Begin Main Content Area

 PA.AgencyPortal.WebParts.Blogging - BlogPostWebPart

Meet Sarah Nagy, a PennDOT Transportation Equipment Operator

July 09, 2024 10:00 AM
By: Joshua Gearhart

​For the past 10 years, Sarah Nagy has served as a PennDOT Transportation Equipment Operator in Lehigh County. Nagy's daily tasks vary and can be found operating all sorts of equipment. She may work as a truck driver, laborer; or operate a paver, mower, a belt loader (which is used during shoulder cutting to pick up the dirt the grader cuts out of the road and places it onto a conveyor), a stone chipper, which lays stone during oil and chip operations, or a high lift to cut brush in the winter and summer months.

Originally hired in 2012, Nagy worked with PennDOT as a summer temporary employee while attending Lehigh Carbon Community College where she pursued a degree in criminal justice. Upon graduation, she obtained her CDL and drove tractor trailers prior to returning to PennDOT in 2014, after learning about the open position from a family friend.

After Nagy's time driving tractor trailers, she found herself at PennDOT, initially taking on a temporary winter role. However, by the following winter, Nagy secured a permanent position.

Nagy's decision to return to PennDOT was largely based on the benefits offered, the pension and the schedule flexibility.

“PennDOT is very accommodating in the event your family would experience any form of emergency," says Nagy. “When I had my child two years ago, I received six weeks of paid vacation*, and I didn't need to dip into my personal time for it. Additionally, I appreciate the vacation and sick time benefits; if you don't use it, you don't lose it, as those benefits carry over to the next year. It's a fantastic arrangement, and I also value the holidays we have off."

Of all her responsibilities, Nagy most enjoys being a paver operator. As a paver operator, Nagy is tasked with getting the paver and the work area ready. First, Nagy sets up the paver and the job site. Then, before using the paver, Nagy gets it ready by programming it, making sure everything is level, and setting the depth correctly.

“My favorite part about being a paver operator is how much I've grown and learned over the past decade," says Nagy. “I've gained valuable experience, and I can see the improvement in the quality of the jobs compared to when I first started."

Currently, Nagy is enjoying using a pugmill to pave the road. A pugmill operation is a process that takes recycled millings and sends them through a crusher that adds oil to the millings and then makes a mixture. This is a cold mix that is often used during the summer months and applied on base repair projects and full width paving.

When asked about what makes Allentown-based District 5 so special, Nagy said she enjoys working with all her colleagues throughout the district.

“One of the most rewarding aspects about working for PennDOT is when everyone works together to complete important tasks that better our community and the surrounding areas in a timely and efficient manner," says Nagy.

Nagy appreciates the relationship she has fostered with her fellow operators, as they can come together and work effectively on a variety of projects.

“I value the bond I've formed with my fellow operators; it allows us to collaborate seamlessly on diverse projects," says Nagy. “We work well together, united in our willingness to learn and support one another. Recently, we've had an increasing number of new hires, and they are all exceptional workers who are eager to learn."

When people find out that Nagy works for PennDOT they typically surprised when they discover she drives the large trucks. Nagy really wishes that especially in some of the winter months, people would be able to fully experience what operators go through and how they are taught to think.

“I don't think they're completely aware of everything it involves, especially clearing snow and maintaining the roads," says Nagy.

Nagy's colleagues describe her as funny and hardworking. Nagy strives to keep the morale lighthearted and ensure that projects are moving in a positive direction. Nagy is one of PennDOT's many Transportation Equipment Operators who are dedicated to paving the way for safer travels. Thanks to hardworking individuals like Nagy, PennDOT connects Pennsylvanians to the people and places they love.

*Find current paid parental leave information, updated in February, on this page.​

Share This