BATON ROUGE, La. – Six Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) employees were recognized today for exemplary service during an employee recognition event held at DOTD Headquarters.
William Fontenot, Jr., DOTD’s District 03 administrator, and Susan Stafford, DOTD’s assistant general counsel, are recipients of the 2008 Charles E. Dunbar Jr. Career Service Award, sponsored by the Louisiana Civil Service League. Connie L. Standige, assistant secretary of DOTD Operations, received honorable mention.
Reta (Tinka) McFarland, DOTD’s structured training director, and Nicholas Verret, Jr., DOTD’s District 08 administrator, are recipients of the 2009 Charles E. Dunbar Jr. Career Service Award. Darrell Johnson, construction/maintenance manager for DOTD’s Traffic Services Division, received honorable mention.
During the ceremony, DOTD Interim Secretary Sherri LeBas thanked these individuals for their years of hard work and dedicated service and congratulated them on their success and accomplishments.
Daniel E. Sullivan, executive vice president of the Louisiana Civil Service League, also gave remarks at the ceremony, explaining the history of the award and the criteria by which nominees are judged. These include commitment to classified service, contributions toward work or workplace environment, personal initiative, and volunteer career service.
William Fontenot, Jr. joined DOTD in 1974 after receiving a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Southwestern Louisiana. His district includes 2,500 miles of state and federal roads, 1,032 bridges, one ferry boat operation, seven ports and harbors, nine airports, three levee districts, and two fresh water supply districts. At this time, the district’s construction program includes 37 ongoing projects worth approximately $202 million.
Susan Stafford graduated from the Paul M. Hebert Law School at LSU, and began her law practice in 1988 with the Attorney General’s office. She joined DOTD in 1991 and was quickly promoted to Senior Attorney and assigned to the General Law Unit. In the 2003-2004 fiscal year, she collected almost $3 million, and was awarded the Legislative Award of Administrative Excellence by the Louisiana Legislature. She has served on the Safety Advisory Committee and received the Secretary’s Award of Excellence for her work on the legislative drafting team in 1999.
Connie Standige began her career working in the construction section of DOTD’s District 04 office in Shreveport in 1982, after earning her bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from LSU. During her 28 years at DOTD, she has served as Assistant District Maintenance Engineer over District 02 in the New Orleans area, and in 2005, she became the first woman to be named District Administrator for the department for the District 62 office in Hammond. In 2009, she was named Assistant Secretary of DOTD.
Reta (Tinka) McFarland graduated Magna Cum Laude from Louisiana Tech University and has been working with DOTD for 40 years. She became involved in training course development and served as the training and development program manager for the department’s approximately 150 job classifications. She has won numerous awards with DOTD, including Team of the Year in 2002. She is most proud of her work with the R.O.A.D. (Rebuilding Opportunities and Development) Program which has helped more than 90 DOTD employees earn their GED.
Nicholas Verret, Jr. began his career with DOTD in 1980 after graduating Summa Cum Laude from LA Tech University with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering. Prior to being named District 08 administrator in 2007, he spent 16 years with the Natchitoches construction office where his experience included construction contract administration for over 50 miles of I-49, valued at over $100 million. He was significantly involved in the Natchitoches Front Street brick surfacing replacement program, which was recognized nationally in several publications and received an America’s Transportation Award in 2009.
Darrell Johnson joined DOTD in 1983 as an engineering aid for the Traffic Services Division. During his 26 years at DOTD, he has worked in numerous capacities for Traffic Services, including positions as Sign Shop Supervisor and Outdoor Advertising Manager. In addition to his regular duties, he is heavily involved with DOTD’s hurricane preparations and recovery operations and in the deployment of LaGov, Louisiana State Government’s integrated Enterprise Resource Planning system, which will be used at DOTD on a piloted basis before being implemented at other state agencies.
The 2008 and 2009 recipients received commemorative plaques at luncheons hosted by the Louisiana Civil Service League in New Orleans.
More than 600 classified public employees have been recognized since the Charles E. Dunbar Jr. Career Service Award’s inception 51 years ago. Forty of the past honorees have been DOTD employees.