November 20, 2014

Central Office

Kansas City
St. Louis

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Team Talk
Hello Team MoDOT! It feels like just yesterday we were talking about fireworks and the Fourth of July. Time has flown and now the weather is colder, snow has fallen and we prepare ourselves for Thanksgiving next week. I know I’m not the only one who is thankful for the Governor designating the day after Thanksgiving as a state holiday. It is always enjoyable to have that extra time with friends and family to share in holiday traditions. I’m sure many of you will be racing to get the best deal for Black Friday or perhaps relaxing indoors watching the Mizzou game. Go Mizzou!

One of the greatest traditions of Thanksgiving is stopping to think about the things for which we are thankful. I’m actually on a year-long journey of thanksgiving. Last December, I read an article that talked about gratitude as a muscle…you have to exercise it to make it stronger. So every week I’ve been posting a few words on my Facebook page about something that makes me grateful. It has opened my eyes about the good things in my life, and made me appreciate things I took for granted. This week is a gratitude post bonus week…one on Facebook and one in Connections.

quoteLast week I attend the Veterans Day celebration here at Central Office. As I watched the celebration I was proud to see coworkers recognizing the achievements, accomplishments and sacrifices made by their colleagues. It reminded me of one of the many things I am thankful for not only during this holiday season but throughout the year. I am thankful to be a part of Team MoDOT.

As a member of Team MoDOT, I am proud of the work we do. Each of us is part of delivering a transportation system that gets people where they need to go safely and efficiently. What we do is important to the community and it enhances lives. I am thankful for every person who is a part of that effort. During the Veterans Day celebration, I remembered another reason why I am so grateful to be a part of Team MoDOT and that is how passionate we are about celebrating each other’s achievements.

It was Margaret Cousins, founder of the All India Women’s Conference that said, “Appreciation can make a day – even change a life. Your willingness to put it into words is all that is necessary.” I am thankful to be a part of a team that regularly puts their appreciation into words. It is my hope that as we move forward as a team we don’t shy away from taking opportunities to recognize others, and we continue to be an organization that shares in the accomplishments of our coworkers.

As we approach Thanksgiving, take a moment to show a coworker you appreciate them. Thank them for their hard work and friendship. Thank you for all that you do and enjoy the holiday. Happy Thanksgiving Team MoDOT!

EAC Blurb

Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Last MU Home Football Game Will Create Extra Heavy Traffic This Holiday Weekend
As Missourians are preparing to celebrate Thanksgiving and holiday shopping on Black Friday, MoDOT is taking steps to help keep traffic moving.

The majority of construction work zones will not be in place from noon Wednesday, Nov. 26 until mid-morning Monday, Dec. 1. However, some work zones have continual lane closures that are unable to be reopened for the holiday weekend.

TMIOn Friday, Nov. 28, MoDOT staff will be monitoring and adjusting signal timing at intersections on state roads adjacent to major shopping centers in the urban areas around the state. In addition, the University of Missouri-Columbia has a home football game and heavy traffic is expected Friday morning along Interstate 70 and especially in the immediate Columbia vicinity. Motorists attending the game should plan extra travel time to make it to the game in time for the early afternoon kickoff.

Before you head out this holiday weekend, visit MoDOT’s traveler information map at to get the latest information on traffic congestion and road conditions that may affect your travel plans. The map provides real-time information regarding incidents on major roads that include lane closures. The MoDOT traveler information map can also be downloaded as an app to your phone. MoDOT’s 24/7 customer service is also available to provide information on road conditions at 1-888-ASK-MODOT (275-6636).
Tracker Group Meets to Discuss Working Safely in Winter

Last week MoDOT employees from across the state gathered in Jefferson City for the quarterly meeting to discuss Tracker, MoDOT’s performance management tool. After a few words from MoDOT Director Dave Nichols, the group got down to work by reviewing every measure that contained new data for the quarter.

