Engineers in Service
May 25, 2016: Nicholas J. Roper, a VDOT Northern Virginia District project development engineer, recently spoke during graduation ceremonies where his own career began, the U.S. Army Engineer School at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.
Roper, a retired colonel and engineer officer who served 28 years in the Army and Army Reserve, said it was a privilege to return to the school and speak to new soldiers just beginning their service.
Making it more special was that his son, Pvt. Christopher J. Roper, was walking in the graduating class.
“His look of astonishment while I was speaking was priceless,” Roper said. “For years, he knew I was in the Army, but when I came home, the uniform came off and I was ‘Dad.’ At that moment, he saw me as a soldier for the first time.”
Chris is assigned to the 461st Engineer Company of the Army Reserve in Fargo, North Dakota. He is preparing to mobilize for duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Talking Education And Career Paths
May 24, 2016: VDOT Culpeper District staff was invited recently to visit engineering students at Germanna Community College and share information about VDOT’s pipeline programs and career paths.
Jan Pearce, human resources manager, provided an overview of the agency’s core development and internship programs.
Hydraulics engineer Shelly Plaster shared her personal journey through community college and Old Dominion University’s four-year engineering program, a path that nearly all of the 20 students she spoke with are slated to follow.
Plaster said the pipeline programs are an opportunity she wished she’d known about as she prepared to enter the workforce.
“These diverse opportunities for field experience not only help build your resume, they also help you decide if VDOT is the right fit for you,” said district construction engineer Ken Connors.
To build a continued relationship with the college, the district has agreed to visit engineering cohorts each fall before the pipeline program recruitment period.
Get Rolling During National Bike Month
May 4, 2016: National Bike Month encourages everyone to brush the dust off their bikes and hit the road … or trail.
At VDOT, a Bike to Work Day celebration on May 20 and programs like the Safe Routes to Schools Bike to School Day, which is on May 4, promote bicycling over motorized modes of transportation.
“There are numerous biking opportunities across the state for people of all skill levels,” said John Bolecek, VDOT’s statewide bicycle and pedestrian planner.
“Before setting out, review all rules of the road. It’s important to be predictable, visible and to follow the law.”
Would you like to learn more about how traffic laws apply to bicyclists? Bicyclists and motorists have the same basic rights and duties, and the laws governing traffic regulation apply equally to both.
If you are looking for areas to bike in Virginia, VDOT’s bike map offers routes and information of most interest to cyclists.
Building a Talent Pipeline
April 26, 2016: The VDOT Staunton District is working to grow its future workforce while offering young people a bright future of their own.
An April 19 “Transportation Career Fair” at Blue Ridge Community College attracted 300 students from 10 different high schools, as well as students from the college and the public.
The district offered information, displays and face-to-face contact with employees from 16 career disciplines.
The fair also included 31 other employers with transportation-related jobs, from local governments to VDOT contractors.
The Staunton District has a large percentage of experienced employees who are – or soon will be – eligible for retirement.
The career fair is a vital outreach to help VDOT tap into a broad and diverse talent pool.
“The high schools and community college counselors tell us that students are talking about the fair,” VDOT Civil Rights manager Donna Brown said. “It really ‘opened their eyes’ to the many career opportunities within the transportation industry.”
Adopt-a-Highway Volunteers Celebrate Earth Day
April 26, 2016: Each year, thousands of Adopt-a-Highway volunteers plan litter pick-up events in conjunction with Earth Day on April 22.
This year, VDOT Commissioner Charlie Kilpatrick (near center of photo at right) joined in with a group of Central Office employees to help clean up trash along the roadsides near the agency's headquarters. They collected 15 bags of trash in only an hour.
"We focus on litter pick-up to celebrate Earth Day,” said statewide Adopt-a-Highway coordinator Christine Kemp, “but keeping areas along Virginia’s roads free of trash is important throughout the year. This can be done through volunteering with a group, or simply by disposing of garbage responsibly."
If you’re interested in becoming an Adopt-a-Highway volunteer, contact your local coordinator.
How else can you help support the Adopt-a-Highway mission?
When you travel:
- Secure trash in bags.
- Use a travel mug to eliminate the need for throwaway cups.
- Set an example and others will follow.