PennDOT Honors Star of Excellence Recipients

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The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) Secretary Yassmin Gramian yesterday recognized 29 PennDOT employees for their outstanding performance with the Star of Excellence Award, PennDOT’s highest recognition.

Two employees from PennDOT’s District 1, which represents Crawford, Erie, Forest, Mercer, Venango, and Warren counties were among the honorees.
“These employees exemplify the care and concern needed to serve the state of Pennsylvania,” Gramian said. “Each puts effective and efficient transportation services at the top of their list daily, while demonstrating a strong commitment to the agency and roughly 12 million state residents.”
Gramian and other department executives honored winners Jon Richardson and Chad Tarr during an online ceremony.
“Over the years, Jon and Chad have both showed their willingness to take on innovative and impactful projects to help increase department efficiencies and be good stewards of the funding we are provided,” said Brian McNulty, P.E., District 1 Executive. “Above that, they take time to mentor newer employees in order to share their knowledge to help strengthen PennDOT and improve our service to the residents and visitors of the northwest region.”
Richardson is a survey tech supervisor. He has been instrumental in the evaluation and implementation of Unmanned Aircraft Systems Drone Technology at the district and state levels and ensuring the accuracy of data. He produced training recommendations, presentations, and a best practices document for using the drone and software.
(Photo courtesy PennDOT. Jon Richardson)
His efforts will save the department time and money, increase safety, and decrease traffic disruptions as PennDOT moves toward increased use of this new technology. The estimated annual savings from the drone program is $20,000.
Richardson resides in Polk Borough, Venango County.
Tarr is a transportation construction manager. He has handled some of the District’s most notable rural projects in recent years, including the Hunter Station Bridge and the Big I Roundabout. He ensures construction work is completed in compliance with department specifications, no matter the size of the project. He fosters partnerships during the construction process and participates to community outreach efforts.
(Photo courtesy PennDOT. Chad Tarr.)
As part of the Hunter Station Bridge replacement project, Chad worked with the contractor to develop a traffic control plan, replacing the 45-mile detour with temporary signals and saving motorists an estimated $404,378.
Tarr resides in Oil City, Venango County with his wife and five children.
The Star of Excellence Awards are presented annually to employees who represent the department’s values of service, performance and integrity. The recipients represent a variety of organizational positions, spanning from highway maintenance and driver and vehicle services workers, to traffic control specialists, communications staff and design and engineering specialists.