While many measures were trending in the right direction, Director Nichols and Chief Engineer Ed Hassinger pointed to two that needed more attention to get them on the right track. Statewide the number of lost workdays by MoDOT employees this year is only slightly higher at 371, but the exceptional performance by the St. Louis District with only four is carrying the rest of the districts. Nichols noted that we need to do a better job ensuring every employee goes home safe every day.

The second measure was final project costs coming in at 4.87 percent over the programmed costs for the first quarter of fiscal year 2015. Hassinger said he realized this was just one quarter of data, but most districts are trending in the wrong direction. He encouraged district staff to re-emphasize the “radical cost controls” we’ve used in the past to stretch our construction budgets.

The most common employee incidents was part of the Tracker Focal Point discussion.

After all the measures were discussed, the team moved on to this quarter’s “Focal Point.” The Tracker Focal Point began last year as a way to take a deeper look at performance on the district and division levels. The Tracker Focal Point allows the department to examine and compare additional data.

“Taking this deep dive into the data from districts and divisions reinforces our goal of making every employee responsible for MoDOT’s performance,” said Hassinger. “It’s a way to make sure we are all accountable for our work.”

This quarter’s focus area was safety during winter operations. The meeting took a different approach than past focal point discussions, by focusing very closely on a few key areas of concern and getting lots of feedback from the group about how to improve.

Hassinger started off the discussion by reminding the group how many employees will be out this winter fighting snow with only a few years of experience under their belts.

“Many of you have maintenance buildings where the majority of the staff has less than three years of experience,” said Hassinger. “We need to double down on our efforts to make sure these people are successful and safe.”

Southeast District Engineer Mark Shelton then led the rest of the meeting, asking the group to help him develop an action item list of ideas everyone can use as we approach the winter season.

First up, the group focused on the maintenance building lots, and how crews can safely maneuver them whether on foot or in a vehicle. Supervisors suggested pretreating the maintenance lots and walkways, setting up a traffic pattern for trucks coming in and out of the lot, installing additional lighting around the salt and materials loading area, and taking the time at the shift change to talk to employees about what’s going on and reminding them to be safe.

The discussion then shifted to fleet. Again, the suggestions from the maintenance supervisors and superintendents in the room covered a wide array of topics. Keeping a supply of replacement wiper blades on hand, designating a full time loader so drivers don’t have to get in and out of the trucks as much, and appropriate radio and cell phone use were all discussed, among other things.

Risk and Benefits Director Jeff Padgett then addressed the group, asking them to think about ways to not only keep employees safe, but customers as well. The conversations ranged from adding additional lighting and flags to make wing plows easier for customers to see to taking extra care when backing, especially at intersections and at-grade crossings.

State Maintenance Engineer Beth Wright talked about the third and final focus of the meeting, which was the winter operations drill and training for employees. The group talked about how important it was to have as much training as possible for new employees, and many thought one day to prep and drill for the winter season wasn’t enough.

Hassinger told the group this year MoDOT will follow its snow plowing policy. “It doesn’t make sense for us to be out there beating up our equipment and pavements,” said Hassinger. He encouraged all MoDOT winter operations staff to reacquaint themselves with the policy. You can find MoDOT’s snow plowing policy at

Shelton promised the group that the items discussed would be cataloged and organized so all maintenance buildings can take advantage of the safety tips and ideas.

“Making safety a priority means taking it seriously, paying attention, and promoting safe behaviors even when you think it might be inconvenient,” said Hassinger. “We can’t let up. Make safety your focus every single day, now more than ever.”

Standardizing MoDOT's PPE Purchases
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) seems easy enough to figure out; simply go get a vest, hard hat, and some boots. However, with varied work tasks and work environments encountered by our field crews, there are many challenges in acquiring the appropriate equipment in a cost-effective manner.

long sleeve shirtAs a result, the District Engineers and Safety Focus Team have charged a team to look at this situation and provide recommendations regarding the Department’s ways of assessing PPE needs and securing the needed equipment. The work of the team has been completed, shared with the Senior Management Team, and provided to Risk and Benefits and the District Safety and Health Managers to complete the logistics of implementation and communication to the field.

