Salem - The Extra Mile - December 2022

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Salem District Newsletter

Volume 16 Issue 12

December 2022

What’s Inside

• More than Roadwork

• Rising to the Challenge

• Employee Profile:

Lewis Sharpe

• LEAD Job Swap

• Taking Advantage of

Winter’s Nice Days

Survey Technicians David Harden (left) and Brandon Lovell (right) map coordinates of interest

on the corner of Route 460 and Camp Jaycee Road in Bedford County to prepare plans for an

upcoming road project.



“It does not matter how long you live,

but how well you do it.”

–Martin Luther King, Jr.

The Civil Rights Division kicked off its annual Martin

Luther King Jr. (MLK) Day celebration in November.

The celebration will end on January 12 with a virtual

meeting honoring Martin Luther King, Jr. for his

unifying contributions to society.

This annual celebration is inspired by Dr. King’s quote:

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, What

are you doing for others?”

“Through our work here at VDOT, we have the

opportunity to serve others each and every day,”

explained Civil Rights Manager Lori Law. “This

campaign will allow us to continue that mission

because together, we can accomplish so much!”

The district and residencies have each chosen a charity

to support during this year’s MLK Day celebration.

cont. pg. 2


By Ken King, P.E.


As we


the end of

2022, we





across the district.

With single-digit and subzero

temperatures, our

facilities staff worked extra

hours to address ruptured

water lines and pipes at many

of our area offices.

December also brought some

of our first storms of the

winter season.

I appreciate the response you

provided, and I also want to

acknowledge all the hard work

that went into preparing for

this winter season.

cont. pg. 2

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

KING cont.

This preparation resulted in

an increase in the number of

contractors and emergency

hourly staff available to

address winter storms.

VDOT’s role is never more

visible to the public than

when we perform snow

removal operations. It is

during these times that you

truly shine. I am grateful for

the preparation and also

for the execution that will

continue to take place in the

months ahead when the

need arises.

Over the past year, we have

also been working to deliver

the largest design and

construction program seen in

the district since the building

of the interstate system.

As you travel on the widened

section of I-81 that was

completed earlier this year,

you have a new view of a

large development site near

I-581 that was prepared by

our localities.

The future widening of I-81

in Salem District will make

a tremendous difference,

not only in terms of mobility

but also for economic


I appreciate the hard work

and dedication from so

many of you that are on the

front line of these efforts

as well.

I hope the holiday season

provided each of you with

a well-deserved break and

time to visit with friends

and family.

As we prepare for

the new year and all

the challenges and

opportunities it will

bring, I ask each of

you to please keep

safety as your first

priority. Support your

teammates and let’s

make 2023 our best

year yet.



Listed below are all of the charities and the corresponding MLK Day coordinators.

Salem District Complex:

The Salvation Army of Roanoke

Brianna Hatcher, 540-387-5552

Christiansburg Residency:

New River Community Action Program

Susan Jarrells, 540-381-7201

Martinsville Residency:

Henry/Patrick Counties - The Warming Center of Martinsville

Carroll County - Willing Partners

Michelle Carter, 276-627-1510

Bedford Residency:

The Ronald McDonald House

Peggi Johnson, 540-682-7004

Salem Residency:

Feeding Southwest Virginia

Tristan Palmgren, 540-387-5497

Southwest Regional Operations:

The Salvation Army of Roanoke VA

Ann Blevins, 540-375-0120

Employees are also encouraged to use their Community Service Leave towards a

“Day of Service.”


Burnt Chimney AHQ started this year’s

holiday season by organizing a food drive

to benefit four local elementary schools in

Franklin County.

It all started when Travis Manning, Daniel

Shortt, Lee Myers and Jason Conklin were

talking about how they could help needy

kids in the area. They took their idea to the

rest of the Burnt Chimney team and they all

agreed to contribute.

After contacting the guidance counselors and

resource officers at Dudley, Burnt Chimney,

Boones Mill and Windy Gap elementary

schools, they discovered an overwhelming

need for non-perishable foods.

