Category Archives: Employee Focus

UDOT to start #WorkForUsWednesdays

At the Utah Department of Transportation, we’re always looking for dedicated, skilled employees to Keep Utah Moving. In order to further that goal, we’ve decided that it is appropriate to increase the visibility of our job openings that are currently available.

Every Wednesday, we’ll post on our blog (and on our social media channels) the latest openings throughout the Department. You’ll have to go to the Utah State Jobs website to actually apply for those jobs. Simply filter the search criteria by department to (810) Department of Transportation, and you’ll be on your way.

8 in Tandem - Front

These jobs are those that are publicly available in the Department.

This week’s #WorkforusWednesday jobs:

Recruitment #07553 – Structural Steel Quality Assurance Tech (Eng Tech III) Complex – Central Materials,
Opens 1/27/16, Closes 2/3/16
The successful applicant will perform structural steel, welding, and structural coatings inspections and other miscellaneous material inspections, samplings and testings.  They will perform specialized testing of materials and analyze their physical and chemical properties to verify compliance with standards and to ensure that quality products and materials are used in building and maintaining state roadways.

Recruitment #06472 – Transportation Technician I – Seasonal and On-Call Positions, Region 2 (Salt Lake, Tooele, Summit Counties)
Open until filled
There are more than ten seasonal and on-call positions in various locations for applicants to choose from, and this is a fantastic way to “get your foot in the door” to a more permanent UDOT job. The selected applicant assists a highway maintenance crew in the performance of difficult highway maintenance or incident prevention tasks to insure safety and provide a consistent flow of traffic along major traffic routes. Duties include operating a variety of specialized heavy equipment including but not limited to ten-wheel dump trucks, roadway maintenance equipment, and/or sanders and snowplows, etc. The main purpose of this position is to remove snow from the state’s roadways.

Recruitment #07495 – Transportation Technician II, R-4, Huntington
Opens 1/25/16, Closes 02/08/16
Employees in this job perform difficult highway construction, maintenance or incident prevention tasks to insure safety and provide a consistent flow of traffic along major traffic routes.

Recruitment #07527 – Contract Administrator (Purchasing Agent II), Complex, Salt Lake City
Opens 01/25/2016, Closes 02/01/2016
Incumbents in this position follow procedures with minimal instruction in the preparation of consultant pool selection procurements and contracts to assure the flow of services and construction. They’ll follow qualifications-based selection processes regarding the procurement of engineering and engineering related services consultants.

Recruitment #07469 – Archaeologist (Research Consultant I), Region 2 – Salt Lake City
Opens 01/25/16, Close 02/07/16
The incumbent in this position serves as the lead region archeologist and is responsible for ensuring legal compliance on region projects with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), Section 4(f) of the Department of Transportation Act, and other federal and state regulations relating to cultural resource management.

UDOT employee remembered as one who bled orange

Scott James Buckalew — affectionately known as “Buck” to his friends and coworkers at UDOT — passed away from a battle with cancer on December 31, 2015. A native of Utah, he was born November 1988, went to Bingham High School, and married his wife, Shantelle, in Draper in 2012.

The 27-year-old transportation tech started his career at UDOT as a seasonal worker in 2012. He was hired on permanently later on, and worked all of his time at Maintenance Station 224 on the west side of West Valley City. He recently worked on the SR-36 (Tooele Main Street Project), and during his chemotherapy, was consistently pushing his bosses to allow him to work when he could. His favorite duty at UDOT was plowing snow, and took great pride in keeping his assigned area as drivable as it could be.

Scott "Buck" Buckalew with his wife, Shantelle.

Scott “Buck” Buckalew with his wife, Shantelle.

 

He bled orange at work and at home, and because of that, Shantelle will be presented with a special Silver Barrel Award in his honor. Just before his passing, he apologized to his boss for not being able to plow the roads for him, and felt like he was letting the department and the residents of Utah down for not being able to complete his job. He also requested that the specific truck that he drove for three years for the department would be present at his funeral.

