Thinking outside the box is one of the ways the District 1 shop has used to save time and money in their daily operations.
Shop superintendent Larry Flanagan and his 13-member crew have saved the district and ITD thousands of dollars as they look for ways to improve efficiencies and work smarter.
Recently one of the crew – Jerry Brown – thought of a way to improve an ITD snow plow blade, make it more resistant to the rigors of the road and reduce repair costs. The innovative idea proved to be a tremendous success.
Brown, a welder in the District 1 shop, was honored Sept. 22 for devising a new bumper system, mounted on the side of the snow plow box, that protects the truck box and body from being damaged each time the wing plow is raised.
District Engineer Scott Stokes presented Brown with an Employee Recognition Award, which is part of a statewide program that recognizes state employees who demonstrate innovative ways of saving money for Idaho taxpayers.
Flanagan, who supervises the shop crew, nominated Brown for the award. In addition to a plaque, Brown also received $2,000 and a certificate of appreciation from ITD Interim Director Dwight Bower, Chief Engineer Steve Hutchinson and District 1 Engineer Scott Stokes.
In addition to the bumper system, Jerry also has devised a new swivel for the wing plows that is twice as strong as the original, at half the cost; modified the tailgates on the sanders so to improve their functionality; and manufactured and modified the conveyor chain on the Athey – a dirt loading machine used in clearing ditches. The Athey is so old that parts are no longer available.
Flanagan is justifiably proud of his crew, saying that each is constantly looking for new ways of doing business in the shop.
Photo: Jerry Brown, second from right, holds the snow plow protective device he invented. He is pictured with District 1 Engineer Scott Stokes (right) and colleagues.