Category Archives: Employee Focus

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

 

Monte Aldridge Receives Governor’s Award for Excellence

Region Four’s Monte Aldridge received the Governor’s Award for Excellence in the category of leadership on Tuesday, May 5, 2015. The following nomination was submitted by Rick Torgerson, Region Four Director.

Photo of Monte Aldridge

Monte Aldridge

Monte Aldridge is leading a cultural shift with long-term business implications by developing relationships of trust and influencing his peers and other stakeholders in the implementation of several key UDOT initiatives. He continually aligns people and processes in the use of Geographic Information System (GIS) tools, implementation of 3D design and advancement of wildlife connectivity/vehicle collision reduction.

The use of GIS tools has been a remarkable breakthrough for UDOT and allows for making better decisions while improving efficiency in delivering projects that address each of UDOT’s Strategic Goals and the governors SUCCESS Framework initiative. While GIS has a sophisticated infrastructure, under Monte’s leadership his team has embraced the new technology to understand and develop its capabilities.

Monte has helped keep UDOT moving into the future with 3D design, which is a national effort within Departments of Transportation and the Federal Highways Administration. This quickly developing technology is revolutionizing the design, construction and communication of roadway projects. Monte’s continuous incorporation of 3D Design into team processes, problem-solving scenarios and public settings has seeded a synergy that is moving his peers to forge ahead developing higher quality products while also achieving significant taxpayer savings.

Region 4's Monte Aldridge stands with Executive Director Carlos Braceras (left) and Governor Herbert with his award.

Region 4’s Monte Aldridge stands with Executive Director Carlos Braceras (left) and Governor Herbert with his award.

Monte’s leadership in connecting state and federal agencies, counties, landowners and sportsmen’s groups to a clear vision and fostering collaborative solutions has led to innovative products, financial partnerships, new agreements and most importantly, trusting relationships resulting in a reduction of nearly 1,050 yearly vehicle/wildlife collisions in Southern Utah.

Congratulations Monte! Thank you for your excellent example and leadership.

Silver Barrel Awards: Scott Fugate, Tyler Rasband and Joseph Burns

The following Silver Barrel nomination was written by Corey Coulam, UDOT Traffic Operations Center Control Room Manager.

On the night of March 22 around 8:30, the control room received a message from Salt Lake County dispatch describing a report from a Utah Highway Patrol Trooper of a loud popping noise at 2100 South and 900 West. Operators, Scott Fugate, Tyler Rasband and Joseph Burns, took action to use a traffic camera to try to locate what the trooper had reported. They quickly identified the flames of a fire started by transients that threatened a structure.

Photo of the live camera feed of the fireThe operators provided the live stream video feed to Salt Lake County UHP dispatch and gave them a detailed description of the incident and location. Dispatch then contacted the Fire Department with precise information and visual confirmation readily available. Because of these quick reactions, the Fire Department was able to respond quickly to this incident. The Fire Department is noted in a news article saying that these quick reactions and the availability of a camera feed prevented this from becoming a larger fire with the potential for serious infrastructure damage.

This was reported without exact confirmation and, at the time of the incident, there were no traffic impacts whatsoever however these operators relied on their experience and skills to help emergency responders. Scott Fugate, the shift supervisor and his familiarity (from almost 8 years of working in the control room) with UHP, dispatch, and situational awareness provided him the ability to realize that this had the potential to become a large scale incident. In addition, operator skills with control room software and camera use played a large role in helping them to locate this incident on a surface street location where camera coverage is poor. What makes this more impressive is the fact that the call came at night, when the difficulty of locating incidents by camera is significantly increased.

 

Members of the Traffic Operations Center receive their Silver Barrel award from Executive Director Carlos Braceras

Members of the Traffic Operations Center receive their Silver Barrel award from Executive Director Carlos Braceras

Traveler Information Manager Lisa Miller receives a Silver Barrel award.

Traveler Information Manager Lisa Miller receives a Silver Barrel award.

Preconstruction honored with regional quality award

UDOT Region Four’s Preconstruction Team has developed GIS tools that support and enable communication and better decisions, and charts a path for other work groups at UDOT to exploit GIS capabilities more fully.

The team won a WASHTO award recently for developing and employing GIS tools. Here’s an overview of some of the team’s efforts. Click here to read the full WASHTO award nomination.

DesignCompareAppScreenShot

This screen shot shows an image of an app that compares the phases of design for the Bluff and Sunset project located in St. George.

