CT News 2016, Issue 7

Director's Corner

We are embracing change and making progress

Malcolm Dougherty

At our last Town Hall meeting, we talked about change and the progress we have made over the last five years, where we are now, and the next steps we will take to continue to strive for excellence. Since our strategic plan came out in early 2015, we are measuring our performance in more areas to ensure we meet our expanded goals of safety and health, stewardship and efficiency, sustainability, system performance and organizational excellence.


Preserving California's history

The Colorado Street Bridge in Pasadena was proclaimed the highest concrete bridge in the world when it was built in 1913.

Caltrans is tasked to provide a safe, sustainable, and efficient transportation system to meet current and future needs, but it must also maintain, rehabilitate, and preserve its past. Rehabilitating, reusing, and preserving historically significant bridges in California is an important part of transportation planning. While not realistic or reasonable to save every historic bridge or roadway, there are many examples where preservation has been successful through innovation, collaboration, and prudent planning.

The historic restoration and retrofit of the Cabrillo Bridge

The Cabrillo Bridge after crews removed the scaffolding.

The Cabrillo Bridge, located in San Diego’s Balboa Park, was built for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition. The city-owned bridge is a reinforced concrete arched cantilever structure containing six piers with two hollow columns per pier. One of the earliest examples of a Spanish Colonial-style Closed (hollow) Spandrel Arch bridge in the United States, it serves as a primary entrance to Balboa Park and spans State Route 163, one of only two freeways leading out of downtown San Diego.

2016 Caltrans Excellence in Transportation Awards

Each year, Caltrans’ Excellence in Transportation Awards Program highlights the best work of Caltrans and its partners. This year, Caltrans received nearly 100 entries from Caltrans staff, local and public agencies, private contractors and consultants across the state.

Roadside assistance

Pictured from left to right, California Transportation Foundation (CTF) Treasurer Andre Boutros, CTF Executive Director Sarah West and Caltrans Our Promise Campaign Chair Carla Samas were at this year’s “Our Promise: State Employees Giving at Work” kick-off event in Sacramento on September 21.

The California Transportation Foundation (CTF) was established to help those working in the field of transportation. CTF establishes scholarships in memory of loved ones, gives service recognition pins for long-term employees in the field, and more. Remember to call the Foundation if someone needs help. Even if CTF doesn’t have a specific program for it, let the Foundation try to find a way to help.

A day in maintenance

Highway construction is one of the most dangerous occupations in the United States, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This photo was taken as part of Caltrans Move Over safety campaign to show how close workers are to moving traffic. The Move Over Law requires drivers to move over a lane, if safe to do so, or slow down, when passing vehicles with flashing amber lights.

Suppose for a moment that every day when you arrive at your job, you have a brief meeting and then prepare for the physical labor that lies ahead. You may be heading to a wreck where someone lost their life. Other times you are doing traffic control, in which you temporarily stop traffic so that the road or bridge ahead can be repaired. At times people are polite, yet some get mad, drive passed you and even brush you with their car as they pass. You jump out of the way. It was a near miss.

Caltrans employees help others

Caltrans employees from across the state held fundraisers to educate coworkers about their option to donate to their non-profit of choice through the “Our Promise: California State Employees Giving at Work” campaign.

Our Promise: California State Employees Giving at Work” is the single largest effort among California's 300,000-plus state employees to support charitable programs. In 2015, Caltrans employees and retirees contributed more than $549,000 to “Our Promise.” This year’s campaign goal was $600,000, and final 2016 contribution numbers will be announced in early 2017.

Celebrating diversity

The Colviva Dance Group performed to Colombian music at the Caltrans Diversity and Disability Awareness Day event at Headquarters TransLab on Oct. 25.

Flags from every nation stood in orange traffic cones circling a stage that featured entertainers as they sang, demonstrated Tai Chi, or performed native dances from Pakistan, India, Korea, Columbia, Scotland and more at a Caltrans Diversity and Disability Awareness event outside the Headquarters TransLab on Oct. 25.

Hats Off

Pleased partners

A California Highway Patrol captain commended Caltrans Barstow Maintenance Crew (from left to right) Angel Flores, Superintendent Gary Cranford, and crewmembers Everett Reed, Gilbert Moreno, Steve Corlew and Omar Galvan, for their daily diligence, care and excellence.

"On Aug. 3, we had a fatal traffic collision on northbound Interstate 15, north of Cima Road involving two big rigs. Additionally, a subsequent hazmat occurred, which added another burden to the scene. I wanted to let you know that [Caltrans Barstow Maintenance Area Superintendent] Gary Cranford and his crew did an OUTSTANDING job assisting us with traffic management."

Excellent service

From left to right, John Kluge from Caltrans Headquarters Right of Way, Keanna Coolins and Mark Shindler from District 4 Right of Way, and Amjad Naseer and Markus Lansdowne from District 4 Encroachment Permits, were thanked by San Francisco developer S. Osborn Erickson for their top-notch service.

