Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration - Momentum Newsletter
August 2017

Administrator's Message - Say No to the Status Quo

Greg Slater

Greg Slater

We've all heard the clichés before. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." "That's the way we've always done it."

Those phrases are the embodiment of status quo. Webster's defines status quo as the existing state of affairs. As summer concludes, I encourage all of us to break the status seek out ways to help MDOT SHA evolve and excel.

We have a very powerful and important purpose. Our purpose is not to accomplish our collective mission in passive agreement to self-imposed boundaries, preconceived norms and standard operating procedures.

What if Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. had simply accepted the status quo and allowed his dream to be silenced by fear? He wouldn't have fulfilled his purpose to lead a movement towards the achievement of a dream.

We must all be dreamers. Let's hear the crazy ideas in meetings. Curb your fear – you will be applauded for offering up a completely fresh perspective. I want us to collectively push the limits of how we do things so we can advance. Don't wait, push forward your ideas, your improvements and your efficiencies. Just do it, our customers deserve it. Drive forward fearlessly and provocatively. If you have the best interests of MDOT SHA in mind in your idea or initiative, then we will build the leadership environment here which will embrace those ideas and that action!

We have a record level of projects across the state – under construction or about to start - 552 projects valued at $4.2 billion. Those numbers ARE NOT a sign of us embracing the status quo. Those numbers show us pushing the envelope under Governor Hogan's leadership and his commitment to investing in highways and bridges for transportation that works for Maryland.

You've all played a role in these successes, in our collective excellence. We are indeed "one team, one fight." But remember, even when we are at our best...there is always room to push farther and reach higher. Orioles legend Cal Ripken always said, "Practice does NOT make perfect. PERFECT practice makes perfect." I encourage you all to find that opportunity not to rest on laurels, but rather keep working to make perfect even more perfect.

We are rolling out some initiatives that will better enable all of you to collaborate with leadership on good ideas and innovative solutions for this organization. We are a diverse family here at MDOT SHA, and we will only succeed together with the confluence of our best ideas and best efforts. Keep giving me your best and I promise you'll get mine.

INNOVATION - Project Green Light Comes to MDOT SHA

Innovation - Project Green Light Comes to MDOT SHA

Do you have a great idea that will help MDOT SHA better accomplish its mission and move the agency forward? Help us break down the walls of bureaucracy, create a culture of innovation and fast track new ideas.

If you have ideas about ways to enhance effective communication, research and implement new technologies, use new methods to tackle our mission and bring project and business process efficiencies to our business process then we want to learn about them! Project GREEN LIGHT allows everyone to pitch ideas in a friendly "SHARK TANK" presentation environment – live and in person!

The idea must apply to one of our focus areas – Customer Service, Innovation, Modernization or Communication. Winning applicants will be empowered to implement approved projects.

To participate, just fill out this short, easy form on the intranet here. Submit by Wednesday, August 30 (deadline extended) and presentations will be September 8.

MODERNIZATION - Governor Makes Ceremonial Call on Maryland FiRST Radio System, Maryland FiRST to Allow Communications Interoperability for All Public Safety Agencies

Modernization - Governor Makes Ceremonial Call on Maryland FiRST Radio System, Maryland FiRST to Allow Communications Interoperability for All Public Safety Agencies

The third phase of Maryland FiRST is now complete, enhancing communications for front-line first responders in MDOT SHA shops and CHART Emergency Traffic Patrols. The 700 MHz statewide radio system is the first in Maryland that provides true communications interoperability connecting MDOT SHA to a variety of first responders and public safety agencies such as Maryland State Police, Maryland Transportation Authority, Maryland Department of the Environment and local police agencies.

There are 14,500 primary public safety users and almost 24,000 interoperability users who have the system readily available for use to include state, local and federal agencies such as the FBI, ATF, DEA, Federal Protective Services and the U.S Coast Guard. MDOT SHA currently has approximately 1,200 radios deployed on the new system.

The Maryland FiRST system has fundamentally changed how first responders from every level of government communicate with each other. First responders can communicate at the scene, rather than from vehicle-based radios and can talk to each other, rather than through dispatchers. Reliable, instantaneous communications results in enhanced public safety service for our customers and safety for our employees.

As we modernize systems, we're modernizing our internal organizational structure as well as the Communications Division has moved to the Office of CHART and ITS Development. Great job by OOM, the Communications Division (Radio Shop) and CHART for working together with DoIT to make the new radio system a reality!

CHART Senior Emergency Response Technician Jimmy Hurlock Rescues Elementary School Students Stranded on Bus

Customer Service Experience - CHART Senior Emergency Response Technician Jimmy Hurlock Rescues Elementary School Students Stranded on Bus

Congratulations to Jimmy Hurlock, a recent recipient of the CHART Customer Service Award. CHART Emergency Traffic Patrols regularly come to the welcome rescue of stranded drivers, but in one case, Senior Emergency Response Technician Jimmy Hurlock guided 57 people to safety all at one time. A school bus carrying 51 elementary school students and another six adult chaperones from the Jewish Primary Day School in Washington, D.C. to the Accokeek Foundation overheated, disabling the bus and leaving the students and adult chaperones on the highway in an unairconditioned bus on a hot day.

When Jimmy arrived on the scene, he quickly recognized the critical need to move the children to a safe location to await a replacement bus. Jimmy placed fluids in the bus - enough to nurse the vehicle to the nearby Maryland State Police barrack. There the children were greeted by the Maryland State Police lieutenant and captain, who showed the children their police vehicles. Jimmy demonstrated the lights and equipment on his ERT vehicle as well. Thanks to Jimmy's quick, proactive thinking the children enjoyed the afternoon and turned a bleak, harrowing experience into a fun, adventurous one.

"The looks on the children's faces looking at shiny truck and cop car were priceless and heartwarming. I just want to thank Jimmy and MDOT SHA for having such a great employee. He really...worked hard to get our bus off the road and make all the children smile," said chaperone Brook Wellington. "Thanks, thanks, and thanks, I will never be able to say it enough. Jimmy saved our day!"

Photo of the Month

Photo of the Month

The term "walk facing traffic" takes on new meaning as Project Engineer Kirit Patel (lower right) and his team work next to traffic traveling at speeds of 55 mph+.

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