Inside Seven
Current Issue: September 2014
 Employee of the Year award winners with various deputies and managers: (1st row, L to R) Acting program and Project Management Deputy Shirley Choate, Administration Deputy Duncan McIntosh, Michael Chen, Jaime Parado, Chief Deputy Raja Mitwasi. (2nd row, L to R) Mike Young, Rimma Tebeleva, Tony Johnson, Asisa George, Yessica Jovel, Juan Banuelos, Maintenance Deputy Dan Freeman, Project Manager John Vassiliades. (3rd rwo, L to R) Operations Deputy Frank Quon, Environmental Planning Deputy Ron Kosinski, Sonya Gettel, Planning Deputy James McCarthy, Right of Way Deputy Andrew Nierenberg, Construction Area Manager Scott McKensie.

Caltrans Turns Adversity into Opportunity to Improve Quality
by  Judy Gish
Issue Date: 11/2009

Henry Ford said, "Quality is doing it right when no one is looking."

During this period of reduced quantity (working days, money in paychecks and worker morale), it is more important than ever to advance the quality of District 7’s work product.

Several groups and individuals who have been doing just that were recognized at the 2009 Quality in Caltrans (QIC) celebration on October 21. “This event is to honor rank and file employees,” said District 7 Quality Coordinator Khan A. Hossain, with the Design Division. “We believe we can’t succeed as a team if we don’t succeed as individuals.”

The QIC program involves various improvement measures and activities, Hossain said. “Because of the economic downturn, we can’t take on new projects but we can make improvements that reduce costs and create new efficiencies.”

Chief Deputy Raja Mitwasi said that the reason District 7 continues to meet its commitments in this challenging environment is the quality of its workers, adding that quality measures are now more important than ever. “We are competing against the private sector,” he stressed. “That’s why it’s really important to keep up your efforts.”

Mitwasi defined quality as “everything you do from the time you wake up until you leave work.” Employees always should be thinking about how to improve and come up with ideas that are out of the box. “No one knows more about your job than you do,” he added. “Think about how you can add value and make things better for your fellow workers.”

Following the remarks, there were presentations by five Quality Teams. Mirna Dagher spoke about Program and Project Management’s Risk Management Implementation, including a new on-line tool to help identify, quantify and monitor risks. These activities promote better, more accurate estimates and encourage project teams to be more pro-active, she concluded.

Facilities Manager Carmen Roberts’ staff in Administration presented information on the Facilities Heat Service System and how employees can request assistance with facilities issues; Ohannes Anserlian, of Operations, spoke about how Quality Electrical Design can improve uniformity and thus reduce costs by 10 percent; Bob Wu, with the Design division, made a presentation about Total Maximum Daily Loads and Reza Fateh of Project and Program Management presented Lessons Learned and a new internet application called the Earned Value Management Tool.

Employee(s) of the Year presentations followed. The awards went to: Hue-Shyon “Mike” Chen, Design; Tony Johnson, Right of Way; Alisa George, Administration; Juan Banuelos, Construction; Ozell Wilson, Planning; Sonja Gettel, Environmental Planning; Rimma Tebeleva, Project Management; Nooshin Ansan, Operations; Jaime Prado, Maintenance; and Yessica Jovel, External Affairs.

Hossain ended the celebration by reminding employees that “Today is better than yesterday and tomorrow will be better than today.”

The Quality Team members are: Martha Hetzler and Ron Longazo, Construction; Dave White, External Affairs; John Zaki, Maintenance; Jorge Fuentes, Operations; Mirna Dagher and Betty Bahraini, Program and Project Management; Karl Price, Environmental Planning; Shan Wen Cheng, Administration; Melissa Joshi, Planning; and Paul Lamond, Right of Way.

Quality Coordinator Khan A. Hossain. Although only the Employees of the Year received awards, everyone got to eat their cake. Everyone in the packed conference room was anxious to find out who the winners were. Public Affairs Manager Dave White reads the names of the award winners.