Transportation Matters in Iowa

Archives: January 2016

Culture - lessons learned from the Leadership Development Session

Culture - lessons learned from the Leadership Development Session

January 27, 2016

IheartmyworkPart of the Leadership Development Conference in October focused on five areas that included leadership, strategic planning, performance measurement, culture, and communication.

There were informative large group presentations, but the real work of the day was done in smaller group breakout sessions where attendees gathered to identify barriers and then brainstorm solutions in each of the five topics.

While nearly 600 DOTers attended the sessions, it is up to each of us to make improvements that help the Iowa DOT become smarter, simpler, and customer driven. This is the third in a series of blog posts about the small group discussions.

Today’s topic is the culture.

Laura's story -

Laura's story - "I drove distracted and a man died"

January 25, 2016

This oneLaura Maurer isn’t a victim of distracted driving. She was a perpetrator. Now she lives with the fact a 75-year-old husband, father, and grandfather is dead because she looked down at her phone while she was driving.

The crash happened July 14, 2014, just outside of Brooklyn, Iowa, on Poweshiek County Road F-29 (Old Highway 6). Maurer, now 39, had pulled off the road to send a text to her daughter’s dance instructor. She pulled back onto the highway and traveled a few miles when her phone sounded that familiar “ding” for an incoming text message. “I heard it ding a couple of times, so I just looked down for a second to check my phone. I still don’t know how I didn’t see him,” said Maurer.

At the same second Maurer was looking down, Marvin Beck of Malcom was driving his Cub Cadet tractor and pulling a tiller on the side of the road. The Buick Enclave Maurer was driving clipped the tiller and Beck was ejected from the seat of the tractor.

“I stopped right away and ran to him,” she said. “He held on to me and tried to get up. I called 911. Two of his sons got there before the ambulance and started to do CPR. I was in the back of the police car when they told me he didn’t make it.”

Message Monday - Jan. 25, 2016 - Air bags alone won't get you home - buckle up

Message Monday - Jan. 25, 2016 - Air bags alone won't get you home - buckle up

January 25, 2016

1-25 message mondayAir bags are a great safety tool, but air bags alone are not nearly as effective as when a seat belt is also worn.  Conclusions drawn from research on the topic provide a range of results, but every study shows that a combination of seat belt and air bag use increases your chances of surviving a crash.

According to research by the National highway Traffic Safety Administration, air bag use alone decreased the chance of dying in a crash by 13 percent, while combined use of an air bag with a three-point seat belt, could potentially reduce your chances of dying by 50 percent.

One recent study showed that air bags alone reduced fatalities by 32 percent, while the combination of air bags and seat belts doubled the decrease in mortality rate to 67 percent.  Another study showed similar results, with air bag only deaths reduced by 63 percent and air bags plus seat belt mortality reduced by 80 percent.

Sir Isaac Newton’s first law of motion – an object in motion stays in motion –is why seat belts and air bags were invented.   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j7TcBESSGsA

Personnel Updates-Jan. 1-14, 2016

Personnel Updates-Jan. 1-14, 2016

January 22, 2016

Information provided by the Office of Employee Services Personnel_updates

 

 

 

 

Ally Smyth named 2015 Design Employee of the Year

Ally Smyth named 2015 Design Employee of the Year

January 20, 2016

Ally“I’m a geek,” that’s how Ally Smyth, the 2015 Design Employee of the Year, describes herself. In her “geekiness” co-workers see a leader and a valuable resource for new technology that always seems to be coming around the corner.

The latest technology challenge for the Office of Design is an update to the design software they use. Smyth is excited about the change, but not everyone shares her enthusiasm. “New technology always makes people nervous,” she said. “But I think the new version will be easier to use. Once we make the change over in January, I think people will realize the software is helpful instead of fighting it to get what they need.”

Smyth says she’s always been one to try and figure out new things. “That’s one of the reasons I love my job,” she said. “Each project is unique and there are always new things to figure out.”

Ready Set Build event highlights STEM careers opportunities

Ready Set Build event highlights STEM careers opportunities

January 19, 2016

ADM constructionWhat does it take to build a bridge? That’s what participants of Ready, Set, Build! discovered Nov. 7 at an event at the Science Center of Iowa.

The event, co-sponsored by the Iowa Department of Transportation and the Institute for Transportation at Iowa State University, provided participants of all ages a fun way to get a taste of what science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) careers can offer.

Sandra Larson, director of the Iowa DOT’s Systems Operations Bureau, said, “The State of Iowa has taken an active role in fostering STEM interest in the state’s youth. By allowing kids and their families an engaging way to experience situations similar to what transportation professionals encounter, we hope to further spark enthusiasm in STEM-related careers, which make up a large portion of the careers at the Iowa DOT.”  

Planning for the future of Iowa’s transportation system

Planning for the future of Iowa’s transportation system

January 14, 2016

IA-Motion_horizontal_color-gradient.fwWhat is our transportation system going to look like in 30 years and how can the Iowa Department of Transportation adapt to the inevitable changes? Whether it’s autonomous and connected vehicles or changes in how freight is moved, Iowa DOT planners are in the early stages of building a transportation plan that looks 30 years into the future.

Lessons learned from the strategic plan breakout sessions

Lessons learned from the strategic plan breakout sessions

January 11, 2016

Strategic plan puzzle pieceWe’ve had a few months to think about what was presented at the Leadership Development Conference in October. At the conference, managers, supervisors, and other informal leaders at the Iowa DOT came together for a day-long event focused on developing their leadership skills.

As part of the breakout sessions, small groups of leaders gathered to identify barriers and then brainstorm solutions in the areas of leadership, strategic planning, performance measurement, culture, and communication. 

While nearly 600 DOTers attended the sessions, it is up to each of us to make improvements that help the Iowa DOT become smarter, simpler, and customer driven. This is the second in a series of blog posts about the small group discussions.

Today’s topic is the strategic plan.

Message Monday - Jan. 11, 2016 - Drowsy is lousy, rest is best

Message Monday - Jan. 11, 2016 - Drowsy is lousy, rest is best

January 11, 2016

1-11 message mondayGray, dreary Iowa days are enough to make anyone feel a little tired. You might even ask yourself, “Am I awake right now?”

No, really…are you?

There is a little known phenomenon called “microsleep” where your brain is shut down for up to 30 seconds, even though your eyes may be open.

That’s scary enough when you are going about your everyday activities, but what about when you’re behind the wheel of a car? In a few seconds of microsleep, you could miss a red light or not notice a curve in the road.

Personnel Updates-Dec. 18-31, 2015

Personnel Updates-Dec. 18-31, 2015

January 8, 2016

Personnel_updatesInformation provided by the Office of Employee Services

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