"I would like to commend Caltrans District 4 Director Bijan Sartipi and his staff on a creative, diligent and committed effort to enable the issuance of a tie-back lease agreement and associated permit for construction work beneath the Van Ness Avenue right-of-way in San Francisco. This tie-back lease agreement represents the culmination of a cooperative effort by Caltrans and the city of San Francisco, under which the city will take on the responsibility for the sidewalks currently held by Caltrans."

Stranded motorist grateful

A motorist stranded in a dead cell phone area near Gaviota thanked Caltrans Maintenance Supervisor Alfred Lang and Mechanic Troy Jackson for helping him move and repair his classic vehicle.

"On Sept. 8, I traveled from Reno to Ventura in a classic vehicle. The trip was uneventful until I passed Gaviota, where I experienced a catastrophic failure. Fortunately, I was able to make the Mariposa Reina exit. This is where your staff found me - at an exit where cell phone reception was questionable at best. Caltrans could not ask for a better representative than [Maintenance Supervisor] Alfred Lang."

Caltrans partnership makes CHP look good

From left to right, Caltrans Tree Crew Supervisor Jay Karl and Santa Maria Maintenance Supervisor Stan Rodriguez were commended for their, and their crews’ work at the California Highway Patrol Santa Maria Area office grounds.

"Many of the trees on our property were overgrown and impinging on the facility structures, or over perimeter fences. Again, the (Caltrans) crews were exceptionally skillful in their work and the result is absolutely astonishing! Our employees have commented to me on countless occasions how much better the grounds look."

Clean highways

From left to right, Caltrans Equipment Operator II’s Shawnn Ege, Cherie Hallack and Daniel Ferch were commended for an excellent job sweeping and cleaning Interstate 15 in Victorville.

"I was driving Interstate 15 at 1:30 p.m. on a Wednesday and the Caltrans crew was sweeping the middle guard rail area near Bear Valley Road. Thank you so very much."


Health & Safety

Protect yourself from identity theft

Millions of credit card numbers and other forms of personal information are stolen from individuals and businesses every year. Unfortunately, identity theft is one of the fastest-growing crimes in the country, and can wreak havoc with people’s finances and credit rating. While it is impossible to eliminate all risk, safeguarding personal information can reduce the chances of becoming a victim.

Using your legal, financial and identification theft services

Criminals often access bank account numbers, credit cards, PIN, Social Security numbers, and other personal information through credit or debit card transactions, stolen mail and trash, telephone and online scams, and computer hacking. The consequences of identity theft can be severe.


A list of Caltrans employees who retired or for whom certificates were requested.

Service Awards

Employees who are celebrating 25 and 40 years of service..

Who's New

Shaila Chowdhury, chief environmental engineer

Shaila Chowdhury

Shaila Chowdhury is the new Chief Environmental Engineer, replacing Scott McGowen, who retired earlier this year. Shaila earned her bachelor’s degree in civil engineering in Bangladesh and master’s degree in civil and transportation engineering from the University of California, Davis. She began her career with Caltrans in 1998 in the Division of Engineering Services’ Materials Engineering and Testing Services Program. She then enrolled in the Department’s rotation program and worked in the Bridge Structure Hydraulics Office.

Janice Salais, assistant director of the Office Of Business and Economic Opportunity

Janice Salais

Janice Salais has accepted the position of Caltrans Office of Business and Economic Opportunity (OBEO) Assistant Director. Janice has been acting in that position since March 2016. Before that, she was the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Certification Branch and the Contract Evaluation Branch Office chief. 


Kathy Avila, District 12 public information officer

Kathy Avila

After fighting cancer for most of 2016, Caltrans District 12 Public Information Officer Kathy Avila died on Nov. 3. Kathy started with Caltrans District 12 in the Office of Construction as an office technician in October 2005. Prior to Caltrans, she worked as a CHP dispatcher clerk.

Yvonne Froiland, retired District 9 delineator

Yvonne Froiland

Retired Caltrans District 9 employee Yvonne Froiland died September 11, 2016. Yvonne was born in Upland, California, on Sept. 12, 1954, and married Daniel Froiland in April, 1973. They moved to the Eastern Sierra in 1981 and fell in love with the area. The couple both worked at Caltrans, and Dan still does.

CT News - Caltrans' employee newsletter


Reed Parsell
Editor, Caltrans News (May 2019 to the present)

Tamie McGowen
Assistant Deputy Director, Public Affairs

Contact the Editor
Via email
or (916) 654-5820

Are You Retiring Soon?

Would you like to stay informed of what's happening with Caltrans? If so, submit your home email address to CT News editor Reed Parsell and we'll notify you by email when we publish a new issue of CT News.

Alternative Formats

For individuals with sensory disabilities, this document will be made available in Braille, large print, on audiocassette, or on computer disk. To obtain a copy in one of the alternative formats, please contact the editor.