Although separated by miles of highways, ITD employees are united in their passion to do their jobs well and efficiently. That was the perception a management team returned with from a tour of department operations in nearly every corner of Idaho.
Surprising? No, insists new Deputy Director Scott Stokes. Reassuring? Without a doubt.
“We are greatly pleased to see, across the many divisions and localities, a common sense of dedicated, loyal employees whose primary concern is to provide the best possible services,” he said.
When Pam Lowe accepted the ITD director position in December, she made a commitment to visit employees in every district – not only to discuss the department’s vision and priorities – but also to listen – to give employees an opportunity to convey their needs and express their concerns.
“We couldn’t have asked for better receptions and responses,” Lowe said. “Our employees are genuinely concerned about providing the best service possible to the citizens of Idaho. That was evident at every stop we made. We learned firsthand the effects of tight operational budgets, but also saw firsthand how employees use innovative approaches to overcome those challenges.
“I am extremely encouraged by what we heard and saw.”
Joining Lowe on trips to eastern Idaho (districts 4, 5 and 6) and northern Idaho (districts 1 and 2), were Stokes, Alan Frew, Administrator of the Division of Motor Vehicles, and Chief Engineer Steve Hutchinson.
Frew, making his first visit to some rural ITD locations, said he was impressed by District 1 welder Jerry Brown, who manufactured a snowplow part that is available commercially. Brown made it better, stronger and cheaper than one he could have purchased it, saving the department – and taxpayers – money.
“That is an excellent example of efficiency, working within limitations to accomplish what we need to do…” Frew said.
“We have such good employees who are committed to serving customers, they will not let us fail. They find ways of continuing customer service despite funding challenges.”
Visiting rural locations also confirmed for Frew, who previously managed the state’s Ports of Entry program, the instrumental role that Idaho’s transportation system plays in delivering goods and services to all regions of Idaho.
“Our employees provide services in many locations in many interesting fields,” Stokes added. “The continued success of employees in these many environments is vitally important and can be enhanced as we learn about their challenges and concerns. Likewise, employees need to have adequate access to management for strategic direction.
“These meetings provided an excellent opportunity for that exchange to take place.
“Even though, at times, our visits were brief and seemed rushed, we gained a greater understanding of the many things our employees do and some of the things that could help them do their jobs even better. It is clear that customer service and operational efficiency already are part of ITD’s culture.”
On behalf of his traveling companions, Stokes expressed appreciation to employees for their candor and called the meetings “highly productive.”
“We gained greater understanding of your concerns and needs,” he said to employees. “We learned more about the quality services you deliver. Thank you for taking the time and effort to visit with us and share your ideas and suggestions.”
Lowe said she is committed to make the statewide tour a regular event in an effort to maintain dialogue and open communication.
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Photo: Deputy Director Scott Stokes talks with District 1 staff during the northern swing of the recent statewide tour.