CT News 2017, Issue 2

Director's Corner

Mother Nature has a big say in what we do

Malcolm Dougherty

Weather has been on everyone’s mind lately, which makes it a great time to talk about the many significant obligations the Department has. We’ll have that opportunity at our next Director’s Town Hall meeting April 6 that will be webcast live from the Kearny Mesa Maintenance Station in San Diego. Through the years, California motorists have counted on Caltrans to repair roadways, respond to incidents, clean up after Mother Nature, and assist the motoring public in general. 


Workers Memorial

The Caltrans Honor Guard dedicated and added a cone to the caution sign diamond formation at last year’s Statewide Workers Memorial, as they will this year. The cones represent each Caltrans employee lost since 1921, and one black cone represents all the other service personnel killed while working on California’s highways.

Each year, at the start of the construction season, Caltrans holds memorial ceremonies throughout the state to honor and remember employees who lost their lives building, maintaining, and operating California’s world-class transportation system.

Life is precious. Be safe

We live on a complex and beautiful planet that is dependent on many individual things coming together to sustain life. Likewise, at Caltrans, individual divisions all come together for a common goal. We exercise sound judgment to be good stewards of the state’s money.

Educating professionals and students

The CTF Transportation Forum in February brought together California’s transportation community and policy makers, who are getting closer to a funding package. Attendees heard from Federal Highway Administration Acting Deputy Administrator Butch Waidelich.

Caltrans worker helps clear slide for newborn, parents

Caltrans Pulga Maintenance Station Equipment Operator John Barton cleared away rocks on Highway 70 to allow the ambulance carrying ill newborn Casey Bakker, and his Plumas County family to reach the University of California, Davis, Children’s Hospital during a storm.

A Plumas County family has reached out to Caltrans to say thank you after a scary incident on Highway 70 back in December. Cheyenne and Kyle Bakker battled winter weather to get their newborn from Quincy to Sacramento.

Caltrans worker dodge death, gets out of crushed truck to direct traffic

Caltrans Equipment Operator II Joe Vaars narrowly escaped his vehicle after a tree fell and smashed his truck. He then proceeded to direct traffic.

A Caltrans employee narrowly escaped his vehicle (Feb. 21) after a tree crashed down right on top of him. It happened at 2:05 a.m. while he was on his way to clean up a mudslide on Highway 49, just north of Nevada City. “I mean I’m pretty lucky, I had somebody watching out for me, that’s for sure,” said Joe Vaars, a Caltrans employee in District 3.

Hats Off

Recognizing hard work

"I live in South Lake Tahoe and work at Kirkwood Mountain Resort. I commute everyday between the two location and use Highway 50, State Route 89 and State Route 88. I'd like to thank the Caltrans highway crews that have been working those specific roads this winter."

New respect

"I had a different view of the effectiveness and efficiency of Caltrans at one time. What you guys did to manage and recover public transportation during the recent Santa Cruz slides was just amazing. You guys really "rock" and have a fabulous team."

Overpass rescue

Good Samaritan Caltrans District 8 Maintenance Superintendent William R. Kerr stopped on his way home to help a woman get her car out of harm’s way on Interstate 15.

"Many thanks to Caltrans District 8 Maintenance Superintendent William R. Kerr, the California Highway Patrol, Juan of Desert Valley Towing, Hesperia, and a close friend. Mr. Kerr was off shift, on his way home and traveling southbound on Interstate 15 when he saw me - a woman stranded on a very dangerous bridge overpass - facing northbound at the Devore exit at the foot of the Cajon Pass."

Grateful in Tahoe

"I've lived in South Lake Tahoe for 38 years but this season Caltrans has been remarkable. Nice job and thank you!"

Appreciated fence repair

(Left to right): Tony Rodriguez, David Leivas, Dario Escamilla, Angel Maldonado, John Bedolla and Albert Gonzalez from the San Bernardino Metro Crew, were commended for quickly repairing a fence along State Route 210 near a San Bernardino neighborhood.

"THANK YOU for your exceptionally prompt response to, and repair of, fencing along State Route 210. The homeless continually try to set up camp in our area. This is of particular importance to us because these same people wander into our neighborhoods and steal and/or damage our property. Thank you again for helping to keep us safe!"

