June 14, 2017
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A snapshot of MnDOT's work around Minnesota

This video provides snapshots of MnDOT at work around Minnesota. Video produced by Rich Kemp

New Hwy 371 lanes, interchange, open in Pequot Lakes

By JP Gillach, District 3 public affairs coordinator

Interchange at Hwy 371 and County Road 11.

The new interchange at Hwy 371 and County Road 11 has oval-shaped roundabouts at each end of the County Road 11 bridge. Photo courtesy of District 3

Motorists who travel Hwy 371 through Pequot Lakes will find four new lanes, a new interchange and new routes into downtown Pequot Lakes. The new interchange opened June 6.

With the new lanes of Hwy 371 in Pequot Lakes and Jenkins open, motorists should use the new Hwy 371/Crow Wing County Road 11 interchange for the easiest access to downtown Pequot Lakes.

The new interchange spans County Road 11 over Hwy 371 and uses oval-shaped roundabouts at each end of the County Road 11 bridge. The oval-shaped roundabouts will improve traffic flow while reducing severe right-angle crashes at the Hwy 371/County Road 11 junction.

Motorists are reminded that vehicles entering a roundabout must yield to vehicles already inside the roundabout. Get more information about roundabouts.

Motorists may also access Pequot Lakes and local roads by using the new redesigned intersection located north of downtown Pequot Lakes at Hwy 371/County Road 112, just south of Jenkins. “Reduced conflict intersections,” also known as “Michigan lefts” or “J-turns,” have been shown to reduce the number of serious injury and fatal crashes at higher speed intersections by up to 80 percent. To learn more about RCIs, visit

Highway 371 between Nisswa and the south Pequot Lakes will remain a two-lane work zone until all four lanes of the new roadway are completed later this year.

When the Hwy 371 four-lane expansion project in Nisswa, Pequot Lakes and Jenkins is complete in the fall, motorists will see:
  • Hwy 371 expanded to four lanes between Nisswa and Jenkins
  • A new Hwy 371/County Road 11 interchange that provides safe and easy access to Pequot Lakes
  • A new, safer access to the Hwy 371 frontage road in Jenkins
  • A new box culvert bridge spanning Cullen Brook
  • A realigned and improved Paul Bunyan Trail
  • Improvements to the local road systems in Pequot Lakes and Jenkins

For more project information, sign up for this project’s email updates or visit, and follow on Twitter @MnDOTCentral.


Ceremony celebrates businesses exiting Disadvantaged Business Enterprise program

By Mary McFarland Brooks

Sarah Anton, Alita Bergan and Julie Snow.

Former DBEs at the awards ceremony included (from left) Sarah Anton, Anton Group, LLC; Alita Bergan, accepting for Julie Snow, Snow Kreilich Architects; and Saran Basey, Simplex Construction Supplies, Inc. Photo by Mary McFarland Brooks

Three women business owners received awards June 8 as part of their farewell ceremony from the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise program. Attendees at the ceremony at the Metropolitan Airports Commission were:

  • Sarah Anton, Anton Group, LLC
  • Saran Basey, Simplex Construction Supplies, Inc.
  • Alita Bergan, accepting for Julie Snow, Snow Kreilich Architects

MnDOT, in partnership with the Metropolitan Airport Commission, Metropolitan Council and the city of Minneapolis, honored eight formerly certified Disadvantaged Business Enterprises for achieving the economic and operational success to become independent of the program.

The following businesses were also recognized:

  • Climate Maker, Inc.
  • Growth Development Marketing, Inc.  
  • Precision Task Force 
  • Sunrise Painting and Wallcovering
  • WECsys LLC

"We congratulate the DBEs that are moving on from the program,” said Kim Collins, Office of Civil Rights director. “It is a demonstration of their success and hard work. It also shows that the DBE program is effective at assisting businesses to develop and increase their capabilities.”

The DBE Program was established in 1983 by the federal government to ensure women- and minority-owned businesses have the opportunity to participate in contracts financed in whole or in part by the U.S. Department of Transportation. The program is intended to remedy past and current discrimination against disadvantaged business enterprises, ensure a level playing field, and foster equal opportunity to assisted contracts.

Simplex Construction Supplies, Inc., previously a MnDOT-certified DBE firm, recently merged with JC Supply and Manufacturing to provide infrastructure products for highways and bridges.

“It is with great pleasure that Ms. Connie Lightcap and I, serving as the sole shareholder of our respective companies JC and Simplex, extend our sincere appreciation to MnDOT’s Office of Civil Rights for working with us and supporting our efforts to build two industry-leading companies,” said Saron Basey, president of Simplex Supplies. 

