Category Archives: Employee Focus

Traffic Management Division Celebrates Employee of the Year, Leader of the Year and Career Achievement

The opportunity to recognize excellent, dedicated and forward-thinking UDOT employees officially comes once a year, and the UDOT Traffic Management Division (TMD) was happy to identify several deserving staff through this process. It is important to pause and recognize outstanding employee achievement and celebrate the employees who continually go above and beyond to ensure great customer service to the public.

Headshot of Kelly Burns

Kelly Burns

This year, Kelly Burns was selected as the TMD Employee of the Year. Kelly is currently managing a project to develop freeway performance measures for congestion monitoring. She also supports UDOT’s four Regions for traffic modeling. Because of Kelly’s hard work and dedication, the new Speed Profile report for I-15, which identifies bottlenecks, was completed. The Speed Profile report will also be an excellent resource for effective future planning efforts. Kelly demonstrates a commitment to her job, co-workers and the traveling public every day. Congratulations, Kelly!

Headshot of Jeff Williams

Jeff Williams

Jeff Williams was selected as the TMD Leader of the Year. Jeff manages an exceptional team of meteorologists. His group is responsible for several innovations that contribute to safer roads, less materials costs and better service to the public. The new winter road weather index uses data from UDOT’s Road Weather Information System (RWIS) network to determine the intensity of a storm and the effectiveness of UDOT’s snow removal efforts. The efforts of Jeff and his team keep UDOT in the national spotlight for traveler information weather operations. Congratulations, Jeff!

Headshot of Keith Wilde

Keith Wilde

The TMD Career Achievement Award goes to an employee who has a longstanding history of excellency. This year, Keith Wilde was the award recipient. Keith has over thirty years of experience and leads the traffic signal field technicians. Keith has been instrumental in ensuring UDOT’s traffic signals are truly “world-class”. Keith is the resident expert on electronics for traffic signals. Utah residents may see Keith at a signalized intersection nearby a large special event helping with traffic flow. The UDOT TMD is very fortunate to have Keith and appreciates all of his hard work. Congratulations, Keith!

Marge Rasmussen Silver Barrel Award

Photo of various individuals from Region 2 and the TOC posing with Carlos and Marge.Marge is being nominated for the Silver Barrel award because of her dedication and her positive attitude. A lot of Marge’s work goes unnoticed when really, her decisions affect UDOT and the traveling public on a daily basis. Marge is always willing to help with any safety or traffic issue. When Marge helps with a project, she gets deeply involved and tries to understand the problem at the very root. This includes field visits to see the problem firsthand, where she will either put the maintenance station in contact with the right person, or she will follow-up personally to correct the issue. Marge has helped solve several problems, everything from mid-block pedestrian crossings to correct signing, to potentially dangerous roadway issues.

Some of Marge’s most recent and note-worthy projects include:

  • The coordination with Draper City on the re-striping of 700 East from 11400 South to 11800 South to include the extension of bike lanes.
  • Coordination with Park City and Summit County on sign and signal issues throughout the S.R. 224 / S.R. 248 corridor.
  • School zone safety project on 700 East.

Marge balances the work that has to be performed and the needs of the public, and is always very customer-oriented. Marge’s hard work has prevented many accidents and potentially saved many lives. The Department is lucky to have someone like Marge on the team!

This guest post was taken from the Silver Barrel nomination written by Danny Page and Jake Brown.

I-80 Parley’s Canyon Drainage Improvement Project Wins Excellence in Concrete Award

Last summer’s Drainage Improvements project on Interstate 80 in Parleys Canyon was recently recognized with the Excellence in Concrete Award from the Intermountain Chapter of the American Concrete Institute. The award recognized the team of UDOT, H.W. Lochner, W.W. Clyde and its subcontractors, and Geneva Pipe and Precast for designing, casting, and installing the new culvert adjacent to I-80. This drainage project, which was completed in fall 2013, installed more than 10,500 feet of 66-inch reinforced concrete pipe along a two-mile segment of I-80 near the mouth of Parleys Canyon. Crews also installed 6,700 linear feet of median and lateral drains, along with 80 concrete box structures. The new drainage system, with a 100-year design life, replaces the original corrugated metal pipe that was installed prior to construction of I-80 in the 1960s.

