Salem - The Extra Mile - November 2022

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Salem District Newsletter

Volume 16 Issue 11

November 2022

What’s Inside

• VDOT Recycles

• Striving for Safety


• Employee Profile:

Tristan Palmgren

• It’s CVC Time of Year

• Exploring VDOT Careers

Troutville AHQ Supervisor Greg Fowler assists while Operator Wyatt Crawford uses a Gradall

excavator to dig out a section of asphalt for repair on Brughs Mill Road in Botetourt County.


The Salem District employs 44 people

who have served or are serving in the

United States military. A ceremony

was held on November 7 at the Salem

District Office to thank them for their

service and honor their sacrifices.

Veterans enjoyed a Chick-fil-A

breakfast and a short ceremony which

began with the National Anthem sung

by retired assistant district maintenance

administrator Buddy Buchanan.


Veterans Bendy Brumfield (Pearisburg AHQ), Jim Ridpath

(Dublin AHQ) and Steven Gillespie (Pearisburg AHQ) enjoy

fellowship and breakfast at the Veterans Day Ceremony.

District Construction Engineer Rob

Griffith offered a sincere appreciation to

the veterans for their service on behalf of

VDOT. He then introduced special guest

Command Master Chief Richard Curtis, Jr.

Speaking from experience, Chief Curtis

(left) explained that serving the country

was for more than a paycheck, “It

was a passion.” He noted that VDOT

employees who served their country

have continued their service while

working for the state.

cont. pg. 2


By Ken King, P.E.


I hope each

of you had

a much


break and



holiday. After reflecting on

the year’s accomplishments,

I wanted to share that I

am so thankful for all your

contributions. Salem District

continues to be a strong

performer and each

of you has some part in that.

You may know that I spent

much of November out on

medical leave. My wife had

experienced renal failure

and was on dialysis since

last summer.

cont. pg. 2

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

KING cont.

After being physically

assessed, I was pleased to

learn that I could be a kidney

donor to her, but since we

are different blood types, we

decided to enter the paired

donor exchange program

managed by the National

Kidney Registry.

In this program, I offered to

donate my kidney in exchange

for my wife receiving a

kidney from a donor who

was a better match for her.

We expected the matching

process to take 12-18 months,

but in late September, we

were pleasantly surprised to

learn that a match had been

found with a pair in Madison,


On October 25, my wife and

I both had surgery at UVA

Medical Center. My kidney

was removed and flown to

Madison, and the donor in

Madison had their kidney

removed and flown to

Charlottesville. By the end of

the day, both donated kidneys

had been transplanted.

It was amazing to see how

quickly my wife felt better

as the transplanted kidney

immediately began to

improve her blood function

and overall health.

I have recovered and am

back at work. I know

some of you may have

friends and family who

have experienced similar

lifesaving medical

treatments. It is amazing,

and I am so thankful to

live in a time and place

that such a medical

miracle is possible.

So, for me, this

Thanksgiving holiday I

am indeed unbelievably



Bendy Brumfield

Carl Bryant

Robert Dove

Daniel Duncan

Glenn Ferguson

James “Bo” Frazier

Michael Gabriel

Linda Gaines

Jason Gibbs

Richard Gilley

Herman Haley


“My family and I thank you for your service,” said

Chief Curtis. “Not just for being veterans, but now

you’re in the business of serving your community.”

Each veteran in attendance had the opportunity

to share and be recognized for their military

experience. Martinsville Administrative Assistant

Linda Gaines (top left) and Burnt Chimney Operator

Steven Loveday (bottom left) are two of many who

shared briefly about their service.

Linda served in the Navy from 1985 to 1990. She

was stationed on the USS Holland AS-32 located in

Goose Creek, South Carolina, before moving to the

main Naval base in Charleston.

Steven Loveday served in the Army from 2009 to

2013. He was an infantry soldier and was stationed

in Afghanistan from 2011 to 2012.

Thank you to all VDOT employees who served in the

United States military:

Jason Handy

Ronnie Handy

David Harden

Kenneth Hubbard

Eric Jewell

Steven Loveday

Timothy Martin

Mark McKissick

John Meadows

Joseph Myers

Marty Oaks

Jerry Ogden

Eric Persinger

James Pickett

Alex Price

Stephen Proctor

Willard Ramsey

John Reed

James Ridpath

Brian Sarver

Bobby Savage

Alexander Seay


Michael Sharkady

John Shelor

Joshua Sproles

Michael Sprouse

Michael Stewart

Samuel Taylor

Robert Vest

Jonathan Wood

Larry Woolwine

Richard Wymer

Instead of throwing away your unwanted papers, cardboard and/or metal, recycle!

