Pennsylvania Turnpike.Pennsylvania Turnpike
Customer Service Operations

As their First Deputy Executive Director for Customer Service 1997

  PTC id.Assumed this newly-created position as part of the implementation of a major management study of the Turnpike by Deloitte-Touche. Recruited by national search firm to initiate change in a historically change-resistant organization. This position provided major opportunity for undertaking expanded management initiatives, as well as participation in field of transportation, which has been a personal avocation for some years.

Jim's boss said:
"As the first incumbent...you were charged with evaluating a series of major operations...and starting a process of reorganization within a framework of limited resources and complex challenges."

  Responsibilities included direction of four major departments:

Fare Collection Department, with 1100 Fare Collectors working at some fifty interchanges on this 506 mile highway system; participation in E-Zpass system planning, special reference to operational factors.
Communications Center which handles emergency response and all radio dispatching communications, incident coordination for entire system and operation of highway advisory radio and variable message signs being installed as part of Intelligent Transportation System.
Marketing Department, which includes service plaza and concessions oversight, public information, business development, property management and related functions.
State Police. Oversight of the 230 member Troop T of Pennsylvania State Police patrolling the system, which is paid for by the Turnpike.

  Undertook major effort for tradition-bound middle management structure to "think out of the box" and embrace change management without feeling threatened. (Promoted this outlook through entire organization, not just within Customer Service.) Encouraged managers to manage.

Jim's boss said:
"...you were striving to bring out the best in our staff through positive motivation and innovative approaches."

  Undertook major effort to rebuild the morale of Fare Collection workforce by visiting every (50) interchange on the system, initiating a Fare Talk newsletter, listening to managers and workers, attempting to improve communications and mutual respect and encouraging use of positive management techniques.

  Conducted the first Turnpike-wide Customer Appreciation Day in an effort to enhance both public cooperation and their respect for Collectors as well as demonstrating a new customer-friendly attitude. 100,000 handouts were issued to customers, press releases issued, morale-building "commercials" were broadcast on the Turnpike radio system to its employees for the first time.

Jim's boss said:
"...you exhibited not only creativity but tenacity in promoting a new atmosphere of customer service. You...dared our staff to give their best."

  Directed study of interchange and communications center staffing to curtail excess overtime; developed proposed labor rule changes. Brought FY98 budget in within (flat) target in face of contractual cost increases.

  Succeeded in starting Turnpike workers to refer to the driving public as "customers" rather than "patrons," as part of new way of regarding the people being served.

  Initiated efforts to establish a centralized customer service response center in which calls and correspondence, as well as trucker relations, would be professionally handled with proper records and follow-up. 

  Devised plan to enhance PTC Web Site and reassign duties for its maintenance to Marketing Department.

  Recruited new (management) Duty Officers to provide for enhanced 24 hour control of the Communications Center and public information and incident coordination; undertook plans for this function to manage impending Intelligent Transportation Systems equipment.

Jim's boss said:
"Your efforts to demonstrate management respect...have fostered a management approach that can only continue to benefit the Turnpike."

  Obtained approval for new Turnpike logo advertising boards contract (for lodging and public facilities); studied advertising on back of toll tickets as revenue source;  supervised negotiations regarding prototype electronic billboard proposal.

  Developed a plan for transfer of the Safety function from the Finance and Administration department into a new Department of Turnpike Safety and Communications, to be headed by a professional director as part of the emerging Customer Service organization.

   Secured agreement with Facilities engineers that future toll booth design reflect ergonomic and operating factors.

   Facilitated one manager's retirement and selected successor through a panel interview process involving peer evaluation and objective criteria. Drafted proposals to reassign several managers; and to modify the property management and concession management functions as part of reorganized Marketing Department.

Left in good standing to return to home state.