Inside Seven
Current Issue: September 2014
Caltrans Director Will Kempton (right) presents District 7 Director Douglas R. Failing with a special certificate for 100% project delivery.

by  Jeanne Bonfilio
Issue Date: 11/2008

“Leading the State five straight years in project delivery, District 7 continues to bring excellence to everything we do and the public we serve.” -- Tad Teferi, Deputy District Director for Program and Project Management

The annual Capital Outlay Support (COS) 2007/2008 Project Delivery Celebration was a lively and spirited tribute to Caltrans’ teamwork, partnerships and innovation, which have led to five straight years in project delivery success. What’s more, for the past three of those five years, District 7 has reached an impressive 100% project delivery, meaning that every major milestone for project delivery was met by all Divisions.

Master of Ceremonies, Tad Teferi, Deputy District Director for Program and Project Management, said to a standing-room-only audience, “This annual event celebrates Caltrans’ unity and how we use innovation, unity and diversity to accomplish our goals. Our rich culture is the source of our innovation.”

District Director Will Kempton was present for the celebration and gave every employee credit for success by saying, “The reason Caltrans’ credibility is going up is because of all of you. I am very proud to be your Director and very proud of your success. It is my honor to be here today to recognize all of you.”

Kempton presented District 7 Director Doug Failing with a special plaque of accomplishment for 100% project delivery for District 7 and thanked him for his great work. Teferi recognized Failing for his “unsurpassed dedication to Caltrans, his excellent leadership and for the respect, trust and confidence he shows each one of us as we operate our Divisions.”

And after an energetic rendition of the song “Celebration” from Division of Maintenance employee Gary Gordon, Failing addressed the audience with a brief history of the hard work that led up to the project delivery success.

“Five years ago, we led the state, hitting 97% of all milestones – an unheard of number at that time, said Failing. “One year later, we challenged you again and you delivered 98.2% of every milestone.” In 2006, Failing challenged the District to a “hat trick,” (a sport term for three goals in a row). That year Director Kempton and Failing signed a special Caltrans hard hat for District 7 leading the state in project delivery for three straight years. “No one had ever done that before,” said Failing. “Now, this is our third year in a row for 100% milestone delivery. That is absolutely, absolutely unheard of!”

And it has not been easy, Failing explained. “We have dealt with fires, floods, tunnels and many other challenges -- and not one of you came forward with excuses,” he said. “You went back and did it anyway. I am just so appreciative and amazed at what you do. And you do it so, so well.”

Failing said that not only does he value the work of Caltrans workers, but that it has become apparent that the motoring public does, too. “I appreciate your hard work and I know the people of California feel the same. They voted on the bond measure. And when you look at the funding coming into Southern California, and what’s happening in transportation -- among all the decisions that the people of the state of California have to make, they recognize the importance of what you’re doing and they recognize that that you’re doing it well. On behalf of the executive team, my thanks to each and every one of you.”

Project Management Chiefs Steve Novotny and Alberto Angelini entertained the crowd when they took a light-hearted look at the past year at Caltrans with humor that is always a welcome addition to the festivities. Novotny gave facts and figures when he noted that for the past five years, overall milestones reached were as follows: Nine out of nine for Project Acceptance and Environmental Document (PAED); 25 of out 25 for Right of Way Certifications; 29 out of 29 for Ready to List (RTL’s); and 29 out of 29 for Construction Contract Acceptance (CCA) – for a total of $546.9 million for RTL projects. “That is an average of 100%, he said, “but not an unusual accomplishment for District 7!”

Novotny extend thanks to ace comedy writer Alberto Angelini; and to Tim Baker of Graphics Unit for his outstanding graphics work.

Teferi made clear the importance of excellent customer service and honoring all of Caltrans commitments. “We have an attitude in this District that failure is not an option,” he said. “We take challenges that come our way, we value our partners and customers, we don’t take our sponsors and stakeholders for granted and we currently perform 100% of Metro’s and Ventura Country Transportation Authority’s work.” And that’s not by accident. “Caltrans continues to be the consultant of choice and to bring excellence to everything we do and to the public we serve,” he added.

Teferi acknowledged and thanked the Professional Engineers in California Government (PECG) and PECG Secretary Nava for providing refreshments at Caltrans events and thanked corporate liaisons who were presented with a plaque of appreciation for many years of support.

All Divisions were honored individually by each Deputy District Director who then had an opportunity to acknowledge their staff members and thank them collectively for their roles in 100% project delivery.

To view all COS celebration photos, please click onto this link: 


Caltrans Director Will Kempton credits each and every District 7 employee for continued project delivery success. Master of Ceremonies Tad Teferi, Deputy District Director for Program and Project Management,  made clear the importance of excellent customer service and honoring all commitments, saying that at Caltrans, failure is not an option. Gary Gordon's lively rendition of the song CELEBRATION was one of the highlights of the event.  Steve Novotny and Alberto Angelini (in background) shared a comedic powerpoint presentation and brought some welcome humor to the festivities.