May 21, 2015

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Team Talk - Stand Up and Be Counted
Hello Team MoDOT! In the last Team Talk I spoke about the values that keep me focused in my career and in my life. Today I want to spotlight the value of standing up and being counted, even when what you believe is unpopular.

Thomas J. Watson, former chief financial officer of IBM, said, “If you stand up and be counted, from time to time you may get yourself knocked down. But remember this: A man flattened by an opponent can get up again. A man flattened by conformity stays down for good.”

stand upIt is part of our job to help people in Missouri understand how important transportation is. The legislative session ended last week and the fuel tax didn’t pass, but that doesn’t mean we are finished talking about the urgent need for transportation funding. Those of you who talked to our partners, or your legislators or even your family and friends know all too well this can be an unpopular topic. But still, we are not finished talking about it.

Missourians have a wide range of opinions on transportation funding. Some agree additional funding is needed but believe they already pay taxes and we need to work with what we have. Some, sadly, don’t support an increase in transportation funding because they don’t view us as good stewards of tax dollars, or they believe we should fund one form of transportation but completely ignore others.

It is the right of all Missourians to have their own opinions, but it remains our job as transportation experts to stand up for what we know is important and educate them on the necessity of funding for all forms of transportation. It is our job to show them we are good stewards of their dollars, and we have made smart decisions that serve them well. This is an area where we need to stand up and be counted.

I don’t kid myself that I have 5,106 MoDOT employees who believe what I believe. I know there are employees who think we just need to better manage the resources we have. If you are one of those employees, this is also a “stand up and be counted” moment. There are things we can get better at, but we cannot solve Missouri’s insufficient transportation funding problem, even if we can find and fix every single thing we can do better. The gap is simply too large. But I still want the opportunity to fix that thing that has you convinced it is only a matter of doing our work more efficiently. And I can’t do that unless you tell someone. Problems don’t get fixed when you keep them to yourself. Problems get fixed when YOU identify them and talk to someone who can help you change what needs to be changed, or explain the thing you never knew that actually makes the way we do that thing the right decision. And you have to be persistent. Change is sometimes hard and accomplished over the long haul. I became CFO in 2005 and there has never been a time that it hasn’t been part of my job to talk about the transportation funding challenge we face in Missouri. And it still isn’t fixed. So I’ll keep talking about it.

Every conversation counts and every conversation can make a difference. We all need to be advocates for Missouri’s future; not rely on others to do the heavy lifting or to be the one who initiates change.

If you need information or tools to help speak with others about transportation funding, reach out to your supervisor or Communication staff. Then stand up and be counted.

Digital Highway Boards Used to Share Safety Messages - Vote Online for Your Favorite

“Unbuckled? Seriously.” “Put Down Your Phone and Drive.” “Changing Lanes? Show Me Your Blinker.” These messages are just some of the new safety messages the Missouri Department of Transportation has been displaying on its dynamic message signs for the past year. Drivers on Missouri’s interstates and major highways pass by one of these 250 digital signs each day. Now, MoDOT has compiled its top 16 messages and is asking Missourians to vote for their favorite in an online survey at


“The primary purpose of the dynamic message signs is to convey critical information to motorists about lane closures or complete road closures,” said MoDOT Traffic Management and Operations Engineer Jon Nelson. “However, when the roads are clear of incidents, we use the signs to convey safety messages with a catchy twist to get motorists’ attention.”

In Spring 2014, the messaging was overhauled to strategically display messages related to a certain theme suited for a particular month or time of year. For example, May is motorcycle awareness month and youth alcohol enforcement month. Safety messages are focused on these topics. As motorists drive a stretch of interstate, they will see messages related to one of these themes. The message themes change each month.

“MoDOT also posts the messages on its Facebook page on Mondays, and the response has been tremendously positive,” said Nelson. “Our goal is to find ways to get the safety message to drivers so people will stop, think and make the right safety choice before they drive without a seatbelt or pick up their phone and text while they drive.”

Missourians are also invited to submit their ideas for new messages. The space on the sign is limited to three lines with 16 spaces on each line. Message topics and ideas can be emailed to MoDOT at

Voting will be available online until June 20. The winner and top two runner-up messages will be announced in early July. Online voting can be found at


Move Over and Slow Down Awareness Month

move over lawMay is Move Over and Slow Down Awareness Month. In 2012, Governor Jay Nixon and the Missouri General Assembly added MoDOT vehicles to the “Move Over” law, which protects law enforcement and emergency response vehicles parked on the side of the road. This law requires motorists to slow down or change lanes when approaching these vehicles. Since 2012, the law includes MoDOT vehicles parked with amber and white lights flashing.

“The law is simple: If you see flashing lights on the side of the road, move over to give workers and emergency personnel plenty of room to stay safe,”said MoDOT Chief Engineer Ed Hassinger. “If you can’t move over on a crowded highway, you should slow down as you pass them. We want motorists and our workers to make it home safe every day.”

For MoDOT employees who spend their days on state highways, including MoDOT vehicles in the Move Over law helps them work more safely.

TRIP Report on Rural Road Conditions

According to a new report issued on Tuesday by TRIP, America's rural roads and bridges have significant deficiencies. The report evaluates the safety and condition of the nation's rural roads and bridges and ranks states on a variety of factors such as bridge deficiency, pavement conditions and fatalities.

TRIPA news release issued by TRIP stated, “America’s rural transportation system is in need of repairs and modernization to support economic growth in the nation’s Heartland, which is a critical source of energy, food and fiber and home to an aging and increasingly diverse population that is heavily reliant on the quality of its transportation system."

TRIP is a national non-profit transportation research group based in Washington, DC.