Funeral services are today at 2:00 p.m. at Valley View Funeral Home, 4335 West 4100 South.   A viewing will be from 12:30-1:45 p.m. prior to services. Interment will be at Valley View Memorial Park.

The entire UDOT family mourns the passing of one of its own, and turns its thoughts to Buck’s family. His memory will remain with us forever as we remember his “Bleed Orange” spirit and the impeccable service rendered on Utah roads.

Those interested in helping the family pay for what has been almost insurmountable medical costs can do so by contributing to the family’s GoFundMe account

Don’t get run over by a GRAMA

During this time of year, when we hear the word “GRAMA,” it is usually followed by the words: “got run over by a reindeer.”

But not for Brandi Trujillo.

Brandi is a member of UDOT’s risk management team. Part of her assignment is to respond to requests for information, documents and materials made through Utah’s Government Records Access and Management Act – otherwise known as GRAMA requests. And those requests come in at a rate of about two requests per working day – even during the holidays.

“The law is designed to give everyone – from the media to business and political interests to everyday citizens – access to public records,” Brandi said. “We do the public’s work with public money, and it’s the public’s right to know how and why we spend it.”

As a state agency, Brandi said, responding to these requests is not just a matter of law. “UDOT has identified transparency as one of our primary emphasis areas,” she said. “We really believe in that. So responding to these requests is important to us as a matter of principle, not just because we are required to do it.”

Grama Coordinator Brandi Trujillo processes GRAMA requests from her office.

Grama Coordinator Brandi Trujillo

Because UDOT intends to respond appropriately to GRAMA requests, UDOT’s attorneys feel it is important that employees understand what kinds of records are subject to GRAMA scrutiny. Renee Spooner, who is an assistant Attorney General for the state of Utah and is assigned specifically to work with UDOT, said those records include:

  • Work product created in the course of employment
  • Email correspondence and written communication
  • Books
  • Letters
  • Documents
  • Papers
  • Maps
  • Plans
  • Photographs
  • Films
  • Cards
  • Tapes
  • Recordings
  • Electronic data

“Generally,” Spooner said, “the only protected documents are attorney work product and attorney/client communication. Everything else is fair game, regardless of its physical form or characteristics. So it is probably a good idea to remind employees to be sure that the language they use in all of these public records is appropriate, accurate and professional. You never know when a document, map or email you create may become part of a GRAMA request, legal case or news story.”

And nobody wants to get run over by a GRAMA.

Grama Coordinator Brandi Trujillo

All UDOT GRAMA requests are handled at Brandi’s office

Employee Advisory Council October 2015 Meeting

The Employee Advisory Council met October 21, 2015. Items that were included in the discussion included:

  • Salary Increases
  • Safety Clothing Committee Discussion
  • CDLs and Health Issues
  • Tool Allowance for Mechanics
  • Overview of UDOT Learning Center
  • Teddy Bears for Incident Management and Department of Public Safety
  • Incentives

Notes from the meeting are available below.

EAC October 2015 Summary

Information from previous meetings has also been posted on the blog.

Employee Advisory Council

Employee Advisory Council August 2015 Meeting

The Employee Advisory Council met August 10, 2015. Items that were included in the discussion included:

  • Employee Survey
  • Lack of Pay Raises for Supervisory and Level IV Positions
  • Make Staff Meetings More Memorable/Use for Team Building
  • Internal Supervisor/Employee Disputes or Disagreements
  • Hand Tools for Trades and Crafts Policy
  • Administrative Leave in Lieu of Cash-Based Incentive Awards
  • Across Group Awards
  • Status of the Behavior-Based Safety Awareness Program / Incentives for the Program
  • On-Boarding Process
  • ASI Status

Notes from the meeting are available below.

EAC August 2015 Summary

Information from previous meetings has also been posted on the blog.

Employee Advisory Council

Formidable Phragmites

UDOT Region One is using a GIS app to help control an invasive weed that makes Utah wetlands inhospitable to native plants and waterfowl.

