Do you know where you were on November 4, 2013? Mark Culp remembers that date because it was his first day working for PennDOT. Culp was hired as a seasonal employee working as a Transportation Equipment Operator A (TEOA) and he worked one winter.
He was a self-employed logger for a decade before working for PennDOT and that is when he got his CDL. While driving, he was offered jobs in the sawmill area as a Log Buyer and a Forester. Culp worked his way up to a Procurement Manager and a Log Yard Supervisor. He did well for himself in the timber industry, but felt it was seasonal work and risky.
When PennDOT offered him a full-time position in October of 2014, he accepted. While he worked as a TEOA, he took advantage of any training that was offered. He never turned down an opportunity for personal growth and within two years, he was promoted to Supervisor Highway Foreman II. The last two summers he has overseen a specialized crew for seal coat and paving as a Highway Foreman 3. Mark feels that his work ethic and steady training has paid off.
"Believe it or not," Culp says, "when you're plowing in Clarion County, there are truck drivers and others thanking you for what we do to keep their roads drivable in the winter."
Mark recalls a time that stands out in his memory. Last summer, a mom and her kids drove by his crew each day. Each time they passed, they would wave and smile. When the job was finished, Culp said the mom had stopped and handed him an envelope.
"It had drawings from the kids, of the set ups with flaggers and the equipment right down to the detail! Then a hand-written letter from the kids thanking us for making the road safe for them to travel with each of their signatures," Culp said.
Mark Culp doesn't miss his old days of working 70-80 hours per week year-round. If someone was considering a career at PennDOT, he thinks now is the time because, "…there are people retiring and the opportunities are endless right now!"