GEO-referencing design files

A Design-to-UPlan app displays the design files on a UPLAN map. Multiple design options can be displayed to facilitate discussion among UDOT and stakeholder groups. All three phases of a project, concept, plan-in-hand and PS and E, can be viewed simultaneously on one screen with multiple windows.

Mapping right-of-way survey files

The team has also built tools to convert Right-of-Way (ROW) survey data from CAD to GIS, and graphically display the UDOT ROW lines on a UPLAN map. Certified section corners, complete with tie sheets, are also linked to the map and accessible to the public. A ROW Type Map app displays property in one of three categories, ROW, Limited Access or No Access.

A pilot project, when fully implemented, will pull information from ePM each evening, and display individual parcels within a project area on a UPLAN map. The parcels will be color-coded to show the acquisition status of each parcel. Hosting the maps on UPLAN allows public access with security controls to insure the integrity of the data and to regulate sensitive information.

Mapping utility conflicts

By displaying utility data and infrastructure via UPLAN, project teams can work to quickly resolve potential conflicts with utility companies. Ultimately, Region Four’s vision is to create a database of all utilities within the region and statewide.

Mapping sensitive environmental areas

Region Four Preconstruction has been working with the State Historic Preservation Office to develop protocol to ensure the secure use of sensitive environmental data.  The team also standardized a GPS data dictionary for use in managing mitigation for Utah Prairie Dog surveys.

GIS tool benefits

GIS tools provide value to project teams and stakeholders. Maps help solve communication gaps among disparate groups, including the general public, commercial land surveyors, land owners, policy makers, and contractors. For example, UDOT Project Managers can help local leaders and the general public visualize project options and outcomes, and help facilitate a better decision-making process. And sharing an online map can allow productive work sessions with participants in various remote locations.

GIS maps and apps can support complex environmental processes. Region Four is home to most of Utah’s cultural sites and threatened and endangered species, and GIS tools help UDOT staff reduce or mitigate protected areas and avoid animal habitats.

While GIS has a sophisticated infrastructure, Region Four’s Preconstruction department has embraced the new technology to understand and develop its capabilities and has pioneered GIS tools for the benefit of all of UDOT.

Congratulations to Region 4 Preconstruction!

Team Members: Wendy Nez, Jared Beard, Ted Madden, Riley Lindsay, Bill Mecham, Don Johnson, Kelly Hall, Gernice White, Eric Hansen, Pam Higgins, Jared Barton, Randall Taylor, Cameron Gay, Silvia Barbre, Devin Monroe, Sam Grimshaw, Josh Peterson, Brandon Weight, Jeff Bunker, John Fraidenburg, Paul Damron, Monte Aldridge.

Mtn View Corridor team receives Silver Barrel for $500k recycling decision

Executive Director Carlos Braceras recently awarded the Mountain View Corridor project team, Cedar City and Granger-Hunter Improvement District with a Silver Barrel award for their partnering efforts in saving taxpayers $500,000. Award Recipients included:

  • Brad Paxman, Granger-Hunter Improvement District
  • Johnathon Stathis, Cedar City Water Dept.
  • Josh Vanjura – UDOT
  • Barney Mekkmellom, UDOT
  • Jessie Barton, MVC team member (Parsons Brinkerhoff)
  • Mayor Maile Wilson, Cedar City Mayor
  • Joe Kammerer, UDOT

MVC Silver Barrel

UDOT and Granger-Hunter Improvement District (GHID) worked together to relocate a 2 million gallon water tank to Cedar City that was moved to make way for the Mountain View Corridor (MVC). By recycling existing resources, UDOT, GHID and Cedar City saved taxpayers $500,000.

UDOT is currently preparing for the next phase of construction on the Mountain View Corridor from 5400 South to 4100 South in West Valley City. The project needed to relocate an older steel water tank near 4300 South. The water tank held 2 million gallons of water that proved to be too small for the growing area. UDOT and GHID worked together to build a new 4 million gallon concrete water tank and built it in the neighborhood adjacent to the future roadway.

Instead of disposing of the old water tank material, UDOT and GHD researched ways to re-use it. Cedar City was in need of a new water tank and contacted GHID. The water tank was dismantled and transported to its new location for reassembly.

This water tank in Cedar City was once in the Mountain View Corridor project path in Salt Lake County.

This water tank in Cedar City was once in the Mountain View Corridor project path in Salt Lake County.

“We are always looking for ways to create positive outcomes during the construction process,” said Joe Kammerer, MVC Project Director. “This is a great example of government and utility companies working together to save taxpayer money.”

