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 - Norah M. Ocel, P.E.
Full Name: Norah M. Ocel, P.E.
Title: Transportation Operations Team Leader/Highway Safety Engineer
Division/Department: Eastern Federal Lands Highway Division
Location: Sterling, VA
What is your current position and how long have you been in this role?
I am currently the Transportation Operations Team Leader. I have been in this role since August 2014. The Transportation Operations Team provides highway safety and traffic technical assistance to Federal Lands management agencies such as the National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service and other federal agencies.
What is your typical workday like?
The vast majority of my time is spent responding to many requests regarding highway safety for different projects by different agencies from crash data analysis, sight distance issues, bridge railings, signage, installation of crosswalks, traffic operation improvements and any other type of safety countermeasures on projects during the planning phase and specification and engineering (PS&E) reviews. I lead and manage national safety efforts for our partners, as well as perform Road Safety Audits. I also plan and monitor the efforts of external contractors depending on the nature and size of the requests.
What has been your biggest accomplishment over the last year?
My biggest accomplishment over the last year has been developing a Nationwide Safety Resource Electronic Library for use by the three FHWA Federal Land Divisions (Eastern, Central, and Western) staff. The library contains all safety related final reports (Road Safety Audits, Safety Assessments) so that Federal Lands project managers and highway designers can use it when scoping new projects and can incorporate the proposed safety improvements into their projects from day one.
Prior to working at FHWA, what was the most unusual or interesting job you've ever had?
Prior to getting my master’s degree in Transportation Engineering, I was a customer service representative for a trucking services company that moved cargo containers from Puerto Rico to the United States. I dealt with logistics, bills of lading and even collections.
What are your hobbies in your spare time?
I like to read, run, paint and explore local wineries when possible.
What is one of the biggest lessons you have learned in your career to get you where you are today?
One of the biggest lessons I have learned at FHWA is to take on challenges that may be above your pay grade, those opportunities not only make a real difference in your career but improve processes and ways of doing business.
Complete this sentence: "People would be surprised if they knew..."
I was in the Air Force ROTC in high school and was considering becoming a pilot.
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Page last modified on April 20, 2016.