Norther Virginia Transportation Career Fair Held
Nov. 9, 2015: VDOT's Northern Virginia District Civil Rights manager Leslie Martin (at right) has learned that career fairs work.
She received confirmation from a parent whose son chose to study engineering at Old Dominion University after attending the Northern Virginia District's Transportation Career Fair.
This year, more than 1,300 students from 29 high schools – the largest group yet – attended the 11th annual event at the Prince William County Fairgrounds.
The fair exposes high schoolers to the rewarding and diverse careers in the transportation industry.
This year’s event had a record-breaking 100 registered exhibitors, along with 112 pieces of equipment on display.
Students were invited from high schools in the Northern Virginia area by principals, guidance counselors, career specialists and construction/technology/engineering administrators.
“Students were engaged and enthusiastic about the career fair this year,” Martin said. “We were able to show them the infinite possibilities of a career in transportation.”
Pavilion Named For Brenda Waters
Nov. 4, 2015: The late Brenda Waters, former public affairs manager in VDOT's Bristol District, was honored recently when Tennessee Tech University (TTU) named a pavilion at Shipley Farm in honor of her and husband Gary’s (at right at ceremony) commitment to and support of agricultural education at the school.
Brenda, a 1982 graduate of TTU, became the director for the Historic Jonesborough Visitors Center in Tennessee’s oldest town before joining VDOT.
Seventeen years into her VDOT career, Brenda enrolled in VDOT’s Executive Institute and became the first female resident administrator in Tazewell and Bland counties. She later returned to public affairs.
After battling breast cancer, Brenda died in June 2008. In the year before her death, Brenda and Gary worked to make her dream of promoting organic farming and education by allowing agriculture students and faculty to use their 113-acre organic farm in southern Putnam County, Tenn., for learning and teaching experiences.
“Knowing Brenda, she would be embarrassed by having the spotlight shine on her,” said longtime friend Paula K. Jones, Lynchburg District communications manager. “She would say that Gary was the catalyst and, while I have no doubt he was actively involved, she was the advocate.”
The pavilion, built with donations from friends, family, VDOT employees and several corporations, will be used for workshops, seminars, picnics, events and, potentially, a farmers market.
"Now, That's A Pumpkin!"
Oct. 21, 2015: “Now that’s a pumpkin!” tweeted Gov. Terry McAuliffe when he saw the large 512.8-pound award winner gracing the front stoop at the Governor’s Mansion.
The prized gourd took home the top honors for the State Fair of Virginia’s “Prettiest Giant Pumpkin” and fourth place in the “Search for the Great Pumpkin” categories.
Guided into place by VDOT Richmond District employees John Eckert (shown with the governor) and Jerry Slagle using a pickup truck and a forklift, the pumpkin now sits to celebrate fall right next to the front door of the mansion in Richmond.
Gov. McAuliffe also issued a proclamation to designate October as Pumpkin Month.
Joining in the celebration were First Lady Dorothy McAuliffe, Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Todd Haymore, Virginia Farm Bureau President Wayne Pryor and the pumpkin growers, Robin and Barry Shrum.
VDOT Adopt-a-Highway Volunteers Are Part of Day to Serve Initiative
Sept. 23, 2015: The Day to Serve initiative runs from Sept. 11 through Oct. 10.
Each year during that month-long period, Adopt-A-Highway volunteer groups are encouraged to come together for their annual fall litter pick-ups, and many Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) staff members (at right) are are part of that effort.
“The Adopt-A-Highway Program provides an opportunity for families, businesses and civic groups to join together and make a positive impact, which goes hand in hand with the Day to Serve initiative,” said Adopt-a-Highway state administrator Christine Kemp.
Vladimir Gurshpun, budget and performance analyst for VDOT's maintenance division, regularly participates in the litter pick-up organized by Central Office staff during fall.
“[It] gives me insight into one of many tasks that VDOT does and I can experience it firsthand, and provide a service to the community at the same time,” he said.