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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 - Bernetta L. Collins

Photo of Bernetta L. Collins

Full Name: Bernetta L. Collins
Title: FHWA Resource Center Director
Division/Department: Office of Technical Services
Location (City/State): Lakewood, CO

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

    In 2020, I’ll reach my 10th anniversary as the National Director for the FHWA Resource Center (RC), one of three units within the Office of Technical Services. The RC comprises a dedicated national staff of more than 100 technical experts in 10 teams and 18 transportation specialties. Our RC specialists deliver technical assistance and customized training to transportation agencies across the Nation. We work closely with FHWA Headquarters program and Division offices to deploy new technologies and innovations. The RC is also called upon to provide international technical expertise and services.

    I have to say that I didn’t consciously set my sights on becoming the FHWA RC Director. However, when the opportunity presented itself, I found it to be a similar executive position to those I held previously in the military and in State government. I have always thrived on responsibilities that spanned multiple areas and required me to be knowledgeable in multiple fields. The RC Director certainly met that bill.

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

    As a senior executive, the aspect of my position that I find most interesting is the multi-faceted approach to services we provide. My staff is excellent in every way. Our RC Leadership Team includes ten Technical Directors, a Marketing and Communications Director, Business Manager, and Program Coordinator. Both our leadership and specialists are consummate professionals who enjoy solving the most complex issues and ensuring that they address long-term rather than quick, easy solutions. Though at times the long-term solutions are also quick–but rarely “easy.” On a daily basis, I work to remove obstacles. My job is making their jobs easier to accomplish. This often means inspiring innovative alternatives to routine concepts, processes, and expectations that no longer meet our service model. Having 18 service areas and 10 teams keeps me on my toes–as does working with my outstanding marketing director, program coordinator, and mission support team.

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

    My biggest accomplishment this year is the development and implementation of the Resource Center Strategic Plan, or Blueprint as we call it. The Blueprint is a product of my Leadership Team and RC employees identifying areas of concern and a “blueprint” for addressing those concerns. The strategies and objectives outlined in the Blueprint provide a pathway for the RC to address future transportation challenges facing the Nation.

    I am extremely proud of the work we do to support the FHWA, and I am most proud of the work we do to ensure we remain relevant and technically excellent as an organization. This dedication to excellence and technical expertise allows the RC to deliver a high-level of customer service to State and local transportation agencies, providing technical assistance to projects across the country that improve mobility and roadway safety for the American public.

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

    Wow. In reviewing a work life of more than 40 years, I’ve had many interesting and some unusual jobs. However, I’d have to say the most interesting was being a social worker aide. During my early college days, I supplemented my income by working summers with the Department of Human Services. In this role, I accompanied social workers as they met with families, attempted to solve social issues—and often social injustices—while attending to the physical needs of their clients. It was very interesting and often heartbreaking work that left me intensely hating injustices; particularly injustices relating to racial discrimination. This experience gave me a desire for a leadership position that would allow me to combat such injustices and led to my initial career in civil rights.

  5. What are your hobbies in your spare time?

    In my spare time I like to unplug from reality by reading. My favorite all time author is Agatha Christie. It amazes me how she can use words that capture and transport me to a world I never experienced. I never tire of reading her works. She inspires my own novelist aspirations.

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

    The biggest lesson I’ve learned in my career is to do what you say and hold others accountable for the same. You can’t expect respect or loyalty if you are breaking the rules but expect others to live by them. The thing I dislike most in leaders is the “do what I say, not what I do” mentality and action. I’ve worked for individuals like that and vowed to never be like them. I trust my employees see my determination to keep that vow.

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

    In the transportation field, I admire Dwight Eisenhower. He had a vision for the Nation relative to transportation, and he made it happen. I don’t think Eisenhower knew the magnitude of the benefits it would have on America, American society and American families, but his vision and the realization of that vision cannot be understated. All we need to do is look around.

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

    I am a very strong introvert. Most people assume by virtue of my position—and the fact that I interact and am comfortable in extrovert environments—that it is naturally me. It isn’t. I like my alone time. I like the ability to sit and reflect. I like journaling and reflecting. Perhaps growing up with six siblings allows you to appreciate those quiet times. But growing up with six siblings also gives you a precursor of the world. It taught me how to interact with different personalities, how to exercise patience, and how to value the differences and uniqueness of others. Growing up in a large family helped me to develop fundamental leadership skills essential to a successful career—the ability to communicate, collaborate, and coordinate with colleagues.

Other Employee Spotlights

Photo of Ana Maria Eigen Full Name: Ana Maria Eigen, D.Sc.
Title: Research Highway Safety Specialist
Division/Department: Office of Safety Research and Development
Location (City/State): McLean, VA

Photo of Jennifer Mayo Full Name: Jennifer Mayo
Title: Chief, Talent Development Division
Division/Department: Office of Human Resources
Location (City/State): Washington, DC

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

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 MaryAnn Carpenter Full Name: MaryAnn Carpenter
Title: Transportation Specialist/International Liaison
Division/Department: Federal Highway Administration
Location: Washington, DC
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  Melonie Barrington Full Name: Melonie Barrington
Title: Training Program Manager
Division/Department: National Highway Institute
Location (City/State): Arlington, VA

Photo of  Bernetta L. Collins Full Name: Bernetta L. Collins
Title: FHWA Resource Center Director
Division/Department: Office of Technical Services
Location (City/State): Lakewood, CO

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 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 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
Photo of Agnes Vélez Full Name: Agnes R. Vélez
Title: Transportation Specialist
Division/Department: Office of International Programs
Location: Washington, DC
  U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration - Careers in Motion  
Page last modified on October 21, 2019
Federal Highway Administration | 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE | Washington, DC 20590 | 202-366-4000