Inside Seven
Current Issue: September 2014
Employee Spotlight
Jatindaur Gaur, all smiles while working at his desk at the District Office Building,  inspires confidence in others as well as others in him.

by  Jeanne Bonfilio
Issue Date: 05/2008

Working on unique and challenging projects, he tackles all his work with dedication -- and a smile!

Assistant Project Manager Jatinder Gaur is a man with a purpose, to make the very best out of his career at Caltrans.  Currently employed in Project Management's Central Area since 2002, he works nearly full-time on planning and coordinating efforts for the major northbound San Diego Freeway (I-405) High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV), or carpool lane project, one of the first of its kind for District 7.  In addition, he was involved with assisting in the coordination of other important projects, such as the SR-57/SR-60 HOV director connector and the Pasadena Freeway (I-110) tunnel lighting project.

What makes the I-405 HOV project so unique, says Gaur, is that it is a challenging design/build project, the likes that District 7 has not seen before on such a large scale.  The $950-million project, northbound from the Santa Monica Freeway (I-10) to the Ventura Freeway (SR-101), will help to improve mobility, relieve congestion and encourage carpooling.  It has just completed the environmental phase and is in the preliminary engineering and procurement stages.  'We are continuing to work with our partner, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro), who we are very fortunate to be working with on this project,' Gaur said.  'There are still many things yet to be done, including technical provisions (like Standard Specifications), contract documents, requests for qualifications and invitation for the bid process.'

Sam Ekrami, Area Manager Central, said that he finds Jatinder to be consistently pleasant, and tackles all assignments with dedication and a smile.  'Besides being a joy to work with, Jatinder is a take-charge person who is able to present creative ideas and communicate the benefits,' said Ekrami. 'I have been consistently impressed by both Jatinders attitude towards his work and his performance on the job, and his interpersonal and communication skills have allowed him to develop productive working relationships with both Caltrans staff as well as outside clients.'

Prior to joining the District 7 team, Guar spent several years in District 6, Fresno (since 1998), working on the design of the State Route 58 Mojave Bypass project, and he also helped out on Fresno beautification projects, including gore paving and landscaping projects.

His experience in the District 6 Division of Design helped to prepare him for the I-405 HOV improvement.  And what he is learning now, he says, is invaluable.  'The experience gained on this carpool lane project is tremendous,' he explained. 'There is so much involved and so much to learn.  And working with Metro has been particularly helpful.  Overall, the project has been coming together quite well.'

Ed Andraos, Supervising Transportation Engineer and I-405 Corridor Manager said that Jatinder has excellent personal and professional qualities. 'As the Corridor Manager of a very high-profile project using the new-to-our-District, design-build procurement process, we are fortunate to have Jatinder a part of this project's team,' said Andraos.  'His hard work and dedication plays a major role in accomplishing and coordinating many difficult tasks that are not normal or part of our daily business practice.  He has been instrumental in finding solutions to help keep the project on schedule and in progress. And his positive attitude and untiring efforts will be major contributors to the successful delivery of the northbound I-405 HOV Project.'

Gaur anticipates that the contract will be awarded at the end of 2008, at which time construction and design will occur concurrently through one contractor.  In the meantime, he will continue his goal to coordinate the project which includes establishing and meeting schedules, reviewing documents submitted by Metro and other functional units, preparing Cooperative Agreements and helping to apply for and procure funding as needed.

Jiwanjit Palaha, Project Manager for the Central Area said that Gaur has assisted him since 2002 and has thoroughly enjoyed working with him.  'I have been impressed by his many abilities and his rapid progress to Project Management for the Central Area,' said Palaha.  'His leadership and organizational skills are above average.  He possesses a great degree of initiative and often takes on additional responsibility to ensure the success of a project; and he inspires confidence in others as well as others in him.'

Gaur feels very fortunate to be working on such interesting projects, and the bigger picture, to be working at Caltrans.  'The opportunities and resources at Caltrans are tremendous,' he added.  'And they help you do your job better.  With all the resources available at Caltrans, one could not have enough time to learn all that there is.'  In his spare time, what he enjoys most is spending time with his family, playing basketball, reading and traveling.  He has two children, a son 15 and a daughter, 13.  He concluded, 'Ultimately it is not the job, but what you make out of the job that determines your success.'