Divisions of Highways realignment moves forward following staff meetings

The Divisions of Highways at Headquarters took a big step Thursday in ITD's efforts to become the best transportation department in the country by announcing the framework of the new organizations.

Blake Rindlisbacher, administrator of the new Division of Engineering Services, and Dave Jones, administrator of the new Division of Engineering Products and Plans, met last week with supervisors and employees to take a preliminary look at the realignment and answer questions.

"The employees within the Divisions of Highways have done an outstanding job of developing innovative programs and delivering valuable projects and services," Director Brian Ness said. "But I believe that when it comes to goals, you set the bar high, and when you reach it, you set it even higher. This realignment will allow us to take the next step in providing even better service to our customers – the citizens of Idaho."

Ness added that no employees will lose their job or pay as long as there are no outside factors beyond the department's control.

The Division of Engineering Services includes sections that help other divisions meet goals by providing guidance in procedures, sharing best practices, data needs, technology systems, planning and innovative approaches to engineering disciplines.

"Engineering Services generally has mirrored functions with the six districts, and will provide support services to them as they deliver the construction program. This effort will better align the services and products we deliver at Headquarters with those already in place at the districts and deliver them more efficiently and effectively," said Rindlisbacher.

The Division of Engineering Products and Plans, led by Jones, will provide centralized services and will have program areas that are centrally managed such as capital facilities and equipment acquisition. The division includes sections that develop their own products and engineering plans, and are directly responsible for completing them.

Jones also carries the title of Chief Engineer, but the position's new function is not like its past role. As the Chief Engineer, Jones will be involved in engineering reviews of policy, third-party disputes and other engineering duties that span all three divisions that report to Chief Operations Officer Jim Carpenter.

"Much remains to be done going forward, and we realize this major shift will require fine-tuning as we progress." Jones said. "Some of that work includes clarifying how Headquarters' staff will assist the districts and improving how the districts take advantage of these new services."

Rindlisbacher and Jones will meet with section heads to lay foundations for the next steps such as workforce planning, strategic and business plans for divisions and sections, and moving offices to consolidate the divisions into the same campus space.

Download organization charts for the new Division of Engineering Services and Division of Engineering Products and Plans.

Published 2-21-14