Unwanted papers, file folders and similar items can be

placed in a 1st Choice Shredding bin for recycling found on

the first and second floors of the A1 building at the District

Complex. These bins are emptied every four weeks. For more

information, contact Business Administrator Thelma Ingle at


Also available at the District Complex, next to the 1st Choice

Shredding bin on the first floor, is a blue bin where cardboard

can be placed for recycling. Another larger cardboard bin

can be found on the second floor across the hall from the

shredding bin. It is important that only cardboard is placed in

these two bins. Please breakdown boxes.

To recycle scrap metal, D.H. Griffin Wrecking Company has provided containers at several

locations within the district for drop offs. “Scrap metal can be placed in one of the

containers, or we also have the option to take it directly to the vendor’s location from a job

site,” explained Asset and Inventory Manager David Tyzinski. “At the end of each month,

they pay us based on the amount of scrap we generate throughout the month which

normally consists of used roadway pipes, bridge beams, signs, posts and equipment repair

related items.” For more information, contact David at david.tyzinski@vdot.virginia.gov.


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



It’s time to start thinking

about and preparing for the

2023 Safety Excellence Award

Program (SEAP).

VDOT districts around the state

will be competing again for

SEAP points which can

be earned in the three

following ways:

1) Completing online employee safety training,

2) Submitting videos that demonstrate useful safety practices in a compelling

and creative way and

3) Documenting facility inspections. In April 2023, five locations in each district

with completed inspections will be chosen for a facility audit which could earn

the district additional points.

See below for the full list of required training courses that are now available

on VDOT-U.

Field Employee Training: • Field Safety • Safety Reporting

• VDOT Fire Extinguisher Training • Construction: Caught-in

or Caught-between

Office Employee Training: • Office Safety • Safety Reporting

• VDOT Fire Extinguisher Training • Active Shooter 2.0

Would you like the latest news

and updates about your Virginia

Retirement System (VRS)


Subscribe to the VRS Member

News newsletter at

varetire.org/newsletter for

information about your state

retirement benefit.

The most recent issue is now

available for review and can be

found at varetire.org/mnews.

For more information, visit the SEAP page on Sharepoint

or click the QR code. For questions, contact District Safety

Manager Scott Mutter at 540-871-8365 or


Salem Residency’s Administrative Assistant Tristan

Palmgren has the most interesting side gig as an

author of novels about Marvel characters.

He has written four prose novels for Marvel titled

“Domino: Strays,” “Outlaw: Relentless,” “The Siege

Of X-41” and most recently “Squirrel Girl Universe.”

Before Marvel, he wrote a series of two sciencefiction

books about the Black Death plague called

“Quietus” and “Terminus.”


“When I started writing for Marvel, my publisher

gave me a list of characters and asked me to

choose one to write about,” Tristan said, explaining

how he chose to do a story about the character

Domino for his first Marvel book. “With later books,

I’ve had a little more freedom and pushed to get the opportunity

to write Squirrel Girl, my favorite Marvel character.”

Tristan explained that the audience for his books doesn’t have to be

a fan of comics. “I write them for anyone. There are reference jokes

and clues for fans, but I write these to be enjoyable on their own.”

Tristan has wanted to be a writer since he can remember. His first

publication was in 2018 with publisher Angry Robot Books for

“Quietus,” which is an original science-fiction novel.

Its sequel, “Terminus,” hit the shelves

soon after. It was through his connections

with Angry Robot that led him to a

relationship with the publisher Aconyte

Books who works with him to write about

Marvel characters.

It’s not surprising that Tristan’s partner,

Teresa Milbrodt, is also a writer. She is an

associate professor at Roanoke College

and teaches English and creative writing

courses. She has written novels and

short story collections. Her most recent

book, “Instances of Head-Switching,”

is a collection of short stories featuring

sphinxes, unicorns and a grocery store

bagger from Hades.

Tristan has lived in several states across the United States

and has many skills from a variety of job experiences

including retail and working for a medical examiner

documenting autopsies. With intentions of making a home

in this area of Virginia for many years, he is enjoying his

day job and his coworkers at the Salem Residency.

