Salem - The Extra Mile - October 2022

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Salem District Newsletter

Volume 16 Issue 10

October 2022

What’s Inside

• Performance Review Time

• Equipment Prep

• Employee Profile:

Janet Smith

• One of a Kind Roller

• Regional Rodeo

Peters Creek Operator Bradley Holt is using a roller attachment on the motor grader to

compact gravel on Route 630 (Brushy Mountain Road) in Stuart. (See more on back page.)



On September 29, the Salem District was well represented at the 2022

Commissioner’s Award ceremony at the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute.

Business Process Specialist Kyle Myers, Environmental Specialist Valarie Ramsey

and Blacksburg AHQ Superintendent Randy Wolf each received the coveted

Commissioner’s Award for outstanding achievements.

Kyle Myers won the Outstanding VDOT Employee

award for going above and beyond his role in the

Customer Service Center (CSC) and contributing to

statewide initiatives that benefited both external and

internal customers.

Working closely with the Information Technology

Division, he volunteered to learn and help develop

VDOT’s Azure Customer Service Snow BOT. He

educated himself on industry best practices which

eventually led him to be the primary business editor

for the snow BOT.

Kyle Myers

Outstanding Employee

Commissioner’s Award

He also stepped beyond his assigned duties by volunteering to create a tech

fluency user guide with step-by-step instructions and screenshots for area

headquarters using Surface Pro and Cradlepoint in the field.

In addition, Kyle was the business user who helped with the design and creation

of new CSC dashboards which resulted in an improved system that offers realtime

information regarding service requests, customer contact types and more.

cont. pg. 2


By Ken King, P.E.


October has

brought cooler


and a colorful


across the

district. As fall

presses toward

winter, I am pleased to share

that our construction projects

have made good progress over

the past construction season.

Our plant mix and thin asphalt

treatment contract work is either

already complete or nearing

completion at this time. This is

earlier than usual, and I thank

each of you who are a part of

this very important program.

Well done!

Whether you are one of the field

leaders who recently attended the

cont. pg. 2

Bedford • Botetourt • Carroll • Craig • Floyd • Franklin • Giles • Henry • Montgomery • Patrick • Pulaski • Roanoke 1

KING cont.

district snow conference, or one

of the many employees who

will lend a helping hand during

snow removal operations, I

know everyone is preparing for

the upcoming winter.

Congratulations to the

Southwest Area Headquarters

for being the dry run winner for

this year. They did an outstanding

job making sure everything was

in order and prepared for the

season ahead. This year, the

competition was particularly tight

as many of our area headquarters

did an excellent job.

It also was good to see so many

team members back in person at

the snow conference. While our

virtual conferences over the last

few years were well done, it was

great to be in person once again.

I appreciate the information and

dialogue that were shared during

the conference.

While snow removal seems quite

basic, we can always learn more

about plowing, forecasting,

managing salt and applying

liquid chemicals. Sharing best

practices and learning from one

another’s experiences are very

valuable for the team and will

help us to be ready and in step

with one another when the

need arises.

I will be out on medical leave

for much of November and

Rob Griffith will be the acting

district engineer while I am

away. I know everything will

continue to work smoothly

because of all the great

leaders and employees we

have throughout the district.

Above all, please keep

safety as your top priority

in the months ahead

especially during inclement

weather. I wish you

the very best and look

forward to reconnecting

with you soon.



Because of his initiative, positive attitude and willingness to help others, Kyle is

well-known statewide. His expertise and approachability are recognized by all of

these teams, making him a favorite resource of system users and support staff.

Valarie Ramsey won the Environmental Stewardship

award for creating maps using ArcGIS that help

maintenance crews.

The maps she created help identify environmental

clearances for ditches including threatened and

endangered species, jurisdictional information and

roadway data in each county. They provide the

residencies and area headquarters with a method

of evaluating the need for an on-site environmental

review. As a result, maintenance forces can quickly

determine if a field review is needed or if they can

proceed with ditching or non-jurisdictional pipe

replacements without further environmental approvals.

In addition, they free the Environmental Section from spending hours or days

traveling and reviewing maintenance projects that would not have otherwise

required environmental review or coordination.

Randy Wolf was recognized with the Community

Service and Volunteerism award because of his

commitment to donate platelets to the American

Red Cross.