As many of the pipe sections are fabricated with slight differences to accommodate elevation changes or curves in the two mile-long culvert, each section had to be placed in exactly the right spot. The pipe included beveled segments, where the spigot end of the pipe had a slight bevel to the left or right, as well as straight segments. These segments allowed the pipe to bend gradually to match the grade and curves of the roadway. To install each segment, an on-site surveyor took measurements to ensure both vertical and horizontal alignment.

Significant challenges faced by the project team included maintenance of traffic – 45,000 cars each day traveled through the work zone – and the solid rock of the canyon, which required blasting in several locations merely feet away from the edge of pavement. In total, 10 separate blasts were carried out, for a total of more than 2,200 linear feet. The project was completed under the $11.8M budget just in time to suit the unique weather and stream flow conditions in the canyon.

According to the ACI Intermountain Chapter, the ACI Excellence in Concrete Awards “recognizes the innovative and aesthetic uses of concrete by owners, architects, engineers, contractors and ready mix producers.” This award is the latest recognition of the combined efforts of UDOT and the contractor team to meet challenges and complete a quality project that will benefit Utahans for years to come.

Also check out this post about the project from last year: Parley’s Canyon Pipe Replacement.

Silver Barrell Award Given for Flood Control Partnering

Photo of flooding along the shoulder and into one lane of of Bangerter HighwaySeveral individuals from Region Two and West Valley City’s Public Works group recently received a Silver Barrel award for partnering to control and resolve flooding on Bangerter Highway. On January 30th, a pool of water began to appear on the outside lanes of Bangerter, between 2400 South and 2700 South. The water started to encroach into the center lanes, damaging pavement and quickly becoming a safety hazard. Rex Black, who was working his first shift as the Station 224 supervisor, was quick to act, putting his years of working knowledge into effect. He and Area Supervisor, Kevon Ogden tried to identify the cause of the flooding, but it began to get dark, and the loss of daylight made it next to impossible to find the cause.

Although they had been plowing snow since 4 a.m. that morning, Mark Prows and Auston Bagley from Station 2427 showed up with their shed’s vactor to assist. They worked tirelessly that afternoon and all evening to keep the road clear of excess water, until approximately 8 p.m. when the vactor broke down. A second and third vactor were dropped off to keep the roads clear, but both were out of service by 3 a.m. despite the best efforts of the UDOT Mechanic crew.

The next morning, Sovann Ok, Region Two’s Hydraulics Engineer, left a family celebration to bring the drainage drawings to the crew and provide engineering assistance. They reviewed the drawings together, and Sovann climbed into several drainage ditches to find where there might be a blockage causing the flooding.

Photo of a UDOT truck, pump and maintenance work on Bangerter Highway working to remove flood waters from the highway.Rex requested the assistance of West Valley’s Public Works department, and Darin Burke, Fred Benson and Terry Wilks arrived with the city’s working vactor and their copy of the drainage drawings, and helped UDOT determine that the flooding was caused by a blocked drain in a detention pond nearly a mile downstream from where the flooding had occurred.

West Valley used their vactor to clean the drains, while UDOT crews worked with the backhoe to clean the outlet. One rental pump was used to move water from the road into a nearby field, while a second pump was used to pump water through the opening of the outlet to the detention pond to allow it to drain. By the afternoon, the road was able to be reopened just in time for the evening commute.

Additional measures were taken in order to prevent this scenario from happening again. Holes were drilled into the top of the catch basin to catch any overflowing from the pond in the future. By utilizing the resources around them, working around the clock and partnering with outside entities, these individuals kept the traveling public safe and on the go.

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

Silver Barrel for Life Saving Efforts

Photo of Executive Director with Thomas and LorenAt 2:30 p.m, Friday April 25, 2014, two UDOT Advanced Traffic Management System (ATMS) maintenance crew members were pulling communications cable at 2600 South and 700 East in Salt Lake City. This project is being coordinated with Salt Lake City in an effort to establish radio communications with some of Salt Lake City’s traffic signals.

While performing this routine duty, Thomas Hammon and Loren Jackson noticed an eldery man in distress. Thomas and Loren were not the first good Samaritans on the scene, however when they arrived, they were able to take charge of the situation and assist the man. Thomas spoke with the 911 dispatch operator while Loren attended to the elderly man who was now laying on the ground. Loren was able to give vital signs to Thomas who relayed the information to the 911 operator. Shortly after arriving at the scene, the elderly man did not have a pulse, so Loren checked the airway for obstructions and began CPR. Loren and Thomas tag-teamed the CPR for 7 to 10 minutes before United Fire Station #101 and Gold Cross Ambulance arrived on the scene. After being relieved from CPR, Thomas and Loren gave statements of the incident to Salt Lake Police and resumed their job duties.

