PennDOT honors great employees


HARRISBURG, Pa., May 25, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — PennDOT Secretary Barry J. Schoch, P.E., today recognized 28 agency employees for outstanding performance with the Star of Excellence Award, PennDOT’s highest recognition. Seven employees from the central office and Riverfront Office Center inHarrisburg were among the honorees.

Winners from across the state were honored this afternoon at an event at the Governor’s Residence in Harrisburg. The seven Harrisburg-area award winners are Melissa Batula, P.E., Gary DeBerry, Robert Fake Jr., Jeremy Freeland, Robert Horwhat, P.E., Erin Waters, and Ray Wilde.

“These employees are being recognized for going above and beyond what’s expected of them,” Schoch said. “Despite constant fiscal challenges and the increasing demands placed on them, they are dedicated to producing excellent results. They find efficiencies and serve as examples to their co-workers. I thank them for their service and congratulate them on this accomplishment.”

Star of Excellence Awards are presented annually to employees who represent PennDOT’s values of service, performance and integrity. The recipients represent a variety of organizational positions, spanning from highway maintenance and driver and vehicle services workers, programming specialists, communications staff and design and engineering specialists.

Batula served as acting chief in charge of the Accelerated Bridge Program for nearly a year in 2010. She was instrumental in achieving the remarkable success of the program, which put 1,603 structurally deficient bridges out for bid – well above the program’s goal of 1,145 bridges. She has worked countless hours of unpaid overtime facilitating information and data requests about the program.

DeBerry has been instrumental in the development of the rail freight regulations and policy. He also led the development and testing effort for the Pennsylvania Rail Investment Tool, which will serve as another project-scoring level for grant applications.

Fake plays an active role in maintaining, enhancing and developing new IT applications in support of driver’s licensing initiatives. It’s estimated that his role in the Child ID and Fingerprint File Verification Projects savedPennsylvania more than $37,000. His expertise also aids in mentoring consultants, which reduces their learning curve and improves productivity.

Freeland, known as the “go-to” person for the Traffic Monitoring and Data Collection Section, is constantly looking for methods to save money without compromising data integrity.  He always looks for ways to improve data collection for the Roadway Management System, helping to ensure roads and bridges are designed and maintained based on accurate information. Through his work, traffic data collection has increased 59 percent without a budget increase.

Horwhat, chief of the Structural Materials Division, is responsible for the plant inspections of fabricated structural materials supporting PennDOT’s increased bridge project delivery in 2010. As acting chief materials engineer, he ensures that materials that are incorporated into the state’s infrastructure adhere to specifications; coordinates research on failed or new products; and works with other state materials engineers.

Waters, a key team member in PennDOT’s communications efforts, juggles many priorities with skill, even drawing on her work for three summers as a PennDOT flagger. From overseeing production of important PennDOT publications to initiating and managing PennDOT’s Twitter presence, Waters has repeatedly taken on new assignments to better inform the public about PennDOT’s work.

Wilde, who opens, sorts and distributes mail for the Court Services, Discrepancy and Restoration units, aids PennDOT’s efficiency every day with his extreme dedication. In 2010, he opened and distributed more than 800,000 pieces of mail. With a round-trip public transportation commute of 150 miles per day, Wilde sometimes pays for hotel lodging in Harrisburg so he can be sure of getting to work if inclement weather is forecast.

Media contact: Rich Kirkpatrick, 717-783-8800

Editor’s Note: The following is a list of all award winners not mentioned above. Please note that PennDOT does not have a District 7:

District 1 (Crawford, Erie, Forest, Mercer, Venango and Warren counties):


  • Cynthia A. Bowser, Clerical Supervisor
  • Larry L. Lineman, Jr., Transportation Construction Inspector

District 2 (Cameron, Centre, Clearfield, Clinton, Elk, Juniata, Mifflin, McKean and Potter counties):


  • Neal W. Fannin, P.E., Senior Civil Engineer Manager
  • Steven L. Fantechi, P.E., Senior Civil Engineer Manager

District 3 (Bradford, Columbia, Lycoming, Montour, Northumberland, Snyder, Sullivan, Tioga and Unioncounties):

  • Sabrinna S. Wilcox, Human Resource Assistant
  • Dave Kocher, Transportation Equipment Operator

District 4 (Lackawanna, Luzerne, Pike, Susquehanna, Wayne and Wyoming counties):


  • Pamela Caterson, Purchasing Agent
  • Matthew S. Lipka, Roadway Program Coordinator

District 5 (Berks, Carbon, Lehigh, Monroe, Northampton and Schuylkill counties):

  • Bharat A. Pandya, Transportation Construction Manager
  • Trevor W. Weiss, Mechanic Supervisor

District 6 (Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties):

  • Emmanuel Anastasiadis, Traffic Control Specialist Manager

District 8 (Adams, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Lancaster, Lebanon, Perry and York counties):

  • David Reynolds, Right-of-Way Administrator
  • Marc E. Schmiedel, Traffic Control Technician

District 9 (Bedford, Blair, Cambria, Fulton, Huntingdon and Somerset counties):

  • Ralph J. DeStefano, P.E., Senior Civil Engineer Manager
  • Thomas E. Strait, Sewage Treatment Plant Supervisor

District 10 (Armstrong, Butler, Clarion, Indiana and Jefferson counties):

  • Harold L. Swan, Roadway Programs Manager 1
  • James R. Johnson, Civil Engineer Manager – Bridge

District 11 (Allegheny, Beaver and Lawrence counties):

  • Daniel A. Quarcoo, Senior Civil Engineer Supervisor
  • Douglas M. Thompson, P.E., Civil Engineer Consultant – Bridges

District 12 (Fayette, Green, Washington and Westmoreland counties):

  • Cynthia Bunting, Transportation Construction Manager
  • Doug Pringle, Highway Foreman

SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Transportation