When phragmites get a foothold, it crowds out native plants like cattail, bulrush, and saltgrass – native species that provide food sources and cover for birds. Randy Berger, Wetland Manager with Utah Department of Natural Resources doesn’t have a single good thing to say about the weed. Berger manages wetland areas in northern Utah.

Phragmites in Northern Utah

Phragmites in Northern Utah. Photo by Lindsey Durtschi

UDOT manages the area beyond the pavement within the right-of-way, which involves regular mowing and getting rid of invasive weeds, including phragmites. UDOT Region One Area Supervisor Kelly Andrew, along with maintenance crews, has been using a GIS app that tracks the location of phragmites. He and Berger have been working together to fight weeds for years.

Andrew needed a way to keep track of the location of big patches of phragmites. Getting rid of the stuff is a three-year endeavor, and locating, spraying and tracking the spread of phragmites is time consuming. The new weed spraying app, in its second year of use, has made UDOT’s weed abatement effort more effective and efficient.

Kelly Andrew of Region One

UDOT Region One area supervisor Kelly Andrew

The app was developed by Seth Anderson of AECOM. He modified the ArcGIS collector app to create the easy-to-use tool. The app works on a smartphone or a tablet. Users simply choose the weed on a pick list, add comments, and create a point on an online map.

“The app automatically stores the date and username when the point is created,” says Anderson. “The Collector app allows for collecting and editing points even when the device does not have a data connection, too.  He just has to sync the data when he gets back to his office and has Wi-Fi connection.” Andrew introduced the app to Berger, who is now using the app to track phragmites treatment areas.

GIS mapping apps are a simple and effective way to collect and track and store data. Andrew recommends others at UDOT consider using an app. “If you think you have a problem that can be solved with a GIS tool, don’t hesitate to ask.”

Weed Sprayer Rig

For more information, contact the GIS team at udotgis@utah.gov

For more posts about putting GIS to work, see the following links:

Getting it Right

GIS Apps to Improve Safety

Employee Advisory Council May 2015 Meeting

The Employee Advisory Council met May 20, 2015. Items that were included in the discussion included:

  • Performance Plans
  • Team Building Exercises
  • Mechanics’ ASE Certification Bonuses
  • Policy Limiting the Length of Time Plowing
  • Reimbursements for CDL Physicals
  • Lack of Pay Raises for Supervisory and Level IV Positions
  • Clothing Allowance for Paint Crew
  • Communicable Diseases and Trash Pick Up
  • Color of Safety Clothing
  • Make Staff Meetings More Memorable / Use for Team Building
  • Rest Areas
  • Hiring Panels
  • Internal Supervisor / Employee Disputes or Disagreements
  • Equipment Replacement
  • Hand Tools for Trades and Crafts Policy
  • Cash-Based Incentive Awards

Notes from the meeting are available below.

EAC May 2015 Summary

Information from previous meetings has also been posted on the blog.

Employee Advisory Council

Vote Early, Vote Often for Brigham City DDI in Transportation Awards Competition

BRIGHAM CITY — UDOT’s 1100 South/U.S. 91 DDI project in Brigham City has been selected as a Top 10 finalist in America’s Transportation Awards, sponsored by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO).

The northern Utah project is competing against projects from eight other states to win first place in the competition, which includes a cash prize that will be donated to a deserving charity in Utah.

An aerial shot of the project. White substance is geofoam

An aerial shot of the project. White substance is geofoam

“This Top 10 project is one more example of why UDOT has a reputation for being a national leader in quality and innovation,” said UDOT Executive Director Carlos Braceras. “I extend my congratulations to everyone who is associated with the project.”

Braceras suggested that anyone who would like to support the Brigham City project in the competition for best transportation project in the United States can participate in the voting for America’s Transportation Awards. “You can vote as many as 10 times per day per email address,” Braceras said.

