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ITD employees honored for contributions

ITD's 54 employees honored for their longevity with the department Tuesday collectively represented about 850 years of service, announced Director Dave Ekern. Using mathematical applications (statistically valid analysis) known only to engineers and public speakers, Ekern translated that to more than 28,000 years of total employment represented by ITD's 1,830-plus employees – give or take a percent or three.

Transportation Board member Bruce Sweeney, Lewiston, reminded the standing-room-only crowd of approximately 150 employees and family members, their commitment to the state's transportation system is well respected. He said the board has supported – and made provisions for – additional compensation for employees. He personally lobbied the governor for higher state salaries, acknowledging an exodus of employees to local government agencies that offered better pay.

The board also is committed to providing a rewarding, enjoyable work environment that attracts and retains quality employees.

Sweeney's parting advice for award recipients: "If at first you don't succeed ... skydiving probably is not your sport."

Carla Anderson, of the Human Resource office at Headquarters, joined Ekern in presenting awards to employees who achieved longevity milestones ranging from five to 30 years. The elder statesman of the group was Robert Newell, Bridge Section, who was the only ITD employee who reached the 30-year plateau in 2003. Sixteen employees concluded their fifth year, seven reached 10 years and 12 completed 15 years. Six employees celebrated two decades of employment and five reached the quarter-century mark.

In addition, eight employees who made a transition to retirement in the last half of the year were honored for their lifetime of service. Collectively, the eight retired employees represented 247 years of service, or an average of nearly 31 years each. David Jennings holds the longest tenure of the retirees with 44 years of employment.

Jim Ross, ITD chief engineer, presented two special awards during the ceremony. He introduced Chuck Chapin as recipient of the Maintenance Person of the Year, and Rex Hufford, Headquarters, as Safety Person of the Year.

Chapin (above) was instrumental in chasing down and stopping a wrong-way driver last year on Interstate 84 – averting head-on crashes and saving lives. His quick action drew praise from the State Communications Center. In a display of sincere modesty, Chapin told the crowd that similar actions have taken place before and many ITD employees rise to the occasion to keep travelers safe.

Hufford, an equipment analyst for Headquarters Maintenance (right), is responsible for monitoring equipment purchases, researching new purchases and ensuring ITD the safest possible tools to perform their work. He has been on the safety committee the past seven years, is an invaluable resource for shop maintenance issues and often travels to other ITD districts to assist with equipment needs. He, too, said that safety is a shared pursuit among many ITD employees.

"Maintenance rocks," he told the audience after receiving the award.

Ekern also acknowledged individuals who received the Governor's Heroes of Hope award for contributions to the United Way campaign.

ITD Service Award Recipients

Five Years: Michael Adams, Information Services; Alice Askarnia, Highway Operations; Sheryl Elms, Public Transportation; Brandy Gibson, Vehicle Services; Gail Grenz, General Services; Sandra Healy, Financial Services; Pamela Hocken, Driver Services; Rebecca Howell, Financial Services; William Humphreys, General Services; Anita Jausoro, Public Transportation; Matt Moore, Planning; Joseph Peagler, Traffic; Cindy Smith, ROW; George Walter, Financial Services; Raymond Wong, Planning.

10 Years: Michele Courtney, Driver Services; Terry Crist, General Services; Chris Eller-Poole, Motor Carrier Services; Randy Jenkins, Maintenance; Lance Johnson, Traffic; Howard Maberry, Supply Services; Holly McClure, Roadway Design.

15 Years: Joseph Bandhauer, Materials; Bryon Breen, Maintenance; Judith Cahoon, DMV Administration; David Gjesdal, Driver Services; Leo Hickman, Roadway Design; Linda Johnson, General Services; Patricia McKinney, Traffic; Regina Phipps, Port of Entry; Hal Putnam, Driver Services; Joyce Robertson, Driver Services; Sandra Stewart, Vehicle Services; Mark Wheeler, Planning.

20 Years: Mary Acks, Motor Carrier Services; Jim Csencsits, Information Services; Cindy Francke, Driver Services; David Hall, Information Services; Vicki Johnson, Driver Services; Roy Jost, Environmental.

25 Years: Nancy Becker, Driver Services; Darryl Foster, General Services; Pat Marler, Planning; Maggie Ransom, DMV Administration; Mark Young, Aeronautics.

30 Years: Robert Newell, Bridge.

Retirees (July-December 2003): Gary Bowlden, 33 years; Sharon George, 38 years; David Jennings, 44 years; Bart Jensen, 26 years; Velva Jones, 30 years; Dee Moffat, 20 years; Linda Slupe, 22 years; E. Lee Wilson, 34 years.