Loren and Thomas have both taken advantage of the free CPR training offered through UDOT and put it to good use. Loren and Thomas acted quickly and took control of this situation. JT Dziatlik supervises Loren and Thomas and said, “Loren and Tom went above and beyond their job descriptions trying to save a life. They are an excellent example of UDOT employees who make a difference in everyday life.”

UDOT RECEIVES NATIONAL AWARD FOR ITS OUTDOOR ADVERTISING CONTROL MAP

Photo of the Award of ExcellenceA multidisciplinary team at UDOT recently received national recognition for developing the Outdoor Advertising Control Map.

The Highway Beautification Act of 1965 gave state departments of transportation the responsibility of enforcing rules governing outdoor advertising, aka billboards. UDOT has developed an online mapping system that helps the general public and UDOT staff to efficiently identify the location of all highways where outdoor advertising is controlled, and where all permitted billboards are located along these controlled highways.

In April, UDOT became one of only three states to receive a national award from the National Alliance of Highway Beautification Agencies for developing this innovative mapping system.

The following statewide team collaborated to bring this award winning map to life:

DTS

  • Monty King

Central ETS/GIS

  • Becky Hjelm
  • Frank Pisani

Central Right-of-Way

  • Lyle McMillian
  • Krissy Plett
  • Rod McDaniels

Project Development Administration

  • Randy Park
  • Lisa Wilson

Region Permitting Operations

  • Tommy Vigil
  • Nacey Wilson
  • Nazee Treweek
  • Mark Velasquez
  • Tony Lau
  • Rux Rowland
  • Rhett Arnell
  • Dale Stapley
  • Steve Kunzler
  • Scott Snow

Central Attorney General’s Office

  • Renee Spooner

Central Asset Management

  • Stan Burns
  • Kelli Bacon
  • Abdul Wakil
  • Peter Bigelow

Risk Management

  • Brandi Trujillo

For more information about the the map check out Show Me a Sign.

Thank you to Rod McDaniels for his help writing this post.

Brian Quarnberg and Colton Peterson Silver Barrel Awards

Photo of UDOT and Region leadership with Brian and Colton.Colton Peterson is assigned to the Salina Maintenance Station but was asked by his supervisor, Brian Quarnberg, to help with facility management within Region 4 since he has previous work experience in this arena. Brian had the foresight to notice the building maintenance needs within the Region and immediately offered Colton’s services. Colton accepted the challenge and worked tirelessly in getting the buildings in the best shape possible for the Division of Facilities Construction and Management (DFCM) inspections.

As a result of Brian’s unselfish attitude and Colton’s efforts the Oak Springs Rest Area on S.R. 24 near Fish Lake and the Pines Rest Area on S.R. 12 near Bryce Canyon have been improved, refurbished and were ready for opening. The Hoover’s Rest Area on U.S. 89 near Marysvale has been painted and refurbished and handed over to the new facility management contractors. Many region upgrades have been put in place thanks to Colton and the new facilities coordinator has been trained on UDOT procedures and systems.

Brian and Colton have shown themselves to be an example to others in regards to UDOT’s strategic goals, and Region 4 would certainly have experienced budget issues without their leadership and team work.

This guest post is from the Silver Barrel Award nominations written by Tim Walden, Region 4 Administrative Services Manager.

Ray Meldrum: Utilities Guru and Local Film Producer

Photo of cast members in costume standing along a railroad track with Ray in the middle.

Ray on location in the Heber Valley with the principle cast of Saints and Soldiers: Airborne Creed.

UDOT Region 2 Preconstruction’s Ray Meldrum, has an interesting hobby: he’s a producer of the locally made Word War II “Saints and Soldiers” films.

Ray became friends with Ryan Little, the director, in 1998 when he was a promising BYU film school student. For Ryan’s first short film, “The Last Good War”, Ray provided all the military uniforms, equipment, vehicles and weapons. This short film received an Emmy, as well as the Jimmy Stewart Award and the Heartland Film Best Picture Award. This success began the seed that spawned the Saints and Soldiers film series.

