PennDOT Presents 23 Employees with IdeaLink Awards to Honor Efficiency, Safety Innovations

HARRISBURG – Twenty-three PennDOT employees were presented with the agency’s IdeaLink Award yesterday during a ceremony in Harrisburg, honoring them for their ideas to improve safety or efficiency in the department.

The employee suggestions were submitted through IdeaLink, an online PennDOT system that empowers all department employees to share innovative ideas to improve workplace safety and enhance operations.

“I am honored to present the IdeaLink Award to our employees who have taken a proactive approach in making the department a better business partner and employer,” PennDOT Secretary Barry J. Schoch said. “These employees are dedicated to creating a more efficient, safer and more cost effective agency; this makes us a better employer and a better agency for our customers.”

The IdeaLink Awards Program focuses on new ideas that improve the department in the areas of efficiency, safety, customer service, cost savings and revenue generation.

One example of an award-winning idea was submitted by Rodney Young in the department’s Oil City-based region, who suggested warehousing engine oil filters at PennDOT’s Fleet Management Division rather than purchasing them from separate contracts. Implementing this idea will save the department an estimated $17,800 annually.

Another idea, submitted by Shawn McFarland in the department’s Clearfield-based region, suggested skips in edge-line rumble strips on roadways to allow bicyclists to cross over these portions of roadway more safely. After consultation with bicycle advocates and the Federal Highway Administration, the department’s publications were updated to include these separated strips for roadways with substantial bicycle traffic.

Eight ideas submitted anonymously were also recognized during the ceremony.

IdeaLink is part of PennDOT’s Next Generation, a combination of five distinct initiatives to review and enhance PennDOT’s operations to create improved efficiencies and make the agency a better business partner and a better employer. To date, Next Generation initiatives will save the department more than $50 million annually.

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Editor’s Note: Following is a list of award recipients and recognized ideas with their corresponding topic areas:

Cost Savings

  • Rodney Young in PennDOT’s Oil City-based engineering district submitted an idea to store engine oil filters at the Fleet Management Division warehouse rather than purchasing them from separate contracts, saving the department $17,800annually.
  • An employee anonymously submitted an idea to install E-ZPass transponders in state-issued vehicles which will save the department an estimated 25 percent of the normal cash fees.

Customer Service

  • Thomas Yocum in PennDOT’s Hollidaysburg-based engineering district submitted an idea to enhance internal communications with pictures or graphics.
  • Ann Goodman in PennDOT’s Allentown-based engineering district submitted an idea to create a comprehensive illustration of travel-process requirements to assist employees in reserving hotels and transportation.
  • Peggy Trevenen in PennDOT’s Business Leadership and Administrative Services Office identified a variety of locations where employee training was housed, and inspired an intranet redesign to hold all training events and offers in one location.
  • Rick Levan in PennDOT’s Harrisburg-based engineering district suggested adding a light to crosswalk buttons to alert pedestrians that the button is activated, resulting in the department updating its standards to encourage incorporating a light in new or updated button installations.
  • Louis Ruzzi in PennDOT’s Bridgeville-based engineering district suggested adding the department’s customer call center’s contact information to the motor vehicle registration renewal application so that customers could reach the department easily if they had questions when filling out the form.
  • Robert Pento in PennDOT’s Bureau of Maintenance and Operations suggested that the photo center at the Riverfront Office Center install an audible queuing system to improve customer notification.
  • Matthew West in PennDOT’s Tourism Services Office submitted an idea to install binocular viewers on the Welcome Center patio in Tioga County to promote tourism and enhance customer experience.
  • Lisa Zell in PennDOT’s Bureau of Office Services suggested adding floor-plan maps on each PennDOT floor of the Keystone Building in Harrisburg and posted on the department employee intranet to help identify meeting room locations.
  • Joan Titus in PennDOT’s King of Prussia-based engineering district submitted an idea after they recognized that asphaltic sealant applied to curbs could create discomfort for customers, including guide dogs, when the material becomes sticky from exposure to direct sunlight. The department incorporated applying sand at the curb line to provide a better product.
  • Vincent Komacko in PennDOT’s Uniontown-based engineering district suggested adding a link to the Department of General Services’ (DGS) online auction program on PennDOT’s website to further promote the property and materials auctioned via the DGS program.
  • An employee anonymously submitted an idea to install hand-sanitizing stations at the Riverfront Office Center’s customer-service area for customer and employee use to promote a healthier environment.
  • An employee anonymously suggested that employees be notified of vehicle reservation cancellations due to required maintenance, which will allow employees to more quickly make alternate travel arrangements.