The MnDOT Office of Civil Rights administers the DBE program and sets goals for DBE participation on applicable MnDOT contracts. The participation goal is a percentage of the contract that is targeted for certified DBE firms to perform on the project. The DBE participation goal considers the location, scope of work to be performed and availability of DBE firms. To achieve the DBE participation goal, prime contractors must either meet the DBE participation goal or make good faith efforts to obtain the goal.

For more information about the DBE program visit


District 3 mourns loss of Harold Halbert

Harold Halbert.

Harold Halbert, Garrison maintenance, died May 16. Photo courtesy of District 3

Harold Halbert, Garrison maintenance, died May 16. Halbet, 50, worked in District 3 for two years.

“MnDOT was blessed to have Harold join us a couple of years ago, as he filled staffing gaps in various truck stations (Milaca, Monticello, Buffalo and Elk River),” said Dan Whebbe,  District 3 subarea supervisor. “Harold never missed an opportunity to share with me how grateful he was to be part of MnDOT and the crews he worked alongside. The quiet joy and great attitude he brought to us will be greatly missed.” 

For continued remembrance, Halbert’s co-workers will be planting a memorial tree at the Milaca Truck Station.

He is survived by his children, Chelsie and Nick Halbert, both of Cambridge.

A celebration of life for Halbert was held May 27 at the Rush City Community Center.

WIG 2.0 Shout Out winners announced

By Judy Jacobs

WIG 2.0 graphic.

WIG 2.0 Earning Customer Trust

Winners of the initial WIG 2.0 Shout Out friendly competition were announced last week. The winning teams were selected from a pool of sub-WIGs teams reported complete by April 15.

Richard Davis, Public Engagement and Constituent Services director and champion for the Improve External Customer Experience goal, and WIG coaches served as judges. Winners were selected based on the sub-WIG’s focus to generate positive results, demonstrate innovation and high impact or the potential for high impact.

“We felt it was important to recognize WIG teams across both engagement and equity that have already achieved success with their sub-WIG,” said Davis. “There are many great sub-WIGs already implemented. WIG teams are really striving to make even stronger connections with the public we serve.” 

Congratulations to the following Shout Out winning teams:

  • District 7 – Windom Sub-Area – Respond to public concerns and complaints within 48 hours and develop a tracking method
  • Metro Operations – Maintenance Operations – Supervisor engagement discussions increased from zero to three a month for the next six months
  • District 2 – Admin/Human Resources - Improve new employee onboarding process for full-time employees
  • Office of Transit – Create orientation binder for new Office of Transit employees
  • Office of Freight and Commercial Vehicle Operations – Credentials – Improve access to information and guidance; provide clarity to customers
  • District 8 – Program Delivery/ Materials – Develop an instructional sheet for sample submittal cards and distribute to field personnel
  • District 3 – Right of Way – Baxter – Reduce the number of misdirected phone calls each week
  • District 6 – Construction - Owatonna – Reduce response time to less than two days for internal customers
  • Land Management – Photogrammetrics – Targeted group recruitment within Photogrammetrics
  • District 3 – D3B Surveys - Improve field survey request process   

In recognition of their hard work teams were rewarded with work resources of their choice.

In addition, two teams were selected as Champions Choice.

Champion’s Choice – High internal impact   
Metro Operations - Oakdale Truck Station - Day and Night – Increase internal customer knowledge, skill and satisfaction through conducting training on guardrail systems and increase efficiency for guard rail inventory on storage

Champions’ Choice – High external impact
District 4 – D4 Planning – Improve external involvement in scoping

The winning teams will be featured in a highlights video, produced by the Video Services team, to share their success stories. 

“It is really exciting to see these early sub-WIG efforts and we’re so pleased by the progress and dedication of these teams,” said Tracy Hatch, deputy commissioner, chief operation officer and chief financial officer. “We applaud all WIG teams for their hard work and dedication as they move MnDOT towards being an even more customer-centered agency….thank you!”

WIG 2.0 kicked off in August 2016 and is scheduled to be completed by September 2018. MnDOT employees statewide are operating within workgroups, or teams, on a sub-WIG of their choosing. This sub-WIG is intended to make improvements in one or two of the goals shown in the WIG 2.0 Framework using the 4 Disciplines of Execution (4DX). Find out more on the WIG 2.0 About Page.

