Tuesday, October 12, 2021

PennDOT Honors Star of Excellence Recipients

On Tuesday, Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) Secretary Yassmin Gramian recognized 32 PennDOT employees for their outstanding performance with the Star of Excellence Award, PennDOT’s highest recognition. Two employees from PennDOT’s District 5, which represents Berks, Carbon, Lehigh, Monroe, Northampton, and Schuylkill counties were among the honorees.
“These employees represent the incredible people on the PennDOT team,” Gramian said. “With a focus on innovation, customer service, mobility and connectivity, they work tirelessly each day to provide safe and efficient transportation for Pennsylvania’s residents.”

Gramian and other department executives honored winners Thomas Fish and Shaun Rohrbaugh from District 5, during a virtual ceremony.

“Thomas and Shaun are outstanding employees dedicated to providing the best transportation system possible,” District 5 Executive Michael Rebert said. “This is a well-deserved recognition, and I congratulate both of them.”

Thomas Fish - Transportation Construction Inspection Supervisor

Thomas works in the District 5 Construction Unit. He helped develop the Inspector-In-Charge (IIC) Reference Guide for PennDOT. As part of the Reference Guide, he developed the new Cost Control Summary Excel workbook which is used to track costs for construction, inspection, engineering, railroad flagging, and other costs. The Cost Control Summary is particularly useful for bridge maintenance contracts as these contracts have complicated costs due to add-on work, work removed, funding shifts, emergency work, etc. His understanding of project funding, computer software, and his willingness and ability to assist others is invaluable.

In 2020 damage from Tropical Storm Isaias resulted in three emergency project locations that were added to an existing bridge maintenance contract. The work included structure and roadway repairs with construction costs for the three locations estimated at $1,050,000. Thomas worked diligently with the contractor, inspection staff, and various Department units to minimize inefficiencies and complete the repairs under budget. The actual cost of the work performed was $334,799.38 which is 68 percent less than the estimate. The cost savings allowed the Department to perform maintenance repairs on additional structures to prolong the life of each bridge being repaired and improve safety.

Shaun Rohrbaugh - Transportation Equipment Operator Specialist

Shaun works in the PennDOT Schuylkill County Maintenance Office and handles all training initiatives for the 109 employees working there.

Shaun was instrumental in having 23 of his coworkers being trained to receive promotions. He is also responsible for training all the winter temporary operators, some of whom have never plowed snow.

Shaun’s expertise in winter snow removal helps maintain public safety during winter events. He ensures employees follow the correct application of materials at the right time which in turn produces the best level of service. Under Shaun’s leadership the Schuylkill County PennDOT office has increased performance and decreased accidents and incidents involving winter temporary operators.

Shaun is always looking for ways to improve production. As a member of the District 5 seal coat crew, he schedules work locations as close together as possible to cut down on travel time. Thoughtful scheduling can eliminate up to 40 minutes of travel per day allowing for more production.

The Star of Excellence Awards are presented annually to employees who represent the department’s values of service, performance, and integrity. The recipients represent a variety of organizational positions, spanning from highway maintenance and driver and vehicle services workers, to traffic control specialists, communications staff and design and engineering specialists.