PennDOT Honors Star of Excellence Recipients, Recognizes Six Workplace Heroes

CLEARFIELD – Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) Secretary Leslie S. Richards has announced that 30 department employees received the agency’s Star of Excellence Award, PennDOT’s highest recognition.

Two employees from PennDOT’s District 2, which represents Cameron, Centre, Clearfield, Clinton, Elk, Juniata, McKean, Mifflin, and Potter counties were among the honorees.

“Our success serving the people of Pennsylvania is built on the dedication, resiliency and sacrifice of our hard working employees,” Richards said. “Each has made a significant contribution to PennDOT’s mission – in fact, we estimate that we’ve seen more than $8.6 million in savings due to their efforts.”

Local winners Brad Royer and Damon Wagner were honored this afternoon at an awards luncheon at the Governor’s Residence in Harrisburg.

Being selected as Star of Excellence recipients is an honor for our employees”, said District 2 Executive Karen Michael. “Damon has done a tremendous job identifying ways to improve and streamline our Clinton County organization while enhancing our service.

“Brad has proven to be an integral part of our Maintenance staff and his thorough work further elevates the high level of service in that Division. Both of these employees go ‘above and beyond’ on a regular basis and are well deserving of this recognition.”

Royer serves District 2 as a Highway Draftsman Designer. He is District 2’s ‘Go To’ person for his ability to quickly provide specific project details, including year of construction, contractor’s name, and materials used.

Decisions identifying the most efficient and cost-effective repair treatments are based on Royer’s research. His outstanding performance is key to ensuring that let dates are met for District 2’s 9-county area and help make him a well-respected employee and role model.

Wagner serves District 2 as the Clinton County Maintenance Manager. Using inventive ideas and creative methods, he works continuously to streamline County operations. Substantial savings have been realized through staff reductions, inventory control, and fleet optimization.

He was also instrumental in the highly effective District 2-0 Equipment Sharing Program that saved Clinton County thousands of dollars. Under his management, Clinton was the pilot county for the first ‘County Modernization’ effort.  His efforts resulted in $1.1 million in near and long-term savings.

The Star of Excellence Awards are presented annually to employees who represent the department’s values of service, performance and integrity. The recipients represent a variety of organizational positions, spanning from highway maintenance and driver and vehicle services workers, to traffic control specialists, communications staff and design and engineering specialists.

In addition to the Star of Excellence Awards, six Workplace Heroes were recognized for their actions that saved a fellow employee’s life. These employees sprang into action calling 9-1-1 and beginning CPR while another employee brought the Automated External Defibrillator (AED) stationed on the floor.

The AED devices were installed on each floor of the Commonwealth Keystone Building in Harrisburg after several employees submitted the idea through PennDOT’s employee suggestion system, known today as IdeaLink 20/20.

“The fact that these heroes dove in to help out a co-worker makes me so proud, but knowing that past employee suggestions for others’ wellbeing helped save a life is incredible,” Richards said.

“This incident not only demonstrated the power of individual ideas, but also underscored the importance of workplace safety and having established emergency procedures.”

With the help of the intervention of co-workers and AED usage before first responders arrived, the employee returned to work weeks later.

Since the inception of the original IdeaLink system in 2011, PennDOT employees have submitted over 2,500 ideas, many of which have aided in improving the department in the areas of efficiency, safety, morale, customer service, cost savings and revenue generation.

Developed in-house, this employee-first approach provides PennDOT leadership with timely input from staff at all levels on how the agency can operate more effectively, and helps to make PennDOT a better business partner and employer.

For more information, visit or call 814-765-0400.

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