U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590
FHWA Works: Careers in Motion
FHWA Works: Employee Spotlight - Todd Kohr
Full Name: Todd Kohr
Title: Legislative Analysis Team Leader
Division/Department: Office of Policy and Governmental Affairs
Location: Washington, DC
What is your typical workday like?
I try to start with a pass through my email inbox, with an eye toward pressing deadlines or late-breaking news. Next, I like to read—or at least skim—a handful of news clippings and morning circulations. From there, the day becomes much less typical. My team coordinates (or otherwise supports) activities that involve program offices across the agency. When Congress is working on bills to reauthorize the Federal-aid highway program, my team and I spend considerable time analyzing legislative language and briefing others on its potential impact; we also provide technical assistance (usually by phone or email) to Congressional staff. When FHWA is implementing a new surface transportation law, we draft summary materials, review guidance, and track the agency’s implementation activities. I go to meetings and coordinate constantly with the Offices of the Chief Financial Officer and Chief Counsel. I work with FHWA program office staff to understand and explain how various aspects of the Federal-aid highway program function. And I usually wrap up the day with a final pass through my inbox, trying to tie off as many loose ends as I can.
What has been your biggest accomplishment over the last year?
Supporting the successful implementation of the 2015 Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act—the first federal law in over a decade to provide long-term funding certainty for surface transportation. In implementing the FAST Act, FHWA has distributed more than $40 billion in Federal funding, and has issued dozens of pieces of guidance (and hundreds of online Q&As) to fill in the details of the new law. Credit for this goes to the entire agency. However, I am proud of my team’s role in coordinating, tracking, and communicating FHWA’s efforts in this area.
Prior to working at FHWA, what was the most unusual or interesting job you've ever had?
Before joining FHWA I spent two years on the staff of the U.S. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, which I found fascinating. Depending on the day there, I might need to delve into almost any highway-related issue—and without the ability (that I now have) to walk down the hall and call on the relevant agency expert. It was there that I developed a deep appreciation for the technical assistance that FHWA provides.
Reaching farther back, when I was 20 years old I had a summer camp job with a wonderful twist: for three weeks I was actually paid to co-lead a sailing trip (with 16-year-old campers) on a 50-foot sailboat in the British Virgin Islands.
What are your hobbies in your spare time?
With young children, at this point for me the term "spare time" tends to be more aspirational than actual. In that vein, I’ve learned to love toy construction trucks, building blocks, and repeated readings of Dr. Seuss. I’m interested in architecture and photography, though I’m still learning my way around my digital SLR camera. I also enjoy reading, with a soft spot for science fiction and long-form journalism.
What is one of the biggest lessons you have learned in your career to get you where you are today?
Whatever your job is, do it to the absolute best of your ability; if you build up a reputation for dependability and delivering high-quality work, opportunities will emerge for you. Also, treat people well, regardless of their position or level of seniority. It’s the right thing to do, it helps with morale, and you never know when down the line someone might return the favor.
Complete this sentence: "People would be surprised if they knew..."
...that flammable and inflammable mean the exact same thing.
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Page last modified on January 18, 2017