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FHWA Works: Careers in Motion

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Road sign: CAREERS AHEAD

Welcome to the "FHWA Works: Careers in Motion Employee Spotlight" series, a look into the careers and lives of Federal Highway Administration employees. Each month, we will introduce you to one of nearly 3,000 FHWA colleagues and highlight the important work they do. Our employees come from all corners of the agency but all offer the same, yet unique sense of dedication and professionalism, all while keeping America's roads and bridges safe.

Check out whose career is in motion and how #FHWAWorks! Discover exactly why our agency is celebrating being ranked in the Top 10 percent of "Best Places to Work in Federal Government!"

To learn more about how FHWA Works, explore the video series on YouTube or FHWA's LinkedIn page.


FHWA Works: Employee Spotlight - Deborah Walker

Photo of Deborah Walker

Full Name: Deborah Walker
Title: Research Civil Engineer
Division/Department: Office of Infrastructure Research and Development
Location (City/State): McLean, Virginia

  1. How long have you been in your role and how did you choose this transportation field?

    I have worked in the Office of Infrastructure Research and Development since 2002. Prior to working for FHWA, I worked for the Texas DOT and one of my collateral duties was serving as the primary contact for the Long-Term Pavement Performance (LTPP) program activities in Texas. As the LTPP State Coordinator, I was responsible for keeping TxDOT’s 25 district offices informed about the LTPP program activities at both the State and national levels. This included the data collection activities for nearly 91 pavement test sections in Texas and applying LTPP products in the State, where appropriate. Serving as the coordinator helped me to develop key relationships with the FHWA LTPP Program staff. In a cooperative agreement between FHWA and TxDOT, I was selected as a loaned staff member from 1994-1996. I had the privilege of working alongside the FHWA staff to help in their daily operations. This 2-year assignment helped me to understand what was needed by the States to better help the program run smoothly and efficiently at the national level. In 2002, I joined FHWA’s LTPP Team as a permanent employee. My experience as a State employee coupled with my understanding of the program at the national level, gave me a unique perspective for furthering the LTPP program.

  2. What do you find interesting about your job and what do you do on daily basis?

    I enjoy working with the States and helping them gain a better understanding of the LTPP program and why their active participation is important to the program’s success. There are days when I may have to work with States to answer their questions about data collection research being done on their highways by our contractors. Since this program has been around longer than many of our State contacts, some may not be aware of what is needed and why. I also manage the pavement performance and traffic data collection activities, so I determine (in collaboration with our contractors on some occasions) which test sections require evaluation. I also work with members of my team to write various outreach materials that are shared with our State and industry partners, and occasionally provide customer support for traffic data requests. In other words, no two days are the same. It simply depends on what is most pressing for the program.

  3. What has been your biggest accomplishment over the last year?

    I am extremely pleased with the outreach services I provided to our internal and external partners this past year. I had a very active year working with many people to inform them about Long-Term Bridge Performance (LTBP) program’s new web portal, LTBP InfoBridge™. I developed new relationships with people I can now depend on to support the LTBP program (in addition to those for the LTPP program). I am most proud that that I took the time to publicly acknowledge people who supported the LTPP and LTBP programs this past year, and to recognize colleagues who have done exceptional work to management.

  4. Prior to working at FHWA, what was the most unusual or interesting job you've ever had?

    I once worked as a job coordinator. I had to visit different job sites throughout Philadelphia to check on employees and talk with their supervisor about the employees’ performance. There were occasions where I had to talk to the employees to correct some things and to find out what the underlying issues were. In almost all of the cases, the employee’s behavior changed and the employee corrected the issue by my next site visit. Traveling across the city took me to different areas and gave me a wider perspective of the city I grew up in.

  5. What are your hobbies in your spare time?

    I love gardening. I developed this love several years ago when I realized that all I did was take care of my three beautiful children! I knew I had to do something just for me and so I started learning about plants and worked on my home’s curb appeal. There’s nothing like digging in the soil with bare hands and feeling the earth. I love seeing my neighbors walk past and admire my yard. In fact, one family told me that they purposely walk past my house because they enjoy looking at how pretty my garden is. Like taking care of my children, it’s a labor of love where I get to experience a great sense of satisfaction, especially when others get to enjoy it, too.

    I also like walking and occasionally lifting weights with my son.

  6. What is one of the biggest lessons you have learned in your career to get you where you are today?

    Being persistent and treating others with respect no matter what position they hold.