Voting is currently underway online for the People’s Choice Award in the America’s Transportation Awards competition. To vote, go to http://nominate.americastransportationawards.org/Voting.aspx.

Voting will continue through Sept. 11.

A worker helps place geofoam, which helped "float the DDI" on geotechnically difficult terrain

A worker helps place geofoam, which helped “float the DDI” on geotechnically difficult terrain

The UDOT project is among 10 finalists in the competition. It is competing against projects from Florida, Kentucky, Indiana, Texas, North Dakota, New Mexico, South Carolina and Montana.

The Brigham City project qualifies in two top categories. One is the National Grand Prize, honoring the nation’s top transportation project as determined by a panel of industry experts and professionals. The other is the People’s Choice Award, which is voted on by the public through online balloting. The winner in each category receives a $10,000 donation to a charity or scholarship fund.

In order to be selected as a Top 10 project, it first had to be selected as a regional winner. The project won in the “Under Budget” category for an innovative design that could have cost as much as $100 million, but through out-of-the-box engineering and sensitivity to geological issues around the area, cost only $14 million.

With more than 20,000 vehicles a day — many of them trucks — originating throughout the region, this old, inefficient interchange was reducing the flow of the economic lifeblood of local communities to a trickle.

The 40-year-old interchange would frequently clog when vehicles at its ramps tried to enter the traffic flow.  The predominant west to south-bound traffic on US-91 was so steady during the day that it was nearly hopeless for other movements to occur.  This prompted risk-taking by trapped motorists at the ramps, and frequent crashes when they did.  Regional special events, like local university football games, would bring traffic to a complete halt.

UDOT traffic planners needed a solution, but the answer was elusive.  Soils adjacent to the Great Salt Lake were saturated by surface groundwater, making the interchange increasingly unstable.  Engineers wondered how to upgrade it without a massive redesign to accommodate the increasing pounding from trucks.  Similar rebuilds had cost upwards of $100 million – prohibitive under state budgets.

The answer: innovate.  Engineers used an innovation to solve the water issue — geofoam — which allowed the new interchange to “float” on soggy soils.  Another innovation — advanced bridge construction — replaced the interchange’s old bridge over I-15 while adding a completely new span in a little more than 10 months.  Finally, the innovative diverging diamond traffic pattern was added to the design to solve the problem of congestion and safety.

The result of all this innovation was an efficient interchange that allows all traffic movements to occur safely and congestion-free, and all for less than $14 million.

The first car goes through the Brigham DDI.

The first car goes through the Brigham DDI.

The America’s Transportation Awards competition is co-sponsored by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), the American Automobile Association (AAA) and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The top two national winners will be announced in September at the AASHTO Annual Meeting in Chicago.

Maintenance crew awarded Silver Barrel for saving Cottonwood Canyon homes

Crews from the Cottonwood Maintenance Shed 2433 and members from the South Valley Maintenance Shed 2427 are being awarded a Silver Barrel for going above and beyond the call of duty to save homes and and roadways after a landslide in Little Cottonwood Canyon in May.

233 Landslide 01

After finding out that an embankment was starting to slide toward homes near Alta, the crew surveyed the problem and came back quickly to address it. Working in driving rain and extreme weather conditions, the crew took three days to remove mud, rock and debris  to keep it from sliding into homes and onto the road. The crew also spoke with concerned homeowners and caretakers about what they were doing to save the homes, and helped everyone feel comfortable, even during the trying circumstances.

“[The crew] worked hard in extreme conditions, and they never complained once,” said Jake Brown, the Cottonwood Station supervisor. “They really made it happen with a good attitude even with longer shifts.”

Ultimately, they were able to stabilize the hill and install a barrier so no further damage would occur.

233 Landslide 03

“The crew made a quick response and resolution to a possibly serious situation. UDOT was very approachable and willing to communicate with all parties involved,” said Frank Perkins of Canyon Services, a property management company in Alta. “It’s a real treat to have the open communication with UDOT in dealing with problems in Little Cottonwood Canyon.”

