U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
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Washington, DC 20590
FHWA Works: Careers in Motion
FHWA Works: Employee Spotlight - Roger Ryder*
Full Name: Roger Ryder
Title: Senior Stewardship Advisor/Director of Operations
Division/Department: FHWA Pennsylvania Division
Location: Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
What is your current position and how long have you been in this role?
I am currently on a special six month rotational assignment as a Senior Stewardship Advisor on the Stewardship and Oversight Team at the Headquarters Office of Program Administration. I was previously Director of Operations in the FHWA PA Division (since August 2011) and I will return back to that position in April 2016.
What is your typical workday like?
A typical workday in my rotational assignment consists of hosting and participating in virtual web rooms where I coordinate activities that support FHWA's next generation of Risk-Based Stewardship and Oversight. A typical workday as Director of Operations consists of many internal and external meetings and phone calls with senior leaders, engineers, planners, consultants and contractors from FHWA, and from the public and private sector. As Director of Operations, I was also featured in the FHWA Works: How the Federal Highway Administration Helps When Disaster Strikes video, where I explained how we help get communities back on their feet after a natural disaster or catastrophic event.
What has been your biggest accomplishment over the last year?
I provided leadership, partnership and coordination with the Pennsylvania Division, Pennsylvania DOT and FHWA headquarters to implement the first major $899M Public Private Partnership (P3) Bridge Bundling procurement in the nation under an accelerated timeline. We issued commercial close a year after the Request for Qualifications (RFQ). We ensured all federal requirements were met, via approval of a Special Experimental Project (SEP-14) and ensured the project met FHWA Major Project requirements.
Prior to working at FHWA, what was the most unusual or interesting job you've ever had?
While in college one summer, I worked in Glens Falls, New York for a paper mill as an inspector on a $1 million project that involved the post-tension anchoring of an old existing hydroelectric dam. The dam was very important because it provided a canal to direct river water into turbines which powered the paper mill, located along the Hudson River. It was also interesting because it was right across the Hudson River from Cooper's Cave, which was the view I had each day while working on the project. In 1825, after returning from exploring the Adirondacks and inspired by "these dark and silent caves" in the heart of the Hudson River, James Fenimore Cooper took pen in hand to write his most famous and beloved novel, The Last of the Mohicans.
What are your hobbies in your spare time?
I'm a car enthusiast and car show fanatic. I currently own a 2007 Mustang convertible which I take to car shows in New York and Pennsylvania. I once owned a 1989 Toyota Supra turbo which I also took to car shows. When I'm not working on or cleaning cars, I'm driving them around Pennsylvania, or taking road trips to see family and friends in New York and Ohio.
What is one of the biggest lessons you have learned in your career to get you where you are today?
While working at FHWA, I've learned the value of keeping a positive attitude, working in teams, staying flexible, moving, learning, and growing. I've learned that even old dogs can learn new tricks (if they want to). I've also learned to be patient, yet persistent, with achieving my career goals and to take them one step at a time. I have also learned that when things in life don't work out just the way you wanted them to, you may find later on that they were actually blessings in disguise.
Complete this sentence: "People would be surprised if they knew..."
I double degreed in college. I went to two universities in New York at the same time (Clarkson University and State University of Potsdam) and received two bachelor’s degrees (one B.S. in Civil Engineering and one B.A. in Geology) in a Special 3-2 Civil Engineering/Geology Program which took 5 years to complete, including taking courses at night at another school closer to home during summers while working too. My original plans were to become a geology teacher, but a friend that was in the program encouraged be to apply for it in during my sophomore year. I'm also originally from the Adirondack Mountains in Upstate New York and I've lived in nine states so far with FHWA (including Hawaii). While working for FHWA, I've also owned four brand new homes in Louisiana, Connecticut, Ohio and Pennsylvania, and nine cars.
* Currently with the FHWA Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands Division as Territorial Program Manager
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Page last modified on December 16, 2015