands of people and collect several ideas about the state’s transportation future.

Working with local and regional planning partners we have now pulled that input together into draft project lists for Moving Forward.

The project lists are in draft form and the public is weighing in on each region’s vision for Missouri’s transportation system if Amendment 7 passes.

Open Houses are being held around the state to give people a chance to review district project maps and lists to make sure we are meeting the needs and expectations of Missourians. Around 43 open houses will be held by the time the comment period ends.

MoDOT staff attends these meetings, to answer questions and fill in details so the public will know where we plan to go.

We are compiling an extensive list of comments from our customers through a variety of ways.  We hand out comment forms at the meetings.  We also steer people to our Moving Forward website so they may take time to review the lists and maps at their convenience.

After the comment period ends, the Commission and our partners will review each comment.  As of today, we have more than 600!

These comments WILL have an impact on the final project list. The public’s voice will be heard during this process. But just as we’ll never have enough money to do everything that our customers want, we won’t be able to respond or incorporate every suggestion.

For MoDOT this comment period is critical. This is our opportunity to educate the public on the state’s transportation needs but also to listen to what our customer’s think about the future of Missouri.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Assistant Chief, Kathy Harvey, Sweeps In as Guest Blogger!

I’m filling in for Ed this issue and thought I’d share my experience working on a sweeping crew in St. Louis.

The job was a few weeks ago on I-44 near downtown at night. Jerome Mitchell, assistant maintenance supervisor, was in charge of getting me where I needed to be and meeting up with the crew. 

As soon as he picked me up, he made sure I had all of the correct PPE for night work. I looked like a glow-in-the-dark skeleton, but I was definitely visible to the traffic and safety is more important than appearance.

Kevin was my driver and he did an amazing job of staying focused while answering my endless stream of questions. In the passenger seat that night, swerving around each and every grate next to the barrier wall, I wondered how I was going to keep from getting dizzy! Because the grates had not been raised when we resurfaced the roads, the person in the lead truck had to get out at each one and rake or shovel the trash, then sweep it far enough to the side that the sweeper could actually pick it up on the swerve he did around the grate, and since they are so close together, we rarely drove straight.

 We had two TMAs behind us and as I watched the traffic whiz by, I still wondered if anyone was paying attention to us.  I live outside of Jefferson City and the streets around there are empty after 9 p.m., so I was amazed at the amount of traffic on I-44 at midnight on a weeknight and shocked by the amount of trash along the barrier.  The crews can make the entire round of roads needing to be swept in about three weeks, but in that time – wow -- people throw out a lot of trash!!!    

Our crews do a fabulous job of sweeping the streets in St. Louis, and I appreciate the job they do during the hours they do it, and all with an upbeat can-do attitude.  The entire team that night was great to be with and I appreciated them letting me tag along for a few hours.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Stay on course, focus on safety

Here's  what I've been up to the last few weeks: 

After the Innovations Challenge and DOMInno meeting in Springfield, I hit the road and sat in on as many spring meetings as I could. I have been to six districts (Wayland, Houston, West Plains, Nevada, KC, Lebanon and Trenton ) and wanted to reinforce a couple of things.

First, that MoDOT's direction has not and will not change regardless of what happens with the transportation funding debate.  Second, that I want you to coordinate your work and focus on safety and quality instead of focusing on deadlines that may not let you make the best decisions. 

The best part about my travels the last few weeks is that I got to talk with many of you one on one during breaks at the meetings. I get more value from hearing your challenges, your concerns and what you are proud of. This helps me in figuring out what decisions we make going forward.