He first gave blood at a mobile blood drive at the

Salem District Office in 2010. Since then, he has

donated every other Sunday. That’s 24 times a year

for almost 12 years. He has endured the long donation

process more than 250 times translating to 750+ units

of platelets and approximately 90 gallons of blood.


VDOT has elected to implement a short-term simple evaluation process for

completing Performance Year 2022 (PY22) Annual Performance Evaluations. The

PY22 year started on October 25, 2021 and ended on October 24, 2022.

Supervisors will schedule a meeting with employees to discuss and review

performances. During this meeting, employees will have the opportunity to provide

feedback of their work experience. Employees are also encouraged to fill out a selfevaluation

and share it with their supervisor before this meeting.

After the performance evaluation meeting, supervisors will then complete an

Annual Evaluation Form rating the employee’s overall performance as exceptional,

met expectations or unacceptable. All forms are due December 1.

For complete information, including links to forms, the submission

library, FAQs, and a DocuSign User Guide and Video, please visit

the Human Resources PY22 Evaluation Resources site on DOTi

at https://covgov.sharepoint.com/sites/HR-EmployeeExperience-

VDOT/SitePages/PY22.aspx or scan the QR code.

Valarie Ramsey

Environmental Stewardship

Commissioner’s Award

Randy Wolf

Community Service / Volunteerism

Commissioner’s Award

For questions regarding performance evaluations, contact Salem

District Human Resources Manager Donna Fizer (donna.fizer@vdot.virginia.gov) or

HR Consultants Sarah Merrill (sarah.merrill@vdot.virginia.gov) and Teresa Moody



Bedford • Botetourt • Carroll • Craig • Floyd • Franklin • Giles • Henry • Montgomery • Patrick • Pulaski • Roanoke


During the dry runs, an equipment inspector visits

each area headquarters and works with crews to

evaluate their snow trucks, plows and equipment

used in winter weather.

Every year, the district holds a dry run competition

and the area headquarters with the best scores are

recognized during the snow conference which was

held this year on October 18-19. Congratulations

to Southwest AHQ for having the best score during

this year’s dry runs.

Supervisor Gary Reaves credits the entire

maintenance team at Southwest AHQ for winning

this year’s competition.

There is a great deal of planning and a lot of

scheduling throughout the shop to make sure

every piece of equipment is ready,” Gary said. He

explained how they work hard to take care of their

equipment all year, but they start working even

harder when they get the annual dry run schedules

and checklists.

“Communication during dry run planning is one of

the topics of our safety meetings every morning.

This is very important so that we all know what’s

going on and what is needed to meet our goals,” Gary said.

Southwest AHQ celebrates a Dry Run Award: (l to r)

Patrick Bower, Matthew Gillenwater, Larry Woolwine, Dale

Smith, Gary Reaves, Sam Weddle, David Hinkley, Salem

Resident Engineer Brian Blevins and Ashley Smith

Dry Run Award Winners

Southwest AHQ

The Southwest team goes over the checklist in advance and puts on their plows, spreaders and

tire chains to make sure everything is functioning properly. “We always give feedback to the

operators as to what they still need to check, and we thank them for their hard work.”

The team also reviews how to mix and apply the Neutro Wash solution to the equipment.

“One of our newest operators, Dustin Dudley, was asked about this during the dry runs and he

scored us points by providing the correct answer.”

Gary said he always looks forward to this time of year. “I have been with VDOT for more than 30

years, and I have always wanted to win the dry run competition.” While they also brought home

the dry run trophy in 2020, he said he hopes to win every year!

Blacksburg AHQ

Big Island AHQ

Hanging Rock AHQ


After working a little more than 30 years for the

Commonwealth, Janet Smith retired from the

Salem District’s Environmental section in 2018.

A year later, she decided to return as a parttime

environmental specialist working for the

Christiansburg Residency.

She likes that her job requires her to be outside

near streams and other natural resources. She

doesn’t have a favorite stream or environmental

area because she likes them all.

Working outside and in nature interested Janet

many years ago which is what led her to get a

bachelor’s degree in environmental science. She

began her career with VDOT working for the

Bristol District’s Environmental section where she started learning more about the

different types of threatened and endangered species.

Janet’s love for the outdoors has also spilled over into her personal life as is

evident by her hobbies. Camping and kayaking are two of her favorite pastimes

with her husband Larry to whom she has been married for 32 years. They enjoy

finding camping spots near Bluegrass festivals.

After a long and successful environmental career, Janet has found a great balance

between work and play at this time of her life.

New London AHQ

Dublin AHQ

Smith Mountain Lake AHQ

Bedford • Botetourt • Carroll • Craig • Floyd • Franklin • Giles • Henry • Montgomery • Patrick • Pulaski • Roanoke


Citizens Express Gratitude for VDOT

A big shout out and thank you to the

crews working in the Endicott section

of Ferrum. Four inches of rain in an hour

takes a toll on the roads in this area.

There is always a great friendly VDOT

crew that works this area.

Thanks again!

-M. Love, Callaway AHQ

Thank you for getting the speed limit

sign put up at the Hardy Road and

Hammond Drive intersection. Keep up

the good work!

-Tom Dudley, Bedford Sign Crew

I appreciate the work you did on Darnell

Mountain Road. Great job.

-M. Darnell, Pearisburg AHQ

Thank you for cleaning out the culvert

pipe on Buffalo Ridge Road. It needed

to be cleaned out. Thank you again!

-L. Bridges, Callaway AHQ

Job well done for fixing the visibility

issue on Old Mountain Road in

Franklin County.

-Anonymous, Glade Hill AHQ

Thank you VDOT for the work you all

did on Hollins Road. I am excited about

how good my road looks now. It looks

the best it has in years.

-F. Leslie, Hanging Rock AHQ

Thank you for mowing the sides of

Hollins Road. It looks great! I appreciate

you all.

-E. Smith, Hanging Rock AHQ

Thank you to the crew who cleaned out

the ditches on Ruebush Road. I really

appreciate it. Thank you.

-Anonymous, Dublin AHQ

Kudos for Otterville Road in Bedford:

*The ditches on Otterville Road look

great. Thank you for doing such a

great job.

*Thank you for grading and cleaning

the ditches on Otterville Road. The crew

did a wonderful job!

*The ditches on Otterville have not

looked this good in years. Shout out to

the motor grader operator. Thank you!

-Big Island Residents


Peters Creek AHQ is the only area headquarters

in the district to have a roller

attachment to help compact gravel.

The roller attaches easily to the back of the

motor grader. The grader can then be used to

spread and roll the gravel in one trip.

“We have about 40 miles of gravel roads in

our area,”explained Superintendent Doyle

Eaton. “The roller helps bind the stone

together and set it in the ground.”

“A benefit of using a roller is less dust

because it packs the gravel down into the

ground. It also helps cut down on rutting or

washboarding,”Doyle added.

Fairystone Superintendent Randy Dalton

borrowed the roller attachment to test out

its features. “We have a lot of gravel roads

in our area, and I can definitely see the

benefits of having this attachment,” Randy

said while explaining his desire to eventually

purchase one for his area headquarters.


New Hires

Ibrahim Abuawad, Manager, Pavement

Cameron Condrey, Operator, Pearisburg AHQ

Brad Jones, Equipment Repair Tech, Martinsville

Regional Shop

Jamal Parks, Laborer, New London AHQ

Ronald Siver, Operator, New London AHQ

Corey Smith, Operator, Southwest AHQ

Promotions / Transfers / Relocations

Jason Bell, Crew Leader, Peters Creek AHQ

Michael Glass, Traffic Engineer, SWRO

David Haden, Crew Leader, Martinsville Bridge

Ethan McCormick, Crew Leader, Horsepasture AHQ

David Nininger, Supervisor, Troutville AHQ

Darrell Sowers, IMO Manager, District

Brian Watson, Inspector, Structure and Bridge


Senior Equipment Repair Tech Patrick Stanley retired from

the Martinsville Regional Shop after 30 years of service.


After placing second in the statewide

Roadeo, both David Harris (Christiansburg

Operator) and Jeremiah Law (Christiansburg

Bridge Supervisor, pictured above)

participated in the Southeastern Regional

Roadeo in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in

September. They competed against

equipment operators from ten other states.



Virginia Department of Transportation

Salem District

Office of Communications

731 Harrison Avenue, Salem, VA 24153



©2022 Commonwealth of Virginia

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