Thursday, December 18, 2014

A look back. A vision forward

As we close in on the end of 2014 we all look back on the year that was and plan for what's to come. 

When I look back, it was a tough year. We had a rough winter, we fought floods, and Amendment 7 did not pass. It always seems like you remember the bad things, but we also completed projects all over the state that were on time and under budget, we are on track for fewer fatalities than last year and our customer satisfaction is very high.

With that said what I remember most about my first full year as Chief is meeting the folks on the MoDOT team around the state. It's people that make things happen. I have been at the ceremonies numerous times where our folks pulled people out of burning cars and then say: "Oh, I was just doing my job." I have been to the innovations challenge to see all of the great things our folks are coming up with and putting into practice. I see how you all go out of your way to help folks, whether it an angry customer, one of our own that has fallen on tough times or an unknown  stranger through the charitable campaign. I have talked with many of you at Maintenance Buildings and see how proud you are of your work and your frustration when you can’t do more because of our lack of money. I am truly humbled by the things you all do and how you do them.

As we look to next year we will face some of the same challenges as last year and some new ones, but I know I don’t have to worry about how the team will rise to meet them.

Enjoy some time off, get recharged and we will all get ready to take on the new year.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Innovations Challenge Captures Interest of Other DOTs

In the last month, I have been to FHWA’s “ Every Day Counts” event and to the Annual AASHTO meeting listening to folks talk about innovative ideas and programs. What strikes me is that most of the things being talked about we have been doing for several years. That is not by accident, we have created a culture that encourages innovation and rewards taking risks to get better.

At the “Every Day Counts” event I highlighted our Innovations Challenge and many state and national leaders were very intrigued with this and were interested in attending our event next spring. By the way, I know the deadlines for entry are coming quickly, so get your innovations submitted!

What we all strive for everyday is to figure out how to make what we do better, safer, and more efficient and then share it with all of our team so they get the benefit and then improve it again.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Statewide Drill Reinforces Safety, Sharpens Skills, Keeps Missourians Moving

It’s a good thing we took the time to do the Statewide Snow Drill the first part of November, because last weekend was the real thing.

I was in southwest Missouri on Sunday and the team did a great job on the roads. I noticed that many trucks had two people in them getting ride-alongs done, so folks are ready to solo on the next storm. 
Safety is of the utmost importance, and especially so during the changing conditions in a snow fight. 

Last week at the Tracker meeting, we worked on how to make winter ops as safe as we can make it. Our field teams from all districts shared what they are doing so we can get better statewide. I asked Jeff Padgett how we did on reportable incidents this weekend, and he thought we might have had one minor incident statewide.

Getting better each storm and staying safe is the goal. Thanks to all of you who went out this weekend making travel safe for our customers.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

MoDOT Honors Employee Veterans

Next Wednesday, Nov. 12, MoDOT will honor our employees who have served in the armed forces. Our veterans have dedicated years of their lives and time with their families to serve and strengthen our country.  We want to show them our thanks with a small celebration and offer them certificates as a small gesture of our appreciation for their service.

The Central Office event will take place at 9 a.m. at 105 W. Capitol, Room 100. It is open for all employees to attend. Family members of our veterans are also invited. Refreshments will be served following the ceremony.

If you are a district employee and wish to participate, contact your supervisor to find and when and where your local event is taking place.

Our veterans have given a lot to our nation.  This is an excellent time to show them our appreciation, respect and support.

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.