Watch for the Shout Out Round 1 highlights video on the WIG 2.0 iHub page in July. 


District 6 maintenance staff attend Workers on Wheels Career Day

Curtis Hortop and Natalie Velzke at career day.

District 6 highway maintenance workers Curtis Hortop and Natalie Velzke, from the Faribault truck station, showed off the big plow and fielded questions from Wilson Elementary students in Owatonna during Workers on Wheels Career Day. “It was a good time,” said Hortop. “I really enjoy seeing the look on kids’ faces when they see bigger equipment. They are always full of questions!” Photo by Patricia Velzke


Training offered for EIOR change

Screen capture of the EIOR funding section.

The EIOR system will have changes to the funding strings for users beginning July 1.

On July 1, all Electronic Inter-Office Request system users entering new requests will see the funding strings validated. That means users can no longer submit an EIOR if the funding string is incorrect, incomplete or unknown.

Employees will be hearing more in Newsline, through employee Note Mailers and through training sessions about this change coming to the EIOR system.

The first training session, titled “EIOR Funding Edits & Errors,” is June 20, 22, 27 and 28. Following the rollout, trainings are July 6 and 10. All sessions are offered via Skype to any EIOR user, requestor or approver. Those with buyer roles in EIOR are currently being trained.

Register in the Learning Center or through your Training Specialist.

This change is related to MnDOT’s initiative to Budget by Products and Services. It supports WIG 1.0 of Enhancing Financial Effectiveness and ensures MnDOT's products and services are appropriately weighed in decision making, prioritization and reporting. For questions, email


Enrollment for Leadership Development Program opens June 26

LDP students at MnROAD facility.

LDP students listen to a presentation about research at the MnROAD facility. Photo by Shawn Meade

Employees’ motivation and willingness to improve their competencies allows MnDOT to remain adaptable and productive, and ultimately provides quality service to its customers. This can be achieved through the Leadership Development Program, with little to no expense, other than one’s time and attention.

“Employees are realizing the benefits of participating in the program and using its resources to assist them with their development,” said Carol Hennekens, Leadership Development Program manager. “The 2017-2018 program year starts in September, and the program will offer many new learning opportunities and additional resources, which will support new as well as past participants who want to enroll again.”

Open to all employees, the program is individually customized and flexible to meet participants’ development goals. It can be structured, informal, rigorous, ongoing and flexible all at the same time.  This unique program requires participants to create their own development goals and set their own development schedule to fit their busy work schedule.

The 2017-2018 LDP is structured with two groups starting at different times during the program year.  Group 9 will start Sept. 1, 2017 and Group 10 will start March 1, 2018.  Employees can enroll in either group during the enrollment period, which starts June 26. A second enrollment period for Group 10 is scheduled for December.

To learn more about the Leadership Development Program, and how to enroll, visit the LDP website, or attend a Skype information session. See the dates below.  To register for an information session, send an email to with the date you want to attend.

Leadership Development Program – optional Lync information sessions

  • Tuesday, June 27, 10 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
  • Wednesday, June 28, 3:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Thursday, June 29, 9 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.
  • Tuesday, July 11, 2 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
The LDP team is available to answer questions. Contact Carol Hennekens, Shawn Meade, or Amanda Klawiter.

MnDOT communicators receive Northern Lights awards

By Dana Hernandez

The Minnesota Association of Government Communicators announced the winners of the Northern Lights 2017 Contest May 18, which included six awards for MnDOT.

MAGC’s annual contest recognizes outstanding work in Minnesota’s government, educational and nonprofit communications.

MnDOT received three first place Northern Lights Awards, one third place bronze award and two merit awards.

Northern Lights:

  • Photography, MacKubin Street and Grotto Street Bridges Replacement Project (Kevin Walker - Metro District and David Gonzalez - CO)
  • Video Short, Highway 169 Improvement Project Construction Video (Dave Aeikens - Metro District)
  • New Online Feature, Highway 169 Improvement Project Interactive Map - also a Best of Show nominee (Nick Carpenter and Stephanie Wagener - Metro District)


  • Website Design or Redesign, MnPASS Website Redesign (Bobbie Dahlke - Metro District)


  • Writing for News Release, Blog, Speech or Publication, Bat colony preservation work near I-90 Dresbach Bridge shows early success (Mike Dougherty - District 6)
  • Social Media and Engagement, MnDOT Hwy 53 bridge construction site dog rescue (Kristi Loobeek - CO)

All award descriptions can be found on the MAGC Northern Lights Contest main webpage.

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