Executive Director Carlos Braceras was present to give the Silver Barrels to crew members.

“These men are the face of UDOT for the public. No one knows what I do, or what your region director does. But they know what you do. And you carry a fine balance between keeping the canyon clean and safe while also maintaining the area’s other major roadways.” Braceras said.

081915 02 Carlos Awarding

The Silver Barrel Award started in 2012 by then-Executive Director John Njord. It is meant to recognize those who go above and beyond the call of duty to give exemplary service to the citizens and infrastructure of Utah. Much like college football players, who receive stickers to put on their helmets for a job well done on the field, UDOT employees who receive this award get Silver Barrel sticker for their hard hats, a pin, and a certificate.

081915 04 pin and sticker

The members receiving the Silver Barrel award are:

  • Jake Brown, Cottonwood Station Supervisor
  • Shawn Wright, Cottonwood Station
  • Keith Trott, Cottonwood Station
  • Michael Johnson, Cottonwood Station
  • Semi Tuiatua, Cottonwood Station
  • Tyler Connor, Cottonwood Station
  • Whitikei Lutui, Cottonwood Station
  • Sean Lewis, Cottonwood Station
  • Kirby Peacock, South Valley Station
  • Jared Thomas, South Valley Station
UDOT Executive Director Carlos Braceras and other Region Two leaders with the crews.

UDOT Executive Director Carlos Braceras and other Region Two leaders with the crews.

A golden milestone for a Utah County Employee

OREM — He stood there, shielded from the blistering heat, surrounded by buddies on the paint crew he works on. Executive Director Carlos Braceras had come to pay him a visit, and deliver congratulations straight from the Governor of Utah himself. For Region Three’s Mike Sabey, though, he would have much rather been outside painting lines on a road.

Recently, Sabey completed 50 years on the job at the Utah Department of Transportation — a golden anniversary no employee at UDOT has ever achieved. It was for that reason that Braceras, Deputy Director Shane Marshall, Region Three director Terri Newell and others had come to celebrate: five decades working on Utah roads.

“This is phenomenal. I don’t even know what to say,” Sabey said as he was presented with his award.

Mike Sabey with his paint crew

Mike Sabey (middle) with his paint crew

A lot was happening back in 1965: the space race was at a fever pitch, and American soldiers were on the ground in Vietnam. Martin Luther King, Jr. led a brave march to Selma, Ala., which brought about the Voting Rights Act, while race riots ripped through Watts, Calif. Oh, and Muhammad Ali beat Sonny Liston in one round.

In 1965, Hillary Rodham was a senior in high school, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was a 17-year-old kid named Lew Alcindor. Winston Churchill died, JK Rowling was born, and Lyndon Johnson became president.

While all this was going on, Mike Sabey was beginning a career at UDOT.

A Utah County native, Mike left his station attendant job at Premoco Gas Station in Lehi to come to UDOT. On May 17, 1965, he was hired as a Light Equipment Operator at Shed 17 in Lehi, where Sabey says he was a “highway weed whacker”. Since then, he’s performed jut about every task in Region Three. He spent 29 years working various jobs in Lehi, and then south to the Provo/Orem area, where he’s spent the last few years on the paint crew.  Mike said he joined the paint crew in order to “try something different”, a motto he’s lived by his entire career.

Executive Director Carlos Braceras honors Mike Sabey after 50 years with UDOT.

Executive Director Carlos Braceras honors Mike Sabey after 50 years with UDOT.

Sabey’s peers say he is the first to give up personal priorities — whether it’s a vacation, a hunt, or even a doctor appointment — because he knows “my guys are counting on me.” He tends to rearrange his life to get a project finished, and is known throughout Region Three as someone who can fix just about anything.

Sabey said the key to his longevity was proper safety and a little bit of luck: in his time at the Department, Mike has never been in an accident caused by him.

 

Mike Sabey's award from Utah Governor Gary Herbert and Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox

Mike Sabey’s award from Utah Governor Gary Herbert and Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox