CT News 2019, Issue 2

Director's Corner

An occasion to remember, a chance to recommit

Caltrans Director Laurie Berman
Every spring at Workers Memorial events throughout the state, Caltrans honors employees who have been killed in the line of duty since 1921. This year, I will speak at the 29th annual statewide Fallen Workers Memorial at 11 a.m. on Thursday, April 25, on the west steps of the State Capitol.




Caltrans to again pay tribute to workers killed on job

Workers Memorial poster 2019

Caltrans will hold its annual statewide Fallen Workers Memorial at 11 a.m. on Thursday, April 25, on the west steps of the State Capitol. The Workers Memorial is a time to remember those who lost their lives building, maintaining and operating California's world-class transportation system.



District 3 leads the way with its teched-up TMC

District 3 TMC chief Brian Alconcel

Every Caltrans regional district has its own traffic management center. None of those TMCs, however, is quite like District 3's. Its Rancho Cordova building is bedecked with high-tech. "We want everyone to have what we have, because then everything will get better, Manager Brian Alconcel said near the end of a two-hour tour of the facility last month.

At Caltrans HQ, a celebration of African American culture

Michael Parks and Rena Francis lead the Negro National Anthem to help kick off a 90-minute program at the Black History Celebration.

An audience that eventually attained standing-room-only status attended the 2019 Black History Celebration at Caltrans headquarters in downtown Sacramento on Feb. 26. It was titled “Bridging Black Culture Across Generations.” The event, hosted by the Caltrans African American Leadership Council, included food, displays, music, speakers and even a game of “Black History Jeopardy.”

Walking the transit talk at Headquarters

Ellen Greenberg, left, and Jeanie Ward-Waller chat beside a Sacramento Regional Transit bus during the “Practice Transit: SacRT Bus Demonstration” event in downtown Sacramento on March 12.

For years, Caltrans has been urging Californians to ease up on the gas pedal and to incorporate more walking, biking and public transportation into their lives. In March, many Caltrans' headquarters employees showed how the concept of "active transportation" works in Sacramento as they participated in the inaugural Try Transit Month.

Peddler Hill crew help rescue trio in wilderness

In mid-February, Caltrans crews from the Peddler Hill maintenance facility helped with a successful search-and-rescue effort. They teamed with the U.S. Forest Service, CHP and regional sheriff’s offices to find two snowbound women and a dog.

The selfless and tireless Caltrans District 10 workers at the Peddler Hill maintenance facility on State Route 88 in Amador County do much more than plow snow. For parts of three days in mid-February, that meant combining forces with the U.S. Forest Service (El Dorado), California Highway Patrol, and sheriff's offices of Amador and El Dorado counties to save three lives.

Innovation Station on track to generate great ideas

Last month’s Innovation Station “active challenge” about how to improve internal communications was co-sponsored by, from left, George Akiyama, Deputy Director of Information Technology; Tamie McGowen, Assistant Deputy Director of Public Affairs; and Cris Rojas, Deputy Director of Administration.

When Innovation Station was re-launched in January, a few people took notice. A few thousand people, that is. By early March, nearly 4,000 Caltrans workers had logged onto the idea-sharing and challenge-solving internal website. They participated in the initial two “active challenges” – “Reduce Roadway Trash” and “Better, Faster, Cheaper” – and visited the more free-range “Idea Factory.”

Looking Back: Blazing a trail in the High Sierra

This undated photograph of the old wagon trail that eventually became U.S. Highway 50 was taken at Horseshoe Bend

What was our first state highway? Like so many California stories, this one begins Jan. 24, 1848, in the hills east of Sacramento. The Gold Rush that followed James W. Marshall's discovery of sparkly flecks in Coloma, along the American River, posed transportation challenges for Easterners, Europeans and others who wanted in on the action. Sailing around Cape Horn took up to eight months, and primitive overland routes had their issues, too.

Foundation announces annual transportation awards

Cropped logo of the California Transportation Foundation

The California Transportation Foundation (CTF) is again proud to co-sponsor the annual Caltrans Workers Memorial Ceremony to be held on Thursday, April 25, at 11 a.m. on the west steps of the State Capitol.

Hats Off

Maintenance crews to the rescue in District 2

The Beckwourth Maintenance Station work crew includes, from left, Ryan Reese, Jonathan Roseberry, Matthew Lewis, Karen Partlow, David Recasens, Brian Fee, Tyler Davis, Mike Smith and Keith Clark. Not pictured is crew member Shane Frazier.

"Day after day these wonderful people attack our roads, pushing large amounts of snow and ice, keeping State Route 70 in great shape."


Something nice happened on District 5 worker's watch

"Jeff was so kind and honest and I am so appreciative. Hats off to Jeff and his co-worker in the truck (I’m not sure who it was) for being so honest."

Pit stop for compassion on the Bay Bridge

Toll booths on the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge

"Your kindness, reassurance, and simple gesture of a lollipop made the rest of that hour long drive home so much more bearable."


A Facebook shout-out to District 2

A Facebook photo post about Caltrans by Barbara Brady

"This snowplow was heaven-sent to get me through a lot of the worst of it. Thanks to all the Caltrans workers for being out there and doing such a great job!""

Reader knows that QuickMap is the way to go

A screen grab from Caltrans' QuickMapp app

"I know as an engineer, you're more into the physics of rocks and mud and such, but I just wanted to thank somebody at Caltrans for how up-to-date and useful the Caltrans QuickMap is!""


Sweet tweets

A Twitter screen grab that shows a picture of a Caltrans snow plow in operation

Caltrans rocks on Twitter! Here we share compliments all 12 of our districts (and headquarters) have received in recent weeks."




Health & Safety

Respecting our similarities and differences

Employee Assistance Program graphic about respect and diversity

When we experience positive emotions such as joy, satisfaction and happiness, we tend to be more confident and open to possibilities in our lives. But staying positive during tough times can be difficult.


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

Service Awards

Employees who celebrated 25 and 40 years of service...

Who's New

Mike Beauchamp, District 8 director

Mike Beauchamp

Mike Beauchamp assumed his new role as Caltrans District 8 Director on Feb. 20. He has worked at Caltrans for more than 35 years, most recently serving as the Deputy District Director of Construction in District 8, based in San Bernardino, for five years.

Suzanne Chan, Equal Employment Opportunity Program Manager

Suzanne Chan

In management for more than 20 years, Suzanne Chan worked as a supervisor with the State at the Staff Services Manager I, II, III and Exempt levels, for a Special District as Vice President of Administration, and for a community-based organization as an executive director.

Chris Schmidt, Southern California Planning and Modal Program Manager

Chris Schmidt

Chris Schmidt will be working to coordinate planning and multimodal transportation activities for Districts 7 (Los Angeles), 8 (San Bernardino), 11 (San Diego) and 12 (Orange County). He will lead several statewide initiatives related to implementation of Senate Bill 743,


Larry Staley, former Right of Way director for District 7

Larry Staley

Larry Staley spent most of his 35-year career as a real estate executive with Caltrans. He retired at age 58 and was able to enjoy the next 15 years traveling throughout the world, visiting many cities in Europe, Africa, South America, the Caribbean, North America, Australia and New Zealand.

Dan Weingarten, former Caltrans attorney

Daniel Weingarten

Dan Weingarten loved the law, and practicing it, especially as an environmental attorney at the California Department of Transportation, taking anyone who would listen out to his case sites along the Mad River and the Sacramento Delta.

CT News - Caltrans' employee newsletter


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

Tamie McGowen
Assistant Deputy Director, Public Affairs

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