Travis McGrath's Highways memo - Oct. 2018

Hello Highways!

I hope you were able to enjoy the last bit of summer. For you hunters, I'm sure fall couldn't get here fast enough! Fall is an interesting transition time for ITD. The Design/Construct teams are putting final touches on the FY20 project PS&E packages, while also buttoning up construction projects prior to winter. Our maintenance teams are finishing their summer projects like road striping and crack sealing, while also gearing up for winter kick-off meetings over the next few weeks. Thanks for handling these varied duties and the transition between seasons so well.

Fall is here, but stinging insects are still being busy bees! Last week, an employee who is allergic to bee stings was stung while working in the field. He did not have his bee-sting kit with him (he had left it in his personal vehicle). He had a reaction and his crew rushed him to the hospital. He was treated successfully and is doing fine. We don't "stock" bee-sting kits in our vehicles because they are prescription medications. So it's important for employees who are allergic to insect stings to carry their own kits wherever they work. Fortunately in this case the crew knew who was allergic and how to respond. For those who'd like a refresher on what to do if stung, please see this article from Merck and the related graphic below.

I hope you were able to participate in the ITD Safety Stand Down Aug. 30, during which we rolled out the new yellow safety vests. If you couldn't participate in the live event, you can watch the recording here. I hope the local follow-up safety conversations spawned some good discussions on, and solutions to, local safety and security challenges. Please follow up on the actions your team identified to ensure those actions produce the desired safety benefits.

I want to call out a specific cybersecurity concern. We recently heard several cases of employees writing their ITD network login credentials (username and password) on a "sticky note" and then posting that note on a computer screen. In one case, the ITD computer was in a project office shared with non-ITD personnel, and a non-ITD person used "sticky-noted" ITD credentials to access the ITD network. Noooo! Please guard your network login to ensure we adequately protect ITD's network and digital information. If you have any questions about cybersecurity or how to protect ITD information, please contact the ETS Service Desk.

Culture Survey Results and Leaders' Workshop Oct. 23
ITD's senior leaders recently heard the results from the 2018 Culture Survey. The survey results included many comments from employees, which collectively followed a few key themes. On Oct. 23, ITD will gather 200 leaders in Boise to develop a plan to address those themes beyond what we're already doing. Look for more information in late October.

Highlight on Role Clarity
You've heard me talk about the importance of role clarity. We all need to understand our individual role in achieving ITD's vision and mission, and Highways' supporting One Highways, doing things better every day vision. We also need each team in Highways to understand how their team relates to all the other teams, to ensure we don't have overlapping functions (e.g., between Districts and HQ) or big gaps between teams. To help achieve this alignment, we are clarifying each team's role in program-delivery functions (planning, traffic, materials, environmental, right-of-way, design, construction). Statewide discipline teams for related functions are leading these efforts. You can read more in the Tiger Team update.

Update on Tiger Teams
As I usually do in these updates, I'm including the progress of our Tiger Teams. These ITD-wide teams are solving problems and pursuing opportunities identified by employees. This month, I want to highlight progress by four teams:

- The Clothing PPE Team has nearly finalized the contracting process for our Safety Footwear Program ("Boot Program"). We will have a choice of procuring boots from two vendors, BC Sales and Footwear Outfitters. Boots should start to be available in the next few weeks.

- The Equipment Training Team has hired our two new equipment trainers (they start Oct. 8) and is finalizing the training curriculum. The 'official' equipment training program and certifications will kick off in the spring of 2019, but we hope the trainers can start to make an impact in the districts this fall.

- The Project Management Team is finalizing a four-phase project-manager (PM) training program, which will help achieve our One Highways vision for project delivery. It is essential for all our PMs to employ the same project-management fundamentals, processes, and tools, to provide an accurate picture of all our projects and to enable the best decisions locally and statewide. The first phase is a two-day PM fundamentals training course launching in October. The second phase is a PM implementation guide that will outline ITD's project processes and procedures. The third phase will address PM tools (software), and the fourth phase will be over-the-shoulder coaching for PMs.

- The HCP Continuity Team has evaluated requests from members of TTE's HCP to allow flexibility in the number of required design hours vs. construction hours. Previously, TTEs had to accrue 300 hours in each. A team of TTEs and HILT members evaluated the request and decided to relax the requirement to a minimum of 200 hours in one (design or construction) and up to 400 hours in the other. This should make it easier for TTEs to hit the requirements, given constraints on the types and availability of projects in any given year.

All-Staff Updates This Fall
I'm planning my in-person, all-staff updates for November and December. I plan to visit several locations in each District and Division to share information from around ITD and Highways, plus field some Q&A. Scheduling information will follow.

Monthly Highways Reports

Just a reminder that you can catch up on news from around Highways here at the SharePoint site.


Published 10-05-18