THE ACCIDENTAL ENGINEER: TMC’s STEVE HOLLOWAY STILL HAPPY AFTER ALL THESE YEARS.
No one would ever guess from looking at him that Steve Holloway, a Civil Engineer (Range C) who works in the Transportation Management Center (TMC), has been with Caltrans since 1979. He not only looks younger but he still has the enthusiasm of a “newbie.”
One of the things that has kept his perspective fresh, he said, is the diversity of the Caltrans workforce. “I’ve been exposed to so many cultures and all I had to do was come to work,” he said. “It’s expanded my global view, which is something neat and I think unique to Caltrans.”
After working in various other Divisions, Holloway came to Traffic Operations in 1993, a few months before the Northridge Earthquake. “It was kind of a high energy time at the TMC,” he said with typical understatement.
During his tenure, Holloway has worked at three TMCs: the first TMC in the building at 120 South Spring Street, the second (and final) TMC at that building, opened in 1998, and this one in the current building at 120 South Main Street. Next stop—Glendale. As expected, new technology over the last several years has changed the face of traffic management. In the first center, there were no screens on the wall, just a map. Even in the second TMC, considered state-of-the-art at the time, there was no video wall as the District has now but only a few screens. Formerly, the operators had to move back and forth around the room to gather information. Here, they can do everything from the computers at their desks.
One aspect of his job Holloway really appreciates is the opportunity to work with people from other agencies, such as the California Highway Patrol (CHP) and Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT), as well as other Caltrans districts. “It keeps us in touch with a greater transportation vision,” he said. “We are aware of Caltrans as part of a larger context.” As a bonus, Holloway also enjoys the fact that the TMC doubles as a television studio when CHP Officer Rick Quintero broadcasts his daily traffic updates.
When he’s not managing traffic for one of the world’s most vehicle-oriented communities, Holloway, a big Lakers fan, might be found playing or watching basketball, which he calls “the greatest sport ever invented.” He also enjoys movies and jazz and makes a point of visiting the ocean every week because catching a sunset at the beach is virtually a responsibility for everyone within driving distance and, best of all, “it’s free.”
Before transferring to Operations, Holloway worked in Design for 12 years. His pre-Caltrans background was in drafting, and he always thought he would become an architect. “I thought I would just be here a year or two,” he said. Architecture’s loss is Caltrans’ gain.