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Office of Planning, Environment, & Realty (HEP)

Leadership Award

David Kastendick and Laura Rakers
Illinois Department of Transportation

David Kastendick, and Laura Rakers.This Award recognizes David Kastendick, District 6 Land Acquisition Engineer, and Laura Rakers, District 6 Condemnation Engineer, for their leadership in the Wabash Avenue/MacArthur Boulevard/Stanford Avenue Project for the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT).

The project began as a city project in Springfield, Illinois, and became a major project for the IDOT District 6 Office. Time constraints and complex issues led the city to seek help from the IDOT Bureau of Land Acquisition. David and Laura were instrumental in integrating right-of-way considerations into district and city project development processes. They created a flowchart that helped the Bureau of Design visualize a complicated land acquisition. David and Laura sought to balance the affected property owners' concerns with the interests and safety of the traveling public. David and Laura's ability to communicate and work within a team concept allowed them to achieve consensus with their Bureau of Design partners.

Design modifications satisfied many property owners, however, 14 parcels proceeded to court. These parcels were condemned and acquired by "quick take" acquisition within six weeks. Ordinarily it takes up to two months to simply schedule the court dates. Due to Laura and David's perseverance, District 6 and the City were able to meet the November 1, 2003 project letting date.

Through their sense of mission-accomplishment, consensus-building, and integration of right-of-way considerations into the planning and decision-making process, Mr. Kastendick and Ms. Rakers led the way toward the completion of a vital project that the motoring public can enjoy.


Illinois Department of Transportation, District 6, Bureau of Land Acquisition | David Kastendick | Laura Raker

Leadership through effective communication

Leadership Honorable Mention Award

Gerald L. Solomon
Massachusetts Department of Transportation

Gerald L. Solomon.This Honorable Mention Award recognizes Gerald L. Solomon for his leadership within the Massachusetts Department of Transportation. Gerry is a dedicated, experienced right-of-way professional who consistently demonstrates exemplary leadership skills in managing the Right-of-Way Bureau and representing MassHighways.

As Director of the Right-of-Way Bureau, Gerry uses his skills to resolve conflicts that can lead to project delays and increased costs. He successfully negotiated numerous resolutions on major right-of-way issues on the Central Artery Project involving, among others, the Massachusetts Port Authority, the new Boston Garden Corporation, the City of Boston, the United States Postal Service, the Gillette Company and Boston Sand and Gravel. Despite hundreds of complex land and property transactions needed for this massive project, the project was not delayed once due to a right-of-way issue. Gerry worked closely with the Massachusetts Attorney General's Office handling complex litigation matters involving MassHighway and Central Artery Project right-of-way issues.

As a leader, Gerry has been involved with FHWA and others in the development of protocol for the appraisal of contaminated properties, updating and revising the Right-of-Way Bureau's manual, streamlining several staff functions in the Bureau, and educating others on the importance of adhering to sound right-of-way principles. In particular, Gerry spearheaded an effort to advance the computerization of the Right-of-Way Bureau's functions, including implementing an electronic document management system that integrates all right-of-way documents and will be accessible by Bureau staff and the FHWA.


Massachusetts Department of Transportation | Gerald L. Solomon

Leadership through innovation

Updated: 9/5/2014
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