The full release and report can be found on TRIP's website – TRIP Rural Road Report.


EAC Blurb

What’s Your Retirement IQ?

Play the Scavenger Hunt and Find Out

retirement iqIn celebration of State Employee Recognition Week, MOSERS and the State of Missouri Deferred Compensation Plan are teaming up to host the Retirement IQ Scavenger Hunt.

Beginning May 20, this three-week-long, online scavenger hunt will test your knowledge of important retirement benefits. Employees who complete the scavenger hunt will win an insulated cooler and be entered in the deferred compensation plan's State Employee Recognition Day prize drawing on June 11.

For more information on how to play and to watch for daily clues, visit the Missouri Deferred Compensation Plan website – Deferred Comp Scavenger Hunt.

MoDOT Youth Transportation Conference
Students interested in engineering or other transportation-related careers now have the opportunity to join MODOT for six days of exciting transportation activities, including competitions and college campus visits.

youth conferenceStudents are selected from across the state to experience transportation careers first hand. Students entering the 9th through 12th grade for the 2015-2016 school year are eligible.

The event is July 19 - 24 in Jefferson City. Students stay overnight at Lincoln University.

Applications are due by June 30, 2015. Visit the conference website for program details and applications - Youth Camp.

Please submit application, essay and letters by mail or fax to:
MoDOT Youth Transportation Conference
Attn: Elizabeth Reed, Equal Opportunity and Diversity Division
P.O. Box 270, Jefferson City, MO 65102
Phone: 1-573-522-5333
Fax: 1-573-526-5918

Law Enforcement Buckling Down on Those Not Buckling Up - Click it or Ticket
click it or ticketAs summer heats up, so does safety belt enforcement. Law enforcement officers are cracking down on unbelted drivers May 18-31 for an aggressive national "Click It or Ticket" campaign.

Even with all the advancements in automobile safety and education on the importance of seat belt use, Missouri's seat belt use remains relatively unchanged at 79 percent, and consistently below the national average of 87 percent.

Through this campaign the Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety will remind Missourians to buckle up, day and night, through state and national advertisements.

"Sixty-three percent of Missouri vehicle occupant fatalities (drivers and passenger) since the first of the year were unbuckled," said Bill Whitfield, chair of the executive committee of the Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety. "Seat belts clearly save lives, but unfortunately, too many folks still need a tough reminder, so law enforcement will be buckling down on those not buckling up."

Six out of 10 vehicle occupants killed in 2014 Missouri traffic crashes were unrestrained. Wearing a seat belt is the most effective way to reduce injuries and fatalities in a crash because it provides protection from being ejected and keeps motorists from smashing into windshields, dashboards and other passengers. When worn correctly, seat belts can reduce the risk of death for front seat occupants of passenger cars by 45 percent.

"You are gambling with your life each time you drive without a safety belt," said Whitfield. "Wearing a safety belt can save your life."

Click here to watch a short video - Click it or Ticket.

fatality graphic
What's Happening

EACEmployee Advisory Council Minutes
Minutes from the Employee Advisory Council's April meeting have been posted on the EAC SharePoint site. You can access them by using this link April 2015 EAC minutes.pdf. If you have any questions or comments, please contact the EAC at

singing competitionGovernor's Award for Quality and Productivity

"National Anthem" Acapella Singing Challenge
The 2015 Governor's Award for Quality and Productivity is scheduled for Oct. 29 in the Capitol Rotunda. This prestigious program will begin at 1:30 p.m. with the Presentation of Colors and singing of the National Anthem by one lucky and talented individual, or group of no more than three individuals (two to three-part harmony).

Interested? Click here for all the details – Singing Challenge.

amtrakAmtrak Offers Advanced Travel Discounts
On May 9 Amtrak announced a 20 percent discount for advance ticket purchases for travel beginning on Aug. 1, 2015.

The offer is exclusively available online at, using discount code H253. The discount applies to travel on Missouri's service, the Missouri River Runner, which offers twice daily service between Kansas City and St. Louis.

A seven-day advance purchase is required. Some blackout dates and other restrictions apply. Terms and conditions and more information on ticketing are available at

memorial dayMemorial Day Holiday

MoDOT offices will be closed on Monday, May 25 in observance of Memorial Day. We know that not all staff will be off this day, as our traffic management centers, motorists assist crews, customer service centers and other departments are running 24/7.

For those of us who will be off work for the holiday, let's remember our co-workers who will be on the job keeping MoDOT running and serving our customers.

For all  of us, let's remember our men and women in uniform both past and present.

May Retirements
William E. Guinn – NW – 24
Edward W. Hess – NE – 29
Gene A. Young – NE – 25
Andrew S. Thompson – NE – 26
Mary K. Otting – CD – 28

Susan R. Koppelmann – CD – 29
Kirk A. Kubicki – SW – 36
Dennis D. Blankenship – SW – 33
William L. Goodman – SE – 29
James D. Counts – SE – 27

Barbara E. Shelby – CO – 27
David B. Nichols – CO – 31
Shelley K. Claypool – CO – 27
Michael K. Curtit – CO – 29
In Memoriam
Ronald King
former D8 – April 24
Deane Sprout
CO – April 27
Jimmie Osgood
KC – April 28
Terry Porterfield
CO – April 28
Ray Kennedy
former D4 – April 28
Cletus Heidbreder
former D5 – May 1
David Willhoite
former D4 – May 6
Donald Webber
former D4 – May 6
August Harrington
former D7 – May 8
Charles Haulenbeek
CO – May 12

Our mission is to provide a world-class transportation experience that delights our customers and promotes a prosperous Missouri.
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