Since the need was so great, the team

decided to do the food drive in two rounds.

During the first round, the first two schools

received their donations before Thanksgiving.

The second two schools received their

donations right before Christmas.

“VDOT’s motto ‘Keep Virginia Moving’ means more to us than roadwork,”

Burnt Chimney AHQ Operators Lee Myers,

Regina Gatton and Travis Manning sort items

for the elementary food drive

explained Superintendent Timothy Jefferson. “For us, it also includes community

involvement, and this food drive is a good example of that.”


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


Assistant District Traffic Engineer Brett Randolph

recently stepped in to fill the role of interim assistant

residency engineer at the Salem Residency.

As Ashley Mothena enjoys maternity leave, Brett has

assumed her duties until she returns in mid-February.

(Congratulations Ashley!)

Brett is able to perform Ashley’s duties at the

residency while Jim Keene helps fulfill his duties in

traffic engineering.

When the opportunity became available, Brett rose to

the occasion and volunteered to help because he is a

team player. “We are one VDOT, and I value the people I work with,” he explained.

“I also knew it would be a great opportunity to challenge myself in new ways.”

He noted that the two jobs tie in together in many ways. “Approximately 40%

of traffic engineering work is generated from the residency offices in response to

citizen requests,” he explained. “Traffic engineers provide the recommendations

and then the residency contacts the community.”

Brett said the biggest difference between the two jobs is customer service. “At

the residency, daily communications occur with the public and/or county officials.

My regular traffic engineering job mostly involves overseeing work with very little

interactions with external customers.”

While he has enjoyed his temporary position at the residency, Brett looks forward

to resuming his role in the traffic division. “I am composed of 100 percent traffic

engineer blood. If there was a color for that, that’s what color I’d bleed ... maybe

work zone orange?”


Delta Dental has entered into a

partnership with Amplifon Hearing

Health Care to provide hearing aid

discounts averaging 66% off retail cost.

Through this partnership, this discount

is available immediately to state

employees covered under Delta Dental.

There is no additional cost for this

benefit, and it does not impact the

state’s optional hearing benefit.

Members who wish to access this

benefit may contact Amplifon

(877-593-0051) and let them know

of their dental coverage with Delta

Dental of Virginia. Amplifon will

handle the rest.

For more information, contact or email



After working in custodial work for 28

years for Bedford County schools, Lewis

Sharpe was looking for a change. As

an occasional bus driver for the school

system, he already had a CDL which

helped make the transition to operator at

the New London AHQ 11 years ago.

Three years ago, he transferred to Big

Island AHQ which is closer to home.

There’s a quite a difference in road work

between New London to Big Island,”

Lewis said explaining how the same job

in two locations can be different. “In New

London, you’re almost in Lynchburg, and

there is a lot of city traffic. In Big Island, it

is mostly country roads.”

Lewis likes that his job is different every day. “I could be

mowing in one place one day and when I go back to mow it

again, it looks completely different. There could be an animal

in the way or trees down or something that makes it different,”

he said.

He recalled a time when some straight-line winds came

through the area and knocked down trees and branches.

The road was such a mess, it took the

whole night to clean up one end of Rocky

Mountain Road to the other. The nighttime

work doesn’t bother him though. He

actually chooses the night shift to push

snow. “It’s quiet on the roads at night,

and there is not a lot of traffic.”

Lewis appreciates the training

opportunities that VDOT provides and

participates as often as he can. He has

been an instructor for chainsaw training

and even led a “Train the Trainee” class to

demonstrate how to operate the

motor grader.

Not one to sit still, Lewis stays busy outside of work on

his family farm, which has more than 100 acres of land

in the Big Island area. He and his brother work together

tending to the cows, chickens and guinea fowls.

He also likes to garden. “I can grow just about any

vegetable,” Lewis explained. “You name it, and I

probably grow it.”