Highlights of the team’s recommendation include:

  • Department-wide, require that all hard hats and beanies, hi-visibility vests and shirts, rain gear, and gaiter leggings be secured by state contract.
  • Continue with the current boot replacement and prescription eyewear programs.
  • Allow other PPE needs, including gloves and non-prescription eye protection, to be determined and secured by the local building or district.
  • Personalized PPE is still allowed though not provided by MoDOT’s standard PPE procurement process.

The implementation of these recommendations will not conflict with any previous direction or requirements regarding PPE policy. While some provision of PPE may be kept on hand at a local level, these efforts will not require any centralized stockroom.

In the coming weeks, Safety and Health Managers will work with General Services regarding PPE acquisition needs and requirements. Communications regarding this direction will follow with full implementation of the team’s recommendations planned for January 2015.

Click here to see a list of MoDOT provided PPE - List

MoDOT's Financial Snapshot
financial snapshotMoDOT’s Financial Snapshot that provides answers to frequently asked questions regarding MoDOT’s finances is available on the website. The Snapshot answers frequently asked questions regarding MoDOT’s finances.

Some of the information found in the 2014 Snapshot: a summary of state and federal funds, the state’s federal fuel tax rates and fuel tax history, how we compare to other states on fuel tax rates, how highway user fees are distributed, and transportation facts.

Find the Snapshot here – MoDOT’s Financial Snapshot.

Fatality Update
fatality graphic
What's Happening

WhittonAASHTO Newsletter Features Former MoDOT Chief Engineer

The American Association of State Highways and Transportation Officials is celebrating its 100 year anniversary by featuring articles about ASSHTO’s history. This month, MoDOT’s former Chief Engineer Rex Whitton’s service to Missouri and to the Country is documented in the publication. The article takes you through Whitton’s 40 year career with MoDOT, where he started as a member of the survey crew, and through his AASHTO presidency where he was instrumental in promoting and securing the authorization of the Interstate Highway System. Read about Whitton in the AASHTO Newsletter.

meet modotMeet MoDOT Publication Revised
If you’ve never taken a few minutes to look at the Meet MoDOT publication, now is the perfect time. Some changes have been made, primarily to update the revenue/expenditures information found in the new version of the “Financial Snapshot” released in October. Many interesting details on our organization can be found in the publication. Check it out – Meet MoDOT.

paycheckNovember Paycheck Reminder
Due to the Governor’s Executive Order closing state offices on Friday, Nov. 28, the end of the month pay date for November has been moved to Wednesday, Nov. 26. Direct deposit transactions will be dated Nov. 26, 2014.

edChat With The Chief
Remember to check out Chief Engineer Ed Hassinger’s blog post. This week he talks about winter operations - Chat
with the Chief


November Retirements
Joe W. Howles – NW – 16 years
Allen D. Minnick – KC – 7 years
Linda J. Darden – SL – 26 years
Richard M. Hencinski – SL – 30 years

Jerry D. Lacey – SL – 14 years
Lawrence E. Welty – SL – 31 years
Alan E. Elbert – SL – 6 years
Richard Munoz – SW – 7 years

Billy L. Dodd – SW – 19 years
Eli M. Goodrum – SE – 11 years
Paula R. Lambrecht – CO – 27 years
Douglas A. Backes – CO – 22 years

In Memoriam

Gary Branson - active employee

SL District – November 2

Charles Vanostran, Jr.

former D7 – October 17

Jerry Lininger

former D1 – October 22

John Wyrick

former D7 – October 25

William Caton

former D2 – October 25

Roy Sutter

SL District – October 29
Gerald Schiermeier

former D3 – October 30

Archie Willimann

former D6 – October 31

Walter Summers, Jr.

former D6 – November 4

John Carson

former D3 – November 9

Robert Bradley

former D2 – November 10

Charles Kincaid

former D8 – November 11

Mark Chastain

SW District – November 13


Our mission is to provide a world-class transportation experience that delights our customers and promotes a prosperous Missouri.
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