The first “Saints and Soldiers” movie was produced in 2003 and followed a group of American soldiers behind enemy lines who somehow managed to escape the Malmedey Massacre that occurred during The Battle of the Bulge in early 1945. For a locally produced film, it was very well done and was highly regarded by critics and audiences. Because of its success in the U.S, it was eventually distributed worldwide where it was also highly successful. At the time of its release in 2004 it outsold more copies in the UK than Steven Spielberg’s “Saving Private Ryan.”

Photo of a camera with Ray and other cast members in the background

Setting an outrigger camera off of an American general’s Jeep in Saints and Soldiers: The Void

The success of the original Saints and Soldiers movie and the continued interest in WWII films, eventually led to a second film in 2010 called, “Saints and Soldiers; Airborne Creed.” Airborne Creed followed a group of troopers from the 517th Parachute Infantry Regiment in, “Operation Torch”; the allied invasion of the south of France in August 1944. This film was also highly successful worldwide and gained the attention of entertainment investors.

On the heels of the second film’s success, a third movie was quickly funded. “Saints and Soldiers: The Void,” was filmed in September 2013 and January 2014, and is scheduled to have its theatrical release in August of this year. The film depicts the end of the war in Europe as the German forces are making a last ditch attempt to harass and defeat the American Army as it moves into Germany. This film follows two M-18 Hellcat tank crews that are sent on a fateful mission through the Harz Mountains of Germany, and are ambushed by three German Panzer tanks.

Photo of an M-18 tank with Roger sitting on top and Ray standing by the side.

Ray on set in Provo Canyon with tank operator Roger Condron and Annie, the M-18 Hellcat.

Ray has co-produced all three films, which means he has a wide variety of responsibilities including; Technical Advisor, Armorer, Vehicle Wrangler, Extra Coordinator, Costume/Set Designer (e.g., helmets, gear, tents, bayonets, blanks, props etc.).

Ray says he has always enjoyed reading American History, but his passion is WWII. “I am fascinated by the sacrifice of the people at this time and the accomplishments they achieved during a short period of time. They out produced every other nation on earth, defeated two great enemies in two theaters of war and on opposite sides of the globe. They demonstrate when a nation, team, or department is united and individuals are dedicated to a cause, it creates a practically unstoppable force.”

This guest post was originally written by Ray for his division’s newsletter but was edited slightly for broader use by Region 2 Project Management Specialist, Heather Barthold.

Access Management Rule Revision Committee Silver Barrel Award

Photo of award recipients standing as a group with Executive Director Carlos BracerasThe 2013 Access Management Rule Revision Steering Committee recently received a Silver Barrel Award. The committee assembled on short notice to completely revise and overhaul the Department’s aging Access Management Rule (Utah Administrative Code R930-6), the first comprehensive rewrite of this rule since the program’s inception in 2003.

Some of the major achievement highlights from this project include:

  • Reducing document size by 50% (from 100 to 50 pages)
  • Significantly reducing redundancies and conflicts
  • Clarifying procedures and requirements
  • Updating statutory references
  • Revising document organization
  • Converting to rule format
  • Creating a presentation version of rule

Members of the committee included:

  • Rhett Arnell – Region 4
  • Doug Basset – Region 3
  • Cali Bastow – Project Development
  • David Benard – Office of the Attorney General
  • Tim Boschert – Systems Planning and Programming
  • Mark Burns – Office of the Attorney General
  • Diego Carroll – Parsons Brinckerhoff
  • Paul Egbert – Region 1
  • Todd Finlinson – Region 1
  • Hugh Hadsock – FHWA
  • Griffin Harris – Region 3
  • Jason Henley – Project Development
  • Gaye Hettrick – Project Development
  • Amanda Kirkendall – Parsons Brinckerhoff
  • Tony Lau – Region 2
  • Richard Manser – Project Development
  • Rod McDaniels – Project Development
  • Lyle McMillian – Project Development
  • Teri Newell – Region 3
  • Randy Park – Project Development
  • Renee Spooner – Office of the Attorney General
  • Mark Velasquez – Region 2
  • Lisa Wilson – Project Development

 

Employee Advisory Council January 2014 Meeting

The Employee Advisory Committee met January 16, 2014. Items that were included in the discussion included:

  • An explanation of UDOT’s funding process
  • Employee recognition program
  • Market comparability adjustments
  • Employee communication

Notes from the meeting are available below.

EAC January 2014 Summary

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

First Meeting of the UDOT Employee Advisory Council