In his spare time, Lewis loves to go fishing with his

grandkids and pastor in local ponds.

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


Citizens Express Gratitude for VDOT

Great job repairing pot holes on

Lovers Lane. I am very happy with

the work and how quickly it was

addressed. I admire the work you

guys do day in and day out.

-C. Reynolds, Montvale AHQ

I would like to thank the local VDOT

crew that completed the patches

on Great Oak Drive in Forest. After

reporting this problem, I received a

voice message that the work had

been completed. It was a twoday

process and after completing

the second day, it’s MUCH better.

The patch in the curve was greatly

needed and looks great ... Thanks

again for your quick response to my

problem and GOOD JOB!!!

-C. Cyrus, New London AHQ

Thank you to the VDOT crew that

came out and cut the trees back on

Grandin Road Extension. The whole

neighborhood is appreciative.

-C. Lucas, Hanging Rock

Thank you so much that was a

beautiful job y’all did on Crestview

Road in Stuart. It is the best it has

looked in a long time and now I don’t

have to worry about brush dragging

the side of cars.

-A. Rorrer, Fairystone AHQ

Thank you so much for being so

responsive. We were blocked by a

downed tree on Hidden Woods Drive

after heavy winds. Someone was

out to help in less than 90 minutes

of the call. The person who came to

take care of the tree was so kind and

helpful. THANK YOU VDOT!

-C. Morrow, Hanging Rock

Thank you to the local crew for the

great job they did cleaning out the

culvert on Statler Road.

-M. Ream, Montvale AHQ

Thank you for your prompt response

to my request to take care of the two

leaning trees on Hales Point Drive.

-R. Schoepf, Burnt Chimney AHQ


As part of VDOT’s Leadership Enhancement and

Development (LEAD) program, Assistant Martinsville

Residency Engineer David Kiser switched job roles

with Bristol Area Construction Engineer Todd Bolling.

LEAD is a year-long intensive development experience

for mid-senior level leaders.

For four weeks, David worked out of the Jonesville

Residency at the Bristol District and gained a much

better understanding of how the construction

division operates.

“What surprised me the most was the amount of negotiating that goes on with

contractors after contracts are awarded,” David said. “Many things can come up

during construction that were not foreseeable during design. The construction

managers have to handle these issues quickly and on the fly.”

This job swap experience gave David a greater perspective of VDOT as a whole,

which will help him in his role at the Martinsville Residency. “It will help me

interact with the construction team better, and it will also help me coordinate, plan

and prepare for road work in the future.”


Despite a few days of wintry

weather early in the season, this

area has also seen some nice days

for road maintenance.

Southwest AHQ (left) took

advantage of a nice day in

December and put down asphalt in

the Hunting Hills neighborhood in

Roanoke County.

In early January, Traffic Operator

Annetta Sherman (right) installed

new thermoplastic school markings

near Cave Spring Middle School.


New Hires

Milton Stuart, Operator, New London AHQ

Bradley Radford, Maintenance Manager, Bedford Residency

Bryan Carriker, Operator, Montvale AHQ

Keegan Boothe, Operator, Check AHQ

Dustin Taylor, Operator, Dublin AHQ

Kennith Akers, Operator, Blacksburg AHQ

Shawn McCroskey, Operator, Pearisburg AHQ

Wyatt McPherson, Operator, Troutville AHQ

Promotions / Transfers / Relocations

Charles White, Contract Monitor, Salem Roadside Management

Jason Connor, Crew Leader, Check AHQ

William Bolt, Crew Leader, Willis AHQ

Steven Gillispie, Crew Leader, Pearisburg AHQ

Teresa Bondurant, Program Management Analyst, Programming

Elias Mannon, Senior Project Management Engineer, Location and Design

Charles Gilbert, IT Program Manager, District Business


Virginia Department of Transportation

Salem District

Office of Communications

731 Harrison Avenue, Salem, VA 24153



©2022 Commonwealth of Virginia

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