Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration - Momentum Newsletter
January 2018

Administrator's Message: New Year...NEW MDOT SHA

I am incredibly excited to kick off this new year as your Administrator. Not only is this a new year, this is a NEW MDOT SHA. Our standards are high, and our expectation is sustained superior service.

The new year started fast. Just after New Year's Day, Governor Hogan honored our CHART and Statewide Operations Center (SOC) leadership and team members at the Board of Public Works meeting at the statehouse in Annapolis. Our CHART program was singled out and highlighted by the Governor for recently achieving our 1,000,000th assist on Maryland roads since the program started a little more than 27 years ago. ONE MILLION examples and more of our total and unwavering commitment to one basic premise – helping people. THAT is the Customer Experience.

Greg Slater

Greg Slater

The next day, we experienced our biggest snow event of the winter thus far. And, as always, the men and women of MDOT SHA worked hard in the most affected areas – in this case, the Eastern Shore. Our team made the roads safe and worked around the clock to strategize the best response to that storm. That's the Customer Experience too.

I know the new year is a time of resolutions and new beginnings. As your Administrator, I ask you to join me in making the Customer Experience your priority and pledge for 2018. Helping our customers is my job. It's your job. It's everyone’s job. It is a fundamental part of our mission. All of us. And as we tackle 2018 well-rested and focused on helping people and pushing this organization forward, I know we'll succeed. We'll succeed as a family. We are a national leader in transportation. We should show it every day. I promise you'll get 110 percent of my effort and commitment this year and every year.

I thank you again for a great 2017!

New Step Frequency Ground Penetrating Radar Improves Bridge Inspections

Innovation - New Step Frequency Ground Penetrating Radar Improves Bridge Inspections

Top: Technicians set up the SF-GPR unit. Bottom: SF-GPR Antenna, trailer and SF-GPR unit scan a roadway.

MDOT SHA's Office of Materials Technology (OMT) has successfully implemented new technology, the Step Frequency Ground Penetrating Radar (SF-GPR), for evaluating the structural integrity of bridge decks. Using this tool, OMT is now able to provide the Office of Structures (OOS) with network-wide, comprehensive and objective data on bridge deck conditions.

Traditional bridge deck condition assessments include destructive, time-consuming methods such as coring and chain dragging. Both procedures require rolling highway lane closures and disrupt traffic. Not SF-GPR. Pulled on a trailer at highway speeds, the SF-GPR assesses bridge condition thoroughly, swiftly and cost-effectively via high-frequency antennas that display an accurate resolution of each deck’s internal materials. Overall compared to traditional measures, SF-GPR is 60 percent faster and provides a conservative 70-80 percent cost-savings!

This new innovative process will improve customer satisfaction and the quality and efficiency of MDOT SHA's bridge deck condition data. Over 600 structures have been evaluated using the SF-GPR. SF-GPR helps strengthen MDOT SHA's system preservation philosophy as well, which requires the continued development of planning tools and further enhancements of GPR data collection, analysis and interpretation techniques.

Schaefer Center Helping Shape MDOT SHA’s Future

By: Bill Barnard, Ed.D., Manager, Workforce Planning and Organizational Development

Modernization - Schaefer Center Helping Shape MDOT SHA’s Future

With modernization one of our four priorities, the Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA) is partnering with the Schaefer Center for Public Policy at the University of Baltimore College of Public Affairs. The partnership will help the administration modernize the entire organization with two primary goals. The first is to align our efforts with the MDOT SHA organizational structure. The second is to assess how each office and district can better support the core MDOT SHA functions and what workforce strategies will provide this support.

MDOT SHA will implement the project in phases, beginning with a pilot within the functional areas of Administration, Engineering and Operations. The analysis will identify potential innovations, including technology that can be integrated within each department, requirements for training and professional development, and continuous assessment of organizational processes and administrative structures.

The following activities are already underway:

Forming the MDOT SHA Organizational Modernization Steering Committee
Conducting a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis of Senior Management
Reviewing highway administration structures and staffing in Maryland and across the U.S.
Assessing Office/District-level staffing
Assessing Office/District-level organization
Completing staffing and job analysis based on the organizational assessments
Creating an MDOT SHA organizational assessment
Reporting the findings

These activities should be complete by late spring.

MDOT SHA Clears the Way for a Very Special Customer

Customer Service Experience - MDOT SHA Clears the Way for a Very Special Customer

MDOT SHA Equipment Plows Eastern Shore Roadways After Major January Storm.

So often MDOT SHA employees go the extra mile, especially during times of emergency and when, literally, lives are on the line. This was the case during the blizzard-like conditions that struck the lower Eastern Shore in early January. Winds whipped heavy, fast-falling snow through a dense fog that made driving hazardous, if not impossible.

While winter weather conditions may delay or even cancel many activities, other life events cannot be put on pause, like the arrival of tiny infants who arrive unscheduled, several weeks too early. When Peninsula Regional Medical Center asked for MDOT SHA's assistance to make sure a premature infant made it to a Washington, D.C. hospital specializing in neo-natal care, staff from District 1 did not hesitate. MDOT SHA deployed a snow plow ahead of the ambulance carrying the tiny bundle along westbound US 50 to ensure a passable lane through nearly a foot of newly fallen snow. As the ambulance trekked from the hospital with red emergency lights flaring across the winter landscape, a pair of headlights followed right behind. District Engineer James Meredith discreetly tailed the ambulance, making sure it safely reached the Talbot County line, where conditions improved dramatically on more navigable roads to the west. The family arrived safely at Washington D.C. Children's Hospital, where the baby continues to receive aggressive medical care.

That family may never know what MDOT SHA did that day to aid them in their travels, but we do. And we know, unequivocally in all that we deliver, that MDOT SHA cares. Thank you for all that you do to prove your dedication, time and time again in all our customer responses, some grand in gesture, and others very small, yet immeasurable in impact all the same.


Photo of the Month

Congratulations to Sutapa Samanta, Assistant District Engineer for Special Projects for District 4, who received the Woman of the Year Award from WTS Baltimore. The award highlighted her passion and enthusiasm for creating a productive work environment with team camaraderie. The award commended her, saying, "More than a highly qualified professional engineer, she is a mentor and a beacon of inspiration to many young aspiring women in her field."

WTS Baltimore also recognized MDOT SHA as the Employer of the Year. Administrator Greg Slater accepted the prestigious award and stated, "Our goals are the same as WTS, advancing the brightest and the best people who reflect the communities we serve."

WTS is an organization dedicated to building the future of transportation through the global advancement of women.

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