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PennDOT Celebrates 50 Years of Building Communities: Meet Richard Burns

February 18, 2021 07:00 AM
By: Robyn Briggs

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​Richard Burns is a Senior Civil Engineer Supervisor in PennDOT's District 6. He's been with PennDOT since June 1969. 

As part of PennDOT's 50-year anniversary, we conducted an interview with Burns about his experience over the past 50+ years. 

Why did you come to work for PennDOT?

I worked one summer while in Temple University and the following year, I was offered an engineering technician position.

How many years at PennDOT? 

52 years.

What positions have you had with PennDOT?

I was an Engineering Technician for one year, then a Construction Inspector for 2 or 3 years. I became a Philadelphia Assistant County Manager in maintenance, and then transferred back to Civil Engineer Supervisor title.

Why did you stay at PennDOT? 

I enjoyed what I was doing, enjoyed highways and bridge work, and enjoyed working with a good group of people.

What has changed the most about your job during your time at PennDOT?

It's amazing how much technology and materials have changed to how we do it now. Changes in materials used on roadways and improved means and methods.

What do you wish the general public knew about PennDOT?

Overall, the employees in the construction end of maintenance do care about their jobs and do their best to build and maintain our roads.

What did you find most rewarding working here?

In 1986 or 1987, we had a large snow storm. It was 20-something inches over Valentines weekend. It was a tough job and an experience I will never forget. I remember working Friday on I-95 straight through Sunday early morning.

What was your most exciting or memorable day working for PennDOT?

That snow storm. Looking back on it now, it was not a fun time. It was a tough 2 ½ days. I learned to appreciate the guys who do snow removal. I wouldn't wish that on their worst enemy.

What will you miss most about working at PennDOT or working with the employees at PennDOT? 

I'll miss the comradery with my fellow emplyees. I have been blessed to always work with good group of people.

What do you hope for the future of PennDOT?

I hope they stay focused and stay on their mission.

"I enjoyed this career and worked with a pretty good bunch of people," Burns said. "A lot of people should consider working here for the opportunity."

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