Tag Archives: Carlos Braceras

UDOT Executive Director Carlos Braceras Featured in New AASHTO Video

AASHTO occasionally posts a video they call the “2 Minute Update”, featuring transportation leaders from different state DOTs across the country. This month’s video profiles UDOT’s Executive Director Carlos Braceras. Carlos explains his vision for UDOT and discusses our emphasis on integrated transportation and the importance of educating new engineers. AASHTO distributes the video to reporters nationwide, and a few have already filed stories, including this one from CE News.

 

First Meeting of UDOT Employee Advisory Council

In August, I announced a number of changes the leadership team would be implementing to better recognize our employees and their concerns. Based on feedback from surveys and focus groups earlier this year, we understood that our employees felt we could improve on providing dialogue between employees and leadership.

As a result of what we heard, we have created an Employee Advisory Council (EAC), which includes representatives from every group and region who will meet with Shane Marshall and me each quarter. The EAC will provide a direct avenue for employees to share concerns, ideas and feedback with the leadership team.

The EAC met for the first time on Oct. 3, and based on the number of topics we discussed, we decided to increase the length of our meetings from one and a half hours to two. I am excited to hear so many ideas and topics from our employees that can help make our organization even better.

During our discussion, the EAC decided to make all our meeting minutes available here on the blog, so all employees can be aware of the issues and questions we address. Also available is the full roster of EAC members, so if you have a question or concern you can pass it along for discussion at our next meeting.

Some of the topics we discussed were:

  • Employee Morale – Increase recognition for the good work being done by our employees.
  • Performance Plans – Consider changing plans so supervisors can adequately rate those who exceed expectations.
  • Performance Recognition – Promote and expand recognition program, which employees feel is not consistent or as robust as it could be.
  • Outsourcing – Address the concern that the amount of work given to consultants threatens job security for UDOT employees. Employees will not lose jobs because of outsourcing.
  • Policy Explanations – Provide information about the reason(s) for policy changes instead of just announcing that change has occurred.
  • Market Comparability Adjustments (MCAs) – Give more background and context with the annual MCA report from Human Resources so it is easier to understand.
  • Employee Communication – Improve communication by offering more one-on-one access to the leadership team, for example by conducting regular visits to maintenance.

These are just highlights, but more detailed notes are available in the minutes. I encourage you to download and read the more detailed version for this meeting and those that follow. The next meeting has been scheduled for January, and all employees will receive an email from me as soon as those minutes are available.

We hope that all employees will engage the EAC and take part in our continual effort to improve as an organization. I look forward to hearing from you!

Employee Advisory Council Roster

October 2013 EAC Minutes

Carlos and Shane Address UDOT Annual Conference 2013 Attendees

Carlos and Shane took time to speak to all of the Annual Conference attendees during the general session on Wednesday. The director and deputy director speeches have always been one of the most important parts of the conference. This is a chance for them to set a direction and energize us for the coming year and to let us know how we’ve been doing.

Carlos was first up and took us through the process he went through applying for the job as executive director. It was a multi-step process that led to a great life lesson we can all learn from. The process, or journey, itself was the important part. This gave him time to reflect and plan for UDOT’s future. Without that time, he admitted, things would be very different. The end result was the vision document we wrote about back in August. He also explained that his job is not to be the one with all the ideas but instead to provide an environment for employees to come up with, and implement, innovations that will improve how we do business. And, he’ll be right there in front, cheering us on and doing what he can to help.

Shane was up next and gave us a brief introduction of himself, shared some of the results from the annual survey and employee interviews and explained a few areas we need to improve in. Coincidentally several of the concern areas the survey and employees brought up are also part of Carlos’ vision. The big one though was transparency. The public felt this was an area we needed to improve and employee interviews echoed.

Another concern that was brought up was a need to improve communication between senior leaders and employees. To help with this an advisory committee has been formed and the first meeting has taken place. The Employee Advisory Council (EAC) will meet quarterly and Shane asked that any concerns be taken to one of the members for discussion at their next meeting.

Shane also took a minute during his presentation to clear up a rumor that has been floating around. He reassured employees that their jobs are not in jeopardy due to privatization and asked station supervisors to take that message back to their sheds.

Shane wrapped up the general session by thanking everyone and expressing his excitement and optimism for the upcoming year.

A Vision for the Future

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