  7. Who do you admire in the transportation field and why?

    Mr. Bobbie Templeton. He was a mentor and excellent role model of stewardship and how government employees should manage the People’s money. During our time together--whether at a conference or over lunch--he would always ask me, “Debbie are you using the taxpayers’ money wisely?” He instilled this thought in me early in my career and 28 years later, I still ask myself this question before I take an action or make a decision. Mr. Templeton was part of TxDOT’s senior leadership team who kept engineering as the primary focus for the department’s success with a commitment to invest in the department’s young engineers. He was part of building the foundation for my career not by telling me what I should do, but by giving me the tools and letting me know of his confidence in my ability to achieve and do great things for the American people.

  8. Complete this sentence: "People would be surprised if they knew..."

    I wanted to be a model when I was a little girl. I took modeling classes but did not pursue it because at that time having models under 5 feet was rare. However, years later I competed in a petite modeling contest in Dallas, Texas and missed making it to the finals by 1 point! My husband remarked that I was a different person when I strutted across the stage and his friend could not believe that was me. I remember being extremely nervous (even talking about it now brings back the nervousness), but it was one of the most exciting things I ever did.

 

Other Employee Spotlights

Photo of Carol H. Tan, Ph.D. Full Name: Carol H. Tan, Ph.D.
Title:Team Leader, Safety Data & Analysis
Division/Department: Office of Safety Research and Development
Location: McLean, VA
Photo of Sheila Rimal Duwadi Full Name: Sheila Rimal Duwadi, P.E.
Title: Senior Research Engineer
Division/Department: Office of Research, Technology, and Development
Location: McLean, VA
Photo of David Mensching Full Name: David Mensching, Ph.D., P.E.
Title: Asphalt Materials Research Program Manager
Division/Department: Office of Infrastructure Research and Development
Location (City/State): McLean, VA
Photo of Hoda Azari, PH.D. Full Name: Hoda Azari, PH.D.
Title: Nondestructive Evaluation (NDE) Research Program Manager
Division/Department: Office of Infrastructure Research and Development
Location: McLean, VA
Photo of Jeremy Raw Full Name: Jeremy Raw
Title: Community Planner
Division/Department: Systems Planning and Analysis Team, Office of Planning
Location: Washington, DC
Photo of Stephanie Stoermer Full Name: Joi Singh
Title: Realty Specialist
Division/Department:Office of Real Estate Services
Location: Washington, DC
Photo of Stephanie Stoermer Full Name: Stephanie Stoermer
Title: Environmental Program Specialist/Archaeologist
Division/Department: Environment, Air Quality & Realty Technical Services Team, Resource Center
Photo of Justin Ocel Full Name: Justin Ocel
Title: Civil Engineer
Division/Department: Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center - Office of Infrastructure RD&T
Location: McLean, VA
Photo of Dan Wolfe Full Name: Dan Wolfe
Title: Marketing Communication Specialist
Division/Department: Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center
Location: McLean, VA
Photo of MaryAnn Carpenter Full Name: MaryAnn Carpenter
Title: Transportation Specialist/International Liaison
Division/Department: Federal Highway Administration
Location: Washington, DC
Photo of Brenda Red Wing Full Name: Brenda Red Wing
Title: Senior Advisor for the Program Management Improvement Team Leader
Division/Department: Director of Field Services
Location: Lakewood, CO
Photo of Melinda Urban Full Name: Melinda Urban
Title: Senior Area Engineer
Division/Department: FHWA Colorado Division
Location: Lakewood, CO
Photo of Monica Jurado Full Name: Monica Jurado
Title: Pavements and Materials Engineer
Division/Department: FHWA Resource Center
Location: El Paso, TX
Photo of Al-Hasan Rashida Full Name: Al-Hasan Rashida
Title: Multimedia Specialist
Division/Department: Office of Management Services
Location: Washington, DC
Photo of Neil Gaffney Full Name: Neil Gaffney
Title: Public Affairs Specialist
Division/Department: Office of Public Affairs
Location: Washington, DC
Photo of Susie Tingler Full Name: Susie Tingler
Title: Management Assistant
Division/Department: Director of Field Services
Location: Baltimore, MD
Photo of Christopher Douwes Full Name: Christopher Douwes
Title: Community Planner; commonly known as the Transportation Alternatives and Recreational Trails Program Manager
Division/Department: Office of Human Environment
Location: Washington, DC
Photo of Mohammed Yousuf Full Name: Mohammed Yousuf
Title: Program Manager, ATTRI/Transportation Research Specialist
Division/Department: FHWA Office of Operations R&D
Location: McLean, Virginia
Photo of Rebecca T. Crowe Full Name: Rebecca T. Crowe (Becky)
Title: Transportation Specialist
