August 27th, 2013

A Vision for the Future

Employee Focus, by Tania Mashburn.
Carlos Braceras, UDOT Executive Director

Carlos Braceras, UDOT Executive Director

Carlos is a man with a vision. A vision to make a difference.

It may sound simple, but it’s true. Over the past several weeks, he and his leadership team crafted a shared Vision Statement for the Department’s future that will help us enhance communities, improve the environment, and cultivate a stronger economy.

But this vision has actually been in the making for months…starting with ideas rolling around in Carlos’ head and jotted down as quick notes on his phone as new thoughts came to him. Let’s back up even further. This really all started when John Njord retired.

Choosing a new Executive Director for UDOT was a very high priority for Governor Herbert. It required Carlos to evaluate why he wanted the position and what he would do if he was successful. He said it took several months of thinking about the department and where we could make improvements.

“This was pretty tough because of the excellent work already going on in our organization,” Carlos said. But he wanted to find ways to better align with the Governor’s goals and broaden the areas in which we focus.

So this is where Carlos’ vision was born. He says he felt UDOT’s four strategic goals were taking us in the right direction, but there were other areas we could give priority to…leading him to determine our new “emphasis areas.” These emphasis areas are a combination of how we do our jobs and how we can improve our organization. They are:

  • Integrated Transportation
  • Collaboration
  • Education
  • Transparency
  • Quality
  • Operational Excellence

Carlos also says he took a lot of time to think about what UDOT’s core values are, values that we as employees all live by, but have never officially been put in writing.

“A lot of times in our business, decisions are easy to make,” Carlos said. “We can look in a manual or go online and get a direct answer. But most of the time the questions are much more difficult and there is no easy answer. That is where I expect our great employees to look to our core values to provide guidance. Think about these as the traits you would like the public to think about when they think about UDOT.”

For five months, every time Carlos heard a characteristic he thought represented UDOT, he wrote it down. In the end he had quite a long list, but he narrowed it down to only the most important values he would like our department to exemplify; innovation, trustworthiness, dedication, passion, public responsiveness, and fiscal responsibility. Carlos says, “These are the traits that I hope will guide us when we’re making difficult decisions.”

So back to the job interview. More than 60 people applied for the position of UDOT’s Executive Director. A screening and interview process narrowed the field to Carlos and two others. In an interview with Governor Herbert, Lt. Governor Bell, and the Governor’s staff, Carlos was asked two key questions.

When he was asked “what is your vision for the department?” he was prepared and happy he had thought about this very thing for several months. When he was asked “why do you want the job?” he was also quick to respond saying, “Because the work we do at UDOT makes a difference to all Utahns. We save lives, we improve the economy, and we make everyone’s lives better. I love Utah and I want to make a difference.”

Carlos says he is extremely grateful he now has the opportunity to work towards making a difference in his new role as Executive Director. When I asked him where he saw the department in ten years, he admitted his vision might change.

“Today I am confident we’re heading in the right direction, but tomorrow we have to be prepared to ask the question ‘is there more we can be doing in order to keep Utah’s transportation system the envy of the country?’”

Carlos says he knows with the dedication of our incredible employees, we will be able to make his vision a reality. He says, “I continue to be amazed by the passion all of you bring to your jobs. You don’t think of it as your job, but your mission to improve the quality of life in this great state.”

Carlos looks forward to having one-on-one discussion with employees about his new vision over the next several months. In the meantime, you can see what all the buzz is about. A downloadable PDF of the complete Vision plan is available below.

Carlos Vision

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