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PennDOT Honors District 5 Employee for Innovative Idea

By PennDOT

Nov 13, 2020

Allentown, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) has honored Northampton County Senior Maintenance Manager Rodney Vanscavish for his innovative idea to develop a winter checklist and Snow Fighters Handbook. The agency recently recognized 15 PennDOT employees statewide for their efforts to improve work practices and create efficiencies at the 2020 Innovation Awards.

“PennDOT has a strong legacy of creativity to help us meet our daily mission and goals,” said PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian. “I’m proud to recognize these employees for their creativity and dedication to the department.”

Gramian and other department executives honored employees recognized with both IdeaLink 20/20 and WorkSmart awards. IdeaLink and WorkSmart are online suggestion systems that allow employees to share their ideas and efficient work practices. Over the last decade, PennDOT staff have submitted more than 3,000 ideas through IdeaLink, several hundred of which have been implemented. Since 2016, nearly 200 smart practices have been published in PennDOT’s WorkSmart system.

“Rodney’s development of a winter checklist, along with the Snow Fighters Handbook, will greatly increase the consistency and efficiency of our winter equipment operators,” Acting District Executive Christopher Kufro said. “I thank him for his service and dedication to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.”

First, Vanscavish created a winter checklist to help ensure his team is ready for that first snowfall. The checklist covers everything from preparing equipment and supplies at stockpiles to updating plow routes and emergency contact information. Beginning in September, the list is reviewed weekly at staff meetings, identifying what needs to be done, who is responsible for each task, and making sure it is all completed by winter.

Then he created the Snow Fighters Handbook for operators, foremen and assistant county managers. The handbook contains phone numbers, fueling station locations, route maps, directions and simple answers to every imaginable question from handling irate customers to the amount of salt needed in a snowstorm.

The handbook is updated every fall and a copy is placed in every snow removal vehicle. Before the handbook loose notes were being placed in trucks and the chances were good that approach would mean lost information.

The Snow Fighters Handbook has been extremely useful for operators because it contains everything needed for snow removal and is especially useful when operators need to shift assignments because of emergencies.

For more information on PennDOT activities in Berks, Carbon, Lehigh, Monroe, Northampton and Schuylkill counties visit

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