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Washington County Maintenace Manager Celebrates Over 32 Years at PennDOT, Offers Advice

October 19, 2023 01:00 PM
By: Toni Hartley

​Did you know?

  • Washington County is the third largest county in the state with over 1,100 miles, more than 500 bridges, 35 interstate interchanges, and 100+ employees. 
  • Susan Howard is Washington County's first female County Maintenance Manager.

Susan Howard celebrates 32+ years with PennDOT in District 12 where she began her full-time career as a Clerk Typist I, holding a variety of positions that provided both knowledge and growth, to her current position as the Washington County Maintenance Manager. Susan's first introduction to working with PennDOT was as a Government Student Intern (GSI) on a milling crew. Other positions held during her career include Clerk Typist II, Garage Clerk, Roadway Program Technician I and II, and Roadway Programs Coordinator. Susan is a 2006 Star of Excellence recipient.

Experiences and opportunities proved to be great sources of information and skills for success including the LEAD (Leadership, Education, and Development) Program, a comprehensive career development program to support the professional advancement of women in the agency. LEAD fosters career progression of participants through the protégé - mentor relationship and monthly educational workshops that address current competencies and skills required of effective leaders in state government.  The 12-person workshop meet for a week each month over one year.

Susan cannot speak highly enough of LEAD and how beneficial the training was to her. She was matched with a mentor who introduced her to successful women within the Department while broadening her horizons and leading her in the direction of success. Although the training was to bridge the equality gap, the leadership fundamentals gained were pivotal to Susan's career progression. This foundation coupled with working under four County Managers, taught her different managerial styles and outlooks in managing staff and operations.

Susan has always felt empowered as a department employee and has been able to work in different facets of the Department. She was quick to volunteer for a project or assignment that allowed her continuous growth and increasing knowledge which led to more opportunities. Pride is a word she uses to describe what being a long-term employee means to her. The hard work and dedication of our employees allows Washington County to be successful and she is proud to be a part of it.

Some of her best memories and proudest moments have come from the friendships built. Great times, sad times, lessons learned, and mentorships over the years have made the ride worth the admission. Susan will fondly look back on a great career stemming from great co-worker experiences.

The best advice Susan can offer to someone considering working for PennDOT or someone early in their career is to "hang on, you're in for a great ride, enjoy it". "Working for PennDOT allowed me the opportunity to attend everything at our kids' schools, be present at sporting events, and have quality family time. The life/work balance is truly one of the best perks of the job."

Susan and her husband have been together for 30 years and married for 26. They have three children and six grandchildren that she loves spending time with. She credits her family to her many accomplishments and sincerely appreciates their support in making this journey achievable.

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