  • Kevin Boehm in PennDOT’s Bridgeville-based engineering office submitted a best practice for using a heat exchanger cleaner to improve equipment cleaning.
  • John Fraundorfer in PennDOT’s Hollidaysburg-based engineering office suggested improving language in various PennDOT publications to ensure sufficient, consistent legal reference for traffic signs.
  • Charles Tatton in PennDOT’s Indiana-based engineering office suggested eliminating weekly stockpile inspections to dedicate more time to field operations. While some weekly inspections continue, the department changed the inspection requirements to monthly or quarterly schedules.
  • Dennis Deiley in PennDOT’s Bureau of Driver Licensing suggested scanning and emailing fuel-card receipts to enable electronic filing for faster document processing and increased accountability.
  • Steven Wagner in PennDOT’s Bureau of Driver Licensing suggested creating an electronic process rather than relying on the faxing procedure when processing documents for transfers of French or German licenses.
  • To minimize paper waste an employee anonymously suggested using internet fax options available in Microsoft Office rather than printing and faxing deer log sheets.
  • An employee anonymously submitted an idea to adjust driver skills test schedules at the Punxsutawney Driver License Center to better correspond with customer workflow so applicants are not being tested at peak traffic times.

Revenue Generating

  • Michelle Moore in PennDOT’s Bureau of Motor Vehicles identified the need to further verify retired statuses for vehicle registrations. The department will initiate sequential system improvements to ensure employees are prompted with appropriate notifications when working with retirees.
  • An employee submitted an idea anonymously suggesting the use of high priority grants from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, if awarded the State Police would use the funds to enhance motor carrier vehicle enforcement on PennDOT-identified high-crash corridors.


  • Shawn McFarland in PennDOT’s Clearfield-based engineering district suggested providing small skips in edge-line rumble strips for bicyclists to cross over more safely.
  • Steven Wagner in PennDOT’s Bureau of Driver Licensing requested the addition of speed bumps on the entrance driveway leading to the Norristown Driver License Center parking lot to mitigate accidents.
  • Charles Brewer in PennDOT’s Bureau of Aviation suggested the addition of his own driver’s mental checklist known as S.M.A.R.T. to, the department’s highway safety website.  S.M.A.R.T stands for, S=Seatbelt on and seat adjusted, M=Mirrors adjusted and clear, A=Air conditioning, heating and defrost controls set, R=Radio and audio panel set and T=Thoroughly check the area for traffic, people or objects.
  • Kathleen Kehley in PennDOT’s Tourism Services Office considered a safety slogan called “Take Care, Slow Down, for Safety’s Sake,” which was added to
  • Tina Chubb in PennDOT’s Bureau of Public Transportation suggested the installation of a stop sign by a state-government employee parking garage exit to increase pedestrian safety.
  • Michael Rishel in PennDOT’s Hollidaysburg-based engineering district submitted an idea to update the department’s workplace violence training to incorporate modern threats of gun violence.
  • Andrew Moyer in PennDOT’s Bureau of Driver Licensing proposed adding an enhancement to a driver licensing form for when the department gives tests to Class M operators on two- or three-wheelers to ensure the operator has proper restrictions on their license.
  • An employee anonymously submitted an idea to modify a PennDOT publication to include additional requirements for safely lifting and placing concrete pipes in trenches.
  • An employee anonymously submitted an idea to install center-left turn lane rumble strips following a fatal accident inDuncannon. As a result of the employee’s idea, the department is updating publications and standards to establish proper rumble-strip specifications for center-left turn lanes.


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