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Team from Midd-West School District Named PennDOT Regional Innovations Challenge Winner


Montoursville, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) today announced that a team of students from the Midd-West School District in Snyder County has been selected as the PennDOT District 3 winner for its sixth Innovations Challenge.

Mentored by teachers Matt Dietz, A.J. Steininger and Kathy Shellenberger, team members include: Jesse Witkowski, Ryland Portzline, Ben Hummel, and Ayden Hoover. The team was managed by fellow classmate Anden Atkins.

The PennDOT Innovations Challenge invites high school students from around the Commonwealth to develop creative solutions to real-world transportation challenges. The goal of the Innovations Challenge is to help students explore actual challenges PennDOT and the transportation industry is facing as well as consider the possibility of working in the industry following graduation.

Since being announced last October, students across the state have been diligently developing creative and strategic solutions to a real-world transportation challenge. This year, teams were tasked with selecting one of Pennsylvania's interstate corridors where truck parking is a known issue and develop an innovative approach to increase commercial truck parking availability in that area and offset costs incurred for construction.

Pennsylvania is a critical freight corridor for commercial drivers bound for destinations across the continent," said Mike Carroll, Acting Secretary of Transportation. "It's inspiring to see the next generation of problem-solvers approaching the issues of today with the creativity and ingenuity of tomorrow.

The winning regional team's innovation was Shoulder Stop - a pull off area with enough parking for several full-sized commercial trucks along with restrooms and a shower area. The team interviewed truck drivers during their research, incorporated existing technologies and created digital graphics for their presentation.

"This competition is a great opportunity for the students to address real world problems. On a regular basis the group would collaborate and identify both new solutions and new challenges to be addressed. Their diligence is to be commended," said Dietz.

Regional Innovations Challenge winners will present their solutions to the PennDOT Acting Secretary and a panel of judges in Harrisburg next month, where a statewide winner for 2023 will be determined. For this year's challenge, the Associated Pennsylvania Constructors (APC) and the American Council of Engineering Companies of PA (ACEC/PA) are providing a combined total award of $4,000 to the statewide winning team.

For complete Innovations Challenge details, visit and click on Innovations Challenge.

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Editor's Note: Attached photo caption: Midd-West students (from left to right) Ben Hummel, Jesse Witkowski, Ayden Hoover and Ryland Portzline present to the PennDOT District 3 Innovations Challenge judges.




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