Inside Seven
Current Issue: September 2014
Doug Failing, District 7 Director, reminds the staff that the Quality In Caltrans program is designed to find innovative ways to improve the way we do business to meet our customers needs in the best and most efficient way possible.

by  Maria Raptis
Issue Date: 11/2006

District 7 boasts six winning teams at this year's Quality Event Celebration.

Douglas Failing, District Director, proudly announced the recipients of the 11th Annual Quality Program Awards held on October 25 at the District Office.  All six “Quality In Caltrans” (QIC) nominated teams received the top awards: the Pioneer and Pathfinder.   


“Thank you all for believing in quality and coming up with new and innovative ways to improve the way we do business by offering the best, quality product, delivered on time and at the lowest price,” said Failing in his address to the attendees.


Mark Lyles, District 7 Quality Team Coordinator and master of ceremonies added, “Today, we’re going to celebrate the great achievements of many talented employees and quality teams who have dedicated their efforts to improve the way Caltrans does business and the quality of our products.”


The Quality Program encompasses work done by Quality Teams and includes activities performed by staff and management during everyday activities and practices.  Its mission is to have teams identify opportunities that can be used to continually improve Caltrans products, services, operational performance and recommend and implement improvements.


Nancy Walker, the Headquarters’ Quality Team Award Coordinator, addressed the group by saying, “District 7 has the honor of having six award-winning teams because you took time to evaluate the problem and used the customer as a necessary part to make change happen.  I am proud of you for having the courage to taking on the challenge and moving on to find solutions to very important problems.”  


She adds, “A primary vehicle for producing a quality product is having a deliberately chosen team to have diverse opinions and roles. To place people in a room to invoke conversation is a wonderful vehicle, and in the heat of it all, something new happens.  Teams are useful solutions to solving conflict.”  


The four award levels are based on a zero to 1,000 point system with the most points earning the “Pioneer Award” recognizing teams who demonstrate an outstanding commitment to using Quality systems for performance excellence.  The “Pathfinder Award” acknowledges a demonstrated advanced commitment to using Quality systems.   The “Explorer” and the “Nominee” Awards acknowledges those who analyze problems and solutions for performance excellence.


“We do so much that sometimes we loose sight of how much we do in this District.  It would be easy to continue to do things the same way, but it takes an innovative and different-thinking group to discover ways to do things better, better than ever before, and serve the public here in District 7.  And in doing so, we are preparing for far bigger challenges ahead,” concluded Failing.


“I would like you all to know that no matter what the challenge, the Executive Staff and I are here to support new ideas that will improve the way Caltrans does business.  Please continue to produce new ideas and let management know what we can do to promote and implement them via each Divisions’ Quality Team coordinators,” said Failing.


The “Pathfinder Award” went to the Major Emergency Operations Reporting Team that developed a  “Maintenance Event Response Tracking System,”  which is a web-based, centralized data collection site for the dissemination of emergency, maintenance and media information to the public and district-wide emergency responders to save time and streamline duplicate information. 


Five “Pioneer Awards” were given to the Electrical Design Team, the Value Analysis Team, the Person On Board (POB) Team, the Wellness Center Committee and Tiny Dots, the Caltrans Child Care Center. 


The Electrical Design Team, representing Operations, presented a plan to improve the quality and constructability of the electrical projects designed by the Office of Traffic Design.  By improving the design quality and the timely product delivery, the outcome is a better product with a shortened delivery time to the public.  The team’s plan is to have multiple checks and feedbacks of the design projects in the workflow process in an effort to catch any discrepancies and to avoid multiple contract change orders.


The Value Analysis (VA) Team analyzed the “Interstate 5 Corridor Improvement Study.” Six of the team’s recommendations were accepted and approved. The recommended alternatives allow for better mitigation of Right-of-Way impacts and residential property acquisitions and show a better consensus among the local transportation stakeholders.  Implementing these six alternatives could potentially save $26 million, a 19% value improvement for the overall project.

The Person on Board (POB) Improvement Team, representing the Administration’s Office of Budgets, developed and produced an independent and single database that combines budgets, projections, organizational charts, employee lists and transit and parking lot information.  The goal is to simplify time-consuming and labor-intensive work and reduce the margin-of-error for a true and complete budget.


The Wellness Committee Team and the Tiny DOTS Team received awards for their numerous years of work to get these two programs funded, built, chartered, licensed, equipped and staffed to better serve the District employees and to make District 7 building a great place to work.


Major Emergency Operations Reporting Team members are: Alan Kato, Bill Serb, Marc C. Wong, Marilyn Cameron, Daxa Patel, Danny Manaloto, Deborah Harris, Bill Rutledge, Richard Gordon, Queen Smith, John Poppe, Wally Jordan, John Janton, Christine Anderson, Dan Sanchez and the late Rudy Gaona.


The Electrical Design Team members are:  Fatemeh Ansari, Nooshin Ansari, Ohannes Anserlian, Cecilio Burciaga, Cesar Hernandez, Vuong Hong, Stanley Johnson, Binh Nguyen, Kenny Nguyen, Jesse Ruelas and Gary Toor.

The Value Analysis (VA) Team members are: James Tucker, Stewart Stahl, Diane Jacobs, John Lane, Sonny Cao, Mike Francis, Steven Silverman, Clive Russell, Robert Wong, Tom Bauer, Bob Ferguson, Asadour Tertarian, Diaa Yassin, Robert Stewart, Duke Nguyen.

The Person on Board (POB) Improvement Team Members are: Fely Dizon, Liz Petilla, Terrie Monaghan, Meiching Chu, Mila Cruz, Daxa Patel and Marilyn Cameron.


The Wellness Committee Team Members are:  Vanessa Bow, Melanie Bradford, Ollie Jackson, Daryl Mays, Dave White, Ubaldo Sautto, Jerry Wahl, Alisa George and Mitra Vahid.


The Tiny DOTS Team Members are: Azadeh Mardani, Roxana Dianati, Peter Lin, Alisa George, Bernadette Cotton, Liz Suh, Milly Yamada, Myrna Dominguez, Carlos Montez, Susana Facio, Carolyn Fernandez, Melody Sanchez, Barbara Marquez, Debbie Wong, Han Ng, Maria Quinonez, Marc C. Wong, Shelley Whitaker, Willie Blanco, Monica Murillo, Rochelle Brown and recent retirees Doris Goff and Jacque Wright. 


District 7 Quality Award Coordinators

Administration: Shana Cheng

Construction: Martha Hetzler and Ron Longazo

Design:  Asadour Terterian

Environmental Planning: Karl Price

External Affairs:  Deborah Harris

Maintenance:  Shafiqul Islam

Operations:  Jorge Fuentes

Planning Public Transportation and Local Assistance:  Cheryl Powell

Program and Project Management:  Mirna Dagher and Betty Bahraini

Right of Way: Mark Lyles


For more information and photos of the 2006 District 7 Quality Program, please refer to http://t7www/D7Quality and


Nancy Walker, 2006 Quality Team Award Coordinator, offers kudos to District 7 award winners. Attendees listen to a presentation of the purpose and objectives of each team. Jalil Khan, President-Elect, PECG, Los Angeles, presented District Director Failing with a poster of the 50th Anniversary of President Eisenhower creating the first Department of Highways.