Mountain View Corridor consists of two lanes open in each direction from 16000 South to 5400 South. MVC will eventually be a 35-mile freeway from I-80 in Salt Lake to Lehi Main Street.

If you would like to learn more about the Mountain View Corridor project, visit udot.utah.gov/mountainview. To learn more about Granger-Hunter Improvement District, visit http://www.ghid.org/. To learn more about Cedar City, visit http://www.cedarcity.org/.

This post was written by Crystal McMillan, associate account manager on the MVC project team. 

Coffee and kindness from a UDOT employee

For Jackson Boss, a District Permits Officer for the Utah Department of Transportation’s Region Two, it was just another morning. He ran “blue stakes” tickets, and chose to get some coffee at Sugarhouse Coffee. But what he found there illustrates how he lives the core values of integrity and public responsiveness, on and off the clock.

Jackson Boss

Jackson Boss

As Jackson left the coffee shop, he noticed a wallet in the parking lot, next to his car. He hadn’t noticed it before, and originally wondered if the wallet was a prank. But what he found there wasn’t just a fellow motorist’s ID card. As he looked to see if he could identify the owner, he noticed much more was in her wallet.

“It looked like she had her whole life in there — cash, school ID, important documents,” Boss said. “I’ve lost my fair share of items, and it’s not fun worrying about where you left them or where they went.”

Instead of leaving the wallet at the coffee shop’s lost and found, he chose to bring it to the owner — a Makali’i Brown of Sandy, Utah.

Makali’i described her situation, after posting on Facebook about the event:

“After looking, I was ready to face how much trouble I was in. But I was surprised when my mom handed me the wallet and told me a kind, complete stranger had picked it up and drove all the way from Sugarhouse out of the goodness of his heart. I was surprised that it was completely intact and untampered with.”

Makali'i Brown with a message to the UDOT worker who found her wallet

Makali’i Brown with a message to the UDOT worker who found her wallet

Jackson shrugged off any congratulations when he was told Makali’i wanted to thank him. To him, there was never any doubt what to do.

“I think that you need to be the change you want to see in the world, whether it’s returning a wallet or anything else. ” Boss said.

Thank you to Mikali’i for letting us know about what happened.

Employee Advisory Council January 2015 Meeting

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

  • Flexible Schedules
  • Performance Plans
  • Team Building Exercises
  • Employee Opportunities
  • Random Drug Testing for all UDOT Employees
  • Mechanics Salary Increases for ASE Certification
  • Policy Limiting Length of Time for Plowing
  • Reimbursement Amount for CDL Physicals

Notes from the meeting are available below.

EAC January 2015 Summary

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

Employee Advisory Council

Highlights from the 2014 Annual Efficiencies Report

Efficiencies within UDOT often generate cost savings for the public and the Department through better utilization of resources and innovative technologies. At the end of each year, UDOT prepares an efficiencies report which summarizes key efficiency initiatives from the year. The annual report fulfills a requirement for UDOT to describe the efficiencies and significant accomplishments achieved during the past year to the State Legislature. UDOT Senior Leaders use the report in presentations during legislative committee meetings.

Following are the key efficiency initiatives summarized in the FY 2014 report:

  • SUCCESS Framework Initiative
    • Statewide Access Management Program
    • Preconstruction Project Scoping
    • Ports of Entry Truck Processing
    • Snow and Ice Control
    • Procurement System
    • Heavy Duty Truck Maintenance
  • Report Auto Generator for Roadway “As-Builts”
  • Uinta Basin Rail
  • Outdoor Advertising Control Map
  • Automated Queue Warning Detection System
  • Cement-Treated Asphalt Base
  • Citizen Reporter Program
  • Real-Time Winter Road Weather Index Performance Measurement
  • Variable Speed Limit in Parley’s Canyon
  • Snow Fencing Efficiencies

One example from the 2014 report is the SUCCESS Framework Initiative, a set of management principles from the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget, designed to boost the quality and efficiency of government services, with the goal of improving government operations and services by 25% by the end of 2016. One of the six major systems that UDOT is focusing on for the SUCCESS Framework is the Statewide Access Management Program. With a lot of hard work and collaboration, the Access Management Team reduced the time and labor cost required for processing access permit applications. As a result, the per-permit processing cost was lowered from $1,709 to $1,532 ($177 per permit), providing approximately $42,000 in annual cost savings to UDOT.

Citizen Report ScreenshotAnother example from 2014 is the Citizen Reporter Program, which enlists trained volunteers to report on road weather conditions along specific roadway segments across Utah. This citizen crowd-sourcing contributes to the quantity, quality and timeliness of traveler information, especially in rural areas. As a result, UDOT saves approximately $250,000 annually from the reduced need for road weather instrumentation, and from efficiencies in storm forecasting.

