Design Employee of the Year - 2012
For Elijah Gansen, transportation engineer in the Office of Design, 2012 was a year of challenges. Gansen was the lead designer on several large projects and assisted with designs for many others. For his extra efforts, Gansen was named the 2012 Office of Design Employee of the Year.
“This past year was a little more intense than in previous years,” said Gansen. “I have been used to getting one large project and working on all aspects of that project until it was ready to be let. Last year there were several large projects that all needed to be done at one time, so there was a lot more coordination involved. Luckily, our section is a close-knit group, and everyone is willing to jump in and help each other out.”
Gansen, who worked for the Iowa DOT in college and has been with the agency full time for seven years, has a varied background, having worked in Materials and the New Hampton construction office, and a consulting engineering firm. Gansen is quick to point out, “The employees in the Office of Design work well together, but sometimes our office field staff may not get all the appreciation they deserve. We rely on them to gather survey data and soil data. The data that they collect is critical to our success in Design and they are often asked to rush the data collection to keep our projects on time.”
Over the past year, Gansen has continued work he began on the Interstate 80/U.S.6/U.S. 65/Hubbell Avenue interchange in Altoona, a rush design project of I-380 in Evansdale and a group of projects all moved up in the schedule due to additional available funds. Paul Flattery, Gansen’s supervisor, said, “Elijah was assigned the Black Hawk I-380 reconstruction project that was needed to be completed in three weeks to maintain the schedule. Understanding the urgency, Elijah was willing to put in the extra hours to accomplish this task. When the second stage of this project was also moved up in the program, he managed his workload and was able to get these large projects completed for the same letting. Now Elijah is assigned as the lead designer for the I-80/I-380/U.S. 218/Iowa 27 interchange project, and is doing all the necessary designs and staging layouts to keep this project on schedule. It is nice to know you can ask him to do certain parts of a plan and he can get it done with very little explanation or assistance. His knowledge in plan preparation has been an asset to the section, especially when we are short staffed.”
“I like challenges, and these projects were definitely challenging,” Gansen said. “The time constraints and traffic management piece of the I-380 project were especially difficult. Our goal was to build the best infrastructure with available funds, while minimizing the impact to the traveling public.”
Gansen continued, “As an agency we have gotten more focused on keeping the road open during construction to minimize the impact to traffic. This isn’t always the quickest way to get the improvement done, but it is often the best for the traveling public.”
Gansen, a native of Riceville, was also nominated for the employee of the year honor last year. “Even though I had been nominated last year, it was a still a surprise to win this award. I don’t think I’m doing anything differently, it is just the way I work.”