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Mullan-2011

Posted by Jeff Mullan, MassDOT Secretary & Chief Executive Officer

Last weekend, we had the honor and privilege of hosting a national showcase sponsored by the Federal Highway Administration.  Victor Mendez, FHWA’s Administrator, Pam Stephenson, our Massachusetts Division Administrator, and representatives from DOTs around the country came to see what the “Fast14” was all about.  They left impressed – first that we would dare try to replace 14 bridges on one of our busiest highways in one summer, and second, that we could pull it off.  Bravo to everyone involved.

I thanked Administrator Mendez for his “Every Day Counts” (EDC) initiative that is designed to speed project delivery.  I also told him that our Highway Division was working hard to do its work smarter, faster, and cheaper in every place it could, and that all of our other divisions were similarly engaged in the innovation that lies at the heart of EDC.  That includes our open data initiative that has been so helpful to our transit customers, our efforts to drive customers to the web at the RMV, and making GreenDOT a standard part of our business in Aeronautics.  He thanked us for embracing Every Day Counts and all that it stands for.

During the week, Governor Patrick visited the Fast14 project office in Medford.  Ernie Monroe, our Resident Engineer, invited everyone in the meeting to introduce themselves to the Governor and to talk a little bit about the project.  When it got to be my turn, I thanked the team and said that the best part of the project for me was how it demonstrated the importance of empowering our workers.  This, I told the Governor, is a key to getting more done in an environment where we must all do with less.

By the end of the week, the Fast 14 made it to Secretary LaHood’s blog, and to his Facebook and twitter accounts, and videos of Administrator Mendez’s trip were on You Tube.  Our own highly successful version of Carmageddon had gone national. 

I don’t know anything about precast concrete bridge decks, smart phone applications, web technology, warm mix asphalt or many of the ways you are employing to do your jobs smarter, faster, and cheaper.  What I do know is that all of you know a lot about these things, and by permitting you to do your jobs the best way you know how to do them, all of us benefit. 

It is enormously satisfying to all of us on the senior leadership team to see so many of you striving to do your best every day.  Trying new things is part of our new normal, and innovation is a pillar on which we are building MassDOT.  Sometimes, we will fail.  More often, we will succeed.  The successes we are having in so many areas is proof positive of the old axiom that it is better to have tried and failed than to have failed to try.  Please keep doing so.

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