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PennDOT organization receives TQI Diversity and Inclusion Award

October 16, 2020 08:00 AM
By: Dave Thompson

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​PennDOT District 8's TRUSS organization, based in Dauphin County, was recently honored by the Associated Pennsylvania Constructors (APC) with the organization's 2020 TQI Diversity and Inclusion Award.

TRUSS, which stands for Team Building, Role Model, Uplifting, Support, and Success, was initially founded in November of 2018 to provide support for women in District 8. It now is open to all district employees, regardless of gender.

The group initially was set to receive the award during a ceremony and banquet last April, but the event was cancelled due to Covid-19. A virtual presentation was made in early September. 

The presentation included a video with recorded comments by district Design Project Manager Nexa Castro, who explained she came up with the idea for the group “as a way to bring people together."

“As a truss is the support of a bridge, we want to be the support of our district (by) utilizing existing resources and offering new opportunities to our employees," she said. “We strive to bring people together, work together and enhance our network so we can deliver projects that feed the necessities of our community."

Nexa said the existence of an organization focused on diversity and inclusion is “a game changer" for the district.

Here is what the APC said about TRUSS:

“TRUSS has been a self-sustaining, women's networking and support group in PennDOT District 8 since November 2018. The group was created by an employee to reach out to women across the entire district, ranging from equipment operators to clerk typists to engineers. This initiative brought women in the district closer and showcased assets that women can bring to the workforce. The group is represented by a committee of different generations, units, and backgrounds and is backed by executive-level employees who all share the same vision, mission, and values."

Click here to view the award video.

TRUSS founding members also were finalists for the 2019 Governor's Award for Excellence, which recognizes exemplary accomplishments of commonwealth employees for initiative, leadership, and strong commitment to service.

“Congratulations to TRUSS for being recognized by APC and the Governor's office," District 8 Executive Mike Keiser said. “I'm grateful for TRUSS's dedication and look forward to watching the organization grow in its endeavors to support all district employees."

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