The UDOT Research Division coordinates each year with UDOT Senior Leaders and the Communications Office to collect and compile write-ups on the past year’s key efficiency initiatives. We appreciate all of the UDOT Regions and Groups that submitted FY 2014 efficiencies topics and write-ups on the key items. This process will start again in August for FY 2015.

The 2014 and earlier annual reports are available online at www.udot.utah.gov/go/efficiencies.

This post was originally published in the UDOT Research Newsletter.

I-80 Crash Silver Barrel Awards

Executive Director Carlos Braceras awarded twelve Region Two employees with a Silver Barrel Award for their efforts related to a semi crash on I-80 that closed the road for several hours. Details of their efforts are below and the recipients included:

  • Shane Bushell
  • Rick Debban
  • Nick Jarrett
  • Robert Miles
  • Cody Moore
  • Stuart Ovard
  • Rick Potter
  • Bryant Richins
  • Jason Richins
  • Layne Thornton
  • Dottie Weese
  • Ron Williams

On July 16, 2014, Summit County Dispatch called Bryant Richins the Echo Station Supervisor around 5 a.m. and asked him to respond to a semi crash on I-80 westbound in Echo Canyon.

Due to the severity of this crash and with both semis on fire, I-80 was closed in both directions.

Bryant and his crew provided the traffic control and set up a left lane closure from the Echo Port of entry to the maintenance turnaround at milepost 183. This provided emergency vehicles a way to travel westbound if they needed to get past the crash scene.

I-80 eastbound was opened to one lane of traffic around 8 a.m. The crew was then asked for material to contain the water and hazardous runoff from fighting the fire. Two trucks from the Wanship Station hauled material up and contained the runoff.

The crew then started to assist in the clean up of the crash but the fireman in charge was concerned with the possibility of the loads flaring up. They discussed several possibilities and it was decided the UDOT crew would tip the loads over with their loader so they could get water on it to better extinguish the smoldering fire. This alone was estimated to save a couple of hours in the clean up of the accident.

The UDOT Echo Crew then worked with the tow company and firemen and offered to use their four UDOT ten wheel dump trucks and loader to haul the debris to the landfill. The Summit County Fire Department tried to cut up the burnt semis with their chop saws but it was taking too much time. Bryant offered to have his equipment operator go in with the loader and smash and roll up the debris and then load it in to UDOT’s ten wheelers. This saved an estimated four hours. Bryant then proposed his plan with the UDOT Area Supervisor and called Morgan Asphalt around 9 a.m. to notify them he would need their services in Echo Canyon to rotomill and repave the damaged/burnt asphalt. The crash debris was cleaned up and Morgan Asphalt was able to start rotomilling and paving around 2 p.m. The interstate was repaved and all lanes open to traffic by 5:45 p.m.

This is a great example of successful partnering with Utah Highway Patrol, Summit County Law Enforcement, Summit County Fire Department, Summit County Health Department, Moores Towing, the UDOT Incident Management Team, the UDOT Region Safety Manager, the UDOT Area Supervisor, UDOT Wanship Station 236, and UDOT Echo Station 238! Due to this successful partnering they were able to safely reopen Interstate I-80 and estimated 6 hours early.

This guest post was taken from the Silver Barrel nomination written by Todd Richins, UDOT Region Two East Area Supervisor.

Dan Betts Silver Barrel

Dan Betts received a Silver Barrel Award for his solution to striping problems on I-80 in Parley’s Canyon. After receiving several complaints about low striping visibility Dan and UDOT Central Maintenance determined there was a problem. Dan contacted the manufacturer because the striping was still under warranty and came up with a great solution.

  • The manufacturer would replace the striping tape on I-80 between Mt. Aires Exit 132 and Lambs Canyon Exit 137, including installation and traffic control.
  • The upper section of I-80 from Lambs Canyon Exit 137 to Kimball Junction Exit 145 paint would be applied over the existing striping tape since the pavement is in need of treatment and tape would not be cost effective. The manufacturer would install the paint including the traffic control.
  • UDOT Region Two would provide the grooves for the striping tape to be applied.
  • The manufacturer would provide an additional four year warranty for the entire section, both taped and painted.

Through Dan’s efforts and negotiating skills he was able to improve striping on I-80 through Parley’s Canyon.

This guest post was taken from the Silver Barrel Nomination submitted to the UDOT Administration Office.