Division/Department: Office of Safety
Location: ADL- Virginia Division; Richmond, VA
Photo of Jihan Kamel Noizet Full Name: Jihan Kamel Noizet
Title: Transportation Specialist
Division/Department: Office of International Programs
Location: Washington, DC
Photo of Todd Kohr Full Name: Todd Kohr
Title: Legislative Analysis Team Leader
Division/Department: Office of Policy and Governmental Affairs
Location: Washington, DC
Photo of Kirsten Poston Full Name: Kirsten Poston
Title: Disability Policy Analyst
Division/Department: Office of Civil Rights
Location: Washington, DC
Photo of Agnes Vélez Full Name: Agnes R. Vélez
Title: Transportation Specialist
Division/Department: Office of International Programs
Location: Washington, DC
Photo of  Gail Edwards Full Name: Gail Edwards
Title: Communications Specialist
Division/Department: Office of Public Affairs
Location: Washington, DC
Photo of Jean Nehme Full Name: Jean Nehme
Title: Team Leader
Division/Department: Office of Research, Technology, and Development
Location (City/State): McLean, VA
Photo of Michelle Arnold, Ph.D. Full Name: Michelle Arnold, Ph.D.
Title: Research Transportation Specialist
Division/Department: Office of Safety, Research & Development
Location (City/State): McLean, VA
Photo of Seetha Srinivasan Full Name: Seetha Srinivasan
Title: Attorney Advisor
Division/Department: Office of the Chief Counsel
Location (City/State): Washington, DC
Photo of Abdul Zineddin, Ph.D. Full Name: Abdul Zineddin, Ph.D.
Title: Transportation Specialist
Division/Department: Office of Safety R&D
Location: McLean, VA
Photo of Dan Mathis Full Name: Taylor Lochrane
Title: Technical Manager
Division/Department: Office of Operation Research and Development
Location: McLean, VA
Photo of Dan Mathis Full Name: Dan Mathis
Title: Division Administrator
Division/Department: Washington Division
Location: Olympia, WA
Photo of Bruce Moody Full Name: Bruce Moody
Title: Program Management Analyst
Division/Department: Oregon and Washington Divisions
Location: Salem, OR
Photo of Joey Hartmann Full Name: Joey Hartmann
Title: Director of the Office of Bridges and Structures
Division/Department: Office of Infrastructure
Location: Washington, DC
Photo of Marissa Romero Full Name: Marissa Romero
Title: Division Bridge Engineer
Division/Department: Arizona Division Office
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Photo of Doug Hecox Full Name: Doug Hecox
Title: Spokesman
Division/Department: Federal Highway Administration
Location: Washington, DC
Photo of Tome White Full Name: Tom White
Title: Social Media Coordinator
Division/Department: Office of Public Affairs
Location: Washington, DC
Photo of Ralph M. Davis Full Name: Ralph M. Davis
Title: Supervisory Transportation Specialist
Division/Department: Office of Government and Policy Affairs, Office of Highway Policy Information
Location: Washington, DC
Photo of Doug Atkin Full Name: Doug Atkin
Title: Assistant Division Administrator Nebraska Division
Division/Department: Nebraska Division
Location: Lincoln, Nebraska
Photo of Norah Ocel Full Name: Norah M. Ocel, P.E.
Title: Transportation Operations Team Leader/Highway Safety Engineer
Division/Department: Eastern Federal Lands Highway Division
Location: Sterling, Virginia
Photo of LaToya Hines Full Name: LaToya Hines
Title: Staff Assistant to the FHWA Administrator
Division/Department: Office of the Administrator
Location: Washington, DC
Photo of Travis Thomas Full Name: Travis Thomas
Title: Lead IT Specialist
Division/Department: Office of Information Technology Service/Office of Administration (HAD)
Location: Washington, DC
Photo of Brittany Broussard Full Name: Brittany Broussard
Title: Human Resources Specialist
Division/Department: FHWA/Office of Human Resources
Location: Washington, DC
Roger Ryder Full Name: Roger Ryder
Title: Senior Stewardship Advisor/Director of Operations
Division/Department: FHWA Pennsylvania Division
Location: Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Jennifer Nicks Full Name: Jennifer Nicks, PhD, PE
Title: Research Geotechnical Engineer
Division/Department: Office of Infrastructure Research & Development (R&D)
Location: Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center,
McLean, Virginia
Trinette D. Ballard Full Name: Trinette D. Ballard
Title: Marketing and Communications Specialist
Division/Department: FHWA Florida Division
Location: Tallahassee, Florida
Jaun C. Garcia Full Name: Juan C. Garcia
Title: Multimedia Specialist
Division/Department: Management Services/Office of Administration (HAD)
Location: Washington, DC
Melissa Yu Full Name: Melissa Yu
Title: Marketing and Communications Specialist
Division/Department: Center for Accelerating Innovation
Location: Washington, DC
  U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration - Careers in Motion  
Page last modified on September 10, 2019
Federal Highway Administration | 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE | Washington, DC 20590 | 202-366-4000