EMPLOYEE SPOTLIGHT ON TAD TEFERI
A Project Delivery Specialist -- and Marathon Man!
Tad Teferi was appointed Deputy District Director for Program and Project Management in May, 2003 and became responsible for capital project delivery in Los Angeles and Ventura Counties. Currently, he oversees a $6-billion project delivery program that includes close to 300 projects and a support staff of 1,440. Prior to his current position, Teferi served as Chief of Construction and later as Acting Deputy District Director, Construction. During this period he managed the successful completion of the Century Freeway ($2.1 billion) and the Harbor Freeway Transit Way ($660 million). He also coordinated the District’s reconstruction effort in response to the Northridge earthquakes and has held positions as Chief of Traffic Design, Chief of Intelligent Transportation Systems Design, and Area Manager.
In addition to his professional undertakings and away from his busy office, Teferi is a long-distance runner. His latest accomplishment was running in this year’s Los Angeles Marathon on March 4. It was the eighth time he had raced through the streets of Los Angeles through many communities and neighborhoods for 26.2 miles each time. And ran each of the marathons in under four hours! Teferi explained that this year’s new route was more challenging than in previous years, due to the hills toward the end of the run. But after a lifetime of physical activity and a devotion to the sport of long-distance running, Teferi triumphed to receive a medal in his class!
Teferi has always been athletic. Since a child, he has been active in a variety of sports, including basketball, tennis, skiing and soccer. “Even though I like many sports,” he said, “I have grown more passionate about running in the last 15 years.” It’s something he says he can do anywhere, explaining that he doesn’t need to make court reservations and he doesn’t need special equipment or a partner or special gear – just special shoes. And even though they may still look brand new, because of the extensive mileage on them, he purchases a new pair about every four months. He said, “My running shoes: I never leave home without them!”
And that’s a good thing because over the years, Teferi’s travels have taken him all around the world, sometimes for business meetings or conferences, and sometimes for a well-deserved vacation. And at each location, he wakes up, grabs his running shoes and off he goes! He has run the streets of Spain, Paris, London, Rome, Venice, Munich and much more. “In every city I visit, I run,” he said. “The benefits of running are that you get a lot of exercise in a short period of time. It helps to relieve stress, keeps me physically fit, allows me to spend time at the beach (as opposed to indoor exercising) and provides networking and friendships.” In addition Teferi said that running contributes to his problem-solving abilities and has helped him to develop a positive mental attitude.
When asked how running helps him to improve all those positive qualities, Teferi doesn’t hesitate. “Preparing for and running a marathon is much like project management,’ he explained. “You have to set a goal, monitor your progress, identify areas of improvement and relentlessly pursue your objectives and commitments. And always look for ways to improve. You have to be committed to do what has to be done, when it has to be done, the way it has to be done, whether you’d like to do it or not -- rain or shine.”
His friend and sometimes running partner, Stan Lisiewicz, now retired and former District 7 Deputy for Maintenance and former District 8 Director, actually recruited Teferi to join the Road Runners Club, who meet weekly and run 10 to 20 miles at the beach, rain or shine. In the Los Angeles area, the club boasts about 1,200 members and in Teferi’s group, there are about 16.
Teferi’s three sons, ages 11, 9 and 5 are beginning to run as well. When speaking proudly of his sons, he beams with laughter and enjoys sharing the story about the first time his wife brought them to meet him halfway at the Los Angeles Marathon two years ago. With a new car to the winner at stake, his oldest son waited anxiously to see if his father would be the first one to cross the half-way mark. Teferi, running extremely well for his class, paused halfway, happy to see the family. His concerned son, seeing so many ahead of his father, said, “Dad, there are so many people ahead of you; why are you stopping?” Thinking that his boys might have expected a new car in the driveway, Teferi made an even more gallant effort to finish well. Elated at the finish line and having medaled in his class, Teferi proudly displayed his marathon medal to his family. However, seeing so many finish ahead of him, and thinking that that his father didn’t win the car, his son exclaimed, “Dad, can I ask you a question? Do they give medals to all the losers?” Laughing each time he tells this story, Teferi looks forward to running with his sons for many years to come.
In the next twelve months, Teferi will attempt to run two more marathons, one in St. George Utah and the Boston Marathon 2008. And the way he is going, it won’t be a problem! Like project management, his objective, he says is to get better and better. “My goal is to improve my best record. My best is in my future!”