Emergency responders work together

Caltrans Crescent City Crew Equipment Operator II John Phillips helped an ambulance respond to an emergency by leading and plowing the way in a snow storm.

"Recently, Del Norte Ambulance was dispatched to a medical emergency during a snow storm. Road conditions required our crew to stop to install chains. That was when a Caltrans truck with a plow came along, and told our crew to follow him. We believe that Caltrans employee was Equipment Operator II John Phillips of the Crescent City crew."

Clearing the slide

(Left to right) Kudos to Caltrans Geotechnical Engineers Ryan Turner and Steve Balaban, and the rest of the crews that worked diligently to reopen Highway 41 by mid-February, as promised.

"The cities of Atascadero and Morro Bay would like to give a very big shout-out and a sincere thank-you to the Caltrans crews who worked so diligently in order to get Highway 41 between Atascadero and Morro Bay reopened to the public. As all those who regularly use the well-traveled route between Atascadero and Morro Bay are aware, Highway 41 was closed in early January due to the heavy rains and rockslides."

Good Samaritans on Friday the 13th

From left to right: Caltrans Maintenance Worker Cody Hurst and Equipment Operator II Gary Palmer changed a flat tire for a family stranded on Highway 46.

"I am overdue in sending this letter, but want to express appreciation to two of the Caltrans employees that work in District 5. On Jan. 13, (yes, it was Friday the 13th) I was traveling through California with my three children and pulling our travel trailer."

Big Texas stuck in California

(Left to Right) Kingvale Maintenance Supervisor Dave McIntire and Leadworker Randy Klar helped the Kirkland family get over the Donner Pass on Feb. 16 in the snow.

"I personally want to thank the Caltrans guys working on Donner Pass. This morning, my husband and father-in-law were trying to get over the pass in a white Dodge dually, hauling a Big Texas trailer loaded with a fork lift and the truck got stuck in four wheel drive low.."

Health & Safety

Life's challenges

At one time or another, we all face challenges in our personal lives and careers. Perhaps your challenge is raising a rebellious teenager, caring for an aging parent, living with a spouse who drinks too much, or dealing with a thorny problem at work. How we choose to respond in these situations can make the difference between a positive outcome and a negative one, between calm acceptance and frustration.


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

Matt Brady, District 1 director

Matt Brady

Matt Brady PE, PMP, a 25-year Caltrans employee, is the new District 1 Director. Matt was promoted to Senior Transportation Engineer in 2000, serving as the California Transportation Commission Liaison at Headquarters Transportation Programming. In late 2001, Matt moved to District 1 to become a project manager and in 2004 he was promoted to District 1’s Deputy District Director of Program and Project Management.

Michael Campos, Equal Employment Opportunity Program manager

Michael Campos

Michael Campos is Caltrans’ new Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Program Manager. In nearly 28 years of state service, both as an analyst and supervisor, his career path has run the gamut of policy development, legislation, regulations and code development, budgets, personnel and other key administrative areas. 

Jeff DeFevere, powering Caltrans' Zero Emission Program

Jeff DeFevere

Jeff DeFevere is Caltrans' first Zero Emission Vehicles (ZEV) 30-in-30 Program Manager. He has already been working with all Caltrans programs, divisions, districts and external partners to achieve Gov. Edmund G. Brown Jr.’s goal to integrate ZEV into California’s infrastructure and Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty’s goal of installing ZEV charging stations at 30 strategic locations within public right-of-way by December 2018.

Trophy Case

Los Angeles Times reporter wins award for advancing roadway safety 

Left to right: Caltrans District 7 Public Information Officer Lauren Wonder, Los Angeles Times Reporter Thomas Curwen and Caltrans District 7 Director Carrie Bowen stand as Curwen is honored for advancing roadway safety.

The American Traffic Safety Services Association (ATSSA) honored Los Angeles Times Reporter Thomas Curwen as runner up in the National Media Award for advancing roadway safety, as nominated by Caltrans District 7. Curwen was one of two runner ups for the ATSSA award, along with Roz Varon from WLS-7 in Chicago.

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.