Inside Seven
Current Issue: September 2014
James Deno of the Equal Employment Opportunity office addresses the Diversity Day crowd.

by  Judy Gish
Issue Date: 10/2007

Diversity makes Caltrans a strong organization.

The theme of this year’s Diversity Day, celebrated on September 5, was respect among workers, said  Equal Employment Opportunity Manager Marian Woo, whose office directs the event. “Respect others and you will be respected,” she told district employees.

Woo thanked her staff, particularly James Deno, for their help. Deno, who is in charge of the event, acknowledged the committees representing various countries and groups as the true force behind Diversity Day. The committee comprises Bangladesh; Italy (California Bear Federal Credit Union); China; Descendents of Africa; The Philippines; India; Latin America; Natives of California; Iran; and Women in Transportation (WTS). 

District Director Doug Failing said he wouldn’t miss Diversity Day for anything, even his 50th birthday. “This is such an amazing thing—celebrating the strength that is Caltrans,” he said. “No one comes close to the example you set of how to work together.”

In addition to the fantastic native dancing and music presentations, cultural items were displayed in booths around the plaza and several groups provided ethnic food.

“One of the greatest benefits of working here is that you can virtually travel the globe without leaving the workplace,” Failing said. “This provides the opportunity to increase our understanding of other cultures which in turn makes us better team members in our mutual goal of improving transportation throughout the state.”

For the first time in its history, the District 7 event had company. Caltrans Director Will Kempton liked the event so much when he attended last year that this year it became a statewide celebration observed in every district.

The Director could not be here this year as he was participating in Headquarters’ Diversity Day celebration. He did manage, however, to speak to District employees via video projection and, of course, his nearly life-sized cut-out presided over the festivities. 

“Caltrans is a reflection of the diversity of California,” Kempton said in a statement.  “Various cultures are represented in our organization and it is this diversity that helps make Caltrans a strong company and a workplace of choice.”




A diverse array of cultures on display. Dancers from around the world show off their native moves and costumes. Music is an  integral part of the ceremony. Even kids get into the act.