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


Citizens Express Gratitude for VDOT

Thank you VDOT for taking care of the

visibility issue on State Highway 24 near

Route 635.

-L. Atkinson, Smith Mountain Lake AHQ

Kudos to the crew for repairing the

shoulder of the road on Horse Ridge

Road in Willis. Now I can walk to my

mailbox. Thank you!

-C. Akers, Willis AHQ

Work crews have been very busy on

Keisters Branch Road and Mount Zion

Road in Blacksburg! They have and are

doing a wonderful job, and I want to let

you know how much it is appreciated!

Thank you for the service! Stay Safe!

-L. Shelor, Blacksburg AHQ

Thank you to the crew for cutting the

grass on Martins Creek Road. They did

a great job.

-J. Turman, Southwest County AHQ

Just wanted to say thank you for the

great job your crew did repairing the

potholes on Hurston Road. Thank you

also for getting it taken care of so quickly.

-Anonymous, Dublin AHQ

Thank you VDOT for taking care of the

tree that came down on Beagle Club

Road. They took care of it quickly and

cleaned up the area.

-M. Divers, Smith Mountain Lake AHQ

On Wednesday, I called to report a

downed speed limit sign on Meadow

Point Drive, and it was put up on Friday

with a metal post so it won’t rot like the

wooden one did. This was so very fast.

Thank you!

-D. Bailey, Smith Mountain Lake AHQ

Thank You for repairing the ditch on

Roanoke Street today. My mother and I

are both very happy. Kudos!

-L. Parker, Christiansburg AHQ

I would like to thank VDOT for a good

job on cutting the weeds on the sides of

Cooks Knob and Old Ferrum roads this

year. Thank you all!

-J. Saunders, Callaway AHQ

Thank you for responding so quickly

and putting dust control down on Bear

Creek Road in Laurel Fork. VDOT is

much appreciated!

-T. Mooney, Hillsville AHQ


The Commonwealth of

Virginia Campaign (CVC) is

underway for its 25th year

of giving and volunteering.

The Salem District hopes

to raise $8,000 this year.

Here’s how you can help!

1) Donate to a verified charity and then

send your receipt(s) to Kaitlyn Belcher.

Receipts will be accepted for all 2022

donations. Donations must be made

to qualified charities listed on the CVC

website (www.cvcgives.org) to count

towards our goal.

2) Contribute through

the CVC website.

3) Sign up for automatic

payroll deduction.

4) Participate in CVCrelated

fundraisers. For

example, purchase a

VDOT holiday ornament.

Also, be on the lookout

for VDOT winter apparel sales.

Back this year is the option to donate to

the Virginia State Employee Assistance

Fund (VSEAF) which provides grants to

eligible state employees suffering from a

financial crisis.

Contact Kaitlyn for additional information

at kaitlyn.belcher@vdot.virginia.gov or



New Hires

Regina Gatton, Operator, Burnt Chimney AHQ

Korey Hines, Senior Inspector, Northern

Construction Area

Steven Goode, Operator, Burnt Chimney AHQ

Promotions / Transfers / Relocations

Kimberly Aldridge, Business Administrator,

Salem Residency

Nelson Price, Operator, Christiansburg AHQ

Daniel Simpkins, Operator, Dublin AHQ

Christopher Goad, Crew Leader,

Sydnorsville AHQ

Zachary Webb, Operator, Willis AHQ

Steven Gillespie, Operator, Pearisburg AHQ

Richard Yonn, Supervisor, Big Island AHQ

Ed (Thomas) Hodges, Supervisor,

Montvale AHQ

David Songer, Operator, Christiansburg AHQ


On November 2, representatives from VDOT

attended the Salem City Schools 5th Grade

Career Fair.

Traffic Engineer Michael Glass is showing

students the actual size of a speed limit sign

on the interstate.


The Salem District is collecting soda can

tab tops for the Ronald McDonald House.

This drive will continue until May 6, 2023.

Donations can be given to Kaitlyn Belcher

in the Materials building. Contact Kaitlyn

for additional information at kaitlyn.


On November 5, the Christiansburg Residency

was the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.

Photo taken by Sign Shop Supervisor Kevin Light.


Virginia Department of Transportation

Salem District

Office of Communications

731 Harrison Avenue, Salem, VA 24153



©2022 Commonwealth of Virginia

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