Inside Seven
Current Issue: September 2014
Employee Spotlight

James Crouse: Man About Caltrans
by  Judy Gish
Issue Date: 10/2009

EEO Associate seems to be everywhere but be sure to catch him while you can.

Equal Employment Opportunity Associate James Crouse is known to most District 7 employees either through his work as Title VII representative for Maintenance, his Sexual Harassment trainings, or as primary coordinator for Bring Your Child to Work Day.

“I’m a pretty visible guy,” Crouse said. On a given day, he might sit in on an interview panel (more than 70 days last year, but this year hiring is down) or he might be dealing with an issue out in the field or in the office. This is in addition to his role as a primary District trainer and child wrangler (one day a year but preparations for Bring you Child to Work Day take months). “It’s kind of a hectic day to organize,” Crouse said of the event. “I’ve always been really lucky to have great committees to help.”

Crouse’s background is an unusual hybrid that has made him uniquely qualified for his current position. He began state service as a peace officer with the Public Utilities Commission. “Everything short of the gun,” as he said. Then he worked for the Fair Employment and Housing Commission, where he became skilled in various aspects of civil rights. He has been with Caltrans since 2001.

“It’s a different sort of job in that you don’t have a particular project that you work on,” he said. “It’s more nebulous and the results aren’t really measurable.” Crouse’s most satisfying moments come when he’s leading a training session and his audience is fully engaged with him. The fact that the District 7 workforce is comprised of people from so many different cultural backgrounds is a welcome challenge, he added.

As of mid-November, however, Crouse will face a different type of challenge. He is retiring. What will he miss most? “There are some great folks here and a lot of people I really like,” he said. “I’ll have to learn how to manage that void.”

But for the foreseeable future, Crouse will be quite occupied – building his house on forty acres of land he purchased in Santa Fe, New Mexico. That should be nothing compared to Bring Your Child to Work Day.