Inside Seven
Current Issue: September 2014
Employee Spotlight
Dan Murdoch, Right of Way Project Coordinator.

DAN MURDOCH, RIGHT OF WAY CHIEF -- Doing whatever it takes to get the job done.
by  Jeanne Bonfilio
Issue Date: 07/2008

“A Right of Way Project Coordinator is like a rock star; everybody wants of piece of you.” -- Dan Murdoch

For Dan Murdoch, Chief of Right of Way Planning and Management, providing vital support to the District’s project delivery function -- and helping people -- is all in a day’s work.

Caltrans does everything possible to provide transportation improvement projects that do not affect properties or businesses.  Though, sometimes this is unavoidable.  That is when the experts in the Division of Right of Way provide important services to assist the public through a fair and equitable acquisition process. Through property acquisition, every effort is made to assist the homeowner or business owner through what is sometimes a complex procedure. 

“Whatever it takes to help people through this course of action, we will do it to help them – and to move forward to project delivery,"  Murdoch says. 

Next April will be 20 years that Murdoch has been a part of the Right of Way team.  His length of experience includes seven years as a Right of Way Project Coordinator, which has provided him an education for his current duties, which primarily consist of managing finances for project delivery and tracking funds. According to Murdoch, about $46 million has been spent this fiscal year for Right of Way property acquisitions, relocation, utility work and condemnations.

 “Being a Right of Way project coordinator is like being a rock star; everybody wants of piece of you,” he said. “Right of Way is  a business function.  Caltrans is measured by our success in our right of way certification.  Our Division supplies what is needed to get the job done, ” Murdoch explains.

Right of Way is committed to supporting the District’s project delivery efforts through the certification function, which is a process that gets a project ready for advertising (going out to bid).  "Our work is very important and exciting and we are always looking for ways to improve,” Murdoch said.

And the workload keeps growing.  “What is important is maintaining focus and to keep moving forward,” he added.  “Newly hired staff have helped with our increased workload over the past few years.”  Some of his goals are to keep improving and to help foster a spirit of teamwork in the Division. 

"One day a right of way agent may deal with an attorney or business owner, and the next day with a homeowner. The joining of property acquisitions, to assisting with relocations, to utility clearances, to condemnation or demolition, is a process with many functions that have to take place for a project to go out to bid.  The culmination of this process represents what I do,” said Murdoch.  "There are a lot of people in Right of Way doing great work. It’s great to be part of the Right of Way team!”