'We’re in a very interesting time, historically, and it’s very humbling for me to be involved at this important time. A lot of things are unfolding at ITD – funding, projects, driver expectations, unprecedented growth, new uses of technology.'
Scott Stokes is not likely to get lost on U.S. 95.
For the past decade, he has been on a first-name basis with the route from the Canada border to Marsh Hill, from Boundary County through Benewah County. But the District 1 engineer is almost as familiar with the rest of the highway as it meanders through District 2, connects with Idaho 55 and enters the heart of the Treasure Valley
Stokes and his family have watched their belongings march up and down Idaho’s transportation backbone several times since he began working for the Idaho Transportation Department in 1992. The highway route has taken him from Boise to Coeur d’Alene, back to Boise and back to Coeur d’Alene.
And next month, back to Boise
Stokes and his family will head south again as he takes a major step in his transportation career – ITD deputy director. He was selected for the position Wednesday afternoon (Jan. 17) and begins the new responsibilities Feb. 26.
It will be a homecoming for the Stokes’ twin 16-year-old daughters who were born in Boise. Their 19-year-old brother Eden, a freshman in business studies at Idaho State University, shares the Treasure Valley heritage while siblings Steve and Amy were both born in Provo, Utah.
The new deputy director launched his career at ITD in January 1992 when he became a staff engineer in the bridge section at Headquarters. The assignment continued until March of 1993 when he made his first northern pilgrimage to become a project development engineer in Coeur d’Alene, working primarily on U.S. 95 widening projects south of Worley.
Less than 18 months later, the Stokes family filled the moving van and returned to Boise when he became the state bridge engineer. Almost as if it was a scheduled tour of duty, he migrated back to Coeur d’Alene in 1996 after being named district engineer.
Assignments at Headquarters gave him a statewide perspective and a profound appreciation for the loyalty and production of employees throughout ITD, he said. “My goal is to help them become more successful in their work.
"We’re in a very interesting time, historically, and it’s very humbling for me to be involved at this important time. A lot of things are unfolding at ITD – funding, projects, driver expectations, unprecedented growth, new uses of technology.
“It’s an exciting time. The way we maintain the highways… the whole culture is taking a major turn, and we’re all stepping up to a higher level of service. There are some really neat things happening.”
Stokes expects to be most involved in the Division of Highways, where his experience is deeply rooted. Other focus areas will develop as he settles into the position, he said.
His introduction to ITD came long before he joined the department as a staff engineer. ITD was part of his father’s legacy, a family lifestyle. His father, Elden Sr., began working in the maintenance section out of Salmon in 1944 and retired as a maintenance foreman 40 years later.
Scott was born in Salmon and has lived in four of the state’s six transportation regions: districts 1, 3, 5 and 6. He graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in civil engineering in 1983, and then earned a master’s in the same discipline the following year.
Before deciding to follow in his father’s ITD footsteps, Stokes worked in the private sector for about eight years.
Stokes, wife Karol and their twin daughters, Julie and Jenny (sophomores at Lake City High School in Coeur d’Alene) will move to Boise next month. Steve, 24, and Amy, 23, are juniors at BYU-Idaho in Rexburg.
The new deputy director enjoys outdoors activities, visits to the Salmon area, riding off-road motorcycles, and music – he